One of the fun things about running a web site with information relating to the History of Walt Disney World on it is that sometimes I'll get eamails asking questions about the history of the parks, or other aspects of The Walt Disney Companies history. While I might not always now the answers it's fun to speculate with others on what the possible reasons for some of the things the company has done over the years that many of us fans wonder about. Though in this case I have a question from a reader of my site that asks a question about why the fans don't seem to be there for one aspect of the companys heritage as much as they are for some of the others. It seems this question was sparked by a scan of a postcard of the parade held for Mickey Mouses 50th birthday in the Magic Kingdom.
This image was first used as part of this page in the WDW: A History in postcards part of my site
but later was used in an atricle over on allears.net which I suspect is where Connie ran across it. she wrote:
I loved seeing the pics and reading the memories of Mickey's 50th Birthday Party. I didn't make it to the celebration that year, but I remember the commercials advertising for it.
Question: Why don't I ever see or hear any mention of the Mousketeers from the Mickey Mouse Club of the 1970s? Every article I've read (not on this website, but other publications) about the Mousketeers only mentions the 1950s group and the 1990s group with Brittany Spears, Justin Timberlake, etc.
The 1970s group produced the talented Lisa Whelchel (of The Facts of Life fame) and other lesser-known talents. They were a part of Mickey's 50th Birthday Celebration, I remember seeing them on one of the commercials for it. At first I thought the picture of the Kids of the Kingdom were the 1970s Mouseketeer group, but then I continued to read and realized they were not.
So, any ideas why they are never mentioned or shown? Just curious!
I didn't know the answer to this, after all it relates to why fans have not done something, almost impossible to know, BUT I did have my own suspicions as I too am the right age to remember this incarnaation of the Mickey Mouse Club but was glad to share my thoughts.
I've got a few thoughts on why those 1970's Mouseketeers get less attention than those before and after, and like so many things it is probably a combination of MANY of these factors. First it was one of the shortest runs of any of the series, the 1950's version produced 390 episodes, the 1990's version (MMC) ran for five years and while I don't have the number of episodes for that version, it was probably far greater than the number of episode produced in the almost two years that the 1970's version ran. Another thing the 1950's version had going for it was a kind of market saturation no childrens show in the modern age would EVER be able to reach, most folks today have DOZENS of channels, even when I was a kid in the 1970s in So Cal we had a lot of channels (even without cable), The 1950's Mickey Mouse Club had either NO competition, or very little in, most of the markets it ran in, as such it became very much of a shared experience for that entire generation. The 1990's Mouseketeers have a different type of advantage as well, many of the young children who grew up watching that show grew up with the Internet in their homes, yes it didn't exist at the time the show ran but if a kid was watching the 1990's MMC while they were still in elementary school that kid probably had a computer, and an Internet connection before they left High School, especially when you consider that the Disney Channel was a "premium" cable channel at that time; you had to pay extra for it, just like HBO, Cinemax or Showtime are still in many markets today, so these tended to be affluent kids whose parents even before the Internet probably realized the importance of having their children being computer literate for the work force of the future, so, the 1990's MMC has a lot more fans on the Internet. Also, although the 1970's version of the Club spawned several careers, those careers for the most part are no longer in their most active phases while some of those from the 1990's MMC are still on TV almost every day. Think for a moment about the fans of the 1970's version and what they have to keep them seeing to be a lesser force.
1. Due to the shorter run there are probably fewer of them
2. Most of them are in their LATE 30s or their 40's now and probably have much of their time consumed by families and jobs, much more so than the Mousketeers of the 1950's whose children are grown and may even be retired in some cases, and so have time to reminisce on-line starting a new hobby or web site.
3. Some of those who watched the 1990's version too have families now, but being (on average) much more computer literate and having worked that into their lives for so long are still likely to find ways to work the Internet in here and there then those who are more likely to have only learned the computer skills they need for work, as may be more likely with those who grew up in the 1970s. (yes there are many of us who are exceptions to that but as a rule of comparison to those who grew up 20 years later I'm thinking this is a fair assessment).
4. Those who enjoyed the 1990's version are more likely to have met friends on-line who share their fandom AND they get to talk with them about those 90's stars being on TV MUCH more often (i.e. did you see that new commercial with Justin Timberlake)
Connie I'm thinking of adding a blog to my site and this might be a good post for it may I quote you letter as part of that post?
To Which Connie replied:
Thank you for your answer(s)! You have shed some light on this subject for me that I have been curious about for some time. All your answers made complete sense. I appreciate you taking time to answer my email.
Just wanted to let you know that after I read your email, I did search the Internet for info. on the '70s Club and found a few websites, although I think they are old websites and have not been updated in awhile. Still, they are very fun to look through, with many pictures (and a copy of an old Mickey 50th Birthday Party flyer). The websites are as follows:
And, yes, you can quote any part of my emails if you wish.