James Wesley Dodd was best known as the MC of the popular 1950s Disney TV show, 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.
He had some early film roles in The Three Mesquiteers series of westerns. Coincidentally, he performed in two unrelated series whose names were plays on “musketeers”.
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 also appeared in many theatrical films in the 1940s and 1950s, often uncredited. One of those films was The Jackie Robinson Story, in which Jackie Robinson played himself. He also appeared with John Wayne in “Flying Tigers”
Dodd was the heart and soul of the Mickey Mouse Club TV series, which aired each weekday. He always wore his toothy smile and Mouseke-ears, played his famous Mouse-guitar and sang self-composed songs. His simple yet timeless tunes contained positive messages for kids. In addition, among his other musical contributions is a song that a generation of kids has used for almost fifty years to spell “encyclopedia.” Dodd also wrote some themes for Zorro and wrote and performed songs in several of his movies.