Willy McBean and his Magic Machine

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Willy McBean and his Magic Machine
Directed by Arthur Rankin, Jr.
Produced by Jules Bass
Arthur Rankin, Jr.
Written by Anthony Peters
Arthur Rankin, Jr.
Starring Larry D. Mann
Billie Mae Richards
Paul Soles
Music by Gene Forrell
Release dates
  • June 23, 1965 (1965-06-23) (USA)
Running time
94 minutes (USA)
Country United States United States
Japan Japan
Language English

Willy McBean and his Magic Machine (1965) is a Rankin/Bass full-length stop-motion puppet animation film released in theaters. It was also the first stop-motion animated feature film in the United States.[citation needed]

Professor Rasputin Von Rotten builds a time machine to travel into the past to all the important accomplishments made in history to take credit for them himself. It is up to Pablo, his talking pet monkey, and boy genius Willy McBean to stop him.


Willy McBean is sick of trying to learn history for school. Meanwhile, an evil scientist called Rasputin Von Rotten is building a magical time machine so he can go back in time and be the most famous person in history. A Spanish-English talking monkey named Pablo climbs through Willy's window. He explains that he escaped from Von Rotten and he tells Willy what he is planning to do. Pablo stole the plans to the time machine.

Willy builds his own machine to go back in time to stop Von Rotten. The machine isn't working properly. They end up with General George Armstrong Custer, and escape moments before Custer is killed by .

They then arrive in the Wild West, where they meet Buffalo Bill Cody. Von Rotten plans to become the fastest gun in the west. Von Rotten asks Bill for a showdown, but both guns are sabotaged before anyone can be shot.

Von Rotten moves onto his next target, Christopher Columbus. Once there, Von Rotten, disguised as a Chinese trader, convinces Columbus's crew that they should mutiny. Once more McBean and Pablo stop the evil professor by showing the crew that land is not far off.

After that, Von Rotten goes back to England in the days of King Arthur in the kingdom of Camelot, but Pablo and Willy get Arthur to pull Excalibur the magic sword that can talk. A talking green dragon then crashes into Camelot in an effort to eat everyone, but King Arthur and Excalibur were able to drive him away. Willy and Pablo later go to Ancient Egypt to stop Von Rotten from building the Great Pyramid, but the duo reach Ancient Rome on the way. Then they go back to prehistoric times to get a caveman to invent fire and the wheel before Von Rotten.

As they return to the present, Von Rotten shows the students history through his magic machine (in the form of a movie projector) during history class.

Voice cast[edit]

Production credits[edit]

  • Written, Produced, Directed by Arthur Rankin, Jr.
  • Associate Producers: Jules Bass, Larry Roemer
  • Associate Director: Kizo Nagashima
  • Soundtrack Supervision: Bernard Cowan
  • Music Supervision by Forrell, Thomas and Polack, Associates, Inc.
  • Music by Edward Thomas
  • Songs by Jim Polack, Edward Thomas, Gene Forrell
  • Animation Supervision: Tadahito Mochinaga (credited as Tad Mochinaga), Hiroshi Tabata (uncredited)
  • Choreography: Edward Brinkmann
  • Continuity Design: Antony Peters
  • Additional Dialogue: Len Korobkin
  • a Videocraft/Dentsu picture
  • a Marshall Naify/Magna Pictures Distribution Corporation presentation

© 1965 Videocraft International, Limited and Dentsu Motion Picture Corporation.

See also[edit]

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