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Adorable Annette Funicello Cartoon Art Benefits Charity
Anaheim artist Kevin Kidney first met Annette Funicello when his employers at the Walt Disney Company asked him to create a special Lucite walking cane for the former Mouseketeer in the 1990s. He always loved her “silly teen comedies” like Beach Party and The Monkey’s Uncle and has just released a collection of merchandise to benefit the actresses’ foundation for Multiple Sclerosis research. The designs are based on the opening titles for 1964’s The Misadventures Of Merlin Jones. “Ever since I had two eyes,” says Kidney. “I’ve admired the rare stop-motion animation done by the Disney Studio in the 1960s.” The original papercraft animation was created by Disney legends Bill Justice and X. Atencio, Kidney’s version of Annette is not merely the one pining for Tommy Kirk, but imagined as a saloon girl at the Golden Horseshoe and a pineapple princess dancing in Hawaiian garb. The artwork is available in endless varieties, printed on T-shirts and coffee mugs, but also on pacifiers, doggie shirts, candy jars and even postage stamps. “She is an amazing lady, genuinely a sweet and strong person,” says Kidney. “I was proud to design her cane, and now I’d love to be of some help to her and others with M.S.”