FOREVER HOLD YOUR BANNER HIGH by Jerry Bowles

FOREVER HOLD YOUR BANNER HIGH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Back in 1955 Walt Disney unenthusiastically gave his assent to an afternoon children's show and the Mickey Mouse Club was born. Although the show lasted just four seasons, the Mouseketeers--child stars wearing outsized ears--reached countless children who tuned in daily for cartoons, singing, dancing, serials, and the homey wisdom of Jimmie Dodd. Interviewing the featured ""red team,"" Bowles records how they appeared then, how they remember it now. The surprise favorite was Annette Funicello, an adolescent Lollobrigida who has yet to squelch the rumor that her relatives mobilized to write her fan mail. Darlene Gillespie was a gifted singer but Annette was a star. Karen Pendleton, Cubby O'Brien's partner, sang ""Gee, But It's Hard to Be Eight"" until she was twelve. Lonnie Burr, bitter about it all, once attempted suicide; some of his poems are included here. As a group they sound vapid, remarkably unproductive in adult life, as if their development was interrupted when the program went off the air; many blame Disney for their subsequent failures while a few clearly revere him. Little beyond the obvious emotional appeal, despite some fervid writing (Annette as ""an artistic union of Botticelli and Walter Keene""), but quite a reunior for those still waiting for Anything Can Happen Day.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1976
Publisher: Doubleday