The Original Mickey Mouse Club Show

Walt Disney Treasures DVD: The Mickey Mouse Club October 3-7, 1955

In Summer 2004 the Disney Company issued this entry in their popular Treasures series of DVDs. Like the rest of the series, this DVD comes in a two-part metal tin, that opens to reveal a standard size white plastic case with a silver-gray wraparound paper cover. Inside are two discs, a numbered certificate of authenticity signed by Leonard Maltin, a small reproduction of the cover of the original sheet music for The Mickey Mouse Club March, and an eight-page color booklet on the disc contents.

The discs contain five full hour-long episodes from the show's first week of broadcasting, and a wealth of bonus material. The shows have been taken from re-mastered originals, and are clean, bright, and far better-looking than anything you could have hoped to see on a black and white television screen in that era. Each daily episode comes complete with sponsor messages, though not with the actual commercials. The episode menus allow for access to each segment of the daily shows, letting you watch the Mouseketeer Roll Call without having to fast forward through the newsreel, for instance.

Bonus features include a tribute to Jimmie Dodd and still photo galleries on the first disc. On the second disc are an interview with Mouseketeers Doreen, Lonnie, Cubby, Karen, Bobby, and Sharon conducted by Leonard Maltin; color footage of the Mouseketeers rehearsing their opening act for Disneyland on July 16, 1955; and the Mickey Mouse Club opening sequence in color, which has already appeared on an earlier Disney Treasures DVD. Each disc also has introductary comments by Leonard Maltin; there's simply no escaping this guy. I generally agree with his film comments, I share his choice of favorite Mouseketeer, but there's just a little too much of him here. Why not have a different Mouseketeer introduce each disc and feature?

The enclosed booklet has a table of contents that lists one bonus item for each disc that's not actually there. For Disc 1, it's a Gallery called "Mouseketeer Roll Call"; for Disc 2 it's a Bonus Feature called "Still Frame Galleries". Each disc also has a "Register Your DVD" option that simply lists a web address for you to manually visit via computer. Registering won't unlock any hidden items on your disc or the web.

Disc 1 Contents

Monday, Oct 3, 1955: Fun with Music Day
The very first show has two Mouseketeer production numbers. The first, Friendly Farmers, was a Bob Amsberry song set to a folk tune, which had him doing animal noises. It was singled out for derision by critics, something Walt may never have forgiven Bob. The second skit, The Shoe Song, had Mouseketeers in costumes doing quick solos to accompany Roy's shoe sketches.
Tuesday, Oct 4, 1955: Guest Star Day
Wally Boag plays his bagpipes, blows up balloons, and does his fast patter for the Blue Team Mouseketeers, who pretend not to understand. Wally was the most frequent guest star, and one of the few who was entertaining. At thirty-five, he was still limber enough for some acrobatic dancing as well.
Wednesday, Oct 5, 1955: Anything Can Happen Day
Jimmie leads the Mouseketeers in forming a gadget band, using bottles, combs, wash tubs and other discarded junk for playing music. A nice piece that is slowed down by an overly long Bob Amsberry comic soliloquy as a Park Cleaner in Paradise.
Bonus Feature: The Leader of the Club
A very nicely done tribute to Jimmie Dodd using stills, home movies, and clips from the show. Leonard Maltin interviews Mouseketeers Bobby, Lonnie, Doreen, Karen, Sharon, and Cubby about their former leader. The only surprise is Doreen's revelation that Jimmie drank a Martini every day before dinner.

Disc 2 Contents

Thursday, Oct 6, 1955: Circus Day
The Ted DeWayne Troupe of five guys and a gal have the White Team Mouseketeers for assistants. Ted DeWayne acted as the coordinator for the Disneyland Circus that ran from November thru December of 1955. Look for the lady acrobat applauding from the side with the Mouseketeers while she's also taking a bow onstage.
Friday, Oct 7, 1955: Talent Round-Up Day
Trumpet player Larry Ashurst is Annette's choice for the week's talent winner. Doreen, Annette, Darlene, and Nancy form a backdrop audience, a combination director Dik Darley used over and over. In the second part, Roy has Cubby bring his father Hack and brother Warren onstage for a drum set trio.
Bonus Feature: Mousekememories
Leonard Maltin interviews Mouseketeers Bobby, Lonnie, Doreen, Karen, Sharon, and Cubby about their experiences making the show. Annette's absence is mentioned, and clips of her shown, along with memories from Bobby and Sharon. At the end Leonard Maltin is given his ears with a nice a capella rendering of the traditional song by the mice.
Bonus Feature: Mouseketeers Debut at Disneyland
Leonard Maltin introduces a short piece combining the original black and white footage of the Mouseketeers live debut at Disneyland's opening on July 17, 1955, with color film excerpts from a rehearsal the day before. Watch for a change between the two: four boys do a Duck Waddle in rehearsal, but only three in the matching live performance.

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