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Ever since I was born, my parents bottle-fed me Disney because they
Walt's company and its legacy.
Ahhh, the 70s, a wonderful time to be growing up before reaching one's teens and a lovely time to be a Disney-adoring child.
And, of course, while watching "The Wonderful World of Disney" every week and every single Disney movie that ever came to theatres, I also got to experience reruns of the original Mickey Mouse Club. And while I enjoyed that, I was even *MORE* enthralled by the NEW Mickey Mouse Club that premiered in 1977. And I was the only child I knew of who loved it. No one else my age seemed to be much interested in Disney, and all my peers were advancing much more quickly than I was (by contrast, I would remain a child-at-heart for the rest of my life).
I've read that this show is considered a "conspictuous failure", in the words of Leonard Maltin. I don't care. I loved it, and I loyally followed it after the reruns of the original MMC were stopped and enjoyed it all the more because I adored its funky disco soundtrack.
Does anybody else out there miss this show as much as I do? Did you all forget it? The cool songs? Like the ultra-cool new version of the theme that was so much fun? Or how "Surprise Day" was announced with Mickey's discovering a magic surprise box? Or when on "Let's Go Day" we got to watch a magic flying ship pick up the mouseketeers wherever they were to whisk them off on adventure? Or (my biggest favourite) the ones where we would see the mousketeers at Disneyland disembarking from the monorail space train while singing "Showtime", easily one of the catchiest and grooviest little tunes Disney has ever written for kids besides the "Mickey Mouse Disco" album?
WHAT? You forgot all THAT???
How DISLOYAL of you! ;)
Seriously, I think it's a genuine shame that this show didn't become a hit as its failure only put the emerging problems associated with kids-growing-up-too-quickly in proper perspective. "Disney" was the epitome of uncool back then, and you were mocked in grade school if you saw anything below a "PG" rating (one of the worst side effects of the new ratings system). But to those of us who remain faithful mouseketeers, it truly was a Disney "family" in its own way.
This series even had a special shown one night in which the gang got to travel to Walt Disney World for a big performance, and Nina ran off because she had felt unwanted, clutching her stuffed Winnie The Pooh to her chest (and before she was found, the REAL Winnie The Pooh comforted her). This special broadcast had felt like a *real* event, and I just... well, I just couldn't believe that nobody else I knew of was interested in it.
But I still love it. I even have its official soundtrack album and still play it on occasion, for Pete's sake! And maybe, juuust maybe, maybe The New Disney will relent and release its episodes on home video in some form or other.
Sure, just like Mickey is going to stop appearing in that Disneyland balloon man's bunch of balloons at the end of the "Showtime" day episodes.
And if this 1977 Mickey Mouse Club falls to the wayside in the old cherished Disney vaults, does it still make a sound for anyone today besides me?
A true "lost treasure" children's program.
You may not know this, but The New Mickey Mouse Club got its launch in
one of the highest profile ways for any children's program ever: at
Super Bowl XI's halftime show. The dozen new Mouseketeers made their
debut, entering onto the field of the Rose Bowl and an apparent new era
began for Disney, as they revived the famed Club made for you and me,
only this time instead of cream colored sweaters and black beanies, the
stars of this show wore colorful jump suits and ears to match.
Unlike the 1950s version, where the most ethnic member of the cast was Annette Funicello, this 1970s crew sought to represent the full spectrum of the country and had Asian, Latino and African American members. All attractive, talented and charming kids, this mouse crew was ready to roll, and worked at Disneyland, both for show tapings and guest appearances for fans at the theme park where they performed live.
This version of the Mickey Mouse Club was structured similarly to the original, with themes for each day of the week, sketches with various groupings of the Mouseketeers, doing song, dance and comedy routines, special guests appeared (including Annette Funicello herself), they mined Walt's cartoon catalog and showed some classic animated clips, and they even did a serial, a la 1955's "Spin And Marty." However, there were no adult role models as was the case in the original program. These kid mice were on their own.
