ABC spe­cial cel­e­brates Mickey Mouse’s 90th an­niver­sary

The State (Sunday) - - Television Weekly -

By Jay Bobbin

For some­one mark­ing his 90th birth­day, Mickey Mouse doesn’t look a day over ... well, let’s just say he doesn’t look 90.

The en­dur­ingly pop­u­lar car­toon char­ac­ter who se­cured en­ter­tain­ment icon Walt Dis­ney’s ca­reer gets a big cel­e­bra­tion with “Mickey’s 90th Spec­tac­u­lar,” a new ABC spe­cial air­ing Sun­day, Nov. 4. Dis­ney Com­pany chair­man and CEO Robert Iger honors one of show busi­ness’ most fa­mous an­i­mated fig­ures, as does a pa­rade of largely mu­si­cal per­form­ers.

Kris­ten Bell, Josh Groban, Josh Gad, Meghan Trainor, Zac Brown Band, Kelsea Bal­lerini, Tony Award win­ner Les­lie Odom Jr. (“Hamil­ton”), Sarah Hy­land (“Mod­ern Fam­ily”), two-time Emmy win­ner Tony Hale (“Veep”), Sofia Car­son (“De­scen­dants”), Luis Fonsi, Tori Kelly, Miles Brown (“black­ish”), Wendi Mclen­don-covey (“The Gold­bergs”), spouses Anna Camp and Sky­lar Astin (“Pitch Per­fect”), and two of the orig­i­nal “Mickey Mouse Club” Mouseke­teers — Sharon Baird and Bobby Burgess — are in the ex­trav­a­ganza over­seen by veteran pro­ducer-di­rec­tor Don Mis­cher.

One of the prin­ci­pal dancers on “The Lawrence Welk Show” af­ter his mid-to-late-1950s “Mickey Mouse Club” days, Burgess also par­tic­i­pated in a 1988 tour mark­ing the mouse’s 60th birth­day. “I went around the United States to 45 cities, and to Aus­tralia and New Zealand,” the pleas­ant per­former says. “That was very spe­cial for me.

“And when we did ‘The Mickey Mouse Club,’ we did a tour in 1959 and 1960. Mickey was with us the whole time, and he would ac­com­pany us on any per­sonal ap­pear­ances ... and he al­ways dances right along with us. We’ve al­ways had a good re­la­tion­ship with Mickey!”

Baird was brought into the “Mickey’s 90th Spec­tac­u­lar” by Burgess af­ter he was asked about fe­male Mouseke­teers who could part­ner with him at the event. He notes, “Our theme song said, ‘Through the years, we’ll all be friends, wher­ever we may be’ — and we are. We Mouseke­teers stick to­gether, but Sharon was a spe­cial friend of mine. We jit­ter­bugged to­gether on ‘The Mickey Mouse Club,’ and through ev­ery re­u­nion, they’ve al­ways asked us to dance to­gether.”

Burgess has shared notes with a South­ern Cal­i­for­nia neigh­bor who was a much later Mouseke­teer: Justin Tim­ber­lake, who spent two sea­sons (1993-94) on an “All-new Mickey Mouse Club” re­vival with such cast­mates as Brit­ney Spears, Christina Aguil­era, Keri Rus­sell and Ryan Gosling.

Now the owner of a dance stu­dio that em­ploys his four chil­dren, Burgess might have had a dif­fer­ent ca­reer path. “I was sup­posed to be go­ing to New York with (a stage pro­duc­tion of) ‘Peter Pan,’ and I lost my voice, so I lost my job,” he re­calls. “In­stead, I got ‘The Mickey Mouse Club,’ which was much bet­ter for me be­cause it went to mil­lions in­stead of just the the­ater crowd. Ev­ery­thing worked out per­fect.”

Sharon Baird and Bobby Burgess — two of the orig­i­nal Mouseke­teers — help sa­lute Mickey Mouse in Sun­day’s new ABC spe­cial “Mickey’s 90th Spec­tac­u­lar.“

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