October 3, 1955 – The First Episode of The Mickey Mouse Club Premieres on ABC
“We are the Merry Mousketeers, Mouseketeers! We’ve got a lot above our ears, above our ears!”
On October 3, 1955, the first episode of The Mickey Mouse Club premiered on ABC. The series was a part of Walt Disney’s contract with ABC, which gave him the money needed to finance the building of Disneyland. The series was the second television series for Disney, and has become one of the most beloved television series ever released. The show was known for its animated opening and theme song, with Donald Duck having varying misfortunes as he struck a gong at the end. The show usually featured about 24 different Mouseketeers, with as many as 39 at one point. This series ran from 1955 to 1959.
The first episode, “Fun With Music Day,” begins with the Mickey Mouse Club Newsreel, which gives kids an idea of kids’ lives across the world. It starts in the Florida Everglades, where kids are on an airboat ride exploring the Everglades, the home of the Seminole Indians. The news then travels to Rome, where the Italians are celebrating Carnival. As they ride a merry-go-round, the kids play the song “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” from Cinderella on instruments. A world report follows, starting in London, where television star Sooty joins the Mickey Mouse Club. In Tokyo, veteran cameraman Henry Kotani brings the news of the Tokyo swim meet. Golden Oak Ranch is then shown, on location during the filming of The Adventures of Spin and Marty, then it’s going back to Burbank, where the camera shows the filming of Davy Crockett, following the cast on location to Kentucky. The camera then goes back to the Disney Studios, introducing the Mouseketeers.
After a quick commercial break, the show returns, with host Jimmie Dodd introducing a tap dance routine by Mousketeers Don, Doreen, Darlene, Bobby, Annette, Lonnie, and Nancy. They are soon joined by Sharon, Mike, Karen, Cubby, Johnny, and Jimmie. Roy jumps in at the end before they sing an introduction song and the roll call. After this, the Mouseketeers present “A Mousekartoon Special” called The Friendly Farmers. They perform a song about farmers owning some animals, while a special guest acts out the animals.
The Mouseketeers then perform “The Shoe Song” with Roy drawing as they sing. Jimmie announces the Musketeers as they come in, performing in costumes ranging from clowns, to cowboys, to ballerinas. It ends with a “wedding” between Cubby and Karen, with several shoes tied to the back of their kart. This is then followed with a serial known as “What I Want To Be,” which explores the careers of a pilot and an airline hostess, as hosted by Alvy Moore. A young girl named Pat and a young boy named Duncan are taken to see what being a hostess and a pilot is really like, with the promise that the segment will continue the next day.
Following that is the Mousekartoon, presented by Karen. She lets the audience know that the cartoon that day is Pueblo Pluto, a short film originally released on January 14, 1949, with Jimmy MacDonald voicing Mickey. After the Mousekartoon, Jimmie steps on camera, introducing how the show will be set up from that episode forward, including the themes of the days of the week. After this, the Mouseketeers and Jimmie sing goodbye, and Mickey gives a goodbye as well.