Also, unlike the original series, which aired daily on the ABC television network, this version was syndicated. That meant it aired at different times on different local stations across the country, and in some cases did not get a favorable time slot on a schedule, or wasn't even seen in certain markets. And though the program got that big promotional boost to begin, viewership didn't catch on, since only some cities saw the program from its debut, eight days after the Super Bowl.
It was a charming enough program overall, and featured some entertaining material performed by the extremely likable cast. However, WGBH's "Zoom" was already in place on most PBS stations and featured a cast of kids in an even more active, crazy and fun setting, doing many of the things the polished Disney studios were offering, more directly engaging its viewers to participate and it had been airing for several years before this series began.
Despite having Disneyland and the Disney Burbank studios as settings for the action, and even getting an NBC network prime time filmed special ("The Mouseketeers at Walt Disney World"), this version of the club came and went in just over a year, and is all but forgotten in the wake of Disney Channel's supercharged "MMC" from the 1990s.
Yes, Craig, we remember it. Here it is over 25 years later and there are
people who still remember. It turns out that most people that I've come
across were closet fans of the show. They were devoted to the show and
surprised (and thrilled) whenever it leaked out that a friend down the
street was as obsessed about the show as they were.
I've always felt one of the problems the show had though was they were on the one hand trying to appeal to a certain age group (age 8-15 or so) but then on the other hand they stuck those cartoons into the show (for little kids). We wanted to see more of the Mice! Plus Disney didn't give the Mice their fan mail until after the show was off the air, so the kids didn't even know the extent of their popularity until it was too late.
The 70's NMMC may have been referred to at the Forgotten Club (Lisa Whelchel has said that the New Mouseketeers sometimes refers to themselves as the "Forgotten Mice") but there are over 200 of us who haven't forgotten this special, little colorful show. We talk about the show and what the "Mice" are up to these days on a discussion group.
This show was out when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade and I could not wait to watch it? Why? Two words: Shawnte Northcutte! She was, without a doubt, the most beautiful girl in the world! My friends and I would rush home from school to watch the show. Afterwards, we would meet outside to discuss the show and shower compliments on our "girl friend," Shawnte Northcutte! Then, all hell would break loose because we all claimed her to be our individual girl friend. And, as was typical of young boys at that time, we would settle it the old fashioned way - by boxing and wrestling! Since there were at least five of us, the fights would last a good part of the evening because Shawnte Northcutte was worth it. There was no question about it. Then, all of sudden, like a thief in the night, the show was gone. Poof! Pow! Shawnte Northcutte is no longer in our lives. Nothing to fight over. No one was as beautiful as she was. And, she was black and "black is beautiful!" I cannot recall anyone else from the show with the exception of Molly Ringwald but she was not cute at all.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Watched it everyday, hated the kids were older than me tho. The Asian
fellow, Curtis, was 15!! Trying not to look so Noah's Ark, I guess, it
was five boys to seven girls. Still there was a token black girl and
boy (Shawntee and Pop), token Hispanic girl and boy (Angel and Nita).
Some of them looked like clones, like Lisa (Welchel) and Allison, and Julie and Kelly.
Lisa and Julie would go on to appear on Facts of Life.
Pop, nickname, obviously, was the black boy on the three musketeers episode of The Brady Bunch with Brooke Bundy and Ken Berry, in which they adopt three multi-racial boys.
Todd Turquand would go on to appear in Burnt Offerings with Karen Black and Oliver Reed. I think Todd was rather my favorite.
I used to imagine the mousketeers meeting up with kids from Zoom, just favorites from each show, never a showdown between them.
Then, as I said about Curtis, I began to realize they were all much older than me, so I let those daydreams go. Oh, well.
New Mickey Mouse club did introduce me to Tonka, Toby Tyler & Emil and the Detectives, as well as endless classic cartoons.
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