4/17/2013 9:00:00 AM Harbor Springs...Now and Then
Cynthia Morse Zumbaugh
Last week marked the end of another era for many of us as we sadly mourned the passing of Annette Funicello. I know to later generations she was just someone who sold peanut butter, but she was so much more for the rest of us. She was one of the first one-name stars. If you said Annette, everyone knew who you meant.
By the time that I can remember it, the Mickey Mouse Club Show was in syndication, but I can remember scurrying around with my brother David, searching for our mouse ears because you had to wear them to sit and watch the show. We had to be in time for role call and the song; it didn't count if you didn't sing along. I didn't make it to a Disney Park until I was in my twenties, didn't make it to Disneyland until my thirties, but I grew up wanting to go. I know that the Mickey Mouse Club had a couple revivals in the seventies and nineties, but the innocence was gone. Somehow the relationship between Annette and Cubby was never questioned; they seemed so much younger than Brittany and Justin and Christina.
After she left the Mouse Club and before she hit the beach, Annette was part of some classic Disney movies, including The Shaggy Dog and Babes in Toyland. She managed a remarkably smooth transition from the 12-year-old wearing the ears to her own Disney show at 16 to Disney movies and several excellent Wonderful World of Disney episodes before she first donned a shocking two piece bathing suit at 20. Annette and Fabian, Annette and Frankie Avalon (swoon), Annette and Dwayne Hickman; they were always wholesome, fun movies and while a navel sometimes made a brief appearance, much to Walt Disney's chagrin, Annette was always the good girl and modestly attired. It's kind of ironic that none of the beach wear from any of those "bikini" movies would be considered bikinis today.
She had several hit songs; this was a multi talented girl. A little trivia, Paul Anka was quite smitten with Annette but Walt Disney kept a short leash on his stars. Nothing came of the relationship, or lack of, except a song to remember, as a heartbroken Anka
penned the classic "Puppy Love" for Annette. She was also the lead character of a series of books in the Nancy Drew genre; I think I had four or five of them.
Thinking of Annette and her movies took me back to all of that great entertainment that Disney produced for "The Wonderful World of Disney." Between Annette and Hayley Mills, we had some wholesome role models and some great entertainment. I can, and sometimes do, pull out some of those old Disney movies like That Darn Cat, The Moon Spinners, Parent Trap or Pollyanna and they are just as enjoyable today as they were fifty years ago. Silly, sweet fun with nothing objectionable for parents to consider; they knew they could trust Walt. I mentioned that he kept his talent on a short leash and while it was probably difficult for them at that time, I don't remember any scandals rocking his stable of stars. More important, many of them, including Annette, Hayley and Kurt Russell, made a successful transition to adult roles, with nary an arrest, overdose or embarrassing photo without underwear between them. I only wish that today's Disney stars could have the same longevity and success and keep their names out of the scandal sheets.
It was a day for celebrating for the Tippett clan as Erin and Josh Medley welcomed Abigail Jacquelyn Medley to the world on April 9. Grandparents are Steve and Kari (Rye) Tippett and great-grandparents are Dean and Jane Rye and Wilma and Jerry Tippett, who happened to be celebrating their 58th wedding anniversary on that day, so this beautiful little girl was an extra special gift for them.
Also doing some celebrating this week are Dave and Evelyn Olson, as April 20 marks what I believe will be their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Congratulations to a wonderful couple.
Some birthday celebrating going on this week do, beginning on Thursday, April 18, with Evan Rosinski, Linda Chumbler, Jessica Luttrell and Tom Bayliss all born on that date. On Friday, April 19th, Happy Birthday to Jeanette Werden, Kelly LaCount and Shauna Simpkins and on Saturday to Rodney Niswander and Terry Fineout Major. On Sunday we send birthday wishes to David "Leroy" Rhine and to Carol Niswander Manthei and on Monday, April 22 to Art Tebo, Sharalen Ward Greenwell and Sue Carpenter Moore. Tuesday our best wishes to out to Jan Parsons Jury and on Wednesday, April 24, to Rob McCready.