Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Walt Disney Treasures The Mickey Mouse Club Presents Annette - 1957-1958 Season |
Actors: Jimmie Dodd, Don Grady, Tommy Cole, Eileen Diamond, Annette Funicello
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Kids & Family, Music Video & Concerts, Television
Annette. To legions of Mickey Mouse Club fans she was magic. Chosen by Walt himself as an original cast member, Annette soon became the most popular Mousketeer and was given a daily series of her own. Showcased here is the... more »
Wonderful Tribute To Disney Legend Annette
Dave | San Diego, CA | 11/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Continuing the fan-favorite Walt Disney Treasures collectible tin set, this one is "The Mickey Mouse Club Presents: Annette." Starring everyone's favorite Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello, showcased in an original 20-episode serial on DVD for the 50th anniversary of the serial's conclusion. This serial was featured on the Mickey Mouse Club and is presented in glorious black and white. Annette plays an orphan from the country who moves "uptown" to live with her wealthy Aunt & Uncle. Her aunt, played by Sylvia Field, will be recognizable as Mrs. Wilson from the original "Dennis the Menace" TV series. The "Annette" serial also stars Tim Considine and David Stollery (better known as "Spin and Marty") and Shelley Fabares, who became life-long friends with Annette.
The series does seem a little dated, but Annette is so natural that she really does make it enjoyable, even 50 years after it was first broadcast. This serial is also a fantastic time capsule with the Disney-fied version of what the 1950's were like. Each episode of the serial is extremely short, as The Mickey Mouse Club itself was only half an hour at this point.
Bonus features include:
* "Musically Yours, Annette" - From a 1992 interview, Annette recalls her career as a recording star and her years on "The Mickey Mouse Club." Also includes interviews with Annette's fellow teen idols Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, and Fabian. It is touching to see how Annette stayed unspoiled and natural, even in her contemporary interview segments. The admiration from her coworkers is also evident. The Sherman Brothers practically glow when they speak of her, and her record producer Tutti Camarata explains how "The Annette Sound" was created by overdubbing her vocals.
* "To Annette, With Love" - Is a newly produced tribute that has interviews with many of the same people as the other featurette. It is extremely touching to see Annette's reverence for Walt Disney and appreciation of him and how he guided her career. There is no artifice or canned emotion with her. Interview clips include her mother, Tutti, Shelley Fabares, and more.
* The Mickey Mouse Club - The complete first and last episodes of the popular television program that featured the "Annette" serial where were broadcast between February 11, 1958 and March 7, 1958.
This set also includes a Certificate of Authenticity (set limited to 39,500 copies) as well as a postcard size publicity photo of Annette from this serial. There is also the usual introductory booklet with a table of contents. A very nice set that will appeal to Annette's fans."
It's Annette, not Donald Duck
Larry J. Goffinet | Tell City, IN United States | 10/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think the previous reviewer reviewed the wrong DVD set, as I don't believe all those Donald Duck cartoons are included in this one. There may be a couple, as this set includes two complete episodes of the "Mickey Mouse Club." But this set features Annette Funicello and the live-action 20-part serial that she starred in during the Mickey Mouse Club's 1957-58 season and that is worth more than any Donald Duck cartoon.
The serial had a charming story about high schooler Annette McCloud trying to adjust to city life after moving there from a rural area following the death of her parents. It also features a great supporting cast, most of whom would co-star on prime-time TV series soon after. Richard Deacon, who would play Ward Cleaver's co-worker Fred Rutherford on "Leave it to Beaver" and producer Mel Cooley on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and later Roger Buell on "The Mothers In-Law," plays Annette's Uncle Archie; Sylvia Field, who would portray Mrs. Wilson on "Dennis the Menace," plays Annette's Aunt Lila; Tim Considine, who would play oldest son Mike on "My Three Sons" 1960-65, plays one of the boys interested in Annette; Shelley Fabares, who would play daughter Mary on "The Donna Reed Show" 1958-63, plays one of Annette's friends; and Roberta Shore, who would co-star with Annette in the Disney feature film, "The Shaggy Dog," and then play the ranch owner's niece on "The Virginian" in the 1960s, plays Annette's rival.
