Frankie Avalon: '50s and '60s Teen Idol at the California Theatre of the Performing Arts
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The last date listed for Frankie Avalon was Saturday September 18, 2010 / 8:00pm.
By the time he was 12, Avalon was on U.S. television for his trumpet, and as a teenager, played with Bobby Rydell in Rocco and the Saints. In 1959, “Venus” (5 weeks #1) and “Why” went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. “Why” was the last #1 of the 1950s. Avalon had 31 charted Billboard U.S. singles from 1958 to late 1962, including “Just Ask Your Heart” (U.S. #7), “I’ll Wait For You” (U.S. #15), “Bobby Sox to Stockings” (U.S. #8), and “A Boy Without a Girl” (U.S. #10), most hits written and/or produced by Bob Marcucci, head of Chancellor Records.
Teamed frequently with Annette Funicello, Avalon starred in a number of popular “beach” comedy movies during the 1960s. The wholesome and romantic coupling of “Frankie and Annette” in summer movies such as Beach Party and Beach Blanket Bingo became iconic figures in American films during that era. Avalon also had straight dramatic parts in the John Wayne historical western film The Alamo as well as the science-fiction story Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961) with Barbara Eden.
Materializing as a character called Teen Angel, his performance of “Beauty School Dropout” in the smash-hit 1978 film of the musical Grease introduced Frankie to a new generation of viewers.
Avalon appeared in nearly two dozen TV episodes, including ABC’s The Bing Crosby Show and The Patty Duke Show, appearing often as himself. Later, he became a national television spokesperson for Sonic Drive-In.