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Written June 5, 2002
Based on a broadcast of July 21, 1970

Background:  In Syracuse, New York, one summer night in 1970, radio listeners were amazed to hear the following program.  It came from "FM 88," the Syracuse University station WAER, which was being operated by the graduate students in the radio/TV department for a couple of months.  I was among those students.

The writer, producer, and star was Vin Ialenti.  Every Tuesday night that summer, he presented "Fantastic Fred Legend," based on an oldies show that he had created during his undergraduate days at Providence College.

For this special edition of Vin's program, Dave Hepp was the male announcer and played Al Rallph.  Georgia Dzurica portrayed Evelyn Linguini.   I played the minor role of Dr. Wendell Mettinger, inventor of the VCARP.  My part was scripted, while Dave and Georgia improvised much of their material.

The following is edited from a transcript.  If you'd like to jump to a different part of the two-hour show, simply click on the desired portion of the orange time line.

We join the broadcast at five minutes past ten, as a feature from the network is just concluding.


SERIOUS ANNOUNCER:  This is the National Educational Radio Network.

FEMALE ANNOUNCER:  Stand by, world!  It's that time that we have all been waiting for!  Time for the Fantastic Fred Legend Show!

(Music plays)

It's Fantastic Fred Legend time!
It's Fantastic Fred Legend time!
It's Fantastic Fred Legend time!
So come on, kids, let's start the show!

(Fanfare plays)

A million million people
Are happy, bright and gay.

(Whistling)

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A million million people
Are happy, bright and gay.
Bells are ringing in the steeple;
It's a public holiday!

Hooray!  Hooray!
It's a public holiday!

(Music plays)

FEMALE ANNOUNCER:  And here he is, a Legend in his own time!  A star of stage, screen, radio, and goodness only knows what:  Fantastic Fred Legend!  Mmwhha!  I love you, Fred.

 

Sequence 22 photo, 1969
Vincent Ialenti
portrayed Double-F.

Where Is
He Now?
Dr. Ialenti teaches broadcasting at a college in Gardner, Massachusetts.  (Click here for a current picture.) 

Well, thank you, sweetheart, and good evening, everybody!

This is Tuesday, July 21st, the big day you've all been waiting for.  Starting at 11 o'clock, promptly, 11 o'clock tonight, Fantastic Fred will be presenting his long-awaited-for Annette Funicello Retrospective and Dance Festival.

And, wow, do we have some blockbuster events on this Dance Festival.  The best thing of it all, we've got some Annette records for you, coming up at 11 o'clock.

But until then:  music!

("Peanut Butter" plays)

Ah, the Marathons and "Peanut Butter."  Fantastic Fred is just so excited tonight, he's talking 18 miles a second.

It's eleven — um — Fantastic Fred can't even tell time!  Just think, an Annette tribute tonight!  Oh, wow!  It's nine past 10 o'clock, and let's slow things down and perhaps we can calm down Old Double-F.  Remember this one?  The Rays and "Silhouettes."


Eleven o'clock, it's coming, folks.  Don't miss it.  You'll never forgive yourself.

-----

Eighteen past ten o'clock, and someone just called up Old Double-F and said, are you going to play any of the Worst Records of the Week tonight?  And seeing we're going to do a whole hour for Annette — what, are you begging for punishment?  But nevertheless, I will promise you one Worst of the Week, okay?

In the meantime, here's good old Freddy Cannon.  Some may call this one of the worst of all time, but Fantastic Fred likes it.  It was written by Chuck Barris, the guy who now produces The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game and many other fine television programs.

("Palisades Park" plays)


(Noises)

In the background, the wastepaper baskets are being dragged out of the studio.  Fantastic Fred may be next.

News is coming up with Marty Steinbeck in about three seconds, and then after that, we're going to have that request somebody wanted, "Party Doll."

(News)

("Party Doll" plays)

One of Fantastic Fred's all-time favorite songs.  And that went out to the Class of 1958 at Chesterbrook Elementary School in Church Falls, Virginia.

Fantastic Fred usually doesn't like to do dedications or requests.  It kind of ruins a class show like I run.  But seeing I'm feeling so good tonight —  the Annette Funicello big Festival and Retrospective coming up in about 21 minutes — I figured to my little self:  whyyy not, huh?

More music with Double-F.  I'm the cream of your music machine!  That's show-biz talk, folks.

("So Fine" and "I'm Walkin'" play)

Somebody just called up, said his wife's in the bathtub; and for somebody with a wet wife, Fantastic Fred will play whatever their little heart desires.  He wanted some old Elvis; here's "Hound Dog."