When "Mickey Mouse Club" episodes containing this serial were rerun on the Disney Channel a few years ago, the hayride episode in which Annette sings "How Will I Know My Love" was omitted. So it is nice to hear that all episodes are included in this set, as that song became a hit and launched Annette's recording career.
In short, this is a great nostalgic series and a true treasure for all fans of Annette Funicello."
"ANNETTE! ANNETTE! ANNETTE!"
Gregory Ehrbar | Orlando, FL | 11/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am quoting the theme song from this Mickey Mouse Club Serial, which was also a "Fun With Music Day" song by Jimmie Dodd, and cheering too, because if you read Mouse Tracks, you know Annette is very special to us. This DVD set is somewhat of an event. It's also an interesting coincidence that is has been released within weeks of the Hannah Montana Season One DVD. Again if you read Mouse Tracks, there is a definite connection between today's Disney pop star and Walt's first and most beloved.
Leonard Maltin's commentary and two special bonus mini-documentaries give you a brief overview of Annette's career as America's first female teen pop idol, from her selection by Walt to her beach party movie days, and gently touching on her more recent bout with Multiple Sclerosis (which resulted in her and her husband, Glen Holt, creating a foundation to help others with the affliction -- how can you not love her even more?)
It's the subject of many a Disney fan's roundtable discussion as to how Annette became such a phenomenon while the Mickey Mouse Club odds-on favorite for breakout stardom at the beginning was the gifted Darlene Gillespie (and if you have not heard her version of Alice in Wonderland with the great Tutti Camarata, I highly recommend you download it from iTunes -- it's my favorite record album.)
Maltin's comments add fuel to the discussion by mentioning that one reason Walt may have selected her was because her ethnicity, in a very white bread period for television, made her stand out. It's fascinating to consider his instincts and strategies as well as his knack for knowing what would appeal to the public.
The serial, which covers 20 12-minute episodes taking up about three hours total, was originally presented as a daily segment on the last season that the Mickey Mouse Club would feature new material (the following season consisted of edited earlier shows). From February 10 (the "Introduction" episode) to March 7 ("The Mystery is Solved") you would see either a cartoon, musical number, special guest, circus act or young talent.
The serial was often followed by a Jimmie Dodd message segment in which he would tell an Aesop story, convey a Mousekethought or introduce another Mouseketeer with an inspiring message. The Mickey Mouse Club Presents Annette DVD contains two 1958 Mickey Mouse Club shows (the first and last to present Annette) to give you the context if you're not familiar with the original series.
The Annette serial, based on a teen novel by Poky Little Puppy author Jeannette Sebring Lowrey, was the a showcase for Annette Funicello and many other young performers including her soon-to-be-real-life best friend Shelley Fabares (The Donna Reed Show, "Johnny Angel"), Roberta (Jymme) Shore (The Shaggy Dog, The Virginian), Tim Considine (The Shaggy Dog, My Three Sons) and Judy Nugent (who likely was a replacement for Darlene Gillespie who was to co-star when the serial was called Annette and Darlene but was assigned to the ill-fated Rainbow Road to Oz).
It also features many of Hollywood's best character actors, like Sylvia Field (Mrs. Wilson on Dennis the Menace), Doris Packer (Principal Mrs. Rayburn on Leave it to Beaver) and Richard Deacon -- who was playing pompous Fred Rutherford, Lumpy's father, during this period on Leave it to Beaver, and would soon become Mel Cooley on The Dick Van Dyke Show. All of these performers make the most of sometimes stodgy dialogue and often add character subtexts that are not in the lines themselves.
