The Apple Dumpling Gang (film)
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|The Apple Dumpling Gang|
1975 theatrical poster
|Directed by||Norman Tokar|
|Produced by||Bill Anderson|
|Written by||Don Tait|
|Music by||Buddy Baker|
|Cinematography||Frank V. Phillips|
|Edited by||Ray de Leuw|
|Walt Disney Productions|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
|Release date(s)||July 1, 1975|
|Running time||100 minutes|
The Apple Dumpling Gang is a 1975 Disney film about a slick gambler named Russell Donovan (played by Bill Bixby) who is duped into taking care of a group of orphan children who eventually strike gold during the California Gold Rush.
The film is based on the novel of the same name by Jack Bickham. The so-called "Apple Dumpling Gang" is named after the American dessert treat, the apple dumpling. Buddy Baker composed the music for it and its 1979 sequel, The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again. The song "The Apple Dumpling Gang", as heard in the opening and closing credits, was composed by Shane Tatum and was sung/performed by Randy Sparks and The Back Porch Majority.
Tagline: Wanted: For chicanery, skulduggery, tomfoolery and habitual bungling!
The 1975 film costars Tim Conway and Don Knotts as a pair of bumbling holdup men who try to steal gold, but are later offered it by a group of children. Conway and Knotts play the leads in the 1979 sequel (The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again), in which Bixby and the rest of the original cast – with the exception of Harry Morgan as an Army fort commander – do not appear. It also features Susan Clark as the stagecoach driver who is persuaded to marry the gambler in an attempt for both of them to keep custody of the children; Harry Morgan as the sheriff who doubles as the barber, Justice of the Peace, and the judge; and Slim Pickens as Knotts' and Conway's former boss who tries to kidnap the children and steal the gold.
- Bill Bixby .... Russell Donovan
- Susan Clark .... Magnolia Dusty Clydesdale
- Don Knotts .... Theodore Ogelvie
- Tim Conway .... Amos Tucker
- David Wayne .... Col. T.R. Clydesdale
- Slim Pickens .... Frank Stillwell
- Harry Morgan .... Homer McCoy
- John McGiver .... Leonard Sharpe
- Don Knight .... John Wintle
- Clay O'Brien .... Bobby Bradley
- Brad Savage .... Clovis Bradley
- Stacy Manning .... Celia Bradley
- Dennis Fimple .... Rudy Hooks
- Pepe Callahan .... Clemons
- Iris Adrian .... Poker Polly
- Fran Ryan .... Mrs. Stockley
- Bing Russell .... Herm Dally
- James E. Brodhead .... The Mouthpiece
- Jim Boles .... Easy Archie
- Olan Soule .... Rube Cluck
- Tom Waters .... Rowdy Joe Dover
- Dawn Little Sky .... Big Foot
- Joshua Shelley .... Broadway Phil
- Richard Lee-Sung .... Oh So
- Arthur Wong .... No So
- Dick Winslow .... Slippery Sid
- Bill Dunbar .... Fast Eddie(also goes by William T.Dunbar 3rd)
- Wally Berns .... Cheating Charley
The film was a hit at the box office and was the most successful Disney film of the 1970s, but gained mixed reviews from the critics. In October 1980, it became one of the first Disney movies to be released on videocassette. It is also known as being the first film to feature the comedy duo of Don Knotts and Tim Conway. Knotts and Conway developed different styles of pulling off their comedy; Conway's characters were usually the dumber of the two, which made Knotts usually the brains of the group, though they were both equally inept. Both The Apple Dumpling Gang and its sequel, The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, have been released on Disney DVD in the United States. In the United Kingdom, only the original film has been made available on DVD.
Sequel and TV series
In 1979, Knotts and Conway reprised their roles in the unsuccessful sequel The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again. Bill Bixby, Susan Clark, and the rest of the cast did not appear. Harry Morgan was the only other member of the cast to appear in the sequel, although he plays a different character. Without the presence of Bill Bixby, Susan Clark, and the three children, the film was not a success. Knotts and Conway would team up for two more films together (both independent films co-written by Conway), The Prize Fighter in 1979, and The Private Eyes. They were also in Gus released in 1976, even though they did not share any scenes together; instead, Tom Bosley was Conway's foil in that film. Conway and Knotts would also appear together briefly as a pair of inept highway patrolmen in 1984's Cannonball Run II.
In January 1982, Disney aired Tales of the Apple Dumpling Gang, a television film starring Ed Begley, Jr. in the Conway role and Arte Johnson in the Knotts role. Two months later saw the premiere of a television series, Gun Shy, with a completely different cast, including Barry Van Dyke in the Bill Bixby role of gambler Russell Donovan. Six episodes were produced.
- "The Apple Dumpling Gang, Box Office Information". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
- Ebert, Roger (2013-06-19). "The Apple Dumpling Gang Movie Review (1975) | Roger Ebert". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
- Eder, Richard (1975-07-24). "Movie Review - The Apple Dumpling Gang - Screen: 'The Apple Dumpling Gang':Animated People Seen in July's 4th Disney Wild West, 3 Orphans Served Up Cheerfully - NYTimes.com". Movies.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
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- Official website
- The Apple Dumpling Gang at the Internet Movie Database
- The Apple Dumpling Gang at the TCM Movie Database
- The Apple Dumpling Gang at AllMovie
- The Apple Dumpling Gang at Box Office Mojo
- The Apple Dumpling Gang at Rotten Tomatoes