A Johnny Crawford Interview

Johnny Crawford gives some insight on his own career and "The Rifleman" in an interview reprinted in the TV Collector from 12-14-82.

Q: You were a Mouseketeer. Do you remember how you got picked for that?

JC: I sure do. I went on the audition and I did a tapdance routine with my brother, and we also did a fencing routine. Then they asked if we had anything else we could do. My grandmother told me to tell them that I imitated '50s singer Johnny Ray. I stepped forward and did my imitation of him singing "Cry" and that was what got me into the Mouseketeers.

Q: Was it just a job to you, or did you form friendships there?

JC: We were very good friends at the time and unfortunately people grow apart over the years, but occasionally we do have "Mickey Mouse Club" reunions and that's when we all get to see each other again. I worked with Cubby. I think he also did an episode of "The Rifleman". I have seen him more often over the years than the others. We used to have a lot of fun. Boy, we just took over that studio, period. Originally there were 24 Mouseketeers and after the first season, they decided they didn't need and couldn't handle that many, because we used to drive them crazy when we weren't in school in the trailer that they had set up at the studio. When we weren't shooting, we would probably get a bit out of hand and they started gathering all of us together and putting us in a screening room and showing us old cartoons to keep us out of trouble.

Q: How and why did you leave the "Mickey Mouse Club"?

JC: It was a very sad day in my life. They dropped my option after the first season, and I'm not sure exactly what the reason was, but I can make guesses. One was that it took me too long to learn the dance steps, and I think that was because I wasn't concentrating on learning the routines as much as I was on watching Annette. But also, they felt that Cubby and Karen were a perfect team and that those were there two small Mouseketeers that they were gonna concentrate on. When they dropped my option, that really broke my heart and I didn't have any other prospects. I was a has-been at nine. I told my agent that I would have worked at Disney's for nothing. That's when she told me that I was working for them for nothing. She started sending me on interviews for other parts. My being able to go in and say that I had just finished working for a year as a Mouseketeer was to my benefit, because they weren't many nine-year-olds who had experience in film. It gave me a certain confidence that I hadn't had before and I started getting a few small parts.


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