Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Walt Disney Treasures: The Mickey Mouse Club

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Sharon Baird as Sharon
Bobby Burgess as Bobby
Lonnie Burr as Lonnie
Ruth Carrell as Ruth
Tommy Cole as Tommy
Johnny Crawford as Johnny
Walt Disney as Mickey Mouse (voice)
Jimmie Dodd as Jimmie
Cliff Edwards as Jiminy Cricket (voice)
Annette Funicello as Annette
Darlene Gillespie as Darlene
Tommy Kirk as Tommy
Robert Klosterman as Bob
Julius Sumner Miller as Professor Wonderful
Cubby O'Brien as Cubby
Karen Pendleton as Karen
Paul Petersen as Paul
Doreen Tracey as Doreen
Roy Williams as Roy, the Big Mouseketeer

Special Features:
"Leader Of The Club" (Jimmie Dodd Tribute)

"Mouske-Memories"

"Mousketeers At Disneyland"

Opening Sequence In Color

Art Galleries

Other Info:
Fullscreen
Running Time: 5 Hours 12 Minutes

Synopsis:
This DVD features the first episodes of The Mickey Mouse Club that aired the week of October 3, 1955. Here's the text from the DVD cover:

""M-I-CK-E-YM-O-U-S-E." Before the theme song's memorable spelling became an audio icon, before the series even aired, the Mickey Mouse Club was the most anticipated children's programming ever. This volume features the five episodes of week one of the black-and-white series that launched a television revolution. Also showcased in this volume is a wonderful tribute to the unforgettable Jimmie Dodd, the singer-actor who hosted the show. You'll also see recently discovered, never-before-seen color archival footage of the Mousketeers' very first appearance at the grand opening celebration of Disneyland. And you'll meet six original Mouseketeers in a reunion on the soundstage where they first got together in 1955. So, sit back and enjoy -- and you don't have to wait until 5:00."

This DVD is not rated.

The Movie:
I can't remember ever really watching The Mickey Mouse Club. I have vague memories of maybe seeing reruns, but the only thing I remembered clearly was the theme song and the intro that featured Donald Duck being blown up in a variety of ways each week. So this DVD was a bit of a treat to see. Not only was it my first real exposure to the show, but it was the premiere week of it.

This show was landmark for a variety of reasons. It was not only a pop culture phenomenon, but it was one of the earliest daily TV shows for kids. Even in these first episodes they hit on a winning formula that worked for them. Each day had a different theme. One day was music day, the next guest appearance day, etc etc etc. Then having a large cast of kids using their real names gave audiences a lot of choices of actors to identify with. It is interesting to see a very young Annette Funicello on the show before she went on to bigger stardom. Lead Musketeer Jimmie Dodd was a great host for the show and had a lot of genuine enthusiasm that you rarely see these days. The vintage Mickey Mouse animation on the show was also a great treat. Walt Disney himself even voiced the mouse.

As good as the format and content of the show was, it is a bit dated today. For example, a segment on careers focuses on being a pilot for boys and being a stewardess for girls. While that's not politically correct today, it was acceptable in 1955. When a comedian comes on the show at makes balloon animals in one episode, his jokes are quite dated as well. Many of the songs, acts, and other things on the show are vintage 1950's as well.

As a test, I set my 3 year old in front of the TV and played one of the episodes for him. He was infatuated by the cartoons, puppets, and music, but lost interest in the other segments. That leads me to believe that as dated as the material is, there's still something here for young audiences today. I think young kids will get a kick out of this DVD as well as Mickey Mouse Club fans and those adults who grew up with the series.

The Extras:
There are a few extras included on this DVD. Here are the highlights:

"Leader Of The Club" (Jimmie Dodd Tribute) Some of the original Musketeers and Leonard Maltin pay tribute to Jimmie Dodd, one of the main creative forces behind the show. They talk about his early career, his work on the show, his personality, and his untimely death. He is discussed with a great deal of fondness and admiration. This video features home movies of him as well as additional vintage footage from the 50's.

"Mouske-Memories" A number of the original Mousketeers reminisce about the show. They talk about how they were cast, how they prepared for the acts, what they did when the show ended, Walt Disney, the fans, and more. It's an interesting though brief look at their experiences.

"Mousketeers At Disneyland" This is some rare vintage footage of the Mousketeers at the opening of Disneyland. They do a full musical number that appeared on live TV and is intercut with newly discovered colored footage of the performance. It's quite interesting to see.

Opening Sequence In Color Though I was very familiar with the opening of the Mickey Mouse Club, I didn't know it was originally made in color. It is shown here in its original color version. It's beautiful and full of bright vibrant colors.

The Bottom Line:
Original fans of The Mickey Mouse Club are going to love this, but there's some good stuff here for modern children as well.

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