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
|Edited by||Robert Stafford|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
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. 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.
In 1930, Lemuel "Lem" Siddons (Fred MacMurray) is a saxophonist in a traveling band 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.
- 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
- Steve Franken - P.O.W. Lieutenant
- 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
- John Larroquette — Army Soldier in War Games (uncredited)
- Duane Chase — Troop 1 Boy Scout - shown firing cannon at boy scout cabin scene (listed in the movie)
This was Ruggles last feature film. He has a small but critical role in the film. He was age 80 when this picture was made, and did only television work afterwards, until his death in 1970.
The film was popular, earning $5,350,000 in North American rentals in 1967.
- "Follow Me, Boys!, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
- Chick Coombs (December 1966). Boys Life: Lights! Cameras! Boom!. Boy Scouts of America. p. 16. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
- "Plot Summary for 'Follow Me, Boys!'". Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- The date actually fell on Monday, not on Saturday as depicted in the film.
- "Lem Siddons Day Activities Announced". Retrieved October 28, 2011.
- "Big Rental Films of 1967", Variety, January 3, 1968, p 25. These figures refer to rentals accruing to the film distributors.
- Official website
- 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