|"Who's the leader of the club
That's made for you and me?"
Next to Howdy Doody (which it helped unseat), The Mickey Mouse Club was the defining children's television program of the 1950's. The show, which aired daily, featured a true variety of entertainment: singing, dancing, guest stars, classic Disney cartoons, serials, and a group of talented kids who became overnight sensations—the Mouseketeers. Led by adult leader Jimmy Dodd, and flanked by hefty Disney animator Roy Williams, the Mouseketeers sang and danced their way into the hearts of the first TV generation.
The standout of the group was Annette Funicello. Young America watched as the lovely and talented teenaged beauty developed before their very eyes. Annette soon starred in her own serial on the show, and went on to a successful career in film and music.
Another popular element of the show was the serialized adventures of The Hardy Boys and Spin and Marty. Veteran Disney child actor Tim Considine starred in both, making him what many refer to as the "Honorary Mouseketeer." Other serial performers included Tommy Kirk, David Stollery, and Roy Barcroft.
One of the most influential and successful shows of its time, The Mickey Mouse Club went off the air in 1959. It returned in a new version in 1977, and again in 1989, both of which helped launch the careers of future young superstars.
"Now it's time to say goodbye,
To all our company,
M-I-C, See you real soon!
K-E-Y, Why? Because we like you!