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Mickey Mouse Club

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Annette Funicello on The Mickey Mouse Club

The Mickey Mouse Club was a very long-running American variety television series in the 1950s, produced and televised by Walt Disney Productions, featuring a regular but ever-changing cast of teenage performers, of which the most popular was Annette Funicello.

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The 1950s series

Each show would have a dramatic portion in which teens faced challenges in everyday situations, often overcome by their common sense or through recourse to the advice of respected elders. It was hosted by Jimmie Dodd.

The main cast members were called "Mouseketeers," and they performed in a variety of musical and dance numbers, as well as some informational segments. The most popular of the Mouseketeers constituted the so-called "Red Team," which consisted of:

The remaining Mouseketeers were Nancy Abbate, Don Agrati (later known as Don Grady), Sherry Alberoni, Billie Jean Beanblossom, Johnny Crawford, Dennis Day, Eileen Diamond, Dickie Dodd, Mary Espinosa, Bonnie Lynn Fields, Judy Harriet, Linda Hughes, Dallas Johann, John Lee Johann, Bonni Lou Kern, Charlie Laney, Larry Larsen, Paul Petersen, Lynn Ready, Mickey Rooney Jr., Tim Rooney, Mary Lynn Sartori, Bronson Scott, Michael Smith, Jay-Jay Solari, Margene Storey, Ronnie Steiner, Mark Sutherland and Don Underhill. Dennis Day was a Mouseketeer for two seasons; the others served for shorter periods.

Other notable non-Mouseketeer performers appeared in various dramatic segments, including:

Almost all of the original Mouseketeers were reunited for a TV special in 1980, which aired on Disney's Wonderful World in November of that year.

1970s Revival

In the 1970s, The Walt Disney Company revived the concept but modernized the show cosmetically, with a disco re-recording of the theme song and minority cast members. The show was not a success. Its most notable alumni was Lisa Whelchel, who later starred in the TV sitcom, The Facts of Life before becoming a well-known Christian author. Mouseketeer Julie Piekarski also appeared for several seasons on The Facts of Life. Mouseketeer Kelly Parsons went on to become a beauty queen and runner-up to Miss USA.

Other Mouseketeers from the 70's show:

1990s Revival

In the 1990s, the Disney Channel revived the show with a different format. The teens pretty much ran their own lives, getting into trouble that would have seemed scandalous to 1950s audiences. The characters rarely sought or followed adult advice. Several of these teens went on to become major popular music successes and become notorious for flaunting their sexuality.

Notable performers from the third Mickey Mouse Club show:

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