ST. CHARLES – Frankie Avalon has fond memories of starring with Annette Funicello in the popular “beach party” comedy films during the mid-1960s.
Avalon will share some of those memories during his appearance Saturday at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. Funicello passed away in April due to complications with multiple sclerosis.
The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets start at $29, available at www.oshows.com, or by calling 630-962-7000.
Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to Avalon about the upcoming show.
Eric Schelkopf: I understand that you will be paying tribute to Annette Funicello at the show.
Frankie Avalon: We’re going to reminisce a little bit, and show some clips of us together as we were kids making all those fun “beach party” pictures.
So, it will be a fun show, plus me singing all my songs and all that stuff.
ES: So how was it working with her?
FA: Well, it was great. We had a wonderful working relationship and, of course, off camera, a friendship. I’m the godfather to her daughter, Gina.
So, we’ve been like family. It was a wonderful, wonderful friendship.
ES: What was it about her, as an actress and a person, that you loved so much?
FA: As a working partner, she was so professional. She had been in the business such a long time, starting with the “The Mickey Mouse Club.” So she had a lot of experience and was a consummate actress who knew her lines and her marks. She was just a complete professional.
I also lost a great friend.
ES: It seems as though those “beach party” movies reflected a more innocent age.
FA: I don’t think those pictures the way we did them 50 years ago can work today. They were innocent times, young love, and I think Annette and myself, and the characters, Dee Dee and Frankie, represented young love at the time and the morals of dating and looking for the future.
It’s a whole different world today. Progress goes on.
ES: So, what should people expect from the show?
FA: I’ll tell you exactly. I’m there to perform, to entertain and to make people reminisce.
For those who are looking at me for the first time, I hope they enjoy it. There’s a lot of good music, songs that I’ve made throughout the years that were hit songs, like “Bobby Sox to Stockings,” “Venus” and “Beauty School Dropout.”
ES: Speaking of “Beauty School Dropout,” it seems like that song featured in the movie “Grease” kind of introduced you to a new audience. Did you think it would be such a hit?
FA: No, not at all. As a matter of fact, when the character of Teen Angel was offered to me from Paramount, I said no.
I went in and had a meeting with them, and told them I didn’t want to do it because I saw the play on Broadway, and the character Teen Angel in the play was really an extension of Elvis, with long sideburns, black leather jacket and some gyrations.
I told them it was not my style, and that I have my own style. They said, “OK, do it any way you want. We want you.” So, they changed it, I’m all in white and I do it my style, and it worked.
It sure did make an impact on the audience, and I feel very fortunate.
ES: You’ve done so much over the years. Do you still have any dream projects?
FA: At this point in my life, I really enjoy exactly what I’m doing. I work when I want to work.
I performed at the Arcada last year, and I liked it very much. The audiences were great. It’s just a perfect way of life at this point in my life.