Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Annette Funicello, 1942-2013

Actress Annette Funicello died yesterday at the age of 70 after a long battle with mulitple sclerosis. Funicello will be remembered by some Baby Boomers for being one of the Mousketeers on the Mickey Mouse Club, but to the rest of us for all those beach movies she made with Frankie Avalon and others. After all, TCM shows those beach movies on a semiregular basis, while I don't think any Disney outlet shows those old TV episodes, if they even still exist.

I've never been a particularly big fan of the beach movies, mostly because it's a genre that's not my cup of tea; it's nothing regarding the acting of Annette, Frankie, Sandra Dee as Gidget or the others. They're inoffesive enough, and 1960s style as it actually was back in the day can be a fun time-warp, much like the norms of movies from earlier decades, except now we've got glorious color too. But it irritated me to read somebody on TCM's message boards write something to the effect that "a part of all our childhoods has passed".

I was born in 1972, so Frankie and Annette weren't part of my childhood. And there's something about having been born too late to be a Boomer, but too early to be a child of the boomers, that makes it grate on my when people suggest that the cultural touchstones for the Boomers ought to be cultural touchstones for all of us. Granted, this is something I've discussed before, probably several times in fact. But the idea of the 1960s somehow being uniquely worthy of imitation and reference just bugs the hell out of me.

There's also the corollary idea that the people who were more or less the backlash of the 1960s -- that being the 1980s -- are somehow uniquely evil, as we can see with the reaction to yesterday's other obituary, former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. But that's a topic for a non-movie blog.

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