Return from Witch Mountain

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Return from Witch Mountain
Return from Witch Mountain, film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Hough
Produced by Ron Miller
Jerome Courtland
Written by Malcolm Marmorstein
Based on Characters created by Alexander Key
Starring Bette Davis
Christopher Lee
Kim Richards
Ike Eisenmann
Jack Soo
Anthony James
Music by Lalo Schifrin
Cinematography Frank Phillips
Edited by Bob Bring
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution
Release dates
  • March 10, 1978 (1978-03-10)
Running time
94 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Return from Witch Mountain is a 1978 sequel to Walt Disney Productions' 1975 film, Escape to Witch Mountain. It was written by Malcolm Marmorstein and is based on the novel by Alexander Key. Ike Eisenmann, Kim Richards, and Denver Pyle reprise their roles as Tony, Tia, and Uncle Bené—humanoid extraterrestrials with special powers including telepathy and telekinesis. The two main villains are played by Bette Davis as Letha Wedge, a greedy woman using the last of her money to finance the scientific experiments of Dr. Victor Gannon, played by Christopher Lee.

In September 1978, the film was re-released to theaters on a double bill with Escape to Witch Mountain.

A made-for-television sequel called Beyond Witch Mountain was made in 1982.


Having spent a good deal of time enjoying the company of their newfound family and friends at Witch Mountain and intensively studying and practicing their supernatural powers, Tony and his sister Tia are in need of a vacation. Uncle Bené drops them off in their flying saucer at the Rose Bowl stadium in Los Angeles, California, after which the siblings quickly become separated from each other. A man named Dr. Victor Gannon (Lee) and his assistant Letha Wedge (Davis) happen to see Tony using his powers to save their henchman from certain death. Realizing that Tony has supernatural powers, Dr. Gannon drugs the boy with a tranquilizer shot and takes him back to their laboratory. There, Dr. Gannon successfully tests a new mind-control technology on him. Under its influence, Tony is completely hypnotized and does everything that his kidnappers want him to do, like stealing gold from a museum exhibit and stopping Tia from finding them. With Tony at his robotic bidding, Dr. Gannon hopes to achieve recognition within the scientific community and worldwide power, while Letha merely wants a return on her investment.

Tia uses her telepathic powers to locate Tony. She gets additional help from a group of would-be toughs whom she comes across, called the Earthquake Gang, and a hapless truant officer Mr. Yokomoto — whom the toughs call "Yo-Yo" — to find her brother, and foil the villains' nefarious plans.

Filming locations[edit]

The otherwise vacant lot, upon which the children's dilapidated hideout mansion stands, was at the Alameda Street railroad yard, where the Rochester House (a relic from 1880's)[1] was waiting for restoration and relocation. The house was used as the hideout in the movie. The house however was never restored and ultimately demolished in 1979 (even though the link above places the house in Virginia, and says that it was listed as a historic building in 2002).

Scenes of Dr. Victor Gannon's mansion, the location of his laboratory, were filmed at Moby Castle on Durand Drive, Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles.

The tunnel scenes were filmed at the Fillmore & Western Railway in Fillmore, CA constructing a faux tunnel structure. The faux tunnel still stands and can be seen on board the trains.

The gold-bar robbery sequence was filmed at the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park, Los Angeles. The building facing the Park's Rose Garden was used for exterior shots of the museum. The scene in which Yokomoto's van is overturned and breaks a fire-hydrant was filmed near the Sunset Boulevard bridge and Glendale Boulevard underpass intersection, in the Echo Park district.


Actors Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann appear in at least four films together — this one, the original 1975 Disney film Escape to Witch Mountain, and the television film Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell. Richards portrays the roadside waitress and Eisenmann portrays the Sheriff in a re-imagined remake of the original film, Race to Witch Mountain, released in March 2009.

Jack Soo (Mr. "Yo-Yo" Yokomoto) was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the Autumn of 1978, several months after the film's release. Return from Witch Mountain would be his final movie appearance, as he died the following January.

The emergency voice heard over Yokomoto's van radio — announcing the problem at the plutonium plant — is that of Gary Owens.


The franchise was continued in 2009 with the release of Race to Witch Mountain, starring Dwayne Johnson and directed by Andy Fickman.

Media releases[edit]

Return from Witch Mountain was released on VHS on June 25, 1986. It was first released as a Special Edition DVD in Region 1 on September 2, 2003 and re-released on DVD in a 2-movie collection along with Escape to Witch Mountain on September 5, 2006 and re-released as part of the Walt Disney Family Classics line on March 10, 2009.

On October 13, 2015, Return from Witch Mountain was released on Blu-ray as a Disney Movie Club exclusive title.

External links[edit]