("Hound Dog" plays)


It's 14 minutes before the Annette Funicello Dance Festival time, and things are hectic here at the station.

Did you hear that before the news?  A janitor walked right in on Fantastic Fred's show.  A star of my magnitude!  Walked in on the show and dragged — not carried, but dragged — a wastepaper basket across the floor.  Mm, mm.   It's just hard to believe the disrespect some people have for stars nowadays.

("Charlie Brown" plays)

Talking about "picking on" people:  that janitor came in and hit me with a broom during the last record!

What's happening?  What happened to the idea of stardom?  Ah, it's just incongruous.  But we'll be saluting a star tonight, Annette Funicello.  Some of us appreciate stars.

FEMALE VOICE:  Fantastic Fred, what you lack in talent, you make up for in stupidity.

People are invading the studio!  My Fat Girl Bodyguards are so excited about this Annette Funicello Dance Festival that they asked for the night off.  They're home lounging, probably eating eight or nine salami sandwiches.  If you're listening, girls, look what happens when you're not around to protect Fantastic Fred!  He needs all the help he can get.


Hey, I promised you one of the Worst Records of the Week.  This came in just this afternoon, just in time for the Fantastic Fred Legend Show, and this is called "Hippie Lullaby" by Louie Wickham.  You asked for it.  The Worst of the Week.

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(Acoustic guitar intro)

Well, I hit on Mom and Daddy
     And they wired me some cash,
Then I made a good connection
     And I got a heavy stash.
I wanted you to know you'd
     Always have a place to crash,
But you was gone again.

I'd trade every single food stamp in my little leather pouch
If you'd just come on back and do a thing with me.

I looked for you on the campus,
     And I thought I saw your face
Just before that trooper got you
     With his little can of mace.
Then the paddy wagons came
     And I was left without a trace,
And you was gone again.

I'd trade every single food stamp in my little leather pouch
If you'd just come on back and do a thing with me.

Well, I went up to Peñasco
     And your sleeping bag was there,
And I wanted so to tell you
     Just how much I really care,
So I opened up the flap,
     But I saw someone else's hair
And you was gone again.

I'd trade every single food stamp in my little leather pouch
If you'd just come on back and do a thing with me.

There's another verse here somewhere . . . .

Well, I thought that I might find you
     At the love-in at the park,
So I stumbled through the bushes
     Over bodies in the dark,
And I suddenly got trampled
     When somebody hollered "Narc!"
And you was gone again.

I'd trade every single food stamp in my little leather pouch
If you'd just come on back and do a thing with me.

(Light applause on record)

Well, Louie Wickham's getting no applause from old Fantastic Fred.

It's now 62 degrees in Syracuse.  The weather is going to be clear and cool tonight with a low temperature near 50.  Fair tomorrow and tomorrow night, with a high temperature in the 70s and a low tomorrow night in the 50s.  The probability of precipitation is near zero through tomorrow night.  Right now the sky is mostly clear — who cares?  It's dark out!  Who cares what the sky looks like?

And talking about caring, Fantastic Fred mentioned earlier about stars.  This is one of the great stars of my youth, Davy Crockett.  You remember when we used to sing his praise?

("Ballad of Davy Crockett" plays, then "Raunchy" begins)


In the background, Bill Justis and "Raunchy" taking us up to 11 o'clock here on FM 88, WAER, your summertime sound in Syracuse.

And you know what happens at 11.  Fantastic Fred's trying to calm himself, so he can last this whole hour of excitement.  Big times coming up at eleven!

Just compose yourself.  Try to last.  The excitement will be tremendous, I must warn you.  If you have high blood pressure, please, take a few pills, huh?

(Music concludes)

Background:  Actress and singer Annette Funicello (1942-2013) was born in Utica, New York, about 50 miles east of Syracuse.  In the 1950s, she appeared on the Mickey Mouse Club, created by Walt Disney (1901-1966).  In the 1960s, she made records and starred in several movies, especially of the beach-party genre.  That part of her career is the subject of the following Retrospective.

Unfortunately, from 1987 Miss Funicello battled multiple sclerosis, a degenerative neurological disease.  This website intends no disrespect to her in presenting the following 1970 satire in the spirit of good fun.

 


David Hepp
was the announcer.

Where Is
He Now?
Dave hosts Inside Albany, a public television program about issues in New York State.  The recent picture above was lifted borrowed from his show's website.

