The Apple Dumpling Gang


1h 40m 1975

Brief Synopsis

Two bumbling outlaws try to help a trio of orphans protect their gold strike.

Film Details

Also Known As
Apple Dumpling Gang
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Western
Release Date
1975

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.75 : 1

Synopsis

A confirmed bachelor in a 19th century California boom town inherits three young orphans. After an earthquake shakes the town, the children find a gold nugget worth tens of thousands of dollars. But their newfound wealth creates more problems than it solves, so they agree to give the gold to two bumbling crooks. However, in order to get the gold back, they must steal it from the bank vault where it is being held for safe keeping.

Film Details

Also Known As
Apple Dumpling Gang
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Western
Release Date
1975

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.75 : 1

Articles

The Apple Dumpling Gang


Walt Disney Productions brings its characteristic flair to the 1975 live action feature The Apple Dumpling Gang. Transient gambler Russel Donovan (Bill Bixby) is thrilled when he finds out that he has inherited some "valuables" during his stay in the western town of Quake City during the California Gold Rush. The "valuables", however, turn out to be more than the confirmed bachelor bargained for: namely, three precocious orphaned children. Donovan reluctantly agrees to care for them until he can find someone willing to take permanent custody. When the kids discover gold in an abandoned mine, everyone in Quake City wants a piece of the action, and some will stop at nothing to get it. Donovan must protect the children from the greedy townsfolk with the help of local good-hearted tomboy Dusty (Susan Clark).

In an inspired bit of casting, veteran funnymen Tim Conway and Don Knotts are paired up for the first time on film in The Apple Dumpling Gang. The two play Amos and Theodore, a couple of bumbling would-be outlaws that generate plenty of laughs with their memorable supporting roles. "Tim and I had never worked together before," says Don Knotts in his 1999 autobiography Barney Fife and Other Characters I Have Known, "and I thought teaming us up was a stroke of genius on (director) Norman Tokar's part." Conway and Knotts, being old pros, were given license to improvise a great deal on the set, including a hilarious sequence involving a ladder in a firehouse. "Much to his credit," says Knotts, "Norman Tokar did not pin us down with a lot of staging in our camera rehearsals. Most of the time he just turned us loose."

According to a 2003 interview, Tim Conway regards The Apple Dumpling Gang as a career highlight that was great fun for everyone. Conway, always notorious for pulling something unexpected and hilarious out of his hat during a scene, kept the cast and crew in stitches with his jokes and stories. "There is absolutely no question about it - Tim Conway is one of the funniest performers in the business," says Don Knotts in his autobiography. "The toughest thing about working with Tim is keeping a straight face...you were never quite sure what Tim was going to do when the camera turned on."

Director Norman Tokar, who already had several Disney credits to his name including The Ugly Dachshund (1966) and Follow Me, Boys! (1966), was tough but well-liked by the cast and crew. "Norman Tokar was not just a good director," says Don Knotts, "he was excellent, but he could drive you crazy. He was slow and meticulous, and he did so many takes on every little scene that you wanted to kill him. He also spoke slowly, and it took him a long time to explain what he wanted. He had the patience of Job, and he certainly tested the patience of his actors, but he was good!"

The Apple Dumpling Gang turned out to be one of Disney's biggest all-time hits when it was released in the summer of 1975. With the perfect blend of comedy and adventure, there is something for people of all ages to enjoy. Audiences responded so well to the pairing of Tim Conway and Don Knotts that they went on to work together again several more times, including in the 1979 sequel The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again in which the duo received top billing.

Producer: Bill Anderson
Director: Norman Tokar
Screenplay: Don Tait, based on the novel by Jack M. Bickham
Cinematography: Frank V. Phillips
Art Direction: John B. Mansbridge, Walter H. Tyler
Music: Buddy Baker
Film Editing: Ray de Leuw
Cast: Tim Conway (Amos Tucker), Don Knotts (Theodore Ogelvie), Harry Morgan (Sherriff Homer McCoy), John McGiver (Leonard Sharpe), Bill Bixby (Russel Donovan).
C-88m.

