It’s hard to think of any actress-celebrity who seemed to represent the vapidly self-absorbed, pre-progressive-social-consciousness era of the ’50s and early ’60s more profoundly than Annette Funicello, the ex-Mousketeer and AIP Beach Blanket Bingo queen who has died at age 70. I guess Shelley Fabares and Connie Francis were just as “bad” in this regard, and I guess you can’t really “blame” Funicello for projecting all that puerility and making all those AIP beach movies with Frankie Avalon.
I’m not talking about Ms. Funicello herself, of course, but what she performed and sold as a “brand.” Put on the headphones and listen to “Tall Paul“, and then marvel at how Funicello’s mentality co-existed in the ’50s and ’60s with that of, say, Joni Mitchell‘s. Funicello projected such naivete and a lack of any kind of fire. Francis, at least, could sing “and I like it fine” in the plastic-pop hit “Stupid Cupid“, but even that, I suspect, was beyond Funicello’s reach.
That aside I’m sorry for the sadness being felt right now by Funicello’s friends, family, loved ones.
This just in from Block-Korenbrot, passing along a note from her children Gina, Jacky and Jason: “We are so sorry to lose mother. She is no longer suffering anymore and is now dancing in heaven. We love and will miss her terribly.”