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 »
In the first scene Toby Tyler is supposed to be selling concessions at the circus, but he sits down to watch Mademoiselle Jeanette and Monsieur Ajax performing their acrobatic horse routine instead; the last shot shows Jeanette and Ajax in different costumes because it is a shot from a later scene in the movie where Toby Tyler performs the act with Jeanette. Therefore the last shot of their routine has Toby Tyler performing instead of Ajax. See more »
I'm a poor man, yet I took you in out of decency's sake when no one else would have you!
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"Toby Tyler" (1960) is one of my earliest movie memories. In combination with the film Whitman Publishing released a book of the screenplay, which differed considerably from the source novel, managing to lighten up the story.
Most boys (at least in my class) were at first reluctant to see the film because it's star, Kevin "Moochie" Corcoran, had pretty much ruined the "Spin and Marty" serial when he was added to the cast after the first season. We also had suffered through his "too cute" acting in "Old Yeller". Rare is the child actor who was more irritating to his contemporaries. But "Moochie" was just a hammy kid who did what the director wanted; and fortunately the director of "Toby Tyler" dialed down the standard "Moochie" cuteness for his first staring role.
The film was the perfect escape for boys. Running away with the circus was almost as good as getting to spend the whole summer riding horses on the Triple "R" Ranch. Plus Toby's protector was Ben Cotter, our old friend Sgt. Garcia from "Zorro". Mr. Stubbs the chimp is given the "too cute" supporting role that "Moochie" normally played, which was most likely an attempt to expand the target audience to include pre-teen girls. It worked as the film entertained the entire family.
The story involves Toby's efforts to move from peanut vendor to circus performer. He eventually replaces a snotty boy in a bareback riding act. His partner is Mademoiselle Jeanette (Barbara Beaird), my first crush and most likely the reason that I remember the film so fondly.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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