Jimmie Dodd as a Mouseketeer on
The Mickey Mouse Club, circa 1956
|Born||James Wesley Dodd
March 28, 1910
|Died||November 10, 1964
|Spouse(s)||Ruth Carrell (1940–1964, his death)|
James Wesley Dodd, better known by his nickname of "Jimmie" Dodd, (March 28, 1910 – November 10, 1964) was best known as the MC of the popular 1950s Walt Disney television series The Mickey Mouse Club, as well as the writer of its well-known theme song, "The Mickey Mouse Club March." A slowed-down version of this march, with different lyrics, became the alma mater that closed the show.
Dodd made his first screen appearance in the 1940 William Holden film Those Were the Days! in a minor role. He also played the taxi driver in the MGM film Easter Parade starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. Dodd had a small role in an early episode of Adventures of Superman titled "Double Trouble." He played a taxi driver again in Phffft.
He also appeared in many theatrical films in the 1940s and 1950s, often uncredited. Two of his films were biographies of baseball players: The Jackie Robinson Story, in which Jackie Robinson played himself, and The Winning Team, in which future president Ronald Reagan portrayed pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander. Dodd had a small, but important, part in the Mickey Rooney hit Quicksand. He also appeared with John Wayne in the film Flying Tigers.
Television other than The Mickey Mouse Club
In addition to his small role in Adventures of Superman, mentioned above, Dodd appeared as a deputy in the 1955 episode "Sontag and Evans" of the syndicated television series Stories of the Century, starring Jim Davis. The segment was based on the California train robbers Chris Evans and John Sontag, with Morris Ankrum and John Smith, respectively, cast in those roles. Dodd was also the voice of the animated character Bucky Beaver in TV advertisements for Ipana toothpaste.
The Mickey Mouse Club
The Mickey Mouse Club aired each weekday. Dodd always wore "Mouseke-ears," played his "Mouse-guitar," and sang self-composed songs. His tunes contained positive messages for kids. In addition, among his other musical contributions is a song that a generation of kids has used for nearly a half century to spell "encyclopedia." Dodd also wrote some themes for Zorro and performed songs in several of his movies.
The original Mouseketeers, frequent guests at the Dodd home for backyard barbecues and sing-alongs, said that Dodd treated them as part of his extended family. Jimmie was no relation to Mouseketeer Dickie Dodd.
Dodd died of cancer on November 10, 1964, in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was 54 years of age. Cheryl Holdridge was the last Mouseketeer to see Dodd alive. Holdridge visited Dodd in his final hours because she and her new husband Lance Reventlow had flown to Hawaii for their honeymoon. They came to the hospital before Dodd died.