The ‘All New Mickey Mouse Club’
Celebrates 25 Years: Why It’s Important
By Amber Topping
The All New Mickey Mouse Club just celebrated its 25th Anniversary. For all the fans of the show, it’s hard to believe that that many years have actually gone by. It seems like yesterday my sister and friend giggled over a young Ryan Gosling singing “I Will Be Faithful,” as they watched it on repeat.
That said, when people hear the mention of said Mickey Mouse Club, different things come to mind for different people. Some think of the ‘50s Mouseketeers and Annette Funicello, others remember watching The All New Mickey Mouse Club but ‘hey that was a long time ago,’ while others automatically think of the former Mouseketeers who became superstars such as Britney Spears or Justin Timberlake.
And then there are those who hear the phrase “Mickey Mouse Club,” and it’s something much more powerful. Maybe your mind fills with nostalgic memories of watching song and dance numbers over and over again at a slumber party till you learned all the dance moves, or maybe it reminds you of your clothing style in the ‘90s trying to dress like whichever Mouseketeer you looked up to at the moment, perhaps it inspired you to pursue a career in the arts, or perhaps watching The Mickey Mouse Club helped you get through difficult times. Whatever the case may be, The Mickey Mouse Club (or MMC as many of the fans liked to call it) meant something.
The show premiered on April 24, 1989 only a week before Disney’s MGM studios (which also just commemorated 25 years) opened its doors to the world on May 1st. In a recent conversation with Mouseketeer Jennifer McGill, she revealed that “The Mickey Mouse Club and MGM Studios went hand and hand in the beginning making their debut on the world stage side by side.” Before the opening the Mouseketeers and family members were allowed to explore the studios. “Everything was still yet to be unwrapped. It was like the world had this gift coming to them and we were in it before it was unwrapped,” Jennifer explained.
But it wasn’t just MGM Studios that was a gift soon coming to the world, the MMC itself was also this amazing gift coming that many of us soon opened and loved with the adoration of a child opening presents on Christmas morning. What made the MMC special and even important was that it didn’t feel exclusive; you could easily imagine yourself on the show singing and dancing and putting on goofy skits. It just looked fun. And if you were into performing, or had a dream you wanted to pursue, this was the perfect show to watch. The All New Mickey Mouse Club created a platform that allowed kids to reach for their dreams. It wasn’t just the Mouseketeers who were members of the club, the fans were too.
From music videos, to big dance numbers, funny skits, and even an original album from the cast self-titled MMC, The All New Mickey Mouse Club had it all. In the earlier seasons each day of the week represented a different theme. Mondays were “Music Day,” Tuesdays “Guest Day,” Wednesdays “Anything Can Happen Day,” Thursdays “Party Day,” and Fridays “Hall of Fame Day.” The themes provided an opportunity for special guest stars like New Kids on the Block, Brian McKnight or Boyz II Men to make an appearance. But it also provided a way to celebrate normal kids doing good things out in the world. (Plus the MMC was a great show to watch if you needed to be uplifted when going through hard times.) Arguably one of the most fun parts of the MMC was that it had its own Saved by the Bell like soap, Emerald Cove that aired in short segments over the course of a few seasons.
When The Mickey Mouse Club ended, all of the Mouseketeers went in different directions. Some went on to pursue entertainment projects, while others went back to school or started college. Of course, a few even became superstars. Some notable MMC members include Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling, JC Chasez, Tony Lucca and Keri Russell. But it wasn’t just the household names that left a legacy. They all did.
With a “heartfelt happy anniversary to 25 years,” Jennifer said it well:
“That was the most important chapter in my life because that set the standard and the dreams and emotion for the rest of my life. So, I will never have a more special time than that time and I'm really happy to still be standing today entertaining the world as a grownup. And using what I learned everyday in my life and my career and I love that that people still want to know about the memories, it keeps it alive for me to talk about them. So I'm just appreciative that people care, that people remember and that they care because as much as it was an important time in my life and a formative time in my life, I know that it was so much for so many fans. And I never have to wonder if I've left a legacy.” (Make sure to read my full, exclusive interview with Jennifer HERE.)
A couple years ago, former Mouseketeer Dale Godboldo launched the popular Facebook Page “Always in the Club,” a place for both former Mouseketeers and fans of the show to come together. Dale explains the purpose of the page in a statement:
“In looking for ways to better bridge fans of The "All New" Mickey Mouse Club with their favorite MMC-ers, we finally decided to design and launch a Facebook page and website for YOU to stay engaged with US. Once in the club, always in the club, and we look forward to continuing our truly unique and deeply appreciated connection. Enjoy!!”
With news about what various Mouseketeers are up to now with fond reminiscing from both Mouseketeers and fans, it’s a great place to keep the show alive and celebrate (thus far) 25 years of memories. Some current news include the recent April release of Jennifer’s new EP self-titled Jennifer McGill, the upcoming Tony Lucca tour dates in July and the recent live theatre event in L.A. with Lindsey Alley titled “BLOOD, SWEAT & MOUSEKETEARS” (to name a few). For other news and updates, make sure to check out Always in the Club on Facebook.
To close out, I thought it would be fun to end just like the MMC always did after each episode. Here’s “Now it’s Time to Say Goodbye” season 6 style:
What are some of your favorite memories from The All New Mickey Mouse Club? Share below in the comments!
To read the full, exclusive REAP interview with Mouseketeer Jennifer McGill (where she talks the 25th anniversary, recalls memories from the set, her new EP & More go here.
Head on over to like the Always in the Club on Facebook.
Make sure to check out and buy Jennifer’s new EP 'Jennifer McGill' on itunes available now.
To learn more about the author Amber Topping, check out her vintage inspired media blogzine: www.silverpetticoatreview.com
Photo Credits: The Walt Disney Company, Jennifer McGill