Follow Me, Boys!
|Follow Me, Boys!|
|Directed by||Norman Tokar|
|Produced by||Walt Disney
|Written by||Louis Pelletier|
|Music by||George Bruns
Richard M. Sherman
Robert B. Sherman
|Editing by||Robert Stafford|
|Studio||Walt Disney Productions|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
|Running time||131 minutes|
Follow Me, Boys! is a 1966 family film produced by Walt Disney Productions, based on the book God and My Country by MacKinlay Kantor. It was the last production released by Disney before Walt Disney died of lung cancer, two weeks after the film's release.
The film starred Fred MacMurray, Vera Miles, Lillian Gish, Charles Ruggles, and Kurt Russell, was co-produced by Walt Disney and Winston Hibler, directed by Norman Tokar, and written by Louis Pelletier. The film is also known by its working title, On My Honor.
It is one of the few movies where Boy Scouts are key to the film and is Disney's paean to the Boy Scouts. The title song "Follow Me, Boys!" was written by studio favorites Robert and Richard Sherman. For a time, after the film was released, the Boy Scouts of America was considering using the song as their anthem, but efforts toward this end were eventually dropped. Boys Life for December 1966 included a teaser article on the film.
This is the first of ten Disney films in which Kurt Russell would appear over the next ten years. This was the last movie released during the life of Walt Disney. A DVD version was released on February 3, 2004 by Walt Disney Home Entertainment, although it is in 4:3 pan and scan format, not the original 1.66:1 wide screen aspect ratio.
Lemuel "Lem" Siddons (Fred MacMurray) is a saxophonist in a traveling band in 1930 who dreams of becoming a lawyer. When the band's bus reaches Hickory, a small town, Lem suddenly decides to leave the band and settle down, finding a job as a clerk in the general store.
At the civic meeting, Lem notices that Vida Downey (Vera Miles), whom Lem is wooing away from Ralph Hastings (Elliott Reid) to become his wife, crossed off the YMCA and the 4-H from her list of three possible organizations to keep the town's boys off the streets, leaving only the Boy Scouts, and volunteers to become Scoutmaster of newly formed Troop 1.
Lem turns out to be an all-around natural leader, and as he becomes more and more involved with the Scout troop, he finds his plans to become a lawyer being put on the back burner while he wins over the town's favor a little at a time, even as he encounters life's troubles along the way. Lem's life becomes fulfilled helping the town's boys mature into men, especially former troublemaker Whitey (Kurt Russell). In appreciation, the entire town gives Lem a surprise celebration on October 2, 1950, with (apparently) all of the Scouts during the twenty years of Troop 1 in attendance. The plot was later re-used and modified for the movie "Mr. Holland's Opus". In both films a man grows old in a position he took optimistically, bypassing his true vocational passion; and when sent out to pasture, several generations of the town pay homage to him in a final, moving tribute -- complete with former student now governor speaking at the tribute. In the end, the man's true vocation is recognized alongside his more profound work molding the lives of young people.
- Fred MacMurray — Lemuel "Lem" Siddons
- Vera Miles — Vida Downey
- Lillian Gish — Hetty Seibert
- Charlie Ruggles — John Everett Hughes
- Sean McClory — Edward White, Sr.
- Kurt Russell — Edward "Whitey" White, Jr.
- Donald May — Edward "Whitey" White, Jr., as an adult
- Luana Patten — Nora White
- Elliott Reid — Ralph Hastings
- John Zaremba — Ralph Hasting's lawyer
- Ken Murray — Melody Murphy
- Parley Baer — Mayor Hi Plommer
- William Reynolds — Hoodoo Henderson (adult)
- David Bailey — Duke
- Madge Blake — Cora Anderson
- Billy Booth — Leo
- Ronnie Dapo — Virgil "Tiger" Higgins
- Ricky Kelman — Frankie Martin
- Richard Bakalyan — Army War-Game Officer
- Michael Mason – Boy Scout in War Games
- Dean Moray – Hoodoo Henderson (child)
- Jimmy Murphy – P.O.W. Soldier
- Eddie Sallia – Harry
- Keith Taylor – Beefy Smith
- Adam Williams — P.O.W. Sergeant
The film was popular, earning $5,350,000 in North American rentals in 1967.
- "Follow Me, Boys!, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 2012-04-16.
- Chick Coombs (December 1966). "Boys Life: Lights! Cameras! Boom!". Boy Scouts of America. p. 16. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
- "Plot Summary for 'Follow Me, Boys!'". Retrieved 2012-11-04.
- The date actually fell on Monday, not on Saturday as depicted in the film.
- "Lem Siddons Day Activities Announced". Retrieved 2011-10-28.
- "Big Rental Films of 1967", Variety, 3 January 1968, p 25. These figures refer to rentals accruing to the film distributors.
- Follow Me, Boys! at the Internet Movie Database
- Follow Me, Boys! at the TCM Movie Database
- DVD review of Follow Me, Boys!
- New York Times review of Follow Me, Boys!
- Where was Walt Disney's Follow Me, Boys! town of Hickory