The Mickey Mouse Club is a long-running American variety television show that began in 1955, produced by Walt Disney Productions and televised by the American Broadcasting Company, featuring a regular but ever-changing cast of teenage performers. The Mickey Mouse Club was created by Walt Disney. The series has been revived, reformatted and reimagined several times since its initial 1955-1959 run on ABC.
The Mickey Mouse Club was Walt Disney's second venture into producing a television series, the first being the Walt Disney anthology television series, initially titled Disneyland. Disney used both shows to help finance and promote the building of the Disneyland theme park. Being busy with these projects and others, Disney turned The Mickey Mouse Club over to Bill Walsh to create and develop the format, initially aided by Hal Adelquist.
The result was essentially a variety show for children, with such regular features as a newsreel, a cartoon, and a serial, as well as music, talent and comedy segments. One unique feature of the show was the Mouseketeer Roll Call, in which many (but not all) of that day's line-up of regular performers would introduce themselves by name to the television audience. In the serials, teens faced challenges in everyday situations, often overcome by their common sense or through recourse to the advice of respected elders.
Mickey Mouse Club was hosted by Jimmie Dodd, a songwriter and the "Head Mouseketeer", who provided leadership both on and off screen. In addition to his other contributions, he often provided short segments encouraging young viewers to make the right moral choices. These little homilies became known as "Doddisms". Roy Williams, a staff artist at Disney, also appeared in the show as the "Big Mooseketeer". Roy suggested the Mickey Mouse ears ("Mouseke-ears") worn by the cast members, which he helped create, along with Chuck Keehne, Hal Adelquist, and Bill Walsh.
The main cast members were called "Mouseketeers," and they performed in a variety of musical and dance numbers, as well as some informational segments. The most popular of the Mouseketeers constituted the so-called "Red Team," which consisted of:
* Annette Funicello
* Tommy Cole
* Darlene Gillespie
* Cheryl Holdridge (joined in second year)
* Bobby Burgess
* Doreen Tracey
* Cubby O'Brien
* Karen Pendleton
* Lonnie Burr
* Sharon Baird