The Original Mickey Mouse Club Show


Lost Episodes 7: Selected "Fun with Music Day" Shows

"Lost Episodes" is an irregular series highlighting shows from the Mickey Mouse Club's first two seasons that for one reason or another are not readily available for viewing today. The shows are not truly lost, as the 35mm film masters are presumably archived by Disney. However, photos and information about the shows are so rare as to render them "lost" to general knowledge.

This page contains storylines and production details for a rare first season Fun with Music Day show. It is not available on YouTube, Disney official DVD releases, nor is it circulated among private collectors. Most of the content here comes courtesy of Randall Nakashima. Due to the rarity of this show, few photos are available to illustrate it. Song recordings where present are from Mickey Mouse Club records, not from the original episodes.



A COWBOY NEEDS A HORSE



  Prod No: 8206-0??
  Filmed: Aug-Dec 1955
  Broadcast: Dec 5, 1955
  Intro: Lonnie
  Lead: Dennis
  With: Mary S., Bonni, Bronson (Id's not confirmed)
  Song: A Cowboy Needs a Horse (Howard/Mills)


Synopsis: A simple song of cowboy dreams. Most people today will not think much of the number. However, anyone who has ever owned a felt cowboy hat, or loaded Greenie roll caps into a Mattel Fanner 50, will understand.

Storyline: The scene opens in the darkened bedroom of a young boy (Dennis). A window throws subdued light on the walls and the boy who is asleep in his bed. The shadows of the window sashes create a dramatic contrast in the room. On a wall are hung a stick horse, a lasso and a guitar. A cowboy hat rests on the foot of the bed, and a pair of boots are on the floor, close to the owner. A male/female chorus (the same used in the animated short) begins singing softly:



      Oooooo-eeeee
      Oooooo-eeeee
      Ridin’
      Ridin’ along…


      Oh, a cowboy needs a horse,
      Needs a horse, needs a horse,
      And he’s got to have a rope,
      Have a rope, have a rope,
      And he ought to have a song,
      Have a song, have a song,
      If he wants to keep ridin’


      Now a cowboy needs a hat,
      Needs a hat, needs a hat,
      And a pair of fancy boots,
      Fancy boots, fancy boots,
      And a set of shiny spurs,
      Shiny spurs, shiny spurs,
      If he wants to keep ridin’


As the song progresses, the camera moves from the sleeping Dennis, to the stick horse, to the lasso, to the guitar, to the hat, to the boots, and finally to the spurs which lie next to the hand of the sleeping Dennis.

      Oh, the fence is long
      And the sun is hot,
      And the Good Lord knows
      That a cowboy’s got
      To keep ridin’
      Ridin’ along


      So, he gets himself a horse,
      And a rope, and a song,
      And he finds himself a hat,
      Fancy boots, shiny spurs,
      And there’s nothing more he needs
      Or can have or can get
      If he wants to keep ridin’
      Ridin’, along


The scene abruptly changes to a landscape of western mesas, with boulders, shrubs and cacti in the foreground. Dennis begins sort of a trot-dance as he moves forward from the background towards the camera. After he passes, the music changes to something like the dramatic Indian drum beat from Peter Pan.

Probably to no one’s surprise, there are three cacti are in the foreground: a large one, a small one and a medium-sized one, each with eyeholes. The three cacti begin moving up and down, then sideways, with the “feet” below them moving back and forth. Then the cacti begin moving forward, with the largest in front, then all three begin rotating around each other. The sky darkens, lightning flashes, and a tumbleweed rolls left to right across the stage.





The scene quickly switches back to Dennis in bed, with the chorus commencing the closing refrain of the song:

      Oooooo-oooo
      Oooooo-oooo

      Boots, fancy boots,
      Spurs, shiny spurs,
      A rope and a horse,
      If he wants to keep ridin’
      Ridin’, along


The scene begins to blackout, with Dennis the last to be illuminated. You almost expect the Buena Vista logo to appear next.



Notes

  • Lonnie, in his ears outfit, carries the title card to the easel and gives the introduction: “And now the Mouseketeers present a special western Mousketune, entitled “A Cowboy Needs a Horse. Watch closely, and you will see a young man’s dreams come true!” It is probably the most poised and polished of all the “Mouseketune Special” introductions I have seen.
  • The animated short of the same title is available on YouTube, and I certainly recommend it. It was written by Dick Kinney (who wrote a number of the multiple-Goofy cartoons) and the MMC’s own Roy Williams. It seems pretty clear that Roy used Dennis as the model for “Johnny,” the boy in the animated version.
  • The December 5, 1955 broadcast date compared to the November 6, 1956 release date of the animated version suggests that the animated short was still in the storyboard or conceptual stages when the Mouseketeer number was done. The writers addressed the major weakness of the Mouseketeer number: the lack of action. The animated version contains a stagecoach robbery, a runaway train, and a knockdown fight with a bad guy, which would probably have been impossible to do on the MMC stage.
  • The presence of Dennis and Lonnie suggests that the number was done by the “Friendly Farmers” (Blue) team. The fact that only five Mice appear suggests that it was filmed in late August or September after Tim Rooney was released. I caught a glimpse of a patent leather Mary Jane under the tallest cactus, which makes me believe that two of the cacti were Mary S. and Bonni, with Bronson as the smallest. Of course, Lonnie could have been one of the Cacti, also. The costumes are rigid, allowing movement only at the feet.
  • The western scenery, sets and props suggest a great deal of time and expense placed in the production, although minimal time by the Mouseketeers. Movement is so minimal, that the Mice could probably have figured out their own choreography and Dennis was just instructed to “ride” through the scenery. The stagehand pulling the tumbleweed by string across the stage in the final scene rather clumsily allows the top of his head to be seen by the camera. Coming at the end, the director decided to leave it in rather than reshoot.
  • The idea for the moving cacti seems to come from the scene in Peter Pan (1953) where the Chief's men sneak up on the Lost Boys disguised as trees. I get the feeling Roy had a more elaborate storyline planned with the girls jumping out from behind the cacti to chase Dennis, but the crew either ran out of time or costumes.









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