Cast & Crew
On a lot in central New York City, Barney Morovitz runs The Pony Farm, a tiny animal sanctuary frequented and partially run by the neighborhood's underprivileged children. Gruff but kindhearted, Barney tries to hide from the children the fact that real estate developers are trying to evict him, citing complaints by the Department of Health, in order to build a shopping mall on his site. When a man arrives to serve the eviction notice, Barney allows his German shepherd to chase the man down the street. The next day, as Barney chats with one of the hippies who congregate next door, the man returns with an additional complaint about vicious animals and unsanitary conditions, and announces that the farm has only two weeks to vacate the premises. Barney counters by pointing out that the lot used to be a garbage dump that children played in, but now the farm allows them to learn personal responsibility and self-care. Later, Barney informs the children and his assistant, aspiring actress Mary Lee, about the impending ouster and the need to raise money to pay the back rent. Receiving no interest from their parents, the children circulate a petition and march in protest of the eviction. Barney calls all his contacts but cannot raise the $6,200 that he believes will satisfy the landlord, Shepherd. At Mary Lee's house, she counsels him to beg Shepherd, who is the father of David, one of the farm's most avid disciples, for an extension on the rent. Inspired, Barney takes her hand, but she reminds him that they have agreed not to become personally involved with each other. Just then, one of the hippies, Afro, visits to announce his idea to hold a benefit concert for the farm, relying on his contacts in the rock music world. The children and hippies organize to publicize the concert, and soon Mary Lee appears on a local television talk show to promote it. Barney and the children gather to watch her, but when she mentions her boyfriend, a traveling actor, Barney snaps the set off. The concert is a big success, and armed with the proceeds, Barney visits Shepherd. Once there, however, the greedy developer informs Barney that he also owes legal fees, late charges and sundry other monies. When Barney returns to the farm and informs Mary Lee what has transpired, she berates him for having left the money with Shepherd, stating that he always allows himself to be used. They quarrel, but finally Barney pleads with her to stay with him, and she agrees. He spends the next days trying to find homes for his animals. Although he is able to give away many of them, he cannot convince anyone to take Charlie Brown, the pony beloved by David and his friends Angel and Kevin. Afraid that Charlie Brown might be euthanized, the boys decide to rescue him themselves, and so leave a few dollars and a note in the pen and take the pony. After hiding him in the basement of David's apartment building, the children move the pony to Kevin's bathroom until the boy's mother discovers the animal. With nowhere to go, they walk the pony around the city, finally leaving him for the night in an arena and agreeing to take shifts to guard him. That night, however, David oversleeps and Kevin must leave Charlie Brown unattended. David rushes to the arena in the middle of the night and recovers the pony, then falls asleep on a bench in Central Park while Charlie Brown grazes. Over the next week the children feed the pony by stealing oats from the horses that pull the park carriages. Finally, Barney and Mary Lee, who have been searching for the boys and pony for days, locate the boys in the park. Reprimanding them for putting Charlie Brown in jeopardy, Barney informs the boys that he has found the pony a home, then takes them out for ice cream. At the restaurant, Barney announces that he plans to start a new farm in the Bronx, prompting Mary Lee to sigh in frustration at his idealism. Because they are so far from the farm and Charlie Brown is tired, Barney suggests that David ask his father to provide transportation for the pony. Shepherd agrees but in the car lectures his son on why the farm was a waste of valuable space. Soon after, everyone gathers at the now-empty farm lot as the bulldozers arrive. Barney sadly reads thank-you letters from children who have recently visited, then walks Mary Lee home. When she invites him in, Barney tells her he is going to the Bronx, and she kisses his cheek. Days later, Barney wanders a grassy lot in the Bronx, where a crowd of children soon gathers around him.
Chi Chi Bonilla
Sona, The Golden One
The working titles of the film were Pony and Barney. Although the onscreen credits include a copyright statement for Equine Films, Inc., the film was not registered for copyright. The picture begins with a brief voice-over narration by the adult "David Shepherd," but the narrator is uncredited. The final title before the closing credits reads, "The beginning." As noted in the onscreen credits, the film is based on the life of Barney Morovitz, who in the late 1960s ran an animal farm in the middle of New York City. Morovitz' cast credit reads, "The real Barney Morovitz." There is no credit for a director of photography. A closing credit notes that Bobby Vinton appeared courtesy of Epic Records. During one scene, Jack Klugman is heard in voice-over singing the song "When I'm Lucky Again." Although Filmfacts credits Richard Ahlert with song lyrics, he is not listed onscreen and the song he wrote, if any, has not been determined.
As noted onscreen, Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow! was shot on location in New York City. The film marked the debut, and possibly only, feature film appearance of actor David Mann, son of director Edward Mann. Co-star Norma French was married to producer Jerry Hammer. Modern sources add Frank Durk, Roy Hill and Rod Rogers to the cast. According to a July 1970 New York Times news item, Hammer planned to give a percentage of the film's profits to Morovitz' Pony Foundation.
Released in United States 1971
Feature acting debut for Morgan Freeman.
Released in United States 1971