Even when she was naughty, Annette Funicello was still America's little sweetheart.
"We were Goody Two-Shoes on the set and never got in trouble," Annette's best friend and fellow Mouseketeer Sharon Baird, 72, tells Closer.
"But later on in our teens, we would smoke at her house. We had cigarettes hidden in a little stuffed kitten that was on her bed. One night we were blowing smoke out the window when her mother yelled, 'I know what you girls are doing in there!' That was probably the most mischievous thing we did!" Baird continued.
Annette and a The Mickey Mouse Club costar in 1957. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Talk about an age of innocence. It’s been 60 years since The Mickey Mouse Club first lit up television sets — and children’s faces — across the country. From the Mouseketeer Roll Call to the song-and-dance numbers to the closing theme song, the show became an instant cultural phenomenon, airing from 1955 to 1959.
To celebrate this milestone anniversary, Closer spoke to several of the original Mouseketeers, who share their fondest memories of Annette, their lasting friendships and what it was like being the most popular kids on the planet.
Annette in 1993. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
“We were only 9 to 14 years old, but we had fan clubs everywhere and all kinds of people writing us letters,” Bobby Burgess tells Closer of the Mickey Mouse Club experience, which was filled with fans screaming at concerts, clamoring for autographs and mob scenes at the airport. "It was so fun being so popular."
Of course, the most popular of the fresh-faced Mouseketeers was Annette with her spunky personality and megawatt smile. "I think we were all in love with her," says Bobby, 74.
To read the full story on Annette, pick up the new issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!