Remembering Annette

Barbara Vey -- April 9th, 2013
Annette as a Mouseketeer

Annette as a Mouseketeer

 

I couldn’t let today pass without mentioning the passing of the amazing Annette Funicello.  It almost seems appropriate that it’s gloomy, gray and raining outside. I realize that many of you probably don’t know who she is (Google her or look her up on Wikipedia), but those of you who do remember Annette can only smile when you think of her.

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I grew up with Annette.  Yes, she was one of those people who only needed one name.  Everyone knew who she was, one of the original Mouseketeers on The Mickey Mouse Club.  There was a whole group, but Annette stood out.  I’m not sure why, but there was something about her that made you take that second look.  I, along with many others, wanted to be Annette.  Not only was she a Mouseketeer, but she was on the serial Spin and Marty.  It was set on a ranch and, of course, both boys liked her.  Boy, what I would have done to be Annette, ride a horse and have 2 boys like me at the same time!

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Loved reading the Annette mysteries

Loved reading the Annette mysteries

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As a kid, Annette starred in several mystery books.  I read them all and they definitely had a Nancy Drew vibe.  She could do anything. (Check out the price, 49 cents!)

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With Frankie Avalon for a beach movie

With Frankie Avalon for a beach movie

After Disney, Annette went on to make the very popular beach movies with Frankie Avalon (insert sigh here).  Among them were Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach and Beach Blanket Bingo.  While not cinematic masterpieces, they were perfect viewing for the teen crowd and I happily went off to the movies with my friends to share the sometimes silly adventures.  it didn’t matter.  There was singing, dancing, romance and a happily ever after.  I had even heard that Frankie had a crush on Annette, but Walt Disney was so overprotective that nothing came of it and that’s why Frankie wrote the heartfelt “Puppy Love.”  (Yes, I know all the words.)

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In 1987 she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  I remember being saddened by this because Annette was “too nice” to get this horrible disease.  She was the ultimate good girl.  In 1993, she opened the Annette Funicello Fund for Neurological Disorders at the California Community Foundation.  Last year I wondered what happened to her, so I looked her up only to come across a video of her bedridden and her husband caring for her.  It certainly shocked me and it wasn’t the way I wanted to remember her.

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CNN did a short tribute to Annette that had me remembering and crying.

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Bottom Line:  “It’s funny, but sometimes when I feel discouraged or have a problem I can’t work out, I find myself thinking, ‘If only Mr. Disney were here, he would know what to do.” ~ Annette Funicello

 

18 thoughts on “Remembering Annette

  1. Jeanie Loiacono

    I was just recollecting my thoughts on Babes in Toyland the other day. Annette was precious with Frankie. If only life was as simple as we perceived it back then… That movie is a staple for us during Christmas. She will live on forever as that sweet little girl.

  2. Barbara

    I was a bit late for anything but reruns of The Mickey Mouse Club but saw the Beach movies as well as the original Shaggy Dog and Babes in Toyland with Annette. They were good enough to warrant remakes. I was surprised to find out she was still under contract to Walt Disney when she made the beach movies. I saw the movie version of her autobiography and found out about Paul Anka being her first boyfriend. I’m a big fan of his as well.

  3. Suzette Ciancio

    Thanks for this tribute, Barbara. I think Annette must have been everyone’s favorite mousketeer. I was a member of the fan club & had the ears (not to be worn in the bathtub!) It certainly was a different time. She & Walt Disney must be conferring in the sky.

  4. Roberta Mashlan

    Who could ever forget watching Annette on the Mickey Mouse Show. One of my earliest TV
    memories, she will be missed.

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  6. Susan Carlisle

    Barbara,
    The video did make me cry. I love the “beach movies.” I’ve seen them all so many times I can sing along with each song. Annetta was a class act and will be missed. Thanks for reminding us why.

  7. Marianne K.

    How is it that I learned this HERE, and not in the news? Thanks for the tribute. Even our children know Annette & Frankie from the PeeWee Playhouse Christmas Special, which we watch every year.

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