Frankie Avalon was the first of the manufactured teen idols, before Fabian and Bobby Rydell and the myriads of other pretenders to the throne who worked the turf with tight black pants and red, red sweaters to the fore while Elvis cooled his heels in Germany. In the late '50s and early '60s, post-Twist and pre-Beatles, these generally untalented pretty boys were the cardboard no-threat remnants of a post-Elvis age. But Avalon had a real musical background to go with the pretty boy looks. He broke into show business as a child prodigy trumpeter, and made a few early records for a subsidiary of RCA Victor. Later on, a local impresario became more impressed with his vocals than his trumpet playing and signed him. His third single, "Dede Dinah," became a Top Ten hit and with 1959's "Venus," Avalon placed his first number one. He gradually eased into more "adult" fare, and though his chart domination ended in 1962, Avalon reinvented himself as a clean-cut surfer in a wildly successful batch of Beach Party movies with Annette Funicello that got him through the '60s in far better shape than most of his colleagues. Though he quit recording, he continued to perform and appeared on an oldies revival show with Bobby Rydell and Fabian into the 1990s.