Saturday, October 03, 2015

Sixty Years Ago This Day

From our intrepid correspondent, President Emeritus Tom Sito:

Oct 3, 1955- The Mickey Mouse Club TV show premiered. “Who’s the leader of the club that’s Made for you and me…?”

The old fellow in the back is Storyboard Artist Roy Williams. Nicknamed the "The Big Mouseketeer", Williams was a lifelong Disney employee and so loyal to " The Boss", that rumor is he is buried in Forest Lawn in his Mickey Mouse Club sweater and ears. ...

A few other factoids:

Roy Williams started at the studio in 1930, and was there pretty much until his death in November 1976 at age 69. In my first month at the studio, there were storyboards brimming with gags he'd drawn for Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo hanging outside my tiny, third-floor office. The man was prolific, right up to the end.

Don Grady (third row, left) went on to a long run on My Three Sons, starring with Fred MacMurray. Tim Considine, immediately behind him, also starred on Sons, but when this shot was taken, was appearing on the Mouse Club serial The Adventures of Spin and Marty.

Tommy Cole (front row, left), has remained continuously in show biz, first as a peformer (into the mid sixties), then as a makeup artist. He is today the Business Agent for the Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild, Local 706 IATSE,located about three blocks from TAG's headquarters.

Jimmie Dodd (to the right of Roy Williams, half in shadow) was the other adult on the show, and the Master of Ceremonies. When I was a tot watching the show, I thought J.D. was maybe 26 years old. I was startled to discover, when my father took me onto the Mouseketeers' set, that the man was a lot older than that. He had wrinkles. Deep wrinkles. Lots of wrinkles. You just didn't see them on your home black-and-white set because he wore makeup and was brightly lit. But after watching hi perform in front of the camera, he came up, shook my hand, asked me how I was. In short, he was warm and gracious, and suddenly the wrinkled didn't bother me anymore.

Jimmie was then 45 years old, and had been an actor in Hollywood for two decades. He passed away nine years later at age 54.


Anonymous said...

Wasn't Roy the Big Mooseketeer?

Steve Hulett said...

Actually yeah. Why they keep calling him the big MOUSEketeer, I donno. (I'm probably guilty of that myself.)

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