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52 in 52 week 15

Discussion in 'Animation, Movies, TV' started by phllymouse, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. phllymouse

    phllymouse Active Member

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    Week 15 well I am moving along. 1975!

    This was a real tough choice.
    I turned down:
    Ride A Wild Pony
    The Boy Who Talked To Badgers ( I hope it was not a Honey badger, he does not care).
    One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing
    Escape To Witch Mountain
    The Strongest Man In The World
    This was a strong year for Disney family movies, I had to go with The Apple Dumpling Gang. As a kid I loved it. I have a strange memory of seeing it twice in the theatre. I liked it that much a a child.
    It has a nice cast of Bill Bixby, Susan Clark, Harry Morgan, Don Knotts, Tim Conway, and Slim Pickens (I mentioned him just because I like to say it).
    Russel Donovan (Bill Bixby) is fooled in to picking up three orphans when the stage coach arrives. He is stuck taking care of the children, with a little help from the stage coach driver Dusty (Susan Clarke). He has no luck trying to unload them on the towns people. That is until the kids find gold in the local mine. Now everyone wants a piece of them.
    The movie was directed by Norman Tokar, a go to Disney director at the time. This movie is a near perfect family Disney film. The film holds up great because it takes place in "the old west", so it does not seem dated (except for two quick scenes with a runaway mine train, and a stage coach chase where it looks real fake and dated). Everyone is perfectly cast, including the three orphans, who do not overdue the acting. Conway and Knotts give pretty good laughs with their slapstick. The writing is by Don Tait (screenplay) and Jack Bickham (he did the book), is spot on. There is one scene where Don and Tim are told to come back to town later in the day to be hanged, and bring their own rope had me laughing out loud.

    Some fun and not so fun facts:
    Susan Clarke was Katherine in the TV show Webster. You may remember her from the North Avenue Irregulars. She was also with Clint Eastwood in Coogans Bluff. The same year this movie came out she starred in The Babe Didrikson Story (A female golfer fighting cancer) where she met her soon to be husband football great Alex Karras.
    The orphans!
    Clay O'brien who plays Bobby. Pretty much became a real cowboy. He was one of the best team roping champions in the world for a long period. Became good friends with John Wayne.
    Brad Savage was Clovis, he lives in Michigan. He continued to act for many years in many TV shows, also was in No Deposit No Return and Return From Witch Mountain.
    Stacy Manning who was Celia. Was the cutest thing. I will go as far as saying the cutest Disney child actress ever. She did nothing else in film. I looked around but found nothing on her. My guess is, she had good parents, she did not like acting and they said ok.
    Last quick note, if you get this DVD watch the extra in the Disney Vault under extras. There is a 5 minute short that is a not to be missed. It is a tour of the old Disney backlots. It shows where most of these movies from the 60's and 70's were made. Interesting things like the same town (lot) that the Apple Dumpling Gang was made wasalso the same town for Petes Dragon. A different time period, they just dressed up the town to make it fit. Those backlots are not there anymore and you can tell how sad it is for the people who worked there. Also, we get a quick 10 second interview with an adult Stacy Manning! She looks happy and normal.

    I will give The Apple Dumpling Gang a well deserved 4 1/2 out of 5 Mickeys. A wonderful family movie.

    Thanks for taking the time. The Bicentennial is coming up.

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