Apr 14, 2013
The Mickey Mouse Club
If you are too young to remember, The Mickey Mouse Club (1955-59) was the first children's television program that starred real children, "the Mouseketeers." They wore wore mouse ear-shaped caps and white sweaters emblazoned with their first names, and performed song-and-dance numbers interspliced with Disney cartoons, amateur talent contests, and dramatic serials.
24 kids were hired in 1955, but only nine made it to the Red Team, the starting lineup. Four were boys. In the hyper-masculine 1950s, singing and dancing were widely labeled "sissy" pursuits, so they were all gay-coded, though none are apparently gay.
1. Bobby Burgess (born 1941), who was very tall, well-scrubbed, and always smiling. He went on to dance on The Lawrence Welk Show.
3. Tommy Cole (born 1941) was hired primarily for his singing ability, though had a handsome face and the hunkiest physique among the Mousketeers (left). After MMC, he had a stint in the air force and then became a makeup artist.
4. Cubby O'Brien (born 1946), the kid of the show, became a professional drummer.
Don Agranti (Don Grady), Johnny Crawford (right, with his older brother Bobby), Dickie Dodd, Larry Larsen, Mike Smith, Paul Petersen (The Donna Reed Show), Jay-Jay Solari, Ronnie Steiner, and Don Underhill.
Davis Day, the only original Mousketeer who has come out as gay willingly (Tommy Kirk was outed), stayed for two years
The dramatic series (Spin and Marty, The Hardy Boys, Clint and Mac, Annette) typically offered cute boys in shirtless and semi-nude swimming pool shots: Jonathan Bailey, Tim Considine (left), Kevin Corcorran, Tommy Kirk (right), Larry Larsen, B.J. Norman (top photo), Sammy Ogg, Steve Stevens, David Stollery.
And some even offered some strong buddy-bonding subtexts, counterpoints to the heterosexism of the main song-and-dance numbers.