MALE ANNOUNCER (with echo):  "WAER FM 88 proudly presents the . . .

 

 
"And now, heeere's Double-F!"

 
Double-F with you on this exciting night, the night of the big Annette Funicello Retrospective and Dance Festival.  Just let me give you a brief preview of some of the gigantic things you're going to hear tonight, as we pay tribute to one of show business's brightest stars, Annette Funicello.

We're going to have several pieces of an interview with Annette's old wardrobe mistress and stand-in.  And that has some information that has never been told before anywhere; and you can hear it tonight, kind of like a Confidential Magazine of the airwaves.

Fantastic Fred also has an interview with Mr. Al Rallph, the man who discovered Annette Funicello and brought along her career.

We have some other controversies about Annette's life which we will discuss.

And we're going to hear music by the sweet and lovely Miss Funicello, like this one.

("Dance, Annette" plays)




Sequence 22 photo, 1969
Georgia Dzurica
portrayed Evelyn, who spoke in a flat tone throughout, even when she was proclaiming how thrilled and excited she was to be on the show.

Where Is
She Now?
This Vassar grad is now a writer living in Georgia (of course).

.

(on tape)  Ah, at great cost and great effort, Fantastic Fred Legend has before me the lovely and sweet Evelyn Linguini, the former stand-in and wardrobe mistress of Annette Funicello.

As you all know out there in my vast listening audience, for the past three or four months I've been trying to get Annette for this big occasion, but unfortunately she's a very busy woman, and Miss Linguini — Evelyn, may I call you Evelyn?

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"Oh, certainly, certainly.  It's really fine being here."

Right.  I want to thank you for being here, and I hope the trip from California wasn't too bad.  You can send the bill to Fantastic Fred Legend Enterprises for your transportation.

"The trip was a little rough, I'll tell you.  I came in a dune buggy I bought from Frankie Avalon about 1962 —"

Ooh, excuse me, but was that the one they used in Dune Buggy Beach Party Bonanza?

"That's right.  That's exactly the one."

The green one?

"It's the green one.  Really, it's a terrific-looking automobile.  But it's a little bit under the weather.  There's still sand in the spark plugs.  It was a rough trip."

I can understand.

"But it is a fantastic car, Mr. Legend.  I mean it."

Oh, you can call me Fred.

"Oh, okay, Fred."

Well, excuse me, Fantastic Fred.  I mean, you know.

"Fantastic Fred.  All right."

I'd feel better about that.  Now, how did you first meet Annette Funicello?

"Well, I was a ride in Disneyland, you know?  I worked in Fantasyland."

You were a ride?

"That's right.  Were you there?"

I think I rode you!

"Sure.  Well, I tell you, one day I hear that Disney's putting out a call, they need some Mouseketeers for some sort of new show.  So I rushed right over to the studio.  I auditioned, you know?  But they needed one more person.  They got this little kid, this Karen, with long blonde hair, the whole thing."  

Yeah, the little brat Karen.

"I lost.  I didn't get in.  But it turns out, Disney needs a wardrobe mistress for Annette.  So I said, well, listen, let me give it a try.  I quit my job as a ride, you know.  I got a mother to support.  What am I going to do?  So he says okay.  I met Annette, we went over a couple of little things about her wardrobe philosophy, and it turns out, I get the job!  I was with her for 14 years."

What was her wardrobe philosophy?  Tight?

"Yeah, I tell you, she used to buy these sweaters really small.  Four sizes too small.  Listen, we used to have to get on the set half an hour before everybody else; the two of us had to get her into these sweaters."

I just think back to my youth with Annette.  Those were those Annette sweaters with her name across the front?  I remember it used to be quite tight around the first N and the second T.

"Right about there, yeah.  It was really a job getting her into those, I tell you."


You ready to dance some more, huh?  Whether you want to or not, Fantastic Fred's going to play an Annette record, and you just try to keep your feet from moving!

("Flapper Flip" plays)

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Ah, Fantastic Fred just cannot get enough of this music with Annette Funicello.  Her vocal stylings are so unique and splendid, they just take Fantastic Fred's breath away.

And to pay a tribute to Annette's great voice, Fantastic Fred contracted Dr. Wendell Mettinger, one of the great experts on voiceology.  Okay, Wendy?  I recorded this last Thursday.

Sequence 22 photo, 1969
Tom Thomas
portrayed Dr. Mettinger.

Where Is
He Now?
He's running this website, although all lawsuits should be directed to Legend Enterprises.  Also — well, click here for Tom's full story.

 

.

