This is referring to Annette Funicello. As just about everyone knows, she died early this week, and there are numerous sites full of tributes, many saying the things about her which have been said since she was about 13. Unlike those who pour on these compliments, from whom the large majority are inherently not in position to really know, I can't say I've been a "fan" of hers. But certainly I noticed the image that the public was meant to see, and I, too, find it appealing. She and her entertaining acts and her film roles all show decency and dignity that is so lacking in anything coming out of Hollywood. But the d & d there never would have been anything of note if she hadn't become a big star somehow. And it's hard to believe that was achieved only through talent. Those Mickey Mouse kids all had to sing, dance, and know how to say a few line of dialog like they meant it, and so they all did. And I don't think any objective analysis shows that she did them better than the others. Why, then, was she the one who was by far the most popular?-- according to one source, receiving 8 times as much 'fan mail' as any other? There is something about certain people-- as well as events, designs, even names-- that leads to inexplicable interest or popularity. Unquestionably it's cultivated to a large extent by those in position to do that and take advantage of it; well beyond question about Annette and how Walt Disney himself promoted her, featuring her more and more as the club show continued, then keeping her under contract with lots of PR people. But that doesn't explain the starting point of it all, and how from the first she was the one who got the interest. This reminds me of a childhood friend named Kevin. After the 5th grade his family moved away and I haven't know him since then. He was a skinny, nimble kid, but not overly bright or talented by a long shot. But he did like to laugh, occasionally have a trick to show or a joke to tell, but nothing of great interest or in the class of a new discovery for kids about his own age. But everyone who ever met him seemed to like him and want him for a friend. He did seem to have self-confidence in making suggestions or expressing an opinion, but I used to wonder if people liked him for that quality, or he had that quality because people liked him. If either came first, both built the other further. Perhaps I noticed all that about him because I was the opposite, if anything. I was unquestionably smarter in school than he was, but I got down on myself for ever making a mistake, my suggestions were largely ignored, and I was often called stupid about important things-- that is, not school subjects. There was a visible contrast between us in that I was a fat kid with dark hair; but that still comes far short of explaining why people gravitated to him, and not me, unless they were having trouble with a math problem or something. For lack of a better term, GRAVITY is what I call that quality that attracts without any logical explanation. As for Annette and all the talk about her graciousness, her girl-next-door image, her charitability [after being diagnosed with MS, she founded an organization to research and combat the disease], and standing firm with the values her protected image was meant to convey, she just had that gravity. Looks, smile, voice, eyes, focus... these and more must be elements of unexplainable gravity which makes a person the one that hordes of people want as a best friend. But it's possible the person thus displayed does not really exist. So this can show why some people get a following to the detriment of the followers-- David Koresh might have been one such example. Nevertheless, and no matter how much her image was true to her real person, I am saddened by her death, though glad she doesn't suffer with that debilitating disease any more.