Follow Me, Boys!


2h 13m 1966
Follow Me, Boys!

Brief Synopsis

A small-town man dedicates his life to leading a Boy Scout troop.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Adventure
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1966
Premiere Information
New York opening: 1 Dec 1966
Production Company
Walt Disney Productions
Distribution Company
Buena Vista Film Distribution Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel God and My Country by MacKinlay Kantor (Cleveland, 1954).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 13m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)

Synopsis

Late in the 1920's saxophone player Lem Siddons gives up his job with a broken-down traveling jazzband and settles down in the small town of Hickory. He takes a job as clerk in John Hughes's mercantile store, woos and wins pretty Vida Downey from her fiancé, banker Ralph Hastings, and organizes a local Boy Scout troop. The only disappointment in Lem's new life is Vida's inability to bear children. Vida's love for children, however, is equal to Lem's, and she readily agrees to adopt young Whitey White, the orphaned son of the town drunkard. Lem's work with the scouts is long and rewarding as he builds his troop into one of the finest in the state. While Whitey is overseas with the Army Medical Corps in World War II, Lem uses his knowledge of law to help the town's wealthiest citizen, Hetty Seibert, against Hastings, her nephew. Lem proves that she is mentally competent in deciding to donate her valuable lake property to the scouts. When the war ends, Whitey returns home with a bride, Nora, and sets up practice as a physician. Lem continues to devote his time and energy to his beloved scouts until Whitey informs him that his heart has become too weak for such a vigorous life. As Lem reluctantly retires with the title Scoutmaster Emeritus, the entire town and most of his former scouts, including the governor, turn out to celebrate "Lem Siddons Day."

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Adventure
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1966
Premiere Information
New York opening: 1 Dec 1966
Production Company
Walt Disney Productions
Distribution Company
Buena Vista Film Distribution Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel God and My Country by MacKinlay Kantor (Cleveland, 1954).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 13m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)

Articles

Follow Me, Boys!


Follow Me, Boys! (1966) was a live-action feature film produced by Disney veteran Winston Hibler and directed by Norman Tokar. The screenplay by Louis Pelletier was based on the 1954 book, Follow Me, Boys! (God and My Country) by MacKinlay Kantor. In the cast were Fred MacMurray, Kurt Russell, Vera Miles, Lillian Gish, Elliott Reid, Luana Patten, Ken Murray, and Parley Baer. This was the last film for both Charles Ruggles and Madge Blake.

In the film, MacMurray plays Lem, an itinerant musician who decides to settle down in a small town called Hickory in the days just before World War II. When he falls in love with Vida Downey (Miles), Lem becomes the town's first Boy Scoutmaster to impress her. Writer Chick Coombs was sent on location to Santa Clarita to watch filming for the magazine Boys Life and wrote that MacMurray told him that the scene in which he forgets how to tie a knot and is taken prisoner by the Boy Scouts during an exercise was realistic: "Fact is, I played that scene quite convincingly. Since my Scouting days in Madison, Wis., I'd really forgotten how to tie a sheepshank." Some of the boys on the set were actual Boy Scouts from Explorer Post 25, which was the post on the Walt Disney lot, which held its meetings every Monday. They were also the sons of Disney employees, as Grey Johnson wrote in the foreword to his father, Jimmy Johnson's book, Inside the Whimsy Works, My Life with Walt Disney Productions:"Walt Disney needed Boy Scouts. Lots of Boy Scouts for the final scenes of Follow Me, Boys!. [...] No studio employee with a son was exempt, and of course, who wouldn't want to be in The Movies? [...] We spent a chaotic day on The Walt Disney Studios backlot, all marching around a fake city square in front of the fake Bijou movie theater following Fred MacMurray's open convertible as he was heralded by the town as the best Boy Scout leader ever, because he'd saved the troubled Kurt Russell from a life as a juvenile delinquent." In addition to the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Follow Me, Boys! was shot on location in Santa Clarita and Walt Disney's Golden Oak Ranch in Newhall, both just twenty miles from downtown Los Angeles, as well as the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth, the location for many western films and television shows.

