I'm going to keep this brief. Not many of us who either write for the site or are regular schmoes to the site recall when Annette Funicello was the best thing that little boys had to watch growing up on "The Mickey Mouse Club." My uncles were big fans.
It was 1955 when Funicello made her debut on the family-friendly variety show, but for most of us, it's that scene in STAND BY ME where we recall the juvenile delinquents talking about the A and the E getting rounder at the edges. Her movies with regular on-screen sweetheart, Frankie Avalon, included BEACH BLANKET BINGO and MUSCLE BEACH PARTY, where she was caught wearing what couldn't be described as the first bikini on screen because she was still under contract with Disney and they made the fashion designers create a mesh panel that covered her stomach.
For the past 25 years Annette had been suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, a debilitating disease that damages the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. As sad as it is to say, after Roger Ebert departed our movie world last week at the age of 70, it is Annette who follows as of April 8th, the very same age.
In her honor, you might want to consider watching some of her movies currently streaming on NetFlix, including BEACH PARTY, HOW TO STUFF A WILD BIKINI and perhaps click on the "Save" option for BACK TO THE BEACH, the 1987 flick that reunited her with Avalon.
Goodnight, sweet Pineapple Princess.
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