Communications Officer Tara Oldfield

Author: Tara Oldfield

Communications Officer

Today the Mickey Mouse Club is probably most well known for launching the careers of 90s and 2000s pop-stars Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake and Hollywood movie star Ryan Gosling. But did you know that Australians first got their taste of the Mickey Mouse Club "Mouseketeers" way back in 1959?

 

History of the Mickey Mouse Club

The Mickey Mouse Club was a popular TV show hosted by Mickey Mouse with talented kids performing comedy and musical acts in front of a studio audience. The original ran from 1955 to 1958 (in the US) with later incarnations including The New Mickey Mouse Club in 1977 and of course The All New Mickey Mouse Club running from 1989 to 1995.

Though the show had finished filming in the US, it had only just started airing in Australia and was extremely popular, so the "Mouseketeers" made their first visit to Melbourne in 1959. During the successful tour, where apparently Australians were surprised by how much the children had grown, the State Bank of Victoria engaged the group close group Definition A Record Group brings together agencies that have created records documenting similar functions. They may be agencies that are part of the same ministerial portfolio (eg VRG 18 Lands), or have a common function (eg VRG 24 Educational Institutions), or comprise a sector of government (eg VRG 4 Courts). for various promotions. 

Peppered throughout our State Bank of Victoria Photographic Collection, you can find numerous physical photographs featuring the Mickey Mouse Club actors in promotional materials, attending events on behalf of the Bank including Moomba, on regional tours and as part of television specials. 

 

black and white photo of a plane with the mickey mouse float waiting beside it
The Mouseketeers arrive at the airport with the giant float and car ready to pick them up VPRS 8935 P1 Unit 4 2653

 

black and white photo of the mouseketeers disembarking the plan
Mouseketeers arrival in Melbourne via Ansett, all a lot older than their fans were expecting! VPRS 8935 P1 Unit 6 4393

 

black and white photo of the mouseketeers speaking into microphones to waiting fans
The Mouseketers lined up ready for publicity straight off the plane, VPRS 8935 P1 Unit 6 4395

 

black and white photo of two mousekteers with a man
Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeers Karen and Cubby at Studio with a man we think is Uncle Doug Elliott, VPRS 8935 P1 Unit 4 2656

 

black and white photo of celebrities dancing for the camera
Filming at Channel Seven Studios, VPRS 8935 P1 Unit 3 1883

 

black and white photo of 8 people posing for the camera
Publicity photo of Cheryl, Jimmy, Karen and Bobby with bank staff, VPRS 8935 P1 Unit 6 4392

 

 

The Moomba parade

According to the State Bank of Victoria's June 1959 Progress Magazine, available online through the State Bank of Victoria social network site here, a record half a million people got a chance to see the Mickey Mouse club aboard the State Savings Bank float escorted by 70 local school children. After Moomba, the float then toured Dandenong, Brunswick, Traralgon and Bunyip in various festivals and events. The float itself was a giant replica of the Mickey Mouse money box, a promotional piece of the Bank. 

 

black and white photo of the moomba float
The Moomba float featuring the "Mouseketeers" leaves the airport headed for Melbourne 1959, VPRS 8935 P3 Unit 5

 

colour photo of the Mickey Mouse float headed down a packed Melbourne street during Moomba
The Mickey Mouse Club promotional float at Moomba 1959 VPRS 8935 P2 Unit 1 1749

 

photo of the mickey mouse club money box
The Mickey Mouse Club money box from the State Bank Ephemera Collection, VPRS 8936 P1 Unit 11

 

 

Who were the "Mouseketeers"?

The Australian Women's Weekly profiled the "Mouseketeers" in their May 1959 edition. 

There was Tommy Cole, Doreen Tracey, Bobby Burgess, Sharon Baird, Cubby O'Brien and Karen Pendleton, with ages ranging from 12 to 17. Absent from this interview was Cheryl Holdridge. According to the reporter:

"They were all astounded at the enthusiastic reception they got at Sydney's Mascot Airport from 4000 screaming fans."

 

Photo of the Australian Women's Weekly article including a photo of the Mouseketeers

 

A follow-up "Where are they now" style article in the same publication in 1981 revealed that Tommy Cole went on to become a makeup artist while Sharon Baird worked in animation as a voice-over artist. Most impressively, Cubby played drums for the Carpenters! Cheryl of course became famous for her role as Julie Foster in Leave it to Beaver in the 60s. She also appeared in My Three Sons and Bewitched

 

Search our collection

Our State Bank Collection is not digitised but the physical records and photographs can be ordered for viewing in the North Melbourne Reading Room. 

The State Bank Photographic Collection includes photos of various branches, bank personnel, bank interiors and promotional material. 

View and order close order Definition Physical records can be ordered for viewing in PROV’s reading rooms.  When a user orders a record, it is reserved solely for their use. the records here.

There are also collections of maps and plans, ephemera and other materials across six series of records under the State Bank of Victoria agency. Click here to view them all.