[CalArts] – The Jimmie Dodd Archive has been acquired by the California Institute of the Arts Library. Dodd is known to the baby-boom generation as the host of Walt Disney’s iconic 1950s children’s television program The Mickey Mouse Club and remembered as The Mouse Club’s “heart and soul” by former Mouseketeer 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 items.
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 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.”