The lady who ties the whole show together is the inimitable Mary Wickes, who was pretty much universally loved by everyone in show business and plays the kind straight-talking, earthy confidant that she reportedly really was in Hollywood circles, being a close pal of Lucille Ball and others. As Katie, Wickes not only opens the series by previewing virtually the entire storyline (an ingenious Mickey Mouse Club serial device that gave young viewers lots to look forward to plus the final cliffhanger to anticipate), she's the only one who seems to know what's going on -- a popular movie and role for a servile supporting character in Hollywood's early days.
One of the most fascinating things about watching Annette is seeing it as a TV time capsule of what appealed to teens at the time and comparing it to the Disney Channel shows today. The dialogue itself is interesting because it's not like screenwriter Lillie Hayward was unaware of basic teenspeak of the 50's, since some characters, like Steady, Laura and Jet, use more casual colloquialisms than Annette, Steve or Mike. But the big difference is that Laura is the villain and Steady and Jet are the less refined of their peers. TV of the that day, always eager to please viewers and sponsors with the ideal example of "nice young ladies and gentlemen," do not allow the heroic characters to talk in slang beyond words like "golly" and "keen." Today's TV kid characters have no such lines of demarcation -- slang and sarcasm is up for grabs for all. The prime exception of the 50's era is Leave it to Beaver, which was more perceptive in some ways than its fellow family shows and featured more casual language among its lead characters.
I also noticed that, perhaps coincidentally, that the central plot about the lead being accused by the "mean girl" of stealing a necklace is also a subplot of a recent Disney Channel TV movie, Camp Rock (only it's a bracelet). Perhaps it's because the more we change, the more we stay the same. The seemingly insurmountable problems and joys of teenage life are fairly constant. That's why Archie comics have stood the test of time."
Utterly Charming, Classic '50's Disney TV!
Monty Moonlight | TX | 01/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Disney Legend Annette Funicello stars as Annette McCleod, a teenage, country orphan who surprises her wealthy aunt and uncle (a pair of aging siblings played by Sylvia Field and Richard Deacon) by showing up on their doorstep one evening with instructions to move right in. Uncle Archie and Aunt Lila didn't even know they had a niece from their estranged, late brother, and they aren't too keen on having a teenager around to disrupt their increasingly dull lifestyle. However, Annette is so sweet, innocent, agreeable, and happy to be there that they soon change their tune. Housekeeper Katie (Mary Wickes) helps in this area as well.
Surprisingly more quickly accepting of Annette are the upper-crust local teens, a set of clean-cut and overly pampered yet shockingly genial and well-mannered rich kids who rule the school and the suburbs and do tend to keep to their own crowd for the most part, but in a friendly sort of way. There's Steve Abernathy (Tim Considine of Spin and Marty fame), the dreamy guy all the girls want for some reason, Mike Martin (David Stollery, the other half of Spin and Marty), the senior who spends most of his time as a soda jerk, the girl who throws the parties, Val Abernathy (the Mickey Mouse Club's lovely Doreen Tracey), and her best-friend Moselle Corey (then-on Annette's real-life best-friend, Shelley Fabares), and of course, the wacky mascot of the gang, short-stacked "Steady" (Rudy Lee), the life of the party, and his hanger-on, equally diminutive Kitty (Sharon Baird). Also on hand are Madge (my own Mickey Mouse Club crush, Cheryl Holdridge), Pat (cutie Bonnie Lynn Fields), Jimmy (Tommy Cole), Tony (Chuck Hicks), Court (Barry Curtis), and Drew (Steve Stevens). On the outside of the main group is a country girl named Jet (Judy Nugent) who becomes Annette's best friend, despite not being invited to the same gatherings Annette's family standing immediately includes her in.
It would seem that Annette's integration into the in-crowd of her new hometown should be quite smooth, but there's one loose cog that throws the whole thing out of whack: Laura Rogan (the Shaggy Dog's Roberta Shore). Laura feels that newcomer Annette threatens her status as the prettiest, most sophisticated girl in school, so every chance she gets, she points out Annette's country bumpkin nature (which is really only evident in her arrival clothes and naivety) and keeps her feeling like an outsider. Things really get heated when Annette attends her first fancy party and Laura's expensive necklace goes missing. Laura immediately blames Annette, and this sets the tone for the whole serial. It is mostly about Annette trying to fit in but having to deal with Laura's jealousy the whole time until a final confrontation. "Annette" is a simple yet highly enjoyable little program, a Mickey Mouse Club serial that aired in 20 12-minute parts in 1958 based on the 1950 teen novel "Margaret", by Janette Sebring Lowrey, and showcasing the only Mouseketeer hand-picked by Walt Disney himself, Annette Funicello.
