It seems like every generation has a "pin-up girl" that it admires. In the early days of motion pictures, Clara Bow was the "It" girl. Soldiers during World War II kept pictures of Betty Grable taped to their lockers. During the 1950s and early 1960s, Marilyn Monroe's picture graced the walls of many rooms. In the 1990s, pictures of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera could be found everywhere. In the middle 1950s and into the 1960s, preteen baby boomers had their own "It" girl. Her name was Annette. All you had to say was that one name and young people knew whom you were talking about.
Annette Joanne Funicello was born in Utica, New York, on October 22, 1942. Her family was a loving Italian-American family. Annette was very shy as a young girl. Her mother decided to enroll her in dancing classes. She wanted to give Annette some confidence in herself. These dancing lessons were to take her to places she had never even dreamed of.
When Annette was just four, her father decided to move the family from New York to the sunshine of southern California. When she was twelve, her dance class gave a recital. A very famous man was sitting in the audience for her performance. As she danced the part of the Swan Queen in her class presentation of the ballet Swan Lake, this man watched the dark-haired, dark-eyed girl spin and twirl. He was fascinated with her looks and her talent. The man's name was Walt Disney.