Gus


1h 36m 1976

Brief Synopsis

Gus the mule is recruited as a field goal kicker for a struggling football team.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
G
Genre
Comedy
Family
Sports
Release Date
1976

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 36m
Sound
Mono (RCA Photophone System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

After a long string of losses, Hank Cooper recruits a new player for his football team, a Yugoslavian mule named Gus, who soon learns to kick field goals. His teammaters initially object strongly to having an animal on the team, but eventually celebrate with him after they win the championship.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
G
Genre
Comedy
Family
Sports
Release Date
1976

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 36m
Sound
Mono (RCA Photophone System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Gus -


After the passing of Walt Disney, his production company worked hard to keep up the respected brand of family entertainment released through Disney's Buena Vista distribution arm. Although the production of animated features tapered off, live-action family comedies prospered. Especially successful were a series about a sentient, cantankerous Volkswagen called The Love Bug, (1968) and several features starring ex-child actor Kurt Russell as young men with special powers, such as The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969). The hits became more sporadic but the Disney studio maintained the family spirit with cute gimmick movies, often involving animals. Disney's most consistently used actor was Dean Jones, whose long tenure as a star of lightweight comedies for the company began with 1965's That Darn Cat! . Jones also starred in the Love Bug pictures and The Million Dollar Duck (1971).

That comedy about a duck that lays golden eggs also established a Disney association with director Vincent McEveety, who begun working in TV a decade earlier with The Untouchables (1959). Also contributing was the cartoonist and writer Ted Key, who was already famous as the creator of Hazel, a single-panel cartoon that ran in The Saturday Evening Post from 1943 to 1969 and eventually became a successful TV series. He was also noted as the creator of the edgier TV cartoon fantasy Peabody's Improbable History (1959), about a dog who makes a time machine. Key's visually-oriented humor was well suited to Disney's simple, gag-driven family comedies.

McEveety and Key were united again for Gus (1976), a football-themed fantasy starring yet another unlikely animal hero with an amazing power. The football connection was a natural: Disney executive Ron Miller had played for the L.A. Rams, so Gus made considerable use of his connection within the sport.

Ted Key's story is a standard come-from behind football saga, with a whimsical twist. The maladroit California Atoms haven't won a game in years. With the nervous Coach Venner (Don Knotts) in charge, the players can barely perform on the field. Club owner Hank Cooper (Edward Asner) is on the verge of losing his team over gambling debts owed to the racketeers Charles Gwynn (Harold Gould) and Cal Wilson (Dick Van Patten). The morose Cooper makes an unwise bet: if the Atoms lose the Super Bowl, the gamblers will take possession of the team lock, stock and barrel.

Through family connections, Cooper's perky secretary Debbie Kovac (Liberty Williams, aka Louise Williams) learns about Gus, a Yugoslavian mule that unerringly kicks perfect field goals. Debbie imports Gus and his owner Andy Petrovic (Gary Grimes) as a halftime attraction, but Gus is promoted to the team when it is determined that nothing in the rule books prohibits a non-human player. Andy must join the team too, as Gus only kicks when a certain word is spoken in Serbian: "Oyage!" By kicking a field goal with every possession, the Atoms begin an impressive winning streak. But Andy is troubled by self-worth issues. He feels that he is clumsy and foolish and that his parents favor his brother Stjepan (Jackson Bostwick), a soccer star. But the somewhat humiliating job as Gus's ball holder does lead to a warmer relationship with Debbie. Gus appears aware of this, and does what he can to encourage the romance.

Most of the movie is a near-slapstick farce, with the gamblers making multiple attempts to kidnap Gus or sabotage his effectiveness on the field, using a pair of bumbling con artists, Crankcase and Spinner (TV stars Tim Conway and Tom Bosley).

Gus was filmed at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Sports Arena and on a fake football field made by laying some sod a parking lot at the Disney studio. The Disney animation building was used as a hospital, while local Burbank Girl Scouts were recruited for a gala celebrating 'Gus Day.'

Variety praised Gus by calling it one of the Disney organization's better efforts. The only criticism was a mention of the cheapness in the special effects, with some unconvincing mattes and trick shots. One effects sequence was singled out for praise though. When the comic bad guys struggle with a cat behind an X-Ray machine, its sputtering screen throws up freeze-framed images of the skeletonized villains in funny poses. With the release of the Star Wars (1977), the entire industry would pay more attention to special effects. Disney would invest heavily in improved visual effects talent and technology.

The movie's choice of bit parts is truly eclectic. Greek actor Titos Vandis plays Andy Petrovic's father back in Yugoslavia. Old-time Hollywood players Iris Adrian, Kenneth Tobey and Virginia O'Brien are on screen briefly. A number of NFL players make cameo appearances, with Dick Butkus and Johnny Unitas given featured status. The producers invested heavily in recognizable TV news personalities to give their fantasy a realistic spin. Broadcasters Dick Enberg, Stu Nahan, Larry McCormick and George Putnam are present. Gus also marks the last film appearance of former TV star Bob Crane as a bombastic Howard Cosell-like sports announcer.

