Part of my youth passes away with Annette Funicello. Any kid I knew growing up knew ‘Annette’ from the Mickey Mouse Club on TV to the Beach Party movies. And she was always a class-act. May she rest in peace.
While working on my Saturday Nite Drive-In show, I’ve been putting together a section to highlight American International Pictures’ BEACH PARTY series and its iconic reign on ozoner’s everywhere circa 1963-1966. Former Mouseketeer Annette Funicello was the Katherine Hepburn to Frankie Avalon’s Cary Grant, albeit in front of a process ocean and a gorilla on surfboard. And I love them all, every dopey song and forced gag, not to mention Harvey Lembeck’s Erich Von Zipper, the one constant hilarity through all the films. But when Annette showed for in-person screenings at drive-ins across the country, thousands showed up to supplicate. She also kicked ass in HEAD. Annette Funicello was quintessential American Star Pop. RIP.