Sunday, February 24, 2013

TV on DVD Review: Walt Disney Treasures - Mickey Mouse Club Week One

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: The entire shows as originally aired
Cons: Not going to appeal to anyone who doesn't love Disney or the show
The Bottom Line:
Nostalgia TV
For limited audience
But they will love it

MIC - See the Nostalgia

Being a lifelong Disney fanatic, I have heard of the Mickey Mouse Club quite often, but never actually seen it. Until I sat down to watch Mickey Mouse Club Week One.

Part of the Walt Disney Treasures collection, this two disc DVD set contains the first week's worth of episodes from 1955. Each of the five episodes runs approximately 47 minutes and are presented in black and white, which is how they were originally filmed and broadcast.

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday start off with newsreels. A foreign concept now, they highlight kids around the world and things they are accomplishing. Each episode contains another entry in the first series "I Want to Be an Airline Pilot/Hostess" which follows two kids as they get a behind the scenes tour of TWA. Some of the attitudes are definitely 1950's gender rolls, but considering that's when it was created, nothing else should be expected. Each episode also contains a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Since the show was filmed in black and white, the cartoons are black and white as well no matter what their original color release was. For those looking for the cartoons in color, it's best to look at other Disney Treasures releases.

Each episode also includes the Mouseketeers and the theme of the day. Monday they get to sing and dance with "The Friendly Farmer" and "The Shoe Song," a couple funny songs. Tuesday brings guest Wally Boag and his puppet friend doing a show. Also featured is a balloonist making animals while telling jokes. When anything can happen on Wednesday, the Mouseketeers form a gadget band with the pans, bottles, and combs found lying around the set. Thursday features the DeWaynes Acrobats for Circus Day. Finally, Friday highlights the trumpet talent of Larry Ashurst and Mouseketeer Cubby O'Brien's drumming.

Just now watching these shows as an adult, I must confess I don't quite see the appeal. Of course, I'm about 50 years too late and at least 20 years too old to be in the target audience. After the first couple episodes, I was ready to quit. Then an interesting thing happened. I started to enjoy them. Not that I want to sit down and watch every episode ever made of the show, but I was beginning to find something appealing about the hokey songs and antics. By the end, I was disappointed that I didn't have the next episode to see what happened next in the serial.

No Disney Treasures set would be complete without some kind of bonus features. Besides the introduction on both discs by Leonard Maltin, disc one features a tribute to head Mouseketeer Jimmie Dodd and disc two features six of the original Mouseketeers (Sharon Baird, Bobby Burgess, Lonnie Burr, Doreen Tracey, Cubby O'Brien, and Karen Pendleton) sharing memories of what it was like to be on the show. Both are fascinating. In addition, both discs contain stills galleries of behind the scenes pictures. Disc two also contains the opening in color (it was filmed in both originally), and some footage of the Mouseketeer performance at Disneyland's opening day.

Some of the Walt Disney Treasures sets are designed with a specific audience in mind. Mickey Mouse Club Week One will appeal most to Baby Boomers looking for a reminder of their childhood and confirmed Disney fanatics. Others probably won't enjoy these five programs from fifty years ago.

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