Rest In Peace Annette Funicello
Hey guys. Quint here. Annette Funicello died today at the age of 70 and I thought I’d say a few words about her.
Annette was one of those rare pop culture icons to mean different things to different generations. For my parent’s generation, she was the hot Mouseketeer who helped kickstart the hormones of a whole lot of ‘50s boys. She matured at the same time as my folks’ generation and became the go-to beach babe to star alongside Frankie Avalon in films like BEACH PARTY, MUSCLE BEACH PARTY, BIKINI BEACH and BEACH BLANKET BINGO.
For my generation, Annette was more of a reference, a lyric in GREASE (“Would you pull that crap with Annette?”) or a filthy conversation in STAND BY ME. But I became very aware of her as a personality thanks to two things: Pee-Wee’s Christmas Special, where Pee-Wee forced her and Frankie Avalon to make Christmas cards while he and the rest of the playhouse had fun, and the insanely good and under-seen lampoon of her Beach Party days BACK TO THE BEACH.
Back to the Beach is so good. It takes an surprisingly honest look at what happens when a couple of big deal teen stars enter middle age, especially when these two teen stars were known for their wholesome images and have to live in the kind of filthy ‘80s.
What’s great about the movie is that it’s goofy, full of cheese and crazy cameos (everybody from Pee-Wee to Don Knotts to Stevie Ray Vaughn), but when you get to know the early Frankie and Annette Beach flicks you realize that there’s a deeper satire at work here. The old beach party flicks were almost always about a good couple that argues, flirts around to make the other jealous and then have to come back together at the end and that’s exactly the story here, except instead of a couple of lovelorn teenagers it’s an old married couple.
I loved Back to the Beach as a kid and still do, as a matter of fact. I’ll be throwing it on in the background as I finish up today’s work.
It’s a rare star that can keep pop culture relevance over a couple of generations, but Annette did that. From her Mouseketeer days (she was one of the only cast members to be personally selected by Walt Disney himself) to her success as a singer with Tall Paul, O Dio Mio, Train of Love and Pineapple Princess to her late in life activism to bring awareness to Multiple Sclerosis and other Neurological diseases, Ms. Funicello made a splash at every stage of her life, not content to disappear into obscurity like so many teen stars.
My thoughts are with Ms. Funicello’s friends, family and fans.
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
- Who is in consideration to take the role of Snake in the ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK remake!?! -- 675 total posts 52 posts
- The Friday Docback Crawls ‘Into The Dalek’!! Reader Reaction For DOCTOR WHO S08E02 Is Here!! + HornOrSilk's 'Breaking Bubbles and Other Stories' Big Finish Audio Review, Clips, And More!! -- 404 total posts 38 posts
- DOCTOR WHO 8.2!! ‘Kelvington’ Reviews This Weekend’s Episode And Says He’s Not Sure He Enjoys ‘What The Show Is Becoming’!! -- 360 total posts 25 posts
- WALKING DEAD!! BOARDWALK EMPIRE!! AGENTS OF SHIELD!! STAR WARS REBELS!! SOUTH PARK!! NEW GIRL!! HOMELAND!! GOTHAM!! FLASH!! SURVIVOR!! RESURRECTION!! PARENTHOOD!! BURGERS!! BLACKLIST!! BANG!! VOICE!! SLEEPY!! PERSON!! UTOPIA!! ANARCHY!! Z!! More Than 200 Autumn Premiere Dates!! -- 36 total posts 19 posts
- A Few Promo Images From EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS Bring Ridleyish Spectacle!! -- 210 total posts 19 posts
- Final PICKS & PEEKS of Aug 2014: LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE, Zombies, FOSSE, RATS, Nukes & Teens!!! -- 359 total posts 12 posts
- Abortionist Killers On PBS!! HOUDINI Hits History!! Angie Returns To THE DOME!! New DALLAS, PARADISE, WOLF, WILD, MASTERCHEF, MODEL, NINJA, HOTEL, BEACH, & RAW!! PARTNERS & MISTRESSES Finales!! UNAUTHORIZED SAVED BY THE BELL STORY!! Annaleigh Ashford On CRAIG!! Herc’s Monday TV Talkback!! -- 11 total posts 11 posts
- A New Clip From STAR WARS REBELS!! -- 9 total posts 9 posts
- Will there be a change of roster in Avengers: Age of Ultron and if so, who's gonna be on it? -- 308 total posts 9 posts
- Is this what Doctor Doom looks like in Josh Trank's FANTASTIC FOUR?! -- 318 total posts 9 posts