(Background electronic beeping from the VCARP)

"I put 200 various recordings with Miss Funicello through our Vocal Compressor, Analyzer and Record Player here at the University of Southern California School of Optometry.  Now the machine broke down nine times due to the strain on its circuits, but we were able to get a complete charting of her vocal 'range,' if you want to call it that.  And we found that she has many unique vocal qualities.

"For instance, on the song 'Belly Button Beach Party Bingo Bonanza,' Miss Funicello hit a note that our machine could not trace!  You may remember the note.  It was in the third chorus of the song, where Annette sings,

I have sand in my belly button,
And that ain't easy
When you wear a one-piece bathing suit.

"Well, the note she hits when she sings the word 'suit' was previously unknown in the world of music.  I think that, just by inventing this one new note, Miss Funicello has made a significant contribution.  And the world of music salutes her for it."

(Click here for more about this bit)

Tonight's program is being piped into the War Memorial Auditorium downtown, also all over the Syracuse University quad, and being taped for our boys overseas.


I'm going to play one of Annette's biggest hits now, and I must apologize for the state of the record.  It's worn.  Fantastic Fred has played it over and over and over again.  But no matter what state the records are, if they're by Annette, they're groovy, fab, and gear.

("O Dio Mio" plays)

I'd like to now continue on with that exclusive interview that Fantastic Fred did get with Evelyn Linguini, Annette's old stand-in and wardrobe mistress.

.

Okay, can I ask you a blockbuster question?  One that I'm sure my audience out there is just dying to know, now that we have someone knowledgeable on the subject of Annetteology, if we could call it that?

"Oh, certainly."

Is it true that she was really 33 at the time she was supposed to be a 14-year-old Mouseketeer?

"That's right.  You know, to tell you the truth, when I first met her I did not even know.  She was just really small.  I'll tell you, she really—"

Well, small in some respects.

"Well, that's right.  But of course, in others, we all know."

I'd just like to tell you, vast listening audience, you heard this expose scoop on the Fantastic Fred Legend Show.  Uh, was it fun working on the Mickey Mouse Club?

"I'll tell you, Fantastic Fred.  I really, I did enjoy it a lot.  It was one of my more interesting jobs.  It was certainly better than being a ride, let me tell you.  Those little kids, all the time . . . oh, the little kids get on my nerves so easily."    

Annette used to be romantically linked, I remember from the teenage magazines at the time, with Bobby Burgess.

"I, I, if you want my personal opinion, I think Frankie Avalon was another story.  There was a real association there.  I 'frankly' have always wondered about Frankie.  Heh-heh."

She knew Frankie back in those days?

"She did.  Yes, she certainly did.  This was before they began any of the beach party, uh, saga."

An exclusive interview with Evelyn Linguini; and she's dropping a few bombshells about Annette Funicello, things I bet you out there just didn't know.  Fantastic Fred here is going to expose it all, tell the whole truth, and pay tribute to this great star.


And one of the great controversies surrounding Annette Funicello was, did she really voice the Hayley Mills records?  Particularly, the one in question was "Let's Get Together."  Here it is, Hayley Mills and the record of controversy.

("Let's Get Together" plays)

Did Annette actually sing that record?  That's the question Fantastic Fred asked Dr. Wendell Mettinger, and this is his reply.

.

"Well, since we had complete vocal checks and charts on Annette Funicello's vocal range and pitch structure — as well as her measurements — it was relatively easy to check.  We ran 17 various testing procedures on the song, and I think I can base my professional reputation on my conclusion.  Without a doubt, the same person who sang 'Let's Get Together' was the person who sang the Annette Funicello records.  If we can assume that Annette Funicello did sing on her own records, then there is no question that she also ghost-sang 'Let's Get Together' for Hayley Mills.

"There are many reasons for this.  If you listen closely to the song, the artist is singing simultaneously in seven keys.  Now, there's only one singer in the world who could do this, and that's Annette.

"Also, listen closely to the third 'yeah' in the line 'Let's get together, yeah yeah yeah.'  It is a middle C which is glissandoed off pitch and on pitch three times during one beat.  Now this is a very distinctive trait of Miss Funicello's vocal style.

"And besides, it must be Annette, because who else would do such a lousy British accent?"

Thank you, Dr. Wendell Mettinger.  This is Fantastic Fred Legend, the ever-popular Fantastic Fred.  And my goodness, I'll be so popular tomorrow after bringing you this great tribute to Annette Funicello.

