The Original Mickey Mouse Club Show


The Weekly Format: Thursday

Circus Day

For the first two seasons, Thursday was Circus Day, when the Mouseketeers would host an outside performance. The circus acts were almost always adults, often featured trained animals, and generally were quite entertaining. Circus Days were the most expensive and difficult shows to produce, and were eliminated for the third season.

Here comes the circus, everyone loves the circus, and that includes the merry Mouseketeers!

After the usual animated title song, Mickey's daily introduction saw him in circus band uniform, playing a trumpet. Forgetting what day it is, Mickey stammers "It's uh, uh..." while the Mouseketeers shout in voiceover "Circus Day!". "That's right!" answers Mickey, catching a drum major's baton from stage right, then twirling it.
For Season 3, Mickey's Thursday introduction was modified to include new animation, eliminating mention of Circus Day. The new cells were poorly matched to the original colors, a jarring quality lapse on Disney's part. For syndication, the original animation was restored, with a new voiceover added to bypass mention of Circus Day.
For the Newsreel Segment, Thursdays featured a variety of material. In the first season, Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards) would usually present an Encyclopedia program. These were interspersed with Newsreel Specials (including one on the Mickey Mouse Club Circus at Disneyland), Mickey Mouse Book Club, and Karen in Kartoonland.
The Encyclopedia programs had three sub-series: I'm No Fool, dealing with safety, The Nature of Things, on animals and other aspects of the natural world, and You, The Human Animal. For the second season, Encyclopedia programs were dropped and replaced with alternating episodes of three short serials: English Correspondent, Japanese Correspondent, and Danish Correspondent.

Clowns in the circus, keep the frowns from the circus, as the old caliope rings in your ears!

The Mouseketeer Segment started off with the day's special song, Here Comes the Circus, followed by roll call, and the lead-in to the circus act. This was filmed once per season, using the Red Team, then recycled for every Thursday show. For the first season, the song was sung by an adult chorus in voiceover. The Mouseketeers wore a variety of costumes, including some full-body animal suits that covered their faces, clown makeup that did likewise, and sideshow outfits, including a freak show "fat lady" disguise. This was the only daily Roll Call in which Bob Amsberry ever took part. As with Anything Can Happen Day, Jimmie calls the names off, but this time no one shouts his name at the end. The set was only slightly more elaborate than earlier weekdays. The choreography was very basic, probably to compensate for the trouble many Mouseketeers had just shuffling around in their bulky costumes.


For the second season animal costumes were dropped, except for a lion suit that at least allowed Jay-Jay's face to be seen, though covered by makeup. Circus performer outfits for both boys and girls now leaned towards making them look attractive, rather than just funny, save for Sharon's Bearded Lady. Jimmie sings the daily song solo, while the Mouseketeers now call their own names off during Roll Call. The set was changed from a circus tent background to a sideshow gallery. The musical arrangement was greatly expanded, to allow for a longer and more involved choreography. When the shows were later repackaged for syndication, the extra dancing was truncated. Today the full version can only be seen on the last episode of Video Volume 9 for the Mickey Mouse Club.


Following the canned openings came the actual circus act's performance. In the first season, the White and/or Blue teams would form the audience, and occasionally, interact with the performers. During the second season the Blue team would usually handle the hosting chores, with Red team members sometimes used to augment the audience. The "audience" reaction shots were filmed separately from the circus act, giving them a generic flavor and sometimes leading to continuity goofs.

The Serial and Mousekartoon segments would follow the circus acts performance. The serial episodes and cartoons were different every day, with no distinctions for day of the week.

After the cartoon there would be the usual features: Doddism and/or promotional message, then an Alma Mater variant. At the start of the first season Jimmie's closing messages usually announced the next day's show, but this was dropped midway through the year. Mickey then reappeared for the signoff, reminding the audience of "tomorrow's big special Talent Roundup", while holding the drum major's baton.

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