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Why? Because We Still Like You: An Oral History of the Mickey Mouse Club(R) Hardcover – October 29, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Only a graying segment of the American public will have watched The Mickey Mouse Club (on ABC, preceded by American Bandstand), but they’ll flock to this oral history of the TV show that helped shape the Baby Boomers. So influential was the show that readers may be shocked to learn it only lasted three years (1955–57), albeit with plenty of later repackaging. For the original members of the cast, these few short years cast a long shadow over the rest of their lives, as some succeeded and others faltered badly in their post-Mouseketeer years. All of the A team are represented here (that’s really what they were called), some through interviews but others from previous writings, notably Annette Funicello, who has struggled for 20 years with MS, and Darlene Gillespie, who went to prison for shoplifting. Also present are preteen heartthrobs David Stollary and Tim Considine, who played Spin and Marty, along with lesser-known Mice. How little the Mouseketeers understood their popularity, how hard they worked, how quickly it was over—it all makes for a captivating cautionary tale. --Ilene Cooper

Review

Entertainment Weekly feature writer Armstrong displays a light and deft touch in balancing a strong but unobtrusive narrative of the Mouseketeers' stories....Armstrong's assemblage of tales provides insight into the hard work, daily regimen, behind-the-scenes hijinks, life with the mercurial "Uncle" Walt, and conflicts of the Disney vehicle originally developed to help finance Disneyland. (Library Journal)

"A captivating cautionary tale." (Booklist)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1St Edition edition (October 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446545953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446545952
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #724,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wayne Engle on July 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
What wonderful memories of my childhood this book brought back! I was 10, going on 11, when the Mickey Mouse Club first went on the air, and for a long time I don't think I missed a single episode.

I was one of the multitude of little boys who fell madly in love with Mouseketeer Annette Funicello, the "brunette goddess," as Jennifer Armstrong refers to her in one passage in the book. Apparently Annette -- or "Annie" as she was called by her friends -- was as kind and well-liked by her peers as she was adored by her pre-pubescent male admirers. But Armstrong points out something that I noticed myself when watching the MMC, all those many years ago, and which bothered me: Annette, as beautiful and charismatic as she was, was far from being the most talented Mouseketeer. That honor probably went to Darlene Gillespie -- less beautiful, although certainly pretty enough; blessed with a dynamite singing voice, a fine dancer, and a first-rate little actress. She had the drive, the elan, that Annette just didn't possess. But, Annette was Walt Disney's favorite Mouseketeer (he discovered her), and received the lion's share of the fan mail which came pouring in to the show. Thus, it was Annette who was targeted for bigger things -- including at least one acting role on the show that Darlene felt she deserved. That, and a couple of bad breaks that were just nobody's fault, apparently left Darlene with a lifelong hurt that she has never been able to assuage. Sad, for a kid who had so much to offer.

Then there was Lonnie Burr, who always contrived to have his pompadour of blond hair showing in front of his mouse ears, despite the efforts of the director to keep the male Mouseketeers looking like "little monks," as one Mouseketeer remembered many years later.
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Format: Hardcover
I think this book is a "Where are they now?" Book and a "Behind the Scenes" Book of the original Mickey Mouse Club . It is fascinating to learn about the different personalities of the show including the adult members of the cast.

Unfortunately, of what happened to the individual Mouseketeers, I already knew from little pieces of news stories. Some missed the attention from being stars so much that they acted out but others were real success stories later in life.
So what was new for me was what it was like to be a Mouseketeer. The difficult auditions, the scary rehearsals, the friendships and backstage jealousies were all covered.

I was a little surprised at how strict Walt Disney was and unforgiving of childish wishes and desires. Also, I was surprised at how quickly he fired children from the show. If you can sing and dance, must you also act? The kids treated him with great respect but could not bring themselves to call him "Uncle Walt".
The children's' favorite was Jimmie Dodd. I think he was their best grown up friend.

I loved getting to know the background of the kids and how they got on the show. So my quarrel is not with this unauthorized but well researched book but with the way children were treated back in the 1950s. I do remember some regimentation then in public school so it shouldn't be all that surprising.
I am very glad that Paul Peterson, a former Mouseketeer and heart throb from the Donna Reed show runs an advocacy group for child stars. It was sad to read about the fired Mouseketeers who didn't think of themselves as 'good enough'. I hope that Paul Peterson and others will create ways and means to protect young stars.
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Format: Hardcover
This wonderful collection of stories from the original Mouseketeers gives you behind the scenes details and insights. These were the original child stars when television was a new medium and the regulations were probably more strict than today. Though there are tales of underage drinking and shy kisses, I don't think these kids were as wild as today's children stars. I watched the reruns of the shows since I had older brothers and a sister. We went to Disneyland regularly and were very much in tune with that culture.

This isn't a full historical account of the Micky Mouse Show, but more of recollections that probably couldn't have been told before. The updates of each member towards the end of the book is really enlightening. These people had the best and worst of show business. Overall it is just a nice book to quickly read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Without a doubt, Why? Because We Still Like You ranks next to Paul Peterson's book on the Mouseketeer experience. Jennifer Armstrong gives a thorough understanding of what it was like pre and post the Disney life for these kids we so admired. Of course, as an adult, I was not so surprised that Uncle Walt and his company was not as benign as I would have loved to beleive. Life can be pretty darn tough, and mouse ears did not present a shield from that unhappiness. It often made the unhappiness so much more severe. Was Mickey a rat? Decide for yourself...

There's a great deal of food for thought here about childhood, in general. The presentation is very fair, balanced and detailed. I enjoyed every page of this book!
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