Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Toon In: In The Beginning, Part Two

Since most advertisers wouldn’t sponsor children’s programming because the conventional wisdom was that it was a waste of time since kids had no money, most after school programming of the 1950’s was cheaply produced or just repurposed cartoons. Walt Disney had been approached by syndicators who wanted to get their hands on his back catalog of cartoons and throw them on alongside the Looney Tunes in the afternoon TV ghetto that was children’s programming at the time. Mr. Disney resisted, instead trying his hand at producing his own TV show- the Mickey Mouse Club.

The Mickey Mouse Club sought to bring high quality to children’s programming. Perhaps a show with high production values could convince advertisers to jump aboard. Certainly the kids jumped aboard. The show was a wild success, spawning merchandise, albums, spinoffs and trips to DISNEYLAND. Sadly, advertisers were stubbornly ignoring the show. After all, kids had no money, so why advertise to them? Despite its high viewership, the show would not last long, though its influence would live on.