Gidgets and Women Warriors

Annette Funicello was twelve years old when Walt Disney saw her in a school dance recital in Burbank, California. He sensed at once that the shy, curly-haired brunette had star potential, and he hired her. Annette (she was so well known that the media usually referred to her by only her first name) received bags of fan mail each month. As many as six thousand letters came from girls who thought of her as a best friend and boys who often asked her to go steady.

After three years, the Mickey Mouse Club went off the air. Annette had matured into an attractive, though still shy, teenager. Disney featured her in other TV shows including Zorro, and in movies. By the 1960's she had hit songs on the radio and hit movies in theaters. She also appeared on countless covers of teen magazines. The Mouseketeer had become an all-American teen idol, the sweet girl-next-door whom every boy wished he could take to the prom.

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