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The Mickey Mouse Club was Walt Disney's first continuing television series. Launched in 1955, the series used the image of star Mickey Mouse in introductions and occasional cartoon shorts, but the majority of the program was devoted to the Mouseketeers, including a young Annette Funicello. Serials (such as The Hardy Boys) and wildlife films (the latter being predecessors of the shorter animal inserts on Sesame Street) rounded out the package. The series was revived in 1977 and 1989.
The animated opening sequence of both the original and the 1977 revival series always concluded with Donald Duck attempting to strike a gong. Invariably, something would go wrong -- the gong would crumble to pieces, or turn into a pie or a water balloon, or Donald would be electrocuted upon striking it, etc. This was the forerunner of Gonzo's Muppet Show openings, particularly during the first season, as Gonzo would try to hit the Muppet Show sign's letter O like a gong (later seasons had him blowing a trumpet), with similarly disastrous results each time.
The Mickey Mouse Club coined the term "Mouseketeers," a joking reference to the 1844 novel The Three Musketeers. The term was picked up by Sesame Street in the 1980s, when Oscar the Grouch started his own club, the Grouchketeers. (EKA: Episode 2040) Instead of mouse ears, however, all of the children wore trash can lids on their heads. Big Bird followed suit with the Birdketeers. (EKA: Episode 2228)
- On The Muppet Show episode 220, Kermit is annoyed by the presence of Mickey Moose. Concerned with her host's displeasure, guest star Petula Clark ensures he's not really bothered by him before she joins the Muppets in a version of The Mickey Mouse Club theme song. They're all wearing hats with moose ears in parody of the Mickey Mouse ear hats worn by the Mouseketeers on the show.
- The original series was spoofed in Muppets Tonight episode 105 as "The Kermit the Frog Club," which featured Frogketeers Jennifer, Newt, Robbie, M! D Bolo, L. Ron, Toshiro, Stu, and Cindy Crawford. A more minor reference appeared in the Dinosaurs episode "Network Genius," in which the schedule board lists "The Mickey Test Patterns Club" as one of the networks programs.
- On a Twitter post for the United Kingdom premiere of The Muppets titled, Ask Kermit, when he was asked by a fan, "Should I become a Marketeer with a lesbian haircut or a teacher with a lesbian haircut?" Kermit replied, "U ask me--frog w/ no hair. Big fan of teachers. Not sure abt Marketeer. Is that like Mousketeers?"