The Boy Who Owned a Melephant

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The Boy Who Owned a Melephant
Directed by Saul Swimmer
Produced by Peter Gayle
Saul Swimmer
Tony Anthony
Screenplay by Saul Swimmer
Tony Anthony
Story by Marvin Wald
Starring Brockman Seawell
Molly Turner
Narrated by Tallulah Bankhead
Gayle-Swimmer-Anthony Productions
Distributed by Universal International
Release date
Running time
30 minutes
Country United States
Language English

"The Boy Who Owned a Melephant" is a 1959 American film short directed by Saul Swimmer and featuring Tallulah Bankhead as narrator.


After seeing his first circus, young Johnnie (Brockman Seawell) asks for an elephant to keep as a pet. To placate him, his mother (Molly Turner) whimsically "gives" him the elephant in the local zoo. The boy's classmates resent his pride in "owning" the pachyderm, and the boy learns to share, making his peers equal "owners".[1][2]


Shortly after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, future feature-film director-producer Saul Swimmer directed the half-hour children's short "The Boy Who Owned a Melephant". Co-written by Swimmer and Tony Anthony, adapting a story by Marvin Wald, it was produced by a team credited as Gayle-Swimmer-Anthony,[3] which included frequent collaborator Peter Gayle.[4] It was released by Universal Pictures on October 6, 1959[3] or November 9, 1959[1] (sources differ). Narrated by actress Tallulah Bankhead, it starred her godson, Brockman Seawell, actress Eugenia Rawls' son, and played the Palace Theatre in New York City.[3]

The film screened at the 1959 San Francisco International Film Festival,[5] and won a 1959 Gold Leaf award at the Venice International Children's Film Festival.[3] On March 19, 1967, it was paired with the 1952 French short "White Mane" as an episode of the television anthology series The CBS Children's Film Festival.[2]


  1. ^ a b "A Cavalcade of Short Subject Reviews Part 23: 1958-1963". based on reviews in Boxoffice magazine. Archived from the original on April 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b The CBS Children's Film Festival 1967 (fan site). Archived from the original on April 24, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d Carrier, Jeffrey L. (1991). Tallulah Bankhead: A Bio-Bibliography. Greenwood Press. p. 146. ISBN 978-0313274527. 
  4. ^ Kilgallen, Dorothy (September 13, 1960). "Voice of Broadway". (Syndicated column) via the Schenectady Gazette. The youngest film producers in the United States — 22-year-old Peter Gayle, Saul Swimmer and Tony Anthony — are negotiating for the film rights to Arthur Miller's '[A] Memory of Two Mondays'. 
  5. ^ "The Boy Who Owned a Melephant". San Francisco International Film Festival. Archived from the original on April 24, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 

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