Follow Me, Boys! premiered at Radio City Music Hall at Rockefeller Center, New York on August 24, 1966 and went into general release just two weeks before Walt Disney's death on December 15, 1966. New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther panned the film, writing that it was [...] a clutter of sentimental blubberings about the brotherhood of the Boy Scouts and indiscriminate ladling of cornball folksy comedy that it taxes the loyalty and patience of even a one-time ardent member of the Beaver Patrol. [...] The strain of it isn't just in seeing Fred MacMurray playing the role of a tirelessly gung-ho scoutmaster in a small town as though he himself were a self-elected victim of arrested development. That's a conventional discomfort for which the viewer should be prepared by the introduction of Mr. MacMurray as a member of a band of allegedly over-aged collegiate musicians touring the provinces in a bus, with Ken Murray, looking all of 60, as the leading collegian. [...] Follow Me, Boys! is as artificial as its brightly colored sets and every bit as superficial as its lump-in-the-throat sentiments."

By Lorraine LoBianco

SOURCES: Coombs, Chick "Lights! Camera! Boom!" Boys Life Dec 66
Crowther, Bosley "The Screen: 'Follow Me, Boys! Opens" The New York Times 2 Dec 66
The Internet Movie Database
Johnson, Jimmy Inside the Whimsy Works, My Life with Walt Disney Productions
Follow Me, Boys!

Follow Me, Boys!

Follow Me, Boys! (1966) was a live-action feature film produced by Disney veteran Winston Hibler and directed by Norman Tokar. The screenplay by Louis Pelletier was based on the 1954 book, Follow Me, Boys! (God and My Country) by MacKinlay Kantor. In the cast were Fred MacMurray, Kurt Russell, Vera Miles, Lillian Gish, Elliott Reid, Luana Patten, Ken Murray, and Parley Baer. This was the last film for both Charles Ruggles and Madge Blake. In the film, MacMurray plays Lem, an itinerant musician who decides to settle down in a small town called Hickory in the days just before World War II. When he falls in love with Vida Downey (Miles), Lem becomes the town's first Boy Scoutmaster to impress her. Writer Chick Coombs was sent on location to Santa Clarita to watch filming for the magazine Boys Life and wrote that MacMurray told him that the scene in which he forgets how to tie a knot and is taken prisoner by the Boy Scouts during an exercise was realistic: "Fact is, I played that scene quite convincingly. Since my Scouting days in Madison, Wis., I'd really forgotten how to tie a sheepshank." Some of the boys on the set were actual Boy Scouts from Explorer Post 25, which was the post on the Walt Disney lot, which held its meetings every Monday. They were also the sons of Disney employees, as Grey Johnson wrote in the foreword to his father, Jimmy Johnson's book, Inside the Whimsy Works, My Life with Walt Disney Productions:"Walt Disney needed Boy Scouts. Lots of Boy Scouts for the final scenes of Follow Me, Boys!. [...] No studio employee with a son was exempt, and of course, who wouldn't want to be in The Movies? [...] We spent a chaotic day on The Walt Disney Studios backlot, all marching around a fake city square in front of the fake Bijou movie theater following Fred MacMurray's open convertible as he was heralded by the town as the best Boy Scout leader ever, because he'd saved the troubled Kurt Russell from a life as a juvenile delinquent." In addition to the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Follow Me, Boys! was shot on location in Santa Clarita and Walt Disney's Golden Oak Ranch in Newhall, both just twenty miles from downtown Los Angeles, as well as the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth, the location for many western films and television shows. Follow Me, Boys! premiered at Radio City Music Hall at Rockefeller Center, New York on August 24, 1966 and went into general release just two weeks before Walt Disney's death on December 15, 1966. New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther panned the film, writing that it was [...] a clutter of sentimental blubberings about the brotherhood of the Boy Scouts and indiscriminate ladling of cornball folksy comedy that it taxes the loyalty and patience of even a one-time ardent member of the Beaver Patrol. [...] The strain of it isn't just in seeing Fred MacMurray playing the role of a tirelessly gung-ho scoutmaster in a small town as though he himself were a self-elected victim of arrested development. That's a conventional discomfort for which the viewer should be prepared by the introduction of Mr. MacMurray as a member of a band of allegedly over-aged collegiate musicians touring the provinces in a bus, with Ken Murray, looking all of 60, as the leading collegian. [...] Follow Me, Boys! is as artificial as its brightly colored sets and every bit as superficial as its lump-in-the-throat sentiments." By Lorraine LoBianco SOURCES: Coombs, Chick "Lights! Camera! Boom!" Boys Life Dec 66 Crowther, Bosley "The Screen: 'Follow Me, Boys! Opens" The New York Times 2 Dec 66 The Internet Movie Database Johnson, Jimmy Inside the Whimsy Works, My Life with Walt Disney Productions

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Copyright length: 129 min.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1966

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1966