The Original Mickey Mouse Club Show

Road Trip #3: Disneyana Show near Anaheim

"Road Trips" will be an irregular series of articles on contemporary visits to places and events of interest to fans of the original Mickey Mouse Club. This time out Chief Mousekereporter Randall Nakashima visits a collectible show sponsored by the Disneyana Fan Club near Anaheim, California.

Meeting up with the Mice

The Disneyana Fan Club specializes in Disney collectibles of an artistic nature, such as concept drawings, backgrounds and artwork utilized in Disney films or parks.

Last Sunday, February 17, the Club held a Collectible Show at the Delta Marriott in Garden Grove, less than a mile from Disneyland. I was in Anaheim that day visiting my best friend from Law School for her birthday and thought she might be interested in dropping by. The fact that Mouseketeers Sharon, Sherry, Tommy and Bobby were there signing autographs had nothing to do with it.

I had a specific question to research: we had assumed that the girl hula dancer called Arloha in Holiday in Hawaii (see my review of November 17) was played by Sherry, based on age and by the process of elimination. However, after finally viewing the Fun with Music number it was realized that the girl was not Sherry. Arloha was much too adept in Polynesian Dance and had to be on camera far too long for Sherry to have played her. So, the question was: did any of the Mice know her identity?

I previously confirmed that Sherry was not Arloha through Mouseketeers Lonnie, Eileen, and Karen who were in the number. It was suggested that she may have been a friend or acquaintance of Bobby's since he had a background in Polynesian Dance. Now I could ask Bobby and the others.

The showroom at the hotel was meant to host about five hundred people. At the time we visited, I would estimate that about two hundred were present. The Mouseketeers were seated at tables configured like an "L" with Sherry, Tommy and Sharon in front, and Bobby around to the side. All of the Mice (all in their 70's) looked very good. Sherry looked very nice as always, Tommy looked very polished, and Bobby very trim. Sharon looked better than I had ever seen her, neatly coiffed and manicured. This did not appear to be a Disney-sponsored event, and there were no Disney handlers present (allowing for easier access). Also, the four were wearing red MMC jackets instead of the usual Mickey Mouse vests. I believe the jackets were thank you gifts from their appearance at The World of Disney last year (see below).

There seemed to be a consensus as to my question. The three Mouseketeers present who were in the number (Sharon, Tommy and Bobby) and the ones I asked earlier (Lonnie, Eileen and Karen) said that Arloha just appeared on the stage for the filming. There were no introductions, no pre-shoot meeting, no cast parties or anything of that nature. So, as on some Talent Roundup Days, the producers were not above pulling a surprise on the Mouseketeers, possibly to make their spontaneity seem more authentic.

When I first met The Mouseketeers that day, I told them I had a question they probably couldn't answer; afterwards, they laughingly told me that I was right. My best guess now is that Arloha was either a Talent Roundup contestant who the producers decided they would use in this number, or possibly a dancer they found through central casting.

Otherwise, this was the first time I was able to make small talk with Sherry and I found her to be extremely pleasant. When I showed her a photo of Darlene and me having lunch (I was invited by Darlene's sister Gina, who is my estate attorney) Sherry mentioned that her husband went to Medical School with Darlene's sister Larriann.

Tommy has just retired as the Representative for the Makeup Artists and Hairdressers Union. Although the transition still takes up his time, he looks even more relaxed than the two other times I have seen him.

I thought Sharon looked exceptionally good: trimmer and more active than the other times I've seen her, and looking more like her Mouseketeer self (but not taller). She recalled the Mouseketeer bouquet I sent her four years ago and said that all of her clients at her salon were very impressed. I told her that I was very glad that she and my friend Mouseketeer Ron Steiner were able to have a long telephone conversation recently (Ron is in Canada and had been trying to reach Sharon). Sharon said she really enjoyed talking to him.

Bobby was not as busy as the others as he was sitting to the side. This was the first time, I was really able to talk with him. (No unicycle story, thankfully). I showed him two photographs of the cast of Holiday in Hawaii with Arloha and Walt Disney in the middle holding a ukulele. To my surprise, he was very happy, stating after all his years as a Mouseketeer, he didn't have a photograph with him together with Walt. (It's on the website; I thought everyone had seen it). He went on to tell the story of the photograph of the Third Season cast and Walt along with Kevin Corcoran (Moochie) and how he was called away to film a dance just before the photo was taken. He was supposed to be sitting on the floor in the gap between Tommy and Darlene (first time I heard that).

That brought out my photo of Darlene and me from last summer and I told him that Darlene said he was always very nice. Bobby said that that Darlene was very nice too (which I expected). I gave Bobby the address for the website to download the Disney photo, so hopefully we will have a new reader

Then I asked Bobby to elaborate on a story from his book involving the Mickey Mouse Club Circus at Disneyland during the Christmas Season of 1955. Bonni Kern and Sharon were the two Mouseke-girls selected to do an act called the (Spanish) Web, requiring them to climb ropes to the top of the tent and do acrobatic stunts on the rope. Bobby and Tommy were setters, charged with holding the ropes taut and spinning the girls at the proper time. The girls did the act barefoot to have a better grip on the rope. At one performance, Bonni came down the rope faster than he expected, and as he looked up with his mouth open in surprise (Bobby demonstrated), Bonni's toe went into his mouth.

I asked if Bonni said anything. Bobby answered, "I think she said, 'Sorry'!". Bobby also said that he and Bonni were frequently coupled as dance partners because they were a good height match.

Finally, all four of the Mice were very happy to receive the Mickey Mouse Club mouse pads I brought for them as gifts. I think some of them may even know what they're for.

[Bonus for anyone still reading: this really should have been my Fourth Road Trip, because last October, the Mouseketeers made an appearance at The Word of Disney (the retail store in front of Disneyland) for the grand opening of the section dedicated to the Mickey Mouse Club. Tommy sent me an e-mail saying they would be there "tomorrow" which I didn't open until the next morning, and I went to the store a day late. Here is a photo of me wondering where everyone was. It was, at least, the only time I made it out of Disneyland for only 20 dollars parking.]

Contact Info | ©2019 Randall Nakashima