The original Mouseketeer was handpicked in 1955 by Walt Disney to join his new Mickey Mouse Club television show. By the end of the first season, Annette Funicello was receiving over 6,000 fan letters a month. Her subsequent movie and music career the Beach Party films series with Frankie Avalon capitalized on 1960s America's fascination with surf culture became the prototype for generations of hopeful child stars and their pushy stage moms, who saw Disney as a one-way ticket to fame. Before Miley, before Britney, there was Annette.
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