The Original Mickey Mouse Club Show

Mickey Mouse Club Serials: Adventure in Dairyland

A Color MMC Serial?

From actor Glen Graber (pictured at right with Annette in 1956) comes the surprising news that Adventure in Dairyland, alone among Mickey Mouse Club productions, was actually filmed in color.

According to Glen this was done at the behest of the American Dairy Association (ADA), who shared title to the film with Disney.

Though Disney only broadcast it in black and white, sometime in the 1960's the ADA and an educational film distributor began making the color film available to schools.

Read about Glen's quest to track down this color version...

Glen's Tale

I tried, many years ago (mid-80s to mid-90s probably) to track the full color Dairyland film that Education Film Library Association (EFLA) carried in their catalog for some number of years, for the use of schools and whomever. I believe I learned of it from the Streiffs* in about 1970 or 1971, which seems reasonable considering Disney was still using it in syndication during 1964-65, and the original agreement stated that ADA would get use of the film after Disney finished broadcasting or distributing it (memory of "common knowledge" at the time - could be apocryphal).

I believe I reached the EFLA offices (don't remember where) and the ADA home office in Chicago, by telephone. Nobody at either location had any inkling of the title, or what became of the films after they were no longer in the catalog. EFLA denied retaining any old copies of their own catalog. I found this difficult to swallow.

Perhaps it was policy not to waste staff time with researchers' questions concerning old issues, so maybe the stonewalling was routine and I should have considered other access points.

What I think we know: The show was filmed in color, on conventional color movie film (35mm, I suppose, although I don't know much about the possibilities). The daily rushes were in color, held in Madison in the late afternoon at a local movie theater across the street from, or within a block or two of, the Hotel Loraine. I only specifically remember attending the rushes once. The crew sailed inverted film cans to each other, in the manner of frisbee throwing, before frisbees became a national pastime, during the catered lunch on location north-east of the Sisk house (the side away from the barns), six days a week (SAG allowed minors to shoot six days a week if on location). I just looked at my ruler, and 35mm is about right for my recollection of the film cans - the crew let us kids try our hand at tossing the cans, occasionally.

So, there was a color film produced that ADA distributed via EFLA in color. It's been 55 years, and, unless some diligent film archivist has managed to store the product in some special environment (What would it take? Nitrogen? Refrigerated?), or some film lover managed to acquire a color copy from EFLA or ADA and transferred it to a newer medium, then whatever there was has probably been destroyed by intent or time, and this entire topic is moot.

But, if the archivist or the lover succeeded, then there could be a full-length, color version of The Dairy Story out there somewhere.

What I know we don't know: We have no idea when the distribution prints were made for ADA/EFLA by Disney. What if they weren't made until the mid-60's or later, closer to actual distribution. This would give the film in the can additional life. For that matter, we don't know that the EFLA prints were 35mm. What if the standard for schools was 16mm? Would that affect the life of the celluloid? I don't know anything about the life expectancy of color film. But some of your visitors probably do, and this might make a continued effort worthwhile.

I leave it to you to decide for yourself whether this is a topic worthy of your own "To Investigate, Eventually" list. I have woven my tale, and I left you a loose thread, to pull or not to pull.

*Clayton Streiff portrayed Nels the neighbor farmer; he and his wife were two of the Edelweiss Stars singers

Glen Graber as Uncle Max in a 2007 production of 'The Sound of Music'
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