It's 24 minutes past the hour of eleven o'clock, and we'll be going until twelve o'clock tonight with this appropriate tribute to the great star from Central New York.  And coming up right after news, which you'll be hearing at 11:30, we'll have that interview with Mr. Al Rallph, the man who discovered Annette Funicello.

("Rock-A-Cha" plays)

Oh, Annette!  Boy, she's even displaying her acting ability in that song, when she says "Geez, Louise" with a Spanish accent.  Magnificent!

Let's go with two in a row, and taking us up to news time, Annette and "The Hucklebuck."  Annette, we're waiting, baby!  Keep Fantastic Fred's audience turned on till twelve!

("The Hucklebuck" plays)

(News)

("Do the Glide" plays)

Wow, that's the sultry and tantalizing voice of Miss Annette Funicello, the woman, the star that Fantastic Fred Legend is paying tribute to tonight.


As Fantastic Fred promised you, Fantastic Fred now has an interview which he got last week with Mr. Al Rallph.

Sequence 22 photo, 1969
David Hepp
had his eyes shut when our class picture was snapped.  (That's why, when we mentioned him before, we substituted a more recent photo.)

Dave used a loud, tough voice to portray Al, whom one can imagine with a fat cigar.

 

.

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(Strip-joint band plays)

This is Fantastic Fred Legend at the Club Hi-Ho in Peoria, Illinois.  Fantastic Fred is here to talk to, hopefully, Mr. Al Rallph.  Al Rallph, as you know—

"Keep it moving.  Keep it moving, girls!"

I think you can hear Mr. Rallph in the background.  If you remember, Mr. Rallph was—

"Bumps!  I want bumps!  Give me bumps!"

That Mr. Rallph is loud.  My goodness.  Mr. Rallph was talent coordinator for the Mickey Mouse Club during the heyday of the Mickey Mouse Club, and he's the man that's responsible for discovering Annette Funicello.  Mr. Rallph?  Oh, uh, Mr. Rallph?

"What?" 

I'm Franta— I'm Fantastic Fred Legend, the—

"You're what?"

Fantastic Fred Legend, the radio star, and I'd like a word with you for just a second, please?

"Yeah.  Funny name, kid."

I'm sorry, sir, but that's the name my mother gave me.

"What's your first name?"

Fantastic.  Fred's my middle name.  And, uh, I want to know about Annette—

"Do you hear this?  'Fantastic Fred Legend'!"

It's not that funny, sir.  I've lived with this stigma for all my life.  But nevertheless, I'm here to talk about—

"You lived with what?"

The stigma.  It hurts.

"We've got a 'funny girl' here, too."

Right.  But we're here to talk about Annette Funicello.  Remember her?  Annette?

"Who?"

(slowly)  Annette Funicello.

"Annette.  Annette Funicello.  Sounds like an Italian restaurant dish."

Well, she is a dish.  But she used to work in your club, I believe.  You discovered Annette Funicello.  You put her on the Mickey Mouse Club.

"Oh, yeah, yeah!  Annette!  The Girl with the Thousand Ears!"

The thousand ears?!

"Oh, yeah!  Great act!  The girl, she had black hair, she had these big—"

Yeah, right, that's her, that's her.

"Yeah.  Used to come out, we had a whole thing built around mice."

Ooh, is that where Walt Disney got the idea for the Mickey Mouse Club? 

"The guy — I hate to — I mean — ya know —"  (music ends)

He's dead now.

"Passed away.  I mean, we're all in show business, right?  He was a great man.  Passed away.  Stole the idea, though. — Hey, girls, off the stage!  The music's over!  Go on, get dressed! — We bring 'em in early, you know.  Bring 'em in about six o'clock, run 'em through their paces.  The breakfast crowd comes in about eight."

The breakfast crowd?

"Yeah, we get a big crowd; you wouldn't believe.  You know, Peoria's got a big steel mill.  They come in early."

Right, I see.

"We get the guys coming off the night shift, too."

I see.  You were talking about Annette's act?

"Yeah, uh-huh.  Man, I'm telling ya!  This is the thing that Disney stole.  Used to come out with hats."

Annette.

"The Girl with the Thousand Mouse Hats.  Well, she came out with hats.  'Take them off, baby!'  Had a lot of hats.  Took off about, uh, forty, fifty hats."

Yeah, I see.

"Guys start falling asleep on the table.  She didn't get to anything else!  I had to get rid of her after awhile."

But you did go to Hollywood when Disney discovered her?

"Well, I tell ya, see, this guy, he had a talent scout around."

Disney did?

