The Accidental Mouseketeer: Before and After the Mickey Mouse Club by Lonnie Burr
Lonnie Burr never wanted to be a Mouseketeer. When Disney offered him the ears, he turned them down. He was already an established child star, and he didn't want to take a chance on some oddball project involving "Mouseketeers". The next day Lonnie's mom got a call from Disney: "If you don't accept our offer, your son will never work in this town again." Lonnie took the offer. He became famous, his face on magazine covers, the idol of millions of fans, across the world. And then, in 1959, it was over.
What does a Mouseketeer do when the Clubhouse closes?
Lonnie Goes to Hollywood
Long before Walt Disney drafted Lonnie into the ranks of the original Mouseketeers, he was starring in films and television shows as a child actor. He appeared on The Colgate Comedy Hour, and had a recurring role on one of the first "sitcoms", The Ruggles, now lost except for a few episodes and clips. (Lonnie costarred on that show with Margaret Kerry, the live model for Tinker Bell.)
The Mickey Mouse Club changed everything. Lonnie and the other Mouseketeers became national stars. But behind the scenes, politics and jealousy and young hormones ruled the clubhouse, along with the growing realization that the fortune Disney made from the show and from merchandising its stars was not trickling down to the Mouseketeers themselves. When Disney took The Mickey Mouse Club off the air in 1959, none of the Mouseketeers except for Annette would ever achieve such fame again - but in Lonnie's case, his life had just begun, and what a life he led.
The Accidental Mouseketeer Moves On
With his ears off, Lonnie has scores of stories to tell about his film roles, his television and stage appearances, his sexual relationships, and topics ranging from existentialism to Disney choreography. He describes in uncompromising detail his appearances with other Mouseketeers at Disney events, and how those events never seemed to come off as planned.
Lonnie's stories include:
His sweet, 1950s romance with Annette Funicello
Backstage and on the road with other Mouseketeers
A cross-country publicity trip with Mickey Mouse on Amtrak
Shooting a film with Elvis - was the King cool?
Working with Steven Spielberg and David Merrick
Remembrances of Mouseketeers past (and passed on)
Plus over 100 exclusive photos!
The Accidental Mouseketeer is both tribute and tell-all. Lonnie was a Mouseketeer for only a short time, but he never really took off his ears, and behind all of his stories, behind all of the success he found on his own, there's still the little kid, singing and dancing in black-and-white, in front of a generation of Americans who wanted to be just like him.