Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Annette!

Win a Phone Call From Annette, 1958

Good golly, I almost forgot to wish Annette Funicello a happy birthday this week. Yesterday was the day, October 22, and I hope it was a special one for her.

Do I love Annette? Oh you bet! And what's not to admire about this living treasure of pop-Americana, who is also one of the most lovely and sincerely nice people you'd ever have the privilege to meet? Absolutely nothing, that's what, so today let's enjoy some fun images in honor of Annette.

Annette at home, 1958
From a 1958 article in "Walt Disney's Magazine":
 "Annette listens to records in the living room with her brothers, Mike, 6, and Joey, 12. Her record collection includes Elvis, Ricky Nelson, Little Richard, and her own recordings such as the 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' story-teller album seen here. Her littlest brother, Mike, likes show business, and would like to follow in Annette's footsteps. However, brother Joey pretends to be unimpressed by his popular sister. He snorts, "You should see her when she gets up in the morning!" "

(Do I even need to point out that sofa? I mean, look at that SOFA!!)

Phone Call from Annette - Winners, 1958

By the time she had reached her mid teens, Annette was a total phenomenon.  In 1958 the Disney Studios held a contest in which ten lucky kids received a personal phone call from the 15 year old brunette, with publicity designed to whip young fans into a frenzy: 
"If Annette were to call you on the telephone, what would you say?  Would you ask her about Hollywood or about herself?  Would you talk about hobbies, movies, TV or the Mouseketeers?
This is your chance. Be the first in your town to talk personally with Annette.  Act now!"

Annette the Ballerina, 1950s

Annette's talent first became apparent at Carpenter Grade School in the San Fernando Valley, where the principal suggested she take up drums. From drumming she went to dancing. Walt Disney first saw Annette in a special performance of Swan Lake in Burbank's Starlight Bowl.

Her millions of fans seemed to want to know everything about her, and the Disney studio was happy to oblige.

On October 22, 1992, Annette's 50th birthday coincided with her being named a Disney Legend by the Walt Disney Company. At the ceremony, Annette and other honorees pressed their handprints into cement and received a special Disney Legend award. I was the art department coordinator for the event that year and got to wish her a happy birthday in person. It's a great memory for me!

So, Annette, if you're reading this, love and cheers to you this week!


Unknown said...

Happy Birthday Annette! Wondering how old is she?

Kevin Kidney said...

She is 66, I believe.

Disney On Parole said...

O.K. to start with...
LOVE THE SOFA!!!!! if I could only fine that fabric today.
2nd... Looking at the list of kids that got the call from Annette,
in Los Angeles it was "Kioomars Chaffri", Wonder where they are today?
and last Kevin thank for sharing the
photo of you and Annette... How wonderful is that!

Daveland said...

Great tribute to a wonderful lady. Thanks Kevin!

Jason Schultz said...

I have some photos of Annette taping something at Disneyland from the mid 1970s. I'll let you know when I get a chance to scan them!

Unknown said...

Hey, I was just poking around Blogger, being nosy, and I found that you love The Three Caballeros too! I like your blog a lot.

I have a few audio shares that may or may not interest you, being a fan of 60's Disneyland and all:

One never knows, do one?