Thursday, February 21, 2013

An Early Brush with the Famous
Like so many Baby Boomers I grew up on the Mickey Mouse Club.  Television was in its infancy and so were we.  The Mickey Mouse Club is part of my earliest memories.  While all the boys were agog of Annette Funicello, it was Cubby I was enamored with.  Seriously, did he not have a cute little face??
Born in 1946, “Cubby”, Carl Patrick O’Brien is the son of Haskle O’Brien who was a drummer in many big band ensembles so it’s not surprising that Cubby became a drummer, too, appearing in all three seasons of the original Mickey Mouse Club.  Perhaps it was partially because he was one of the younger Mousekateers.
Cubby also appeared on the Lawrence Welk show which is how I came to meet him.  My mother had a high school friend who had married a musician, Bert Christianson.  Bert had played in Welk’s orchestra in the 1940s.  When he and my mother’s friend Shirley had married my mother had been the matron of honor.  Jerry Burke, who played keyboards for Welk was Bert’s best man and so my parents were introduced to him. 
By the mid 1950s Bert was teaching at Central Washington State College and we were living in the University District of Seattle.  When Welk’s show came to town, “in concert” so to speak, my parents arranged to take Jerry Burke out to dinner before the show and I was included.  I do not remember which theater the Lawrence Welk Show was performing at, but when my father drew our Ford up to the stage entrance of the theater members of the orchestra were milling around the door and there, in a miniature of the white suits the grown-up musicians were wearing was Cubby!
Jerry Burke, who had been sitting in the backseat with me, got out of the car and called Cubby over.  We were introduced, but since my father was stopped in an alley and Jerry had to get ready for the show we only said hi to each other, but for a four or five year old it was pretty cool!
Carl “Cubby” O’Brien has remained in the music business playing in various bands including the Carpenters and backing up Bernadette Peter’s and in various Broadway productions.