4 user 5 critic

Willy McBean and His Magic Machine (1965)

Little Willy McBean joins up with a Mexican monkey named Pablo to travel back in time and stop the evil Prof. von Rotten from changing history.


Arthur Rankin Jr.




Credited cast:
Larry D. Mann ... Professor Von Rotten (voice) (as Larry Mann)
Billie Mae Richards ... Willy McBean (voice) (as Billie Richards)
Alfie Scopp