Join 3,494 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Millions of Baby Boomer boys in mourning
April 8, 2013 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Annette Funicello, beloved star of the original Mickey Mouse Club, beach movie queen, teen idol, and darling of many an early 60s teenage boy has died.
posted by waitingtoderail (96 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
As a kid I used to look forward to the arrival of Beach Week every Spring on the 3:30 Movie. I got my annual fix of Bikini Beach, How To Stuff a Wild Bikini, and a few other AIP beach flicks. And of course, plenty of Annette.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 12:09 PM on April 8, 2013


And who could forget her collaboration with Fishbone? SKA SKA SKA
posted by Greg Nog at 12:11 PM on April 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:12 PM on April 8, 2013


I am old, but I used to be very young and very happy. The Mickey Mouse Club and Annette were a big part of that naive happiness.

.
posted by trip and a half at 12:13 PM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


As a kid I used to look forward to the arrival of Beach Week every Spring on the 3:30 Movie. I got my annual fix of Bikini Beach, How To Stuff a Wild Bikini, and a few other AIP beach flicks. And of course, plenty of Annette.

Having never seen any of them, the titles of all of those beach party movies seem like they came out of a Markov generator. "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini?" What could that mean?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:13 PM on April 8, 2013


.
posted by Cash4Lead at 12:14 PM on April 8, 2013


I recently rewatched the Mickey Mouse Club "Annette" serial on youtube. She was effortlessly charming.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:15 PM on April 8, 2013


RIP, Annette.
posted by jonmc at 12:16 PM on April 8, 2013


Weirdly, I first heard of her as a child when reading a Garfield cartoon wherein Garfield was leching after her. I'd forgotten about that until just now, but god damn is that strange.
posted by COBRA! at 12:17 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The video on this page is a recent one of Ms. Funicello. It's pretty disturbing, but indicative of the horror of MS. So sorry to see someone so loved go through such an awful end.
posted by waitingtoderail at 12:17 PM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think the only record of hers that I have is 'Hawaiiannette". I'll give it a listen tonight.

Safe journey, Miss.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:19 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


.

My husband used to dream of being a Mouseketeer, and thought Annette was just the bee's knees.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:20 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


No one will be tamping on her dirt. Loved the ABC NY channel 7 4:30 movie when it was beach week too.

RIP

.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:20 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


.
posted by parki at 12:22 PM on April 8, 2013


I didn't realize how big a deal she's been to me until I saw the announcement of her death on Yahoo and started crying at work. Babes in Toyland is one of my all time favorite movies. It makes me so sad that she spent so much of her life afflicted with MS. She was such a sweet and wonderful person and deserved better than that.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 12:23 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


M-I-C...See ya real soon!
K-E-Y...Why? Because we like you!
M-O-U-S-E
posted by briank at 12:23 PM on April 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


Oh, Annette, you were my first adolescent crushee. I loved you so in my lost, innocent youth. Now, another part of me has gone into that void. Oh Time, you waning thief, you steal from me the best parts of my youth.

I hate this so much. RIP, my love.
posted by pjern at 12:24 PM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Felt like I watched her grow up. Annette really did come across as quite a sweetheart, though I didn't really know anything much about her at the time. But I had the requisite crush. Thanks for being there for us. Hope you enjoyed your stay.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:26 PM on April 8, 2013


.
posted by rahnefan at 12:26 PM on April 8, 2013


I'm sure she was the darling of many a 60's teenage girl as well.
posted by agregoli at 12:28 PM on April 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


How To Stuff a Wild Bikini

The very first time I went to the cinema with my friends rather than with my parents, it was to see Stiff Richard's Summer Holiday.

This was the support movie. There was plenty of shagging involved, IIRC.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:30 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


MS is a real motherfucker.

.
posted by DigDoug at 12:30 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Frankie and Annette on Pee Wee's Christmas Special
posted by swift at 12:31 PM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


I met her when I was around 8, when I served as a Mousketeer-for-a-day extra on a couple episodes of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color filmed at Disneyland. The day mostly consisted of tagging along after Annette with the other kids as she led us through a couple of attractions, followed by the camera crew. I learned two things that day: (1) Disney camera crew members have no hesitation cussing out uncooperative Mouseketeer extras, and (2) Annette was genuinely nice. After filming was over, our family was seated for lunch in the restaurant at a table across from where she was. We looked over at her and probably smiled tentatively, and I remember she returned a great big genuine smile and a wave when she recognized us.
posted by Creosote at 12:32 PM on April 8, 2013 [30 favorites]


Even though I was born in the early 70s, the original black and white Mickey Mouse Club shows were rerun all through my early childhood to the point where I didn't realize for years later that the shows were quite old. (It was actually when she became the spokeswoman for Skippy.) Annette, and those shows, is a reason why I grew into the huge Disney nut I am today.

°­.°
posted by kimberussell at 12:33 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh goddammit. I know deaths come in threes; and we had Ebert and Thatcher, but damn, I wish the third hadn't been Annette. This makes me very sad.
posted by dejah420 at 12:34 PM on April 8, 2013


I'm sure she was the darling of many a 60's teenage girl as well.

True enough, and I apologize for the omission.
posted by waitingtoderail at 12:40 PM on April 8, 2013


Weirdly, I first heard of her as a child when reading a Garfield cartoon wherein Garfield was leching after her.

HOLY SHIT ME TOO
posted by Greg Nog at 12:40 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


.
posted by Lynsey at 12:40 PM on April 8, 2013


http://youtu.be/wI8rRDxiz3A?t=38s
posted by NedKoppel at 12:41 PM on April 8, 2013


.
posted by tommasz at 12:41 PM on April 8, 2013


Annette with the Beach Boys
posted by 1970s Antihero at 12:42 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


"How to Stuff a Wild Bikini?" What could that mean?

Who knows? But if you were the target demographic for the movie, wouldn't you want to find out? That's genius titling.

I first became aware of who she was because of Skippy commercials. Which seemed totally embarrassing until "Garfield as lech" became an option.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:45 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Titillating titling, I'd say.
posted by maryr at 12:46 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


After seeing waitingtoderail's link, I have two thoughts: I'm glad, since Annette couldn't be cured, that she is no longer trapped inside a body that won't respond to the least of her wishes, and that husband of hers is a wonderful, wonderful man who loved and cared for her for decades in the way that she deserved.
posted by orange swan at 12:46 PM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Ah, that line from Stand By Me about the letters on her sweater starting to move...
posted by k5.user at 12:46 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I entered this existence the Friday before the Monday that The Mickey Mouse Club debuted. As I grew up and recognized women besides my mother, I resigned myself to the fact that she was too old for me... Sigh.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:53 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wish I could post the scene she does with Davy Jones from Head. They were adorable together.



.
posted by droplet at 12:54 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh goddammit. I know deaths come in threes; and we had Ebert and Thatcher, but damn, I wish the third hadn't been Annette. This makes me very sad.

What, Andy Johns doesn't count?
posted by anazgnos at 12:58 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought of Annette Funicello as what Mary Ann from Gilligan's island would be like if she never went on that stupid 3 hour tour, and moved to my neighborhood. Of course Frankie Avalon would've swept her off her feet before any of us figured out how to talk to girls properly.

.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 1:02 PM on April 8, 2013


.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:02 PM on April 8, 2013


COBRA!: "Weirdly, I first heard of her as a child when reading a Garfield cartoon wherein Garfield was leching after her. I'd forgotten about that until just now, but god damn is that strange."

I had a similar experience, except instead of Garfield it was Dave Barry. "The Mickey Mouse Club made a big impression on us as youngsters, especially the part where Annette Funicello came marching out in a shirt with 'ANNETTE' written across the chest, and some of the letters were considerably closer to the camera than others, if you get our drift."
posted by brundlefly at 1:03 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The coon-skin caps, yankee bats, the "hound dog" man’s big start;
The a-bomb fears, annette had ears, I lusted in my heart.
A young man from boston set sail the new frontier,
And we watched the dream dead-end in dallas,
They buried innocence that year.

posted by octothorpe at 1:05 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
posted by localroger at 1:09 PM on April 8, 2013


kimberussel said: Even though I was born in the early 70s, the original black and white Mickey Mouse Club shows were rerun all through my early childhood to the point where I didn't realize for years later that the shows were quite old. (It was actually when she became the spokeswoman for Skippy.)

Heh, yeah, me too. When I saw them in reruns, I had no idea that the show was old enough that the Mouseketeers were the same age as my parents. All I knew is that they were were the eternally polished presentation of how wonderful life was going to be when I grew up and could be a teenager.
posted by dejah420 at 1:09 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I watched Annette Funicello on the Mickey Mouse Club, and though I wasn't allowed to watch her beach movies, I was aware of them and believed (with the extreme naivete of childhood) that she was the ideal of what every teenage girl wanted to be. I truly believed that when I hit 13, I would become some facsimile of Annette, and I couldn't wait.

So sorry that she had such a difficult life in her later years. Glad she is free of pain. RIP Annette. You'll be remembered fondly by many for a long, long time.
posted by marsha56 at 1:10 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I loved the fact that she understood her own camp appeal and embraced it.

I'm so sad that she lived a significant portion of her life in pain from MS.

.
posted by xingcat at 1:14 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love '60s beach movies, and, as Greg Nog pointed out, she was also involved in one of the weirdest things to come out of the '80s.

Or hadn't you heard?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:19 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


.

Boomer Girl here. I wanted to be Annette.
posted by MyTwoCentsToo at 1:29 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know deaths come in threes

With a few hundred thousand in between the important people.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:41 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


.
posted by Roentgen at 1:41 PM on April 8, 2013


Incidentally, I'm another one who watched her in black-and-white Mickey Mouse Club reruns as a kid only to discover too late that she was too much older than I was. I've never thought about it until now, but I always had a fondness for older women. Maybe I have Annette to thank for some of that.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:46 PM on April 8, 2013


Her, I like.
posted by pracowity at 1:47 PM on April 8, 2013


I thought Back to the Beach was a cute satire, and actually a little ahead of its time. After Wes Craven satirized the horror movie genre, I realized that Back to the Beach was essentially doing the same thing with its own genre.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:47 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


.
posted by SpannerX at 1:51 PM on April 8, 2013


It is an absolute crime that there isn't a higher-quality clip on Youtube of this scene from Back to the Beach of Annette dancing with Pee Wee Herman as he freaks out to 'Surfin Bird'.

Grrr.
posted by item at 1:51 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
posted by humanfont at 1:56 PM on April 8, 2013


i thought the beach genre satirized itself. i saw them when I was jr. high age, in the 70s, and it seemed like such obvious kitsch. it avoided taking itself seriously, the way that, say, elvis movies did - the beach movies were funny on purpose.

anyway, annette -- she was alright. i'm seldom glad that anyone dies, but things had to have been pretty rough for her in recent years.
posted by lodurr at 2:05 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
Earlier than Garfield:MAD's parody of Happy Days had Fonzie noting that her chest was now bigger than her mouse ears.
posted by brujita at 2:07 PM on April 8, 2013


.
posted by Mitheral at 2:10 PM on April 8, 2013


.
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:12 PM on April 8, 2013


When I was in the eighth grade, I was sick for a week, and a family friend kept me on her sofa so I wouldn't infect my siblings with whatever I was ailing from. The only movies she had on tape were the Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon beach films. I watched them over and over and over and developed a huge crush on Annette. So much so that my girlfriend at the time handmade me an Annette Funicello doll, with a tight sweater and Mousketeer ears. The doll lasted longer than our relationship, but not as long as the love I felt and continue to feel for Miss Funicello. This news makes me very sad, indeed. Happy that she's free from pain, but sad that one so kind and wonderful is no longer among us.
posted by ColdChef at 2:37 PM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


the Fishbone take was actually in homage to Annette's earlier pioneering role in the popularizing of ska. In the short barren post-Twist pre-Beatles moment of American pop music, the recording industry searched desperately for a new sound/dance craze to exploit. They decided Jamaican "ska" might be that thing, and so Annette was enlisted to introduce it to the USA. It never quite took off at the time...
posted by bonefish at 2:43 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Annette was my wife's namesake, and a big favorite around our house when I was a kid. This is sad news indeed.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:52 PM on April 8, 2013


In the short barren post-Twist pre-Beatles moment of American pop music, the recording industry searched desperately for a new sound/dance craze to exploit. They decided Jamaican "ska" might be that thing

Oh! Along similar lines, if you feel like seeing that desperation play out for 90 minutes, I think Bop Girl Goes Calypso is on Netflix Instant!
posted by Greg Nog at 2:59 PM on April 8, 2013


.
posted by corb at 3:00 PM on April 8, 2013


She seemed a genuinely good person, too, even as a kid. Here she is in 1956 with the other Mousketeers throwing a Christmas party in February for a bunch of kids who'd just lost their home in a flood in Yuba City, California.
posted by Toekneesan at 3:10 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think she'll be fondly remembered even among gen Xers who grew up watching MMC reruns on (what used to be) the Disney Channel.

I think the two everyone knew best were her and Cubby, who it seems is still with us.

Kinda funny how much hand-wringing there was about her in the beach movies, considering what Disney execs probably go through now with their alumni.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 3:39 PM on April 8, 2013


i thought the beach genre satirized itself. ... the beach movies were funny on purpose.

True, but Back to the Beach started breaking the fourth wall from the very first seconds.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:48 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of the then independent channels in LA screened it every weekday afternoon in the pre-cable days.
posted by brujita at 4:25 PM on April 8, 2013


I guess this means that the Mousketeers will be
(•_•)
( •_•)>⌐■-■
(⌐■_■)
Working without Annette.

.
posted by radwolf76 at 4:38 PM on April 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


The Beach Party movies were before my time, but Back to the Beach came along and even though I didn't get all the jokes, there were plenty of references to old TV shows that I did get - and suddenly I was nostalgic for films I never saw. That along with the Annette reference in Stand By Me is pretty much all I knew about Annette Funicello, but that's enough to make me sad today.
posted by crossoverman at 4:43 PM on April 8, 2013


Just two days ago, I heard this song on the muzak at a retro style burger joint. So I feel like I should infest everyone with this earworm, to share my pain.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:00 PM on April 8, 2013


She was part of my childhood too, as rerun fodder and peanut butter pitchwoman.

*sigh*
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:09 PM on April 8, 2013


.
posted by Peevish at 5:26 PM on April 8, 2013


I'm sad that she had to suffer so much in her declining year, happy that she was loved and well cared for, and hope that she went peacefully. What a gracious, kind and talented person.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:27 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:29 PM on April 8, 2013


From her obituary:
Annette quickly became the most popular Mouseketeer, and Disney marketed everything from Annette lunchboxes and dolls to mystery novels about her fictionalized adventures.

But she did not receive special treatment. When she lost a pair of felt mouse ears, she was charged $55. It was deducted from her $185 weekly paycheck.

posted by ColdChef at 5:34 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had a girl crush on her. Not only her cuteness and niceness but something about her earlobes intrigued me. I wanted mine to look like hers.
posted by Tullyogallaghan at 5:40 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


.
posted by oonh at 5:53 PM on April 8, 2013


Wow, she was younger than my mom. I grew up in a post Annette age, where it was still innocent, but not quite as innocent as she led us to believe. I'm glad she was there to give us something to think about, but my generation was too self absorbed, and too cynical to believe in what she portrayed. God (if there is one) bless her, and I wish her a good afterlife.
posted by Eekacat at 6:26 PM on April 8, 2013


Watching the ever-changing contours of Annette's Mouseketeer sweater was a right of passage for many of my vintage. I suppose I am now officially ancient...

.
posted by jim in austin at 6:42 PM on April 8, 2013


Some of my best memories are of my brother and I laughing and bopping along to the delightful Back to the Beach when it was in heavy rotation on HBO. We still recite pieces of the dialogue as in-jokes. Annette Funicello was so serene and charming and funny throughout. RIP.
posted by sundaydriver at 7:42 PM on April 8, 2013


.
posted by yellowcandy at 8:10 PM on April 8, 2013


.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 8:59 PM on April 8, 2013


She was in a movie with Don Rickles, Paul Lynde, and Buster Keaton.
.
posted by alabamnicon at 9:14 PM on April 8, 2013


.

Really sad to see her like this. I wish I hadn't clicked that link.
posted by mike3k at 9:21 PM on April 8, 2013


Disney marketed everything from Annette lunchboxes and dolls to mystery novels about her fictionalized adventures.

But she did not receive special treatment. When she lost a pair of felt mouse ears, she was charged $55. It was deducted from her $185 weekly paycheck.


And I bet it cost them all of $3 or less to replace the mouse ears. Disney is such an asshole corporation.
posted by orange swan at 9:42 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I first saw Annette Funicello in the beach movies, which ran in fairly regular rotation on the two local indie stations during the time I was in junior high.

Though I can't say I ever really lusted after her, she was always likeable in those movies, and I could understand why the various Frankie Avalon characters wanted to get with her. She seemed to have been a nice person in real life, too, so it's good to hear a few stories confirming that. As silly as a lot of it was, her work in TV, records and movies did bring enjoyment to a lot of people over the years.

I'm glad she is no longer suffering, and that her husband no longer has to bear what must have been a pretty difficult burden for him, too. MS is some fucked up shit.
.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 10:45 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I only really knew her as the peanut butter lady and in some cameos on the Brady Bunch and maybe the Monkees. My first big crush though. And her husband is a saint. What a lucky, unfortunate woman.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 1:54 AM on April 9, 2013


There are roles, their are actresses and actors, and then there is marketing. Annette provided a wonderful example for a clever child (me) to perceive the man behind the curtain. But she was special. Mostly, she just played herself, and people loved her.
posted by Goofyy at 3:46 AM on April 9, 2013


The Real Life Disney Princess. A beautiful lady.
posted by Doohickie at 5:36 AM on April 9, 2013


And looking at the CTV video, I'm struck by how normal her house looks. I mean, that could be the house of any suburban family.
posted by Doohickie at 7:34 AM on April 9, 2013


.

The Annette reference in Stand By Me is pretty much the first thing I remember about Annette Funicello, but I did watch her and Frankie's t Back to the Beach at a more impressionable age, and I came to the same conclusion as Cool Papa Bell. Brilliant film.
posted by Mezentian at 7:56 AM on April 9, 2013


Poor Annette. Dead the minute the 60's started. Her ghost pushing the peanut pablum didn't help.
posted by telstar at 9:37 PM on April 9, 2013


.
posted by kuppajava at 6:37 AM on April 10, 2013


« Older Dhikr (or Zihr) is a islamic devotional act invol...  |  Lewis Thomas (1913-1993) was a... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments