My sister and I must have watched Back to the Beach about a million times. We thought it was the funniest movie ever. If you haven't seen it, you must. Let me give you brief synopsis - Frankie (Frankie Avalon, teen dream) and Annette are married and living in Ohio after a very bad surf accident that knocked the Big Kahuna off his board for good, selling used cars and eating peanut butter sandwiches. They have a rebellious son named Bobby who wears leather and thinks he's pretty punk rock. They also have a daughter, Sandy (Aunt Becky from Full House) who lives in California and is secretly engaged to a surfer. The folks decide to surprise Sandy with a visit and head all the way to California on a double-decker jet plane with OJ Simpson. Hijinks ensue, old flames are possibly rekindled, Gilligan is off the island, Pee Wee and Fishbone rock out, pajama parties are had, biker gangs are joined, names are changed (your name is 'Nice'?), and the Big Kahuna does battle with the Humunga Coawabunga from Down Unda once again! It all wraps up quite nicely in an amazing song that I can never find on iTunes (and again and again.) Just trust that it's amazing and rent it. Or buy it - you can probably get it on Amazon for a dollar or something nutty like that. To this day it remains one of my all time favorite goofy movies, guaranteed to put a smile on my face.
Another favorite Annette moment was her visit to Pee Wee's Playhouse for the Christmas special where she made cards with Frankie Avalon. They use potatoes as stamps and old pieces of screen to stencil with paint and toothbrushes. Pee Wee puts them to serious work but Annette being Annette smiles the whole way through - even if her smile turns out green due to the fact that she uses her toothbrush to stencil and clean her molars. What a goof! This fine work of filmography is another classic, a holiday masterpiece. Again, if you haven't seen it, you must. 80s cameos galore, the silliest jokes, and Christmas classics sung by the likes of KD Lang, Grace Jones, and even Oprah Winfrey! You will not be sorry. Especially when Magic Johnson shows up for a sleigh ride!
With all of these amazing Annette moments filling up my childhood memory bank, you can imagine that I was quite saddened by the news that Annette passed away today after a long battle with MS. Despite her illness, she always managed to be upbeat, positive and kind - a surefire inspirational gal. And at my sister's suggestion, I think we should all indulge in a quiet peanut butter sandwich tonight to honor the late, great, original girl next door. Here's to you, Annette! Why? Because we like you.
Also, watch this and smile! Thanks for the memories, Annette.