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The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968)
Topic Started: Jul 1 2018, 09:07 AM (122 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968) Dir. Michael O'Herlihy
Walt Disney Productions
110 min. / Color / 1.85:1
DVD: Walt Disney (full-screen. Hmmmm.)

A family of musicians (including crusty grandpa Walter Brennan, strong silent dad Buddy Ebsen, mom Janet Blair, eldest daughter Lesley Ann Warren, young Kurt Russell and li'l Pamela Ferdin, amongst many others), hope to play at the 1888 Democratic convention in support of President Cleveland, a mission complicated by a move to the Dakota territory and immersion into Republican politics, mostly in the form of John Davidson, who is wooing Lesley Ann while trying to drum up votes for Benjamin Harrison. Singing and dancing commences.

I'd remembered this fondly from seeing it on the Wonderful World of Color as a kid, and wasn't (too) disappointed revisiting it with my friends the twins while we were on vacation (they're big Disney fans and hadn't seen it). Oh, the songs (Sherman Bros., natch) are no great shakes (I really only liked one of 'em, 'Bout Time, covered by Louis Armstrong, believe it or not) but the large cast is appealing and Brennan is always good. Fun to see Ebsen still dancin', and - get this - Goldie Hawn is a dancer in the cast, and about ten years too old for her young co-star Kurt Russell.

Million-dollar Lyrics:

"Let's put it over with Grover
Don't rock the boat
Give him your vote
Let's keep our country in clover
It's up to you
He'll follow through!"


Disney live-action films weren't much on my radar as a kid (I do recall seeing something called The Ugly Dachshund at the theatre) but when this and a couple of other 1960s Disney films showed up on TV (invariably as two-parters) I liked 'em, including Almost Angels (about choirboys) and Toby Tyler (about a boy and his monkey). This was a followup to The Happiest Millionaire, with some of the same cast, and not particularly a hit, either. Never re-released, and the 2004 DVD is a poor showcase for an okay film (Walt died early in production).
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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Frank Hale
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I was blissfully unaware of this film's existence, and, to be candid, I've always thought these unfortunate 60's efforts helped lung cancer put Walt into his unfortunately early-ish grave. They never worked for me.

However, I would like to see Toby Tyler again. I read the book as a kid, and remember the film as pleasant nostalgia, despite the odiously cute Mookie.

Another wonderful film in the escape-to-the-circus genre is Sam Spiegel's "When I Grow Up", featuring a very nice score by Jerome Moross, and your "Sabotage" buddy, Charley Grapewin.

Come to think of it, in these parlous times, running away to the circus doesnít sound half bad. Too bad there donít seem to be any circuses left.
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Laughing Gravy
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I have the Toby Tyler book around here somewhere, as well as the movie, which I intend to re-watch (for the first time since childhood) whenever I can read the book (but I'm reading Fellowship of the Ring right now).

Oddly, there are some nice bonus materials on the making of the film and the writing of the score with some of the cast members and one of the Mr. Shermans. One wonders why they bothered if they were going to release the film full-screen.

I recently joined the Disney Movie Club and have a lot more Disney movies on the way, most of which are only available on Blu-ray from the Club (this one I got for five bucks used at a local record store).
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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