"Yeah.  Guy with a black cape, little hat; used to go around with this little guy that never talked."

Oh, Zorro!  Zorro, was that his name?

"Oh, yeah, right.  Lost three waiters to the guy!  He used to come in with the sword, get excited with the girls, right?  Got excited.  Carved three waiters up.  Terrible."

I hate to get off the track; Fantastic Fred's a busy man.  But Al Rallph, what exactly did you do with the Mouseketeers?  Did you work with them on vocals or anything?

"I taught them almost everything they know."

Annette in particular, she had a particularly fine voice—

"Well, I took her right under my wing.  I mean, she was from the club."

Right, the Hi-Ho Club.  Did she sing in her act at the Hi-Ho Club?

"No.  Just took her hats off.  Ugh, those hats!"

Brings back bad memories, huh?

"Aaugh!"

Did you teach her her vocal style?  Like in "Tall Paul," she was particularly—

"Remember that song, 'Pineapple Princess'?"

Yes, I do—

(singing loudly)  "Pineapple Princess!  I love ya!  You're the sweetest girl in town!"

Did you teach—

"Wrote that!  I wrote it!  I wrote the song; taught her the proper phrasing, as it were.  There's sort of a lilt in my voice that she got."

Did you teach her her dancing steps, et cetera?

"Well, I mean — look, did ya see the girls before?"

Oh, yeah, yeah.  Can I stay around for the breakfast show?

"Yeah.  Yeah, I'll get ya a table up front."

Great.  Thank you very much.  Fantastic Fred would just like to thank Mr. Al Rowf—

"Rallph."

Rallph.  R-A-L-L-P-H?

"That's it!  Hey, you're the first guy that ever spelled it right!  What's your name again?"

(laughing)  Legend.  Legend.  Fred Legend.  I'm sorry to laugh, sir, but Number 3 is now tickling me under the table, and—

"Back on the stage!  You'll be out on the street where I found ya!"

Fantastic Fred does have problems with that, you know.  He's just so cute.  Uh, could you use an emcee at the club on weekends?

"I got one, kid.  Thanks just the same."

Okay, Mr. Rallph.  Fantastic Fred would like to thank Mr. Al Rallph, the discoverer of Annette Funicello.  Mr. Rallph, how can I thank you?

"I don't know.  Gimme about 50 bucks, that'd be good!"

That was the exclusive interview that Fantastic Fred got with Mr. Al Rallph, the man that discovered Annette Funicello.


It's 16 and a half before the hour of 12 o'clock, and here's another piece of that interview with Evelyn Linguini, Annette's old stand-in and wardrobe mistress.

.

Moving on to the days of the beach party movies.  There was a string of them, about seven or eight.  What do you think was the best movie she ever made?

"I think it was probably Bathing Suit Beach Bop Beach Party.  That was certainly one of my favorites, I know that."

Why was this?

"Well, Annette almost drowned in it."

That was a great scene, when she was on the beach, panting, and Frankie gave her that mouth-to-mouth—

"Oh, I'll never forget it.  I mean, it just really stands out.  It ranks right up there with that scene in From Here to Eternity."

Right.  Next to Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, the Frankie Avalon-Annette Funicello team is probably one of the greatest teams of screen lovers of all time.

"Oh, I'd say, yes, I would say so."

Up here at Syracuse University, they had an Annette Funicello-Frankie Avalon film retrospective last year.  Ah, what great memories those old beach party movies bring to my mind!  I can remember reading that they were made in something like four or five days.  Could you explain to us what the process was?

"Surely, surely, Fantastic Fred.  The first day, I would spend the whole day trying to get her into that bathing suit.  That was the whole day, Day One.  After that, she would just have to stay in that suit for four days.  We would take about two days of shooting and a day of editing, and we'd get her out of the suit as soon as possible.  I mean, you can't stay in a wet suit for four days!  You know what happens."

You get all shriveled up.  It's just because the suit was so tight on her.

"That's right, that's right.  It was two sizes too small."

I see.  Who designed Annette's suits?

"Annette's suits were always designed by Mr. Francis of Finland."

Because compared to the other girls' bathing suits, they weren't as snappy.  The other girls had nice polka-dotted bikinis. And this brings up the question that Fantastic Fred has been dying for years to ask an expert in Annetteology.  Why in the world did Annette wear a one-piece bathing suit, while all the other girls wore those nice snappy two-piece bikinis?  And all the movies had "bikini" in the title, practically.  I just can't understand, you know, why.  Could you tell us?  Could you tell us?

