Monday, July 15, 2013

The Mickey Mouse Club

One of the most popular kids’ shows on TV in the 1950s was The Mickey Mouse Club.

I hated it. Looking back, most of my distaste for the show had to do with the smarmy, condescending, talk-down-to-kids manner of the adults on the show (the worst was Jimmie Dodd, the host, whom I detested), and the preachy do-gooder tone of damn near everything on the show.

The only redeeming quality, in my view, was Annette Funicello. Like most of boys of that time, I had a major crush on her. However, she alone was not sufficient reason to watch the show.

Luckily, Phoenix at that time had two excellent local kids’ shows. Easy Does It was a fairly conventional show for the time, undistinguished other than having Three Stooges shorts. Wallace & Ladmo was a really outstanding program, with tons of clever satire to appeal to all ages – when I was in high school, most of us were still watching it regularly, and my father was a fan when he had the opportunity to watch it (like most such programs it was on in the afternoon). It was a tough choice for me – Wallace & Ladmo had mostly Popeye cartoons, which I didn’t much care for, but Easy Does It, other than the Stooges, was pretty lame.

Mickey Mouse Club? Not even in the running.

In the sixties 'Mickey Mouse' became a term of disparagement among teens, referring to something petty and stupid (e.g., in talking about a school rule we didn't like, we would say it was "a Mickey Mouse rule.") I wonder how much the fifties program had to do with the sixties phrase.

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