She was one of the original Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeers, the onscreen love of Frankie Avalon in the megahit “Beach Party” movies, the chief proponent of Skippy peanut butter on TV and, of course, the Queen of Walt Disney World Resort plus one of the nicest people ever in show business.
Wait a minute though, you might be thinking. What was that thing about Annette being Queen of Walt Disney World Resort? Allow me to make my intricate, airtight case for how America’s Girl Next Door inadvertently helped to build the Vacation Kingdom.
Not long after the Mickey Mouse Club premiered, Annette was getting tons of fan mail. Upon singing “How Will I Know My Love” on the show, the Disney studio was bombarded with fan requests for a recording. The record did so well, songwriters were asked to submit tunes for the fledgling singer.
The Sherman Brothers gave Annette a top ten hit with “Tall Paul.” More Sherman/Annette hits brought then to Walt’s personal attention. This led to their writing songs for The Parent Trap. Richard and Robert Sherman were put on staff and, between numerous songs for TV, films and attractions, they wrote the story-driven score for the Oscar-winning blockbuster, Mary Poppins.
A new company division, “MAPO,” was financed with a chunk of the huge MAry POppins box office revenue. MAPO built Disney attractions and theme parks, including Walt Disney World Resort.
See how it all fits so seamlessly together? It all began with a sweet, unassuming pop culture icon named Annette. That’s my logic, and I’m sticking with it. Am I too emotionally attached to be subjective or am I just strikingly insightful?
And sure, we just opened Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa, in Ko Olina, Hawai`i – but Annette was the “Pineapple Princess” four decades earlier and celebrated it on her album Hawaiiannette (now on iTunes). Hmmm. Did she somehow know? Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch.
Greg, I am so there with you! I totally get it. Not connecting Darlene with the acquisition of ABC in the 90’s might be a bit of a stretch–but who knows! 😉
Disney at Work
Actually, Darlene did an excellent version of the score Alice in Wonderland with Tutti Camarata that is available on iTunes. Huge orchestra and chorus, very moving vocals by Darlene. A great alnum.
Why would she celebrate Pineapple Princess on Italiannette? I believe it was Hawaiiannette.
You’re a sharp-eyed reader, Marshal! it should be “Hawaiiannette.” Maybe we can correct it using technology (and that may be why it has been corrected if you read this some time after this message). Annette herself often chuckled about how many albums had these kind of titles: Hawaiiannette, Italiannette, DanceAnnette…she said, “Maybe we should do Bayonnnette or Bathannette?”
Actually that’s kind of fun! What crazy albums could Annette have also done in this series?
SINGIN’ IN THE RAINNETTE
HINDUSTANNETTE (Her Bollywood album)
LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMANNETTE
A TRIBUTE TO THE SONGS OF ALAN MENKEN AND HOWARD ASHMANNETTE
and, of course…
DISNEY’S MAGIC YOUR WAY VACATION PACKAGE WITH THE DISNEY DINING PLANNETTE!
Having been born on Oct 22, 1942, and also being diagnosed with MS, I can appreciate the Queen Annette title for this wonderful, and beautiful person, whom I have had a crush on for lo these many, many years since the original MM Club.
Thanks and best wishes, Walter. You also have the same first name as someone else rather special to us all.
So that’s why I always pick Super Crunchy Skippy Peanut Butter instead of Peter Pan’s.
Which male did not love Annette? The personality, the looks, the character! Who did not love Annette?
Did Lesley Gore do the same Tall Paul-(he’s my All) Annette song that I have on her album. Quincy Jones worked with Leslie. I have heard some Darline songs from Sleeping Beauty and I Wonder that were Great on You Tube! Happy birthday Queen Annette
Douglas – Ladies wanted to be her best friend, guys wanted to go steady with her, everybody wanted to meet at the malt shop and dance!
Friend – Judy Harriet recorded “Tall Paul” before Annette. She was a Mouseketeer as well. I don’t know if Lesley Gore recorded that song too, but here’s some trivia, her song, “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows,” became a hit after she performed it in the Frankie Avalon comedy, “Ski Party,” in which Annette had a cameo. “Sunshine” was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, was also recorded by The Chipmunks and Tutti Camarata, and was heard in the movie “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.” Just thought it might be fun to know.
Thank you Greg. I think Leslie’s Tall Paul was actually a different song on her “It’s My Party Album”. I remember Ski Party, but was too young to ski or surf back then. Loved seeing Annette in “Back to the Beach” in 1987.