Fuse News: Farewell, My Darling Annette

By Gerald Peary.

No! No Annette. How unfair, the death of the fabulous Annette Funicello, 70, pushed off the front page because the ignominious Iron Lady bit the dust. I mean, Maggie Thatcher was never a Mouseketeer! She never made goo-goo eyes at Frankie Avalon, fell to pieces over Paul Anka, or sang a song like the nonpareil “Tall Paul.” Everybody: “Chalk on the sidewalk/initials on the tree/I love Paul/he loves me/Tall Paul. Tall Paul/He’s my all.”

Annette’s greatest artistic achievement? I would have to go for Beach Blanket Bingo (1965), which, beside the usual pleasures of Annette-Frankie coupling on the sand, offered Harvey Lembeck’s inimitable motorcycle gang leader, Eric Von Zipper. And an odd cameo from Buster Keaton.

Besides her ingenuous smile, the secret of Annette’s budding teen success? I remember from age 13, the local stud, age 14, announcing one afternoon his infatuation with The Mickey Mouse Club: “I’m going home,” he said, “to watch Annette’s breasts.”

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