The Mickey Mouse Club: Producing the 90’s Biggest Pop Stars5 min read

Jan 24, 2019 | GENERAL, INDUSTRY INSIGHTS, OPINION PIECE

The Mickey Mouse Club is an American television show that made its first appearance in 1955. The show was produced by Walt Disney Productions and televised by the American Broadcast Company (ABC). Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake are some of the first names that come to mind when thinking of the ever-changing cast of teenage performers that have featured on The Mickey Mouse Club. Over the years the series has been revived, reformatted and reimagined several times.

History

In the mid-1950s, Disney was looking to produce another television series and he came up with the idea of The Mickey Mouse Club that would be specifically aimed at a young audience to be shown during the afternoon.  The show would feature musical and dance segments, short serials such as “The Adventures of Spin and Marty”, newsreel segments and also short animation cartoons featuring Mickey Mouse and the other Disney characters.

The Mickey Mouse Club television show cast also featured a group of talented children which became known as the “Mouseketeers”, with each hour-long show beginning with the opening theme song, the “Mickey Mouse March”.

Mickey Mouse Club House Black One Entertainment

 

Even though the show remained popular for over three seasons with the television audience, ABC decided to cancel the show after the fourth season with Disney and ABC unable to negotiate a renewal.  ABC subsequently prohibited Disney from taking the Mickey Mouse Club show to another network; Disney filed a lawsuit and won a financial settlement but did agree that the previous episodes of The Mickey Mouse Club show would not be aired on another network.  (Ironically, the successful Disney Company went on to buy the ABC network in 1996).

90’s Stars Then & Now

Here are some of the biggest names from the show’s lengthy history.

Britney Spears

Spears was one of the first to reach the dizzy heights of international stardom after The Mickey Mouse Club was cancelled in 1996.

It was in 1998 where Britney burst onto the scene as a young schoolgirl with her record-breaking hit “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. In the early nineties, she delighted fans by striking up a relationship with her The Mickey Mouse Club co-star Justin Timberlake, but the pair split after three years.

Despite the drama that ensued later on in her career, Britney managed to win a Grammy and earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, which positions her as the most successful The Mickey Mouse Club export by far.

Justin Timberlake

After the decline of The Mickey Mouse Club, Justin Timberlake shot to fame as a member of the iconic boy band NSYNC (in which he sang alongside JC Chasez). It’s safe to say that nothing stood in Justin’s way as he earned four multi-platinum selling albums and four Grammy’s to date.

Although NSYNC parted ways back in 2002, they achieved huge success in the world of music while in their prime. They performed at the Academy Awards, Super Bowl and even the Olympics, cementing their status as the highest level.

Following his acrimonious split with childhood sweetheart Britney Spears he dated Cameron Diaz before marrying actress Jessica Biel in a lavish Italian ceremony in 2012.

Intriguingly, he is also believed to have a somewhat rocky relationship with fellow “Mouseketeer”, Ryan Gosling, despite the pair briefly living together during filming, with Timberlake telling the Hollywood Reporter: ‘We aren’t the closest of friends.’

Christina Aguilera

It was in 1996 when Aguilera parted ways with The Mickey Mouse Club. Arguably one of the most successful alums, Aguilera rose to prominence through her pop music career in the ’90s.

Christina Aguilera has sold over 50 million albums worldwide, won four Grammy’s and was announced by Forbes in 2007 as one of the richest women in entertainment with a net worth of $60 million – now estimated at nearly two times that amount.

The 36-year-old has since enjoyed a judging stint on The Voice and was recently announced an acting role in upcoming sci-fi film Zoe.

Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling appeared on The Mickey Mouse Club for two years. He took a different route than his fellow “Mouseketeers” by pursuing his dream of becoming an actor.

Gosling appeared in numerous big commercial and indie hits through his career, with “The Notebook” arguably being the one that launched his career into new heights. “Are You Afraid of the Dark,” “Breaker High”, “Young Hercules”, “Drive” and “La La Land”. His latest movie got released in 2018 where Gosling plays the role of Neil Armstrong in “First Man”, the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon.

The 36-year-old actor is believed to have amassed a personal fortune of around $300 million (£232 million) since his The Mickey Mouse Club days.

Who Cast All of These Stars?

Disney representatives travelled all around the country attending local musicals and school plays in order to find talent. The famous Walt Disney wanted the children that were chosen to be “ordinary”, with no previous experience. This idea quickly changed as the final selection of twenty-eight children almost all had prior experience. Due to the show being filmed weekly and its fast-paced nature, children had to be quick learners and also be responsible.

Matt Casella, Casting Director for the Walt Disney Company, auditioned over 85,000 kids during 1988-1994 for “The All New Mickey Mouse Club”. Casella held open call auditions throughout the United States and Canada, which lead to the discovery and fruitful careers of Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Keri Russell, JC Chasez and Tony Lucca, among others.

“I knew how special these kids were when I saw them,” says Casella. He further explained that there was a sort of eagerness and sparkle in their eyes that said, “I want it”.

 

 

It’s quite hard to look at this video and actually, realize how talented and confident these world-famous icons were at the time. Nurturing talent in the right way is incredibly important not only when young, but also throughout their career. It should always be an ongoing process that focuses on the needs of the artist and their wellbeing. If new systems were in place back then we might have never experienced the rough patches that some of these artists had to go through.

The Role of Environment in the Development of Young Individuals

There are various components that influence the overall development of a child. Genetics involves every aspect of child development, but there are also numerous other factors that contribute to this. Factors such as economic status, faiths/religion, locality/region, and additional factors such as friend groups and family can greatly affect the development of a child too.

Throughout life, people constantly confront new or varying situations, both individual and societal and need to understand how to adjust to these conditions.

Trying to minimize the negative effects that potential factors could have on a child is extremely important in order for an individual to reach their full potential. It can be argued that hardship can strengthen the mindset and drive of a child later in life, but that is not always the case. At Black One we work closely with professionals from all fields in order to ensure that individuals are given the correct environment for self-discovery, personal growth and last but not least, reaching their full potential within their respective fields.

Also read: Wellbeing In The Music Industry – The Challenges Of Today

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