Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color: Season 8, Episode 21

The Prince and the Pauper: The Pauper King (6 May 1962)
"Disneyland" The Prince and the Pauper: The Pauper King (original title)

TV Episode  |  Unrated  |   |  Adventure, Biography, Drama
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 172 users  
Reviews: 5 user

In London of 1537, two boys resembling each other meet accidentally and exchange "roles" for a short while. After many adventures, the prince regains his rightful identity and graciously makes his "twin" a ward of the court.



(novel), (adaptation)
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Title: The Prince and the Pauper: The Pauper King (06 May 1962)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Laurence Naismith ...
Sean Scully ...
Niall MacGinnis ...
Geoffrey Keen ...
Walter Hudd ...
Paul Rogers ...
Dorothy Alison ...
Lady Jane Grey
Peter Butterworth ...
Reginald Beckwith ...
Sheila Allen ...
Derek Godfrey ...
Geoffrey Bayldon ...
Sir Goeffrey


In London of 1537, two boys resembling each other meet accidentally and exchange "roles" for a short while. After many adventures, the prince regains his rightful identity and graciously makes his "twin" a ward of the court.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

6 May 1962 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


(3 Episodes) | (VHS)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In his novel 'The Prince and the Pauper', Mark Twain does not indicate the age of Tom Canty and Prince Edward VI when the story takes place, but historically Edward VI lived from 10/12/1537 to 7/6/1553 and reigned as King of England from 1/28/1547 (when he was 9 years old) until his death (at age 15) due to a terminal illness. See more »


(at around 18 mins) The length of Sean Scully's hair is noticeably longer when he is climbing out of the palace window than it was earlier. See more »

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User Reviews

Decent acting, but inadequate attention to plot details
5 July 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Disney movie 'The Prince and the Pauper' premiered in North America in March, 1962, on "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" in three 50 minute episodes totaling about 120 minutes of content. It premiered in the UK as a 93 minute 27 second film May 6, 1962. It premiered on NTSC, region 1, VHS in 1986 running 120 minutes 16 seconds, which is the format being reviewed here. It was not released on DVD (in either NTSC or PAL format), but the 94 minute version was released on Amazon.com as an Amazon Instant Video download to rent (since January 2011) and to buy (since October 2012).

The 1962 Disney version follows the plot of Mark Twain's novel more closely than the 1937 film in that Lord Hertford is loyal to the crown and simply believes that Tom is the Prince with mental issues. In the 1937 film, Lord Hertford is corrupt and self-serving, realizes that Tom is not Prince Edward, manipulates Tom, and tries to have the true prince assassinated. Also, in the 1937 film the Prince idolizes Lord Norfork (since the Prince's uncle, Lord Hertford, has been turned into a corrupt self-serving individual), whereas in the novel and the 1962 Disney version the Prince detests Lord Norfork.

In general, the acting is good, but the telltale and/or editing has many issues, starting at the beginning palace scene which appears like poorly done second unit shots with voice-over narration to explain the birth of two nearly identical boys and the passage of time.

The action begins with Tom performing his daily job, begging, and receiving a rare gift -- three ha-pennies. He spends the rest of his day daydreaming and misses his Latin lesson with Father Andrew. In Mark Twain's novel, much is made of Tom's devotion to Father Andrew, who taught Tom "ways", a little Latin, and how to read and write, so much so that Tom would ask him to explain and enlarge on what they read -- this by way of explanation how Tom's reasoning abilities amazed even adults. Such a devoted boy would not blow off a Latin lesson by daydreaming. When Tom (as king) is told the sentences being meted out for crimes (at 1:32:39 in the movie), this also undermines the believability that he finds each case to be illogical and orders each sentence be set aside.

Like the novel, the 120 minute, 1962, Disney version includes an episode where Miles and Edward ride to Hendon Hall, but in the 1962 version Miles' evil brother Hugh seeks to kill them and they are lucky to escape with their lives. In the novel, Miles is arrested at Hendon Hall for impersonating Hugh's brother (Miles) whose death Hugh faked seven years earlier, and there is strong irony between Miles' and Edward's situations, both being denied their birthrights, giving purpose to the episode. Except as a showcase for Guy Williams' dueling abilities, the episode seems purposeless in the 1962 version, especially since Hugh's treachery is never corrected as it is in the novel -- this probably explains why it was removed in the 94 minute releases.

In the novel, Miles believes until the final scene that the boy he has been serving and protecting out of the goodness of his heart is delusional and is not Edward VI. In Disney's 1962 version, Miles picks up on clues that are not in the novel, the boy's knowledge of sword fighting, of the direction they are traveling, and of the members of the royal court, and realizes (at 1:25:17) the boy is Edward VI. I like the filmmakers approach on this point.

I was somewhat surprised to see both the Prince and Tom with quite short haircuts. However, portraits of Edward VI from the 1500s, most commonly by the court painter Guillim (William) Scrots, typically show him with short hair, which would require frequent haircuts and could be practical for a royal, but not for a pauper. However, this is more a criticism of Mark Twain than the filmmakers, even though the issue is not seen when one reads the novel.

An obvious disadvantage of the VHS version is that the image has VHS quality. Amazon.com does not indicate the resolutions of their 94 minute downloads.

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