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Disney was able to bolster interest in this Kevin Corcoran vehicle by using Henry Calvin and Gene Sheldon in co-starring roles. They were both the co-stars of Disney's hit television series Zorro (1957) which was then off the air due to legal disputes between Disney and the American Broadcasting Company. See more »
Wires are clearly visible, attached to Toby as he does bareback riding stunts. See more »
I've mentioned elsewhere that Disney's adaptations of famous works sometimes avoid the dark and dreary messages of the original works.He wished,it seems,to provide wholesome family entertainment.IN this regard,he succeeded.But,after seeing this film,as I did when it first came out,I was horrified when I got around to reading Kahler's book.Let's see the differences.
1.)Toby,in the story,is a sly,fat, lazy glutton,who leaves a brutal orphan's home in order to avoid doing his chores,and being punished for dishonesty.He joins the circus,and wages an undercover war against the evil management.
2.)The circus is a dreary,run down dump,managed by vicious alcoholics who beat and cripple children.Toby,consequently,starts a guerrilla war against them.
3.)The people who work in the circus,when they aren't brutal bullies,are among the most grotesque characters in Victorian American fiction.
4.)Toby DOESN'T become a star on horses.Mr.Stubbs isn't a cute chimp,but a mangy,pathetic,morose old monkey.And the hunter does kill him.
5.)The story ends with the manager of the orphanage taking Toby back.And you get the feeling that all will not be well.
So,while the film adaptation sticks to some of the facts,the underlying message has been avoided.
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