I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Annette Funicello. As a kid, I thought she was my mom – or, I should say, I thought my mom was her. Large in part due to this album cover:
My mom wore her hair in a similar style in when she was young and she owned a green swimsuit. What more evidence did I need? Ignoring the fact that it said “Annette” right there on the cover, I looked at it, saw it as a picture of my mother, and from then on chose to believe my mom must have been an actress and had a recording career before marrying my dad. Nevermind that she was German and never showed the slightest interest in surfing.
My siblings and I lived on a steady diet of cartoons and Disney feature films – particularly from the 1960’s and early 1970’s. You wanna gab about Kurt Russell films like The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes or John Davidson and Leslie Ann Warren musicals or Hayley Mills? I could talk and talk and talk until I’m blue in the face, honey. Annette, of course, starred in many of my favorites. The Monkey’s Uncle, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, Babes in Toyland… and let’s not forget her recurring role as “Dee Dee,” playing opposite the dreamy Frankie Avalon in all those beach party movies. I loved them all. She had perfect hair, perfect clothes, a perfect voice, she could dance, sing, surf, and help out with scientific experiments. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen these movies. I really can’t. Gazillions, maybe. I blame my outsider, oddball, nerd status as a kid due to the fact that I spent my after school hours hanging out with Annette, Tommy, Kurt, and Hayley instead of fully immersing myself in 80’s like the rest of my peers. Why learn to moonwalk when I could be reenacting the “Bye-Yum Pum Pum” scene from The Happiest Millionaire?
Farewell, Annette. It’s been the most!
Check out Annette fronting The Beach Boys in the opening credits to The Monkey’s Uncle:
And, of course, she sang the opening song (a duet with Tommy Sands) to another Disney favorite of mine, The Parent Trap: