Monday, April 8, 2013

Farewell Annette, our favorite Mouseketeer



I was saddened to learn of the death of Annette Funicello, an entertainment personality remembered by TV-watching baby boomers. She was one of our favorite people on one of our favorite shows, The Mickey Mouse Club.

Annette is the Mickey Mouse Club member probably most remembered by millions of kids. We sat mesmerized in front of our black and white TV screens in the late 1950s, singing along and enjoying every minute of the Mickey Mouse Show. Annette was one of the original Mousekeeters. She was 13 at the time the show premiered in 1955.

Most of the celebrities recalled from the 1950s and early 1960s - boomer 'formative years' - were adults when we were kids. The stars of the time belonged to another generation, from entertainers like Frank Sinatra and his buddies to TV personalities like Lucille Ball of ‘I Love Lucy’, the Bonanza and Gunsmoke cast, and actors that entertained the kids, including Bozo the Clown (TV trivia -Willard Scott was Bozo in the Washington, D.C. TV market), and Captain Kangaroo, a personal favorite.  Many shows had kids in them, such as Leave it to Beaver and The Donna Reed Show, but most TV celebrities were adults.

Except, of course, the cast of The Mickey Mouse Club. The original show ran from 1955 to 1960. Much of the particulars of the show remain a muddled memory in my mind, but I distinctly remember the Mouseketeer roll call and closing song. The Mousekeeters performed skits, and song and dance numbers. And of course there were the signature Mickey Mouse ears worn by cast members.


After graduating from the Mickey Mouse Club, Annette appeared in several Disney TV shows and movies and a series of Beach Party movies with Frankie Avalon.

Annette was not technically a baby boomer – she was 70 years old - but we considered her one of us.  (Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. Annette was born in 1942.)

We fondly remember Annette in the following Mouseketeer clip including the opening roll call and closing song from the TV show.

Whatever dreams I have wished have come true.
--Annette Funicello


7 comments:

  1. Oh, that is sad news. We have been on the road and I did not hear this until I read your blog. I can remember being in 4th grade and participating in a little discussion group about the MMClub at recess.

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  2. Such a big part of my childhood. I have a drawing of Mickey Mouse in my office that I got on my first visit to Disneyland in 1956. It was drawn and signed by Roy, "the Big Mooseketeer.

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  3. She and I were the same age. And she was also my favorite Mousketeer, the one I most closely identified with. Blue skies, Annette, may you dance into Heaven freed from the bonds of mortality.

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  4. She had MS for a very long time and was in a coma for a long time at the end. I'm glad she's at peace now.

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  5. Thank you for the clip! Annette was a "war baby," like me, and we watched the Mouseketeers faithfully, too!

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  6. All the kids in our neighborhood loved The Mouseketeers. Annette was the perfect big sister and best friend. It seems as though she would always be here...

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  7. MerCyn, I too absolutely loved Annette. Yesterday I saw a brief news clip that pictured her just a few months ago in bed, frail, aged, crippled. It didn't resemble the girl we came to love. And I thought to myself, what a disgrace to broadcast such a private moment of a private person. I'm sure she would not have been amused. I will always remember her class, beauty and gilded voice. But mostly, she offered a role model that was decent, kind and good.

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