An underemployed reporter finds himself literally purchased as a toy for a rich spoiled brat.



(screenplay), (film)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Annazette Chase ...
Don Hood ...
Karen Leslie-Lyttle ...
Virginia Capers ...
B.J. Hopper ...
Linda McCann ...
Ray Spruell ...
Stocker Fontelieu ...


On one of his bratty son Eric's annual visits, the plutocrat U.S. Bates takes him to his department store and offers him anything in it as a gift. Eric chooses a black janitor who has made him laugh with his antics. At first the man suffers many indignities as Eric's "toy", but gradually teaches the lonely boy what it is like to have and to be a friend. Written by Paul Emmons <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


When Jackie Gleason Told His Son He Could Have Any Present He Wanted, He Picked The Most Outrageous Gift Of All... Richard Pryor.




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

10 December 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Su juguete preferido  »

Box Office


$50,400,000 (USA)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The phallic building featured prominently in a few scenes is the the Louisiana State Capitol building in Baton Rouge in the American state of Louisiana, USA. See more »


Articles in the newspaper "The Toy" do not correspond to the pictures. Specifically, the paragraph that begins "The man in the middle is chief counsel for the committee." repeats many times. See more »


Senator Newcomb: These democrats don't normally support us.
U.S. Bates: Now, Senator, we agreed to keep that under our hats. If they knew this was a fund raiser, we'd be all alone.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits are shown aside four toy darts. See more »


Referenced in Deathrow Gameshow (1987) See more »


I Just Want To Be Your Friend
Performed by Jeffrey Osborne
Music and Lyrics by Trevor Lawrence and Frank Musker
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason made The Toy tolerable as entertainment
17 February 2012 | by (Baton Rouge, La.) – See all my reviews

Just rewatched this Richard Donner movie starring Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason after 30 years on Netflix Streaming just now. In this one, Pryor plays Jack Brown, an unemployed reporter whose house may be put up for sale unless he gets a job so he finds employment, initially as a maid, for Gleason's U.S. Bates before being reassigned as his son, Eric's (Scott Schwartz), "toy". I'll stop there and just say that despite the silly premise and some potentially stereotypically offensive situations, I did laugh plenty again at many of Pryor's shenanigans with Schwartz and Gleason still was good for some reaction shots especially when he says "woof". Also funny are Ned Beatty-who previously was in Pryor's Silver Streak but has scenes with him here for the first time since co-star Gene Wilder had the lion's share of lines with him there-as toady Mr. Morehouse and Teresa Ganzel as Fancy, U.S.'s (or in her pronunciation-You Ass) wife. It does get really contrived near the end but still, The Toy was fun and somewhat inspirational to me still. With that out of the way, if you're familiar with my reviews, you know that I always like to cite when productions have something associated with my current hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Well, this movie was shot there and I always like recognizing many of the city's landmarks like a brick structure I noticed at the beginning as Pryor encounters a limousine with his first meeting with Fancy there or a scene inside Goudchaux's Department Store-a building that still exists though the store is no more-with his riding the Wonder Wheel or the Indian Mounds near LSU that Jack and Eric walk on and, most awesome of all, two scenes of the State Capital-one seen through the windows of U.S. Bates's office as he makes Morehouse take his pants off in front of Jack and Eric and the other as the latter two are walking near the building's grounds. Also, a couple of players are familiar to me: Linda McCann, who appears in a party scene and at the end, was a teacher of a classmate of mine during my days before high school. She plays Honey Russell. And Robert Earle, who played a poker player at the beginning, was known to me as Bob Earle, president of WIBR-AM 1300, who did promotions for and introed many old-time radio programs for the Top 40 station during the 1979-80 season before it switched to country as I-13 during the latter part of the year. That station went off the air after Hurricane Gustav went through the area on September 1, 2008. Oh, and one more thing, I also like to cite when someone from my birthtown of Chicago, Ill. is associated with the production who in this case was screenwriter Carol Sobieski who had also adapted Annie starring Albert Finney and Carol Burnett earlier in the year.

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