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.