by Andrea Passafiume
The Apple Dumpling Gang

The Apple Dumpling Gang

Walt Disney Productions brings its characteristic flair to the 1975 live action feature The Apple Dumpling Gang. Transient gambler Russel Donovan (Bill Bixby) is thrilled when he finds out that he has inherited some "valuables" during his stay in the western town of Quake City during the California Gold Rush. The "valuables", however, turn out to be more than the confirmed bachelor bargained for: namely, three precocious orphaned children. Donovan reluctantly agrees to care for them until he can find someone willing to take permanent custody. When the kids discover gold in an abandoned mine, everyone in Quake City wants a piece of the action, and some will stop at nothing to get it. Donovan must protect the children from the greedy townsfolk with the help of local good-hearted tomboy Dusty (Susan Clark). In an inspired bit of casting, veteran funnymen Tim Conway and Don Knotts are paired up for the first time on film in The Apple Dumpling Gang. The two play Amos and Theodore, a couple of bumbling would-be outlaws that generate plenty of laughs with their memorable supporting roles. "Tim and I had never worked together before," says Don Knotts in his 1999 autobiography Barney Fife and Other Characters I Have Known, "and I thought teaming us up was a stroke of genius on (director) Norman Tokar's part." Conway and Knotts, being old pros, were given license to improvise a great deal on the set, including a hilarious sequence involving a ladder in a firehouse. "Much to his credit," says Knotts, "Norman Tokar did not pin us down with a lot of staging in our camera rehearsals. Most of the time he just turned us loose." According to a 2003 interview, Tim Conway regards The Apple Dumpling Gang as a career highlight that was great fun for everyone. Conway, always notorious for pulling something unexpected and hilarious out of his hat during a scene, kept the cast and crew in stitches with his jokes and stories. "There is absolutely no question about it - Tim Conway is one of the funniest performers in the business," says Don Knotts in his autobiography. "The toughest thing about working with Tim is keeping a straight face...you were never quite sure what Tim was going to do when the camera turned on." Director Norman Tokar, who already had several Disney credits to his name including The Ugly Dachshund (1966) and Follow Me, Boys! (1966), was tough but well-liked by the cast and crew. "Norman Tokar was not just a good director," says Don Knotts, "he was excellent, but he could drive you crazy. He was slow and meticulous, and he did so many takes on every little scene that you wanted to kill him. He also spoke slowly, and it took him a long time to explain what he wanted. He had the patience of Job, and he certainly tested the patience of his actors, but he was good!" The Apple Dumpling Gang turned out to be one of Disney's biggest all-time hits when it was released in the summer of 1975. With the perfect blend of comedy and adventure, there is something for people of all ages to enjoy. Audiences responded so well to the pairing of Tim Conway and Don Knotts that they went on to work together again several more times, including in the 1979 sequel The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again in which the duo received top billing. Producer: Bill Anderson Director: Norman Tokar Screenplay: Don Tait, based on the novel by Jack M. Bickham Cinematography: Frank V. Phillips Art Direction: John B. Mansbridge, Walter H. Tyler Music: Buddy Baker Film Editing: Ray de Leuw Cast: Tim Conway (Amos Tucker), Don Knotts (Theodore Ogelvie), Harry Morgan (Sherriff Homer McCoy), John McGiver (Leonard Sharpe), Bill Bixby (Russel Donovan). C-88m. by Andrea Passafiume

Quotes

Why did you tell me those three biddy kids were a posse?
- Theodore Oglivie
Well, I thought I saw them down there in the bushes.
- Amos Tucker
Oh, you couldn't see through a barb wire fence.
- Theodore Ogelvie
Welcome to Quake City, Donovan. Looks like luck is against you.
- Homer McCoy
Well, there's one good thing about luck - it always changes. And I got a feeling mine is just around the corner.
- Russell Donovan
How much money do you figure that dude's got in front of him?
- Amos Tucker
About five hundred.
- Theodore Ogelvie
Five hundred? Wow! You know, that'll be, uh, that's two hundred apiece!
- Amos Tucker
Donovan! I haven't seen you since, ah...
- Leonard Sharpe
Santa Fe.
- Russell Donovan
Right!
- Leonard Sharpe
When you sold me the Marshal's horse.
- Russell Donovan
Right. I was just funnin', Donovan.
- Leonard Sharpe
The Marshal wasn't amused.
- Russell Donovan
This court is now in session, the Honorable Homer McCoy presiding. Theodore Ogelvie, Amos Tucker, you're charged with attempted bank robbery. How do you plead? Guilty or not guilty?
- Homer McCoy
Not guilty?
- Theodore Oglivie
Guilty!
- Homer McCoy
That was the wrong one.
- Amos Tucker
This court sentences you to be hung by the neck until dead. And I'm fining you an extra ten bucks for perjury. Let 'em out.
- Homer McCoy
Be down at the old oak tree near Boot Hill at twelve o'clock sharp for your hanging. And bring your own rope.
- Homer McCoy

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video January 21, 1992

Released in United States Summer July 1, 1975

Released in USA on video as part of Walt Disney's Family Film Collection.

Released in United States on Video January 21, 1992

Released in United States Summer July 1, 1975