The Mickey Mouse Club was Walt Disney's first continuing television series. Launching in 1955, the series used the image of star Mickey Mouse in introductions and occasional cartoon shorts, but the majority of the program was devoted to the Mouseketeers, including a young Annette Funicello. Serials (such as The Hardy Boys) and wildlife films (the latter being predecessors of the shorter animal inserts on Sesame Street) rounded out the package.
Several revival attempts followed in later years, including The New Mickey Mouse Club (1977) and the Disney Channel's more successful The All New Mickey Mouse Club (MMC), which ran from 1989 until 1995.
In 1990 an "I Want to Be..." segment of MMC was filmed featuring Muppet fan Joe Apel, whose dream was to become a Muppet performer. Apel met Jim Henson and other performers, filming Muppet*Vision 3D, but following Henson's death, the sketch was shelved and never aired. When it was announced that the show was looking for fans of Henson's, they received many responses, including one from a young John Tartaglia. Fans were asked to write an essay expressing why they'd like to meet him. When it came time for producers to decide on finalists, they couldn't decide between John and Joe. However, Joe was closer to Los Angeles where Muppet*Vision 3D was filmed, therefore producers chose him. 
The original series was spoofed in Muppets Tonight episode 105 as "The Kermit the Frog Club," which featured Frogketeers Jennifer, Newt, Robbie, M! D Bolo, L. Ron, Toshiro, Stu, and Cindy Crawford. A more minor reference appeared in the Dinosaurs episode "Network Genius," in which the schedule board lists "The Mickey Test Patterns Club" as one of the networks programs. Elmo's World: The Beach has an animated character called "Crabette Funicello".
The Mickey Mouse Club coined the term "Mouseketeers," a joking reference to the 1844 novel The Three Musketeers. The term was picked up by Sesame Street in the 1980s, when Oscar the Grouch started his own club, the Grouchketeers. (EKA: Episode 2040) Instead of mouse ears, however, all of the children wore trash can lids on their heads. Big Bird followed suit in the 1990s with the Birdketeers. (EKA: Episode 3154)