Gus -

Gus -

After the passing of Walt Disney, his production company worked hard to keep up the respected brand of family entertainment released through Disney's Buena Vista distribution arm. Although the production of animated features tapered off, live-action family comedies prospered. Especially successful were a series about a sentient, cantankerous Volkswagen called The Love Bug, (1968) and several features starring ex-child actor Kurt Russell as young men with special powers, such as The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969). The hits became more sporadic but the Disney studio maintained the family spirit with cute gimmick movies, often involving animals. Disney's most consistently used actor was Dean Jones, whose long tenure as a star of lightweight comedies for the company began with 1965's That Darn Cat! . Jones also starred in the Love Bug pictures and The Million Dollar Duck (1971). That comedy about a duck that lays golden eggs also established a Disney association with director Vincent McEveety, who begun working in TV a decade earlier with The Untouchables (1959). Also contributing was the cartoonist and writer Ted Key, who was already famous as the creator of Hazel, a single-panel cartoon that ran in The Saturday Evening Post from 1943 to 1969 and eventually became a successful TV series. He was also noted as the creator of the edgier TV cartoon fantasy Peabody's Improbable History (1959), about a dog who makes a time machine. Key's visually-oriented humor was well suited to Disney's simple, gag-driven family comedies. McEveety and Key were united again for Gus (1976), a football-themed fantasy starring yet another unlikely animal hero with an amazing power. The football connection was a natural: Disney executive Ron Miller had played for the L.A. Rams, so Gus made considerable use of his connection within the sport. Ted Key's story is a standard come-from behind football saga, with a whimsical twist. The maladroit California Atoms haven't won a game in years. With the nervous Coach Venner (Don Knotts) in charge, the players can barely perform on the field. Club owner Hank Cooper (Edward Asner) is on the verge of losing his team over gambling debts owed to the racketeers Charles Gwynn (Harold Gould) and Cal Wilson (Dick Van Patten). The morose Cooper makes an unwise bet: if the Atoms lose the Super Bowl, the gamblers will take possession of the team lock, stock and barrel. Through family connections, Cooper's perky secretary Debbie Kovac (Liberty Williams, aka Louise Williams) learns about Gus, a Yugoslavian mule that unerringly kicks perfect field goals. Debbie imports Gus and his owner Andy Petrovic (Gary Grimes) as a halftime attraction, but Gus is promoted to the team when it is determined that nothing in the rule books prohibits a non-human player. Andy must join the team too, as Gus only kicks when a certain word is spoken in Serbian: "Oyage!" By kicking a field goal with every possession, the Atoms begin an impressive winning streak. But Andy is troubled by self-worth issues. He feels that he is clumsy and foolish and that his parents favor his brother Stjepan (Jackson Bostwick), a soccer star. But the somewhat humiliating job as Gus's ball holder does lead to a warmer relationship with Debbie. Gus appears aware of this, and does what he can to encourage the romance. Most of the movie is a near-slapstick farce, with the gamblers making multiple attempts to kidnap Gus or sabotage his effectiveness on the field, using a pair of bumbling con artists, Crankcase and Spinner (TV stars Tim Conway and Tom Bosley). Gus was filmed at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Sports Arena and on a fake football field made by laying some sod a parking lot at the Disney studio. The Disney animation building was used as a hospital, while local Burbank Girl Scouts were recruited for a gala celebrating 'Gus Day.' Variety praised Gus by calling it one of the Disney organization's better efforts. The only criticism was a mention of the cheapness in the special effects, with some unconvincing mattes and trick shots. One effects sequence was singled out for praise though. When the comic bad guys struggle with a cat behind an X-Ray machine, its sputtering screen throws up freeze-framed images of the skeletonized villains in funny poses. With the release of the Star Wars (1977), the entire industry would pay more attention to special effects. Disney would invest heavily in improved visual effects talent and technology. The movie's choice of bit parts is truly eclectic. Greek actor Titos Vandis plays Andy Petrovic's father back in Yugoslavia. Old-time Hollywood players Iris Adrian, Kenneth Tobey and Virginia O'Brien are on screen briefly. A number of NFL players make cameo appearances, with Dick Butkus and Johnny Unitas given featured status. The producers invested heavily in recognizable TV news personalities to give their fantasy a realistic spin. Broadcasters Dick Enberg, Stu Nahan, Larry McCormick and George Putnam are present. Gus also marks the last film appearance of former TV star Bob Crane as a bombastic Howard Cosell-like sports announcer.

Gus


Gus the mule is recruited as a field goal kicker for a struggling football team.

Gus

Gus the mule is recruited as a field goal kicker for a struggling football team.

Quotes

Trivia

Bob Crane's last movie.

The chase scene playing on the drive-in screen is from Disney's 'Million Dollar Duck, The (1971)' , also directed by Vincent McEveety.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1976

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1976