"Well, many people have asked me that very same question."

Have you told them?  Or is this a first for the Fred Legend Show? 

"I've tried to keep it a secret.  I've been asked so many times, though, I tell you, I've been dying to reveal it myself."

Fantastic Fred has paid you great money to get all the true facts, et cetera.  So please, why did Annette — this is it, Syracuse!  — why did Annette wear a one-piece bathing suit, while all the other girls had the two pieces, mmm mmm?

"Actually, she had a pair of Mouseketeer ears tattooed on her navel."

(amazed)  How did that ever come about?  My goodness!

"Well, once she and Mr. Disney were out on the town.  And she couldn't hold her liquor.  She could not hold her liquor."

Did she spill a lot?

"She spilled it all over.  It was such a tremendous cleaning bill, and it was a great burden on me, because I was responsible for her appearance.  You know what I mean."

Right.

"Well, um, one time she got a little tanked up, and she just went out and had her navel tattooed!  Why, you couldn't show that on the screen!"

My goodness.  A Mickey Mouse Club hat, with the ears—

"With the ears.  Right on her navel."

That's — very strange.

Now you know!  Fantastic Fred is telling everything, with the help of Evelyn Linguini, Annette's old wardrobe mistress and stand-in.


It's 13 before 12 o'clock, and more Annette music, baby.  Dance!  Ah, Fantastic Fred's feet just won't stop moving.

("Takes Two to Tango" plays, ending with the line "Yeah, I'm with you!")

Did you hear that?  Annette's with Fantastic Fred tonight.  Ah, perhaps if I'm lucky I can dream of the sweet and lovely Miss Funicello.

It's about 11 before 12 o'clock, and let's hear some more of that exclusive interview that Fantastic Fred has with Evelyn Linguini, Annette's old stand-in and wardrobe mistresss.

.

What's happening now with Annette Funicello?  I'm sure my vast listening audience out there is saying, "We haven't seen Annette since the last beach party movie!"  That was, uh, I can't —

"I believe that was about 1967, something like that.  Well, that's true; there was a period of time in which she wasn't making pictures any more.

"Of course, she was married.  And now of course, she's working for Baby Magic products, and she's selling their Baby Magic lotion and powders.  You may have seen her on television or some such thing.

"But now, Disney Productions is thinking of bringing back the Mouseketeers — of course, a new version for this new generation."

Right, right.

"And I understand that they have asked Annette if she would care to appear again as a Mouseketeer.  And she's considering it; I think she's going to accept.  She's not really going to make her decision known until August 15th, I believe it is, and we're going to have to wait on that.  But she's terribly interested, and she's in the process of rejuvenating herself.  I think, frankly, that she's going to be 14 again.  She will be back, in the sweater, in the ears, and I think we'll all be thrilled to see her back on the screen again.  I know I will."

There you heard it first on the Fantastic Fred Legend Show:  the Mickey Mouse Club might be coming back to the air, and Annette Funicello is going to try to get her old job back!


(Mexican Hat Dance plays, with lyrics "¿Como Esta Usted?")

Not only is Annette popular in Central New York, but she's real big in South America, one of the biggest stars that South America has known.  I believe that since 1958 in one country in South America or another, Annette has had a number-one record.  That's just some tremendous record, I think equaled only by Freddy Cannon.  A great star, Annette Funicello.

We're going to conclude that exclusive interview now with Evelyn Linguini, and you'll find it very interesting, revealing all the facts about Annette Funicello.

.

In 1968, that rumor shook the world:  "Annette is dead." 

"That's right, and it was a terrible shock.  Well, of course, the thing that happened there, she hadn't made a picture in a few years.  And then it all came back.  She was a smash at Monterey.  She and Frankie Avalon did a comeback, a little singing of several of her records —"

Oh, right.  "Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy," and —

"I'll tell you, if you were there to see that crowd go wild, it was the biggest thing at Monterey that year.  I mean, it was a sensation."

That's right.  I remember in the movie they made of the Monterey Festival, they had to cut out the Annette and Frankie section, because they were afraid of the stimulation in the movie theaters.  You know, like the old days of rock and roll, they'd just come in and tear the theater apart.  Were you there in Monterey that day to see this?

"I was there that day.  There was just nothing like it; I will never forget it as long as I live.  I mean, it was a sensation.  And I'll tell you, I was hoping she would have been at Woodstock last summer.  But you know, she couldn't make it."

Is she going to be at any other festivals in the New York area, so some of her old fans perhaps could come up there?  Wasn't she supposed to be at the Sugar Mill Festival at the beginning of September in Gotham, New York?