"Annette" is one of the latest titles (as of January '09) in the popular and long-running (and mostly excellent) Walt Disney Treasures DVD line, and the 3rd to feature a Mickey Mouse Club serial. The "Annette" serial episodes are presented here with the option of a play-all feature and taken out of the context of the Mickey Mouse Club television series in which they originally were played. Thankfully however, we are given the full episodes of the Mickey Mouse Club that premiered and closed the Annette serial as bonus features. Of course, all this wonderful material is not enough for a Disney Treasures collection, so we also get two featurettes about Annette and the usual Leonard Maltin introductions throughout the 2 discs. However, even all that is a bit light for a Disney Treasures collection, but they do seem to get lighter every year.
Now, personally, like most fans, I find Annette's sweetness and innocence to be endearing and love and respect her as a Disney legend, though I have to admit that my heart always belonged to Cheryl Holdridge when it came to Mouseketeers (of the '50's version at least; born in '75, I grew up with all three versions of the show thanks to the Disney Channel). Annette was an unusual face for TV at the time, standing out among the other cast members on the Mickey Mouse Club due to her Italian heritage, but I lived my whole life in a place where many girls looked like Annette, so I was never really bowled over and never really understood the obsession so many people apparently had with her in the 50's and 60's. I still don't, but as a Disney fanatic I naturally hold a different kind of fondness and appreciation for her. But, of course, a real treat for me was to see that Cheryl had a role (very minor as it was) as part of the gang on "Annette", along with a few other girls I always thought were cuties. Plus, there are those two Mickey Mouse Club episode bonus features to enjoy Cheryl on. Unfortunately, by this time the Mickey Mouse Club had been cut down to a half hour program, so the "Annette" episodes were a large part of it, meaning the extra material really isn't that much. The episode presented on the first disc features some cute musical numbers and the episode on disc two features Talent Round-Up Day, both with a song from Jimmie Dodd as well (the second has Jimmie joined by Lonnie). All this classic material is in black and white, of course. Disc One's featurette, "Musically Yours, Annette" is a 1993 promotional video made to coincide with a Walt Disney Records release of Annette's recordings. It is a featurette mostly about Annette's musical career with some great interviews, including with Annette herself. Disc Two's featurette, "To Annette With Love", is a tear-jerking reflection on Annette's career at Disney that combines old interviews with new and provides a nice, celebratory look at Annette's life to this point. Both featurettes are excellent inclusions in this set, though, as was said before, more could have been included, like galleries or audio recordings. The packaging is classic "Disney Treasures", as the set is housed in the expected silver tin and comes with a certificate of authenticity, photo card, and booklet. They did make the odd choice in this case of using a Mickey Mouse Club photo of Annette on the cover instead of one from the "Annette" serial though, but it makes no difference to me because I knew what I was getting beforehand.
"Annette" is a wonderful piece of nostalgia for anyone with Disney, '50's, or Funicello interests, or who would like to introduce a younger generation to much more wholesome, amiable viewing material from an arguably more innocent time. The story is an easy and relaxing one, highly entertaining due to the time-capsule quality, charming personalities, and delightful music (yes, these kids entertain each other at parties with preplanned musical performances). Despite how dated one might find it, you watch "Annette" always eager for the next episode and a bit sad when you know you're watching the last. It's a feeling the other Mickey Mouse Club serials will give you as well, so give "Annette" a try and locate the Disney Treasures "Hardy Boys" and "Spin and Marty" releases too if you can find them. This is truly wonderful classic Disney!"