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The Myth of the Hidden Navel


Oh, regarding that one other tangential “promise” sidebar about Annette, which concerns an oft-repeated “urban legend” about the Beach Party series: it's all about a bellybutton. 


Since she was still under contract to Disney while appearing in these movies, many histories of the films claim Walt Disney insisted in “negotiations” with AIP that Funicello never be involved in any "suggestive" sequences.  Specifically, said histories claim Walt stated Annette could not be filmed wearing anything that “showed her navel.”   (Annette herself discusses this in her 1994 autobiography, stating she didn’t show her navel “out of respect” for Mr. Disney).  The typical version of the “urban legend” claims this is why Annette was never shown in any Beach Party movies wearing a “bikini.”


Well, irrespective of what Walt supposedly requested/desired, Annette (and the authors of the “urban legend”) apparently forgot about the bathing suits she wore during early scenes in both Muscle Beach Party and Bikini Beach: in the former, a white, partially fishnet and supposedly  “tummy-covering” two piece, and the latter an honest to goodness blue and white bikini (not a particularly low cut one, but a bikini nonetheless).  Both of these at times clearly left her navel 100% uncovered and readily viewable to anyone who isn’t asleep.

  The “navel exposure” is brief and somewhat subtle in Muscle "suggestive" behavior...    but obvious and extensive in Bikini, particularly in the close ups in                                                              in scenes where Annette first gets involved with Avalon’s “Potato Bug” character (the small picture to the above right shows where the first "incident" of navel exposure in that extended sequence occurs, and the blue circle inside the shot to the right -- which is from a minute or so later, by which time "everything is on full display" -- shows where the infamous bellybutton is clearly visible directly above the middle of Annette's bikini bottom).  As far as navels go, Annette's is nice, but hardly anything to get all hot and bothered over, particularly in the context of the distraction produced by the scores of other undulating, bikinied females bouncing around in those scenes.  Frankly, one is really left wondering what all the fuss was about.

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