Banjo the Woodpile Cat
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|Banjo the Woodpile Cat|
DVD Film poster
|Directed by||Don Bluth|
|Produced by||Don Bluth
|Written by||Don Bluth (uncredited)
Toby Bluth (uncredited)
|Music by||Robert F. Brunner|
|Edited by||Sam Horta|
|Don Bluth Productions|
|Release date(s)||November 16, 1979|
|Running time||30 min.|
Banjo the Woodpile Cat is a 1979 animated television film directed by Don Bluth. It follows the story of Banjo, an overly curious and rebellious kitten who, after getting into trouble for falling from a house to see if he could land on his feet, runs away from his woodpile home in his owners' farm in Payson, Utah by catching a truck to Salt Lake City. The film took four years to make and it was the first production of Don Bluth Productions, later Sullivan Bluth Studios. It had a short theatrical run in November 1979 (appearing as a short before The Muppet Movie at theaters showing the film for a holiday season re-release in the Los Angeles area.), but did not appear on network television until 1982.
In a woodpile in Payson, Utah, A kitten named Banjo (voiced by Sparky Marcus) decides to chase chickens around. His sisters, Emily and Jean, tell their parents and Banjo's father (voiced by veteran voice actor, Ken Sansom) soon stops him and makes him promise not to do it again. But Banjo continues to be mischievous in many ways. After getting in trouble for jumping off the roof of a chicken coop, Banjo decides to run away from home and hitches a ride on a feed truck to Salt Lake City.
In the city, Banjo finds plenty of excitement, followed by a series of danger. When it begins to rain, he finds shelter in a small can in an alley while thinking about his family and how he misses them. Later, a cat named Crazy Legs (voiced by Scatman Crothers) discovers the lost kitten in the can. They strike up a friendship when Crazy tells Banjo that he can go back the same way he got here. During their search, Crazy and Banjo come to a night club that Crazy is familiar with. Inside, the leader of a singing cat trio, Zazu (voiced by Beah Richards) comes over to Crazy and meets Banjo. When asked if he misses his family, the kitten becomes depressed again. To cheer him up, Crazy and the girls break into a musical number and Banjo joins in. Afterwards, Crazy asks all the cats to look for the truck. Later that night, while searching for the truck, Banjo and Crazy run into a group of dogs who end up chasing them. After a lengthy chase, the pair escape and drive the dogs away by climbing up a series of boxes. The pair arrives at the singing cats' home and get some rest.
The next morning, Banjo wakes up and hears the driver of the truck out in the street. After some rejoice and many goodbyes, Banjo is sad to leave his new found friends. However, Crazy manages to get Banjo on board, before it leaves without him and he gives his final farewell. When the truck arrives home, Banjo leaps off it and reunites with his family.
This film was started as a side project, while Don Bluth was still working at Disney. He invited several other young animators to his house on nights and weekends to discover secrets of animation that he felt had been lost at Disney. Eventually he resigned from Disney, along with 17 other animators, to finish this film and begin The Secret of NIMH. That bold walk-out caused a delay in the release of Disney's The Fox and the Hound that was in mid-production at the time.
- Banjo the Woodpile Cat at the Internet Movie Database
- Banjo the Woodpile Cat at AllMovie
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