Jay North, after Dennis, makes a nice family film, for animal lovers, with a few minor issues
Chris (Jay North) lives on a California ranch with his parents and two pets, a German Shepherd dog and a tamed mountain lion, Sunshine. However, one morning, his parents tell him that they are moving to the city, they can't turn a profit on the ranch. Talk about disappointment! Mostly, Chris is worried about Sunshine, who, unlike other big cats, doesn't know survival techniques. So, Chris sneaks him onto the trailer and takes him to their new home in Southern California. Almost immediately, Sunshine is discovered and taken to the local zoo, over Chris' zealous objections. When the young boy goes to visit, he sees the zoo is horridly small and the animals' cages are too confining. One of the nice zookeepers (Andy Devine) lets Chris work at the zoo, part time. Another zookeeper (Martin Milner) also has a caring heart and knows the zoo needs improvements but he can't convince the owners to put forth the dollars. Therefore, one day, Chris lets the animals loose, after a feeding, to make a point. Soon, zebras, chimps, a tiger, a lion, an ostrich and other animals are walking around town. Only the head zookeeper keeps the police from terminating the animals, asking for time to tranquilize the creatures and take them back. But, as the hours go by, will the zoo animals be saved and will Chris' misguided effort to improve the zoo bring results? This is a very nice family film, nearly unknown, but with a great cast of character actros and, naturally, a slightly older version of Dennis the Menace. North is enjoyable, as is the entire cast. Also wonderful are the animals, who put on a show to set everyone to knee-slapping fun. Just watch a chimp imitate a man watching Laurel and Hardy on television and you will be laughing, too. But, alas, there are a couple of problems. First, some evil boys throw lit cigars to the hippos, causing one to die. Nasty and unnecessary. Also, no one, no matter what the goal, should release wild and dangerous animals on the public. Its not a prank, so you and yours should discuss this during and after a watch. But, all in all, most folks of all ages will like this one and happily sing the catchy title song, too.
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