California Institute of the Arts'
(CalArts) Library to House Rare Memorabilia
of The Mickey Mouse Club and
Television's Golden Age
The Jimmie Dodd Archive includes a
collection of memorabilia, photography and documents including the "Mousegetar"
belonging to The Mickey Mouse Club host Dodd, original "mouse ears," Disney-themed
toys, musical recordings and photographs.
The collection offers insights into
the marketing of popular culture, 1950s Americana, early television and Walt
Valencia, CA, November 26-The Jimmie
Dodd Archive has been acquired by the California
Institute of the Arts (CalArts) Library. Dodd is known to the baby-boom
generation as the host of Walt Disney's iconic 1950s children's television
Mickey Mouse Club and remembered as The Mouse Club's "heart and
the soul" by former Mousekateer Annette Funicello. During his career, the
composer and actor compiled an archive of one-of-a-kind Mouse Club memorabilia
and artifacts from the early years of television-including his "Mousegetar,"
"mouse ears," original scores, record albums, photographs, toys and other
objects. The collection also contains archival materials from his wife
songwriter and performer Ruth Carrell Dodd.
"This is important because it not
only contains Jimmie and Ruth Dodd's personal papers and photographs, but also
numerous artifacts representing Disney marketing," said Jeff Gatten, Dean of
Library and Information Resources at CalArts. "We have a collection that will
be of interest to anyone with research or scholarly pursuits, or even just
curiosity, in the history and selling of popular culture, 1950s Americana,
early television, Walt Disney's legacy, the Disney empire, or the film and
entertainment industry in the first-half of the twentieth century."
According to Dean Gatten, the process
of organizing the material has begun. However, it will take some time to
properly prepare the archive for public access due to its large number of
CalArts was chosen to house the Dodd archive
because of its relationship to the Disney family. The Institute was founded by
Walt Disney and his brother Roy O. Disney through the merger of the Los Angeles
Conservatory of Music and the Chouinard Art Institute in 1961. Ruth's Dodd's second
husband, Harold Braun, thought it appropriate for the items to be housed in an
institution with a connection to the Disney legacy.
More about Jimmie Dodd: born in 1916, Dodd started his
career as a guitarist/singer before becoming an actor. Prior to The Mickey
Mouse Club, he appeared in numerous films with such actors as William
Holden, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, John Wayne, and Ronald Reagan. In the early
1950s, he transitioned to the new medium of television, making guest
appearances on several series of the time. While hosting The Mickey Mouse Club
he also wrote its theme song "The Mickey Mouse Club March."
CalArts is ranked America's number
one college for students in the arts by Newsweek/The Daily Beast. With
its six related schools: Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music and
Theater. CalArts is unique in its multidisciplinary approach to studying the
arts and is one of the first schools in the country to offer a program World
Music for performance. CalArts encourages students to recognize and explore the
complexity of the aesthetic, social and political aspects of the arts. It
is supported by its distinguished faculty of practicing artists and provides
its BFA, MFA and DMA students with both the hands-on training and the
engagement with the cultural community necessary for artists' growth. CalArts
was founded in 1961-and opened in 1969-as the first institution of higher
learning in the U.S. specifically for students interested exclusively in
pursuing degrees in the visual and performing arts.
It is swell to learn that Jimme and Ruth's records have found a home at Cal Arts. Jimmie was a pleasant, sound father figure to work with as a kid and Ruth* was always cheery. My sundry records for over 60+ years in entertainment are in sundry museums, colleges and libraries including the Smithsonian in D.C. and the UCLA archives and 1000 Oaks Library, both in CA. Perhaps some interactive relationships may be developed between these various collections in the future? *There is a 1955 picture of Ruth and my mom on my website, now in its 12th year: www.mouseketeerlonnieburr.com - email@example.com
I am so pleased to learn that the Jimmie Dodd Archive has been acquired by California Institute of the Arts. The phenomenal success of Walt Disney's "Mickey Mouse Club", along with the remarkable careers of Jimmie Dodd and his wife Ruth Carrell, are certainly worthy of this important collection.
It is interesting to note that the collection includes an "original Mousegetar." Previously we understood that the Mousegetar held at the Walt Disney Archives was the only one in existence. It's great to see that Jimmie preserved one of his own!
Congratulations to CalArts on this exceptional addition for their own library archive.