It’s rare that I ever get deeply affected when celebrities die. By definition, celebrities aren’t familiar, they’re totally foreign and unattainable, so their passing, while sad, doesn’t stop me in my tracks. Of course, Lady Di was an exception, and I imagine one day my great heroes will be an exception, too (I won’t name them here, it feels too morbid). Annette Funicello is an exception to the rule for me, too, even though I’ve only ever seen one movie she was in. The 1961 technicolor masterpiece “Babes in Toyland.” Did you ever see it? My mom had it on Betamax (!!) and I watched it until the tape wore down. To a young girl, Annette Funicello as Mary Contrary was magical. She was beautiful, sweet, smart, and had great hair. She passed away yesterday, and while her death doesn’t radiate as deeply to me as other people would, and more to other people than to me, she was a big part of my childhood in a delightful and happy way. And seeing as I’m already on a trip down childhood memory lane after yesterday, I’m grateful for the chance to reminisce about “Babes in Toyland” and more than a little proud that I still know all the words to the songs.
PS. Because my mom and I can still belt out “THIS IS THE FOREST OF NO RETURN!” at random and crack up, I’m including this clip. And before she outs me, I’ll admit it, this scene used to scare the bejesus out of me.