The Original Mickey Mouse Club Show


Linda Hughes       (Oct 22, 1946)

Annette Junior

A third season replacement Mouseketeer, Linda had some live performing experience, but had never worked on camera before. She proved to be popular, partly as a result of her resemblance to Annette, but also due to her own talent and appeal. She doesn't appear to have continued in show business after the Mickey Mouse Club.

Background

Linda Lu Hughes was born in San Diego. Her family, including older brother Doug, moved to North Hollywood after she was selected to join the Mouseketeers. Prior to the move, Linda had taken part in over 100 USO shows, mainly to greet Navy and Marine detachments returning from overseas. Her specialty was baton-twirling, but she could also dance ballet and tap, and sing.

For the third season, instead of just holding auditions in Burbank as before, the Mickey Mouse Club talent scouts went to regional cattle-calls around the country in the spring of 1957, eventually picking winners from Texas, San Francisco, and, of course, San Diego. Though offered one-year contracts with four options, the third season replacement Mouseketeers were let go by September 1957, the same time span as had been allotted to the second season replacements. For families that had uprooted themselves in the expectation of longer employment for their offspring, this came as a rude surprise.

Performance

On the small black and white screens of the era Linda bore a slight resemblance to the show's star, Annette Funicello, and even had the same birthday. The similarity was more apparent than real, a matter of fair skin and dark hair, rather than facial features. Though it undoubtedly figured into her selection as a Mouseketeer, Linda herself had very real talents as a singer and dancer. The studio didn't get silly about the resemblance, there was no attempt to promote Linda as "Annette's little sister", but Linda did have merchandising that no other replacement Mouseketeer, not even Cheryl Holdridge, ever received.


Linda was given leads in at least two Mouseketeer production numbers, and had minor roles in several others. For leads and bit parts she was often paired with Don Agrati; they both had more screen time than the other two replacements that season. Linda also shared a recurring part with Karen Pendleton and Bonnie Fields, as Mousecommunication switchboard operators. This was a song and spoken introduction to recycled skits from the first season. Linda was a Talent Round-Up Day winner (YouTube link), demonstrating her baton-twirling, singing, and ballet skills. She also recited the Doddism Everything is Fun.

Aftermath

So far as I can determine, the Mickey Mouse Club was Linda's only professional engagement in show business. She did take part in Mouseketeer reunion activities, supplying an update to Keith Keller's 1975 book. She was at that time living in Southern California, married to a teacher, and had two children. Linda also took part in the 1975 festivities at Disneyland, celebrating the park and the Mickey Mouse Club's 20th Anniversary. Five years later, she made a brief appearence, along with thirty other Mouseketeers, on the televised 25th Anniversary reunion.

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