"Well, I'll tell you, it depends on whether or not she does accept the new Mouseketeer offer."

Oh, right, right.

"If she accepts that, possibly she will have another commitment there.  You know, it takes an awful lot to get these shows together.  I know wardrobe will take at least two months to set up."

What's so difficult about it?

"Well, in knitting those sweaters, you know—"

Oh, those are all hand-knitted?

"Those are all hand-knit sweaters, certainly, yes."

That's excellent.  Fantastic Fred is just thrilled this evening to have had—

"Well, I'll tell you, Mr. Legend, it was a terrific thrill for me to be here.  I would do it again, even in that same dune buggy.  It has just been a thrill.  Can I tell you that?  I mean, just a thrill to be here and meet you."

You mean, to meet Fantastic Fred?

"I certainly feel that way, yes, it's just, I'm just breathless."

Is it true Fantastic Fred is as big on the West Coast as he is here in the East?

"Oh, certainly, yes.  On the West Coast, you have a tremendous following.  I mean, I just can't tell you how big it is there."

"It"?  You mean Fantastic Fred.

"The Fantastic Fred cult.  I mean, it's just growing and growing there.  The T-shirts and the sweaters —"

Oh, the Fantastic Fred T-shirts — I'll give you one to take back to the Coast, personally autographed.

"Oh, would you?  I would love it.  Listen, I tell you, Annette asked me, if it was possible, could I get one for her."

Oh, my goodness, I'll send one for her —

"It'll be a small size.  But I hoped maybe you would have them in small sizes."

Oh, that's right; Annette always wears the small size.  And I'll tell you what, for Annette's 13 children, I will send each a sweater and an autographed picture—

"Oh, that would just be marvelous!  I mean, I can't tell you how marvelous that would be."

Okay, and Evelyn, before you leave — Evelyn Linguini, Annette's old wardrobe mistress and stand-in — Fantastic Fred would just like to ask you one more question.

"Certainly, certainly."

You've worked closely with Frankie Avalon.  He's always been one of my favorites.  But don't you think Fantastic Fred is just a little cuter than Frankie Avalon?

"Fantastic Fred, I do.  I, I, I think he's, you're so much better.  I'm just so thrilled to be here, I can hardly believe it.  I, I, I, really, I — you know, if I weren't thinking of going back to Disney Productions, I would certainly want to be asked if I could audition for one of your Legion of Lovelies.  Do you think I could qualify?  I really, I would love it."

Evelyn, I'll let you give Fantastic Fred a great big kiss after we finish recording this interview, okay?

"Oh.  Oh, it's too much for me."

If it is, we'll ship you back in a box to California.

This is Fantastic Fred Legend here, having the privilege and the thrill of a lifetime to get the true facts about Annette Funicello from Evelyn Linguini, Miss Funicello's old stand-in and wardrobe mistress.  Again, thank you very much.

"You're quite welcome."

Aaah, that was a thrill to meet someone who worked that closely with Annette Funicello.  Although I am one of Annette's biggest fans, I have not had the privilege of meeting her, although Annette does want to meet Fantastic Fred and has invited me out to California.


I hope you've enjoyed tonight's special super-duper show on Fantastic Fred Legend's Frolics, the Annette Funicello Retrospective and Dance Festival.

I'm sorry we didn't have enough time for dancing tonight; perhaps we can dance with Annette a bit next week.  But we just had so much important information that has never been aired, I thought that it was quite important that we let it all hang out and that you hear all the true facts about Annette Funicello, one of the great stars of show business history.

Until next Tuesday night, this is the ever-popular Fantastic Fred Legend saying good night and thanks for listening.  And Annette Funicello, wherever you are, Fantastic Fred loves ya!

 

MALE ANNOUNCER:  "The preceding program was conceived, written, narrated, directed, and produced by Fantastic Fred Legend, for Fantastic Fred Legend Enterprises Incorporated and Very Limited.

"Mr. Legend is solely responsible for its contents.  Any similarity between the information disseminated on the preceding program, and the actual truth, is extremely dubious.

"All lawsuits should be sent to Legend Enterprises.  But it will do you no good, because Mr. Legend is legally not responsible for anything he says or does.

"Any reuse or rebroadcast of the sounds and information heard on the Fantastic Fred Legend Annette Funicello Dance Festival, Retrospective, and Bake-Off is strictly ridiculous."

 
(Station theme plays:  "FM 88.  WAER.  Syracuse.")

 

 

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