Remembering Annette Funicello

Annette Funicello

Annette Funicello


Who’s the leader of the club

That’s made for you and me?


Hey there, hi there, ho there,

You’re as welcome as can be.


Fans of Walt Disney’s late 1950s television show “The Mickey Mouse Club” are sure to remember those beginning lyrics to the Mickey Mouse Club March, the much-loved ending segment of the popular children’s after-school program.

Unfortunately, last week we lost Annette Funicello, the Mousketeer that most people consider the face of that Disney classic show. Annette, who was 70, died from complications due to multiple sclerosis, a disease she battled for more than 25 years.

When Funicello was 12 she was discovered by studio head Walt Disney, who saw her dancing in an amateur production of “Swan Lake.” Much to the enmity of her “Mickey Mouse Club” co-stars, Annette joined the cast late in the show’s first season after not being required to audition. She swiftly became the most popular performer on the weekly program.

Then, as a teenager, she transitioned, although at first reluctantly, into a successful career as a singer. Her first record release in 1959, “Tall Paul,” peaked at No. 7 on Billboard’s pop chart and she followed that up the next year with two more top 10 hits “O Dio Mio” and “Pineapple Princess.”

In the mid-1960s, Funicello established herself as a film actress, joining Frankie Avalon to co-star in a series of “Beach Party” movies. These included “Beach Party” (1963), “Muscle Beach Party” (1964), “Bikini Beach” (1964), “Pajama Party” (1964), “Beach Blanket Bingo” (1965) and “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini” (1965). I’ll bet many of our baby-boomer readers enjoyed these zany films.

She will be missed.

Can you name the late ’50s-early ’60s teen idol who had a crush on Annette, but was thwarted and had his heart broken because of Disney’s policy of over-protecting his female star? (The inability to act on his crush resulted in this artist’s song “Puppy Love,” a Top 5 hit in 1960.)

Was this Canadian-born pop star: A) Bobby Vee; B) Bobby Rydell; C) Bobby Vinton; or D) Paul Anka?

If you’re the fourth caller this week and have the right answer, you’ll win a one night stay for you and your guest (or use it for out-of-town guests when they come to visit) in the Majestic Mountain Inn’s luxury king suite. This room is complete with a fireplace and spa and is Majestic’s finest.

Last week’s question

This past week’s music trivia question asked if you could name the words that complete the 1950s musical jingle that started with the words “Shave and a haircut ...” The choices were: A) makes a man a man; B) they’ll do you good; C) two bits; or D) not just for men.

The correct answer was “two bits,” which was the equivalent of 25 cents. And if you’re interested in how the term “two bits” originated, read on. In the early days of the U.S., sometimes there was not enough U.S. coinage to go around. Foreign coins then had to be used, one of the most common being the Spanish real, which was equal to one U.S. dollar. To get small change, this coin was often cut into 8 pieces, like a pizza. Cutting it into 10 would fit the U.S. system better, but there was no easy way to get 10 equal pieces — but easy to cut into fourths and then eighths. Each 1/8 of a Spanish dollar was called a bit and was equal to 12-1/2 cents. Two of them equaled 25 cents — or a quarter.

So “two bits” has been a quarter since the early days of the U.S.

Congratulations to last week’s first-time music trivia winner, Josie Kline, winner of a shave and a haircut (which I’m guessing she might pass along to her husband), courtesy of Stacey Dixon of the Payson Hair Company in the Bashas’ shopping complex.

A little about Josie — she was born and raised in Mount Pleasant, Pa. After graduating from Ramsey High School in 1958, she attended both Thiel College and medical tech school, which launched her into a 10-year medical career, followed by her ultimate profession in the travel and tourism industry. She and her husband Alan have five children and nine grandchildren.

After retiring and spending six years traveling the country in their RV, Josie and Alan gave up the road and settled in Payson. They both volunteer at the Payson Police Department and Josie enjoys cooking in her spare time.

Josie’s favorite music genres are doo-wop, Motown and country. Her three favorite artists are Tony Bennett, Ricky Nelson (she says she just loved last month’s TCCA “Ricky Nelson Remembered” concert) and Patsy Cline.

A final note

Mark your calendars! Next week the annual Beeline Cruise-In Car Show will motor in to Green Valley Park. It’s always a lot of fun for both kids and adults. In addition to the nearly 300 classic cars on display, there will be music, food and other vendors. It’s another wonderful small town, mountain event.

DJ Craig, (928) 468-1482

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