Annette Funicello, the former Mouseketeer who gained fame during the 1960s with a series of Beach Party films with fellow co-star and heartthrob of the era singer Frankie Avalon, died today after complications from multiple sclerosis, according to USA Today. She was 70 years old.
Funicello was part of the very first wave of kids who got their start in the acting profession on The Mickey Mouse Club, a program that has run in various incarnations for decades since its premiere in the 1950s, and has also showcased the starts of Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Ryan Gosling. After that program, the child actress became a sort of symbol and icon for teenagers across the country with the various versions of the Beach Party films, innocuous vehicles which focused on teenagers in idyllic, light comedic situations, in which song and dance numbers punctuated the somewhat pedestrian narratives. In an early 1960s that was just on the crest of becoming a radical, rebellious decade, filled with unrest and political, social and artistic changes, Funicello’s Beach Party movies represented the tail end of the harmless on the surface, light hearted, safe haven of the 1950s and how teenagers were mainly represented and viewed by the public.
We Disney aficionados simply cannot obtain enough neat tidbits of trivia, seeking answers to everyday quandaries that strike us. Fortunately, Disney Editions just released a fine trivia book that puts many questions to rest. Dave Smith, Chief Archivist Emeritus of the Walt Disney Archives, has long been known to help fans with this endeavor in his legendary “Ask Dave” column. Now, Smith, author of this fact-filled title Disney Trivia from the Vault: Secrets Revealed and Questions Answered, has compiled together over 1,000 questions, providing responses and well-explained descriptions as well.
In this edition of Disney In Depth, I’ll impart my thoughts on this book, and also share some of the more unique questions and answers that you can find inside Disney Trivia from the Vault. I’ll give you 23 fun facts. Why 23? If you’re a Disney fan you should know the reason. (1923 is the year the company was founded).
At just over 250 pages, this eight-chapter book, each dedicated to a different aspect of The Walt Disney Company, contains a vast variety of little-known pieces of trivia that you can bring up at social events. Well, I’m not sure how relevant bringing up the “Kids Amateur Dog Show” at Disneyland from the 1960s would be, but would you know about that had you not picked up a copy of this? I don’t think so. The allure of trivia books is that they contain such oddball details, each with fascinating and extensive stories, making this a treasure trove.