Walt Disney Treasures / Annette : 4 of 5
I recently polished off the first of the Christmas wave of Walt Disney Treasures, the complete run of the Mickey Mouse Club serial Annette, featuring Mousketeer Annete Funicello, of course. This show was presented in 20 10-minute episodes near the end of the run of the original Mickey Mouse Club show on TV (1957-58), and it was so relaxing to watch this simple series about a farm girl living with her rich aunt and uncle and adjusting to high society, high school life! In fact, several times I found myself thinking of this show as an early version of High School Musical, since there are themes of cliques, class separation, and even some musical numbers. Lots of the other Mouseketeers have smaller roles, and the boys who played Spin and Marty star in the other main parts. All of the kids do a fine acting job, although there's not much to do except talk in cliched speech (I dare you to count the number of times you hear "I'll say!"). The girl who plays Annette's rival is really cute and sings some nice songs, but of course she's so mean that you have to root for Annette. The high school scenes were all filmed at the Walt Disney Studio in Burbank, so it's cool to see the outside of the animation buildings double as a school! While all 20 episodes are presented individually, the complete Mickey Mouse Club episodes with the first and last parts of the serial are also included, along with some nice documentaries about Annette's career, including interviews with the Sherman brothers about her music (I thought it was interesting that she always doubled her voice in recording sessions). I really had a nice time watching this slow-paced show - even though this is one of the shorter Walt Disney Treasures sets in a while, I definitely recommend it for serious Disney fans!