“Annette [Funicello] was the last person anybody at Disney’s or ABC would have picked [for the Mickey Mouse Club]. She had a nice smile and a sweet personality and that was all. She lacked the talent for the elaborate routines all those kids on the first team were chosen for.” — anonymous studio exec in 1977.
Newspaper reporter Jerry Bowles wrote, “What Annette Funicello had (and this is the basis of her peculiar magic) were the qualities of honesty, sweetness, spirituality, and, alas, virginity that most typified the aspirations and presumed moral ambiance of that era. She was an absolute perfect embodiment of the 1950s ideal — the girl next door whom you would never try to get to go all the way because she was a good girl and you wanted to marry her someday and make babies.”
Fellow Mouseketeer Tommy Cole said, “Annette was hand-picked by Disney. That’s why she went so far. She was just a plain, flat-chested little girl in the beginning.”
Source: “Annette Idolized Disney; Lonnie Didn’t” by Jerry Bowles, January 4, 1977.