With his effervescent smile and religious sense of morality, Jimmie Dodd provided a father figure for the original Mouseketeers of The Mickey Mouse Club TV show. In addition to writing many of the tunes featured on the program, including the show's theme song, Dodd provided an ongoing series of wise sayings that were dubbed "Doddisms."
A native of Cincinnati, OH, Dodd played banjo in a band while attending the University of Cincinnati. He also studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and the Shouster Martin School of Dramatic Arts. Honing his skills in Florida and Nashville nightclubs, Dodd moved to southern California in hopes of taking his career to the next level. His first break came, in 1940, when he appeared with William Holden in the comedy film Those Were the Days.
Although a heart condition prevented him from serving in the military during World War II, Dodd and his wife, Ruth, brought entertainment to the battleground as part of USO tours. Upon their return to California, Dodd considered retiring from music and seeking a better-paying job. His plans changed after hearing that Disney was seeking a song for a planned nighttime television show. When a demo tape was heard by Disney executives, they were so impressed that they offered Dodd a staff music writer position. Asked to demonstrate how he envisioned an accompanying video, Dodd was so enthusiastic in his presentation that he was offered a job on The Mickey Mouse Club show. Together with Roy Williams, Bill Walsh, and Walt Disney, Dodd helped to choose the show's original cast.
Dodd served as host of the show from its premiere in November 1955 until its last program in September 1959. He continued to work with Disney until his death in 1964.