Monday, April 08, 2013
WE REMEMBER ANNETTE
Annette Funicello was a champion. She was an amazing entertainer with a charm, a wit and a smile that few stars have. She was perhaps the most courageous person I've ever known--even if it was only briefly. I remember the Sherman Brother tunes that she recorded like "Pineapple Princess", "Tall Paul", "Jo Jo The Dog Faced Boy", "Mia Amora." The Shermans used to call her "their lucky star." She was absolute magic for these two songwriters. The very first song that the Shermans wrote and played for Walt Disney was for a very ordinary Wonderful World Of Color multi-part story called "The Horsemasters" with Roberta Stack and Tommy Kirk. That song was called "Let's Sing A Strumming Song" and this simple but clever was the very song that led Walt to sign the Shermans as exclusive songwriters for the studio, and to ultimately to write the songs for "Mary Poppins." She was diagonised with MS in the late 1980's and went public about twenty-one years ago in 1992. I remember her roles in Walt's first big screen musical called "Babes In Toyland." It co-starred another recording legend Tommy Sands, and it featured the genius of Ed Wynn. Annette was the kind of performer who could really sell a song and make you believe in every line of lyric she sang. If she was your friend, she was always your friend. And she never forgot her roots. In fact, she was always amazed when Frankie Avalon used to tell her that while traveling across the country on his own singing tours, in the 1990's just how popular and how loved she still was. That simply flabbergasted and amazed her. She was pure class. There simply wasn't a bone of ego in her entire body, and Walt Disney, himself discovered her in a local school production of "Swan Lake." Later she became the spokesperson for Skippy Peanut Butter. She made great films for the Disney studio including "The Monkey's Uncle" that the Beach Boys sang in the picture. And so dear Annette, idol of my own childhood, and later friend, God keep you in his heaven, dear lady, now safe and totallly without pain. Let us find an end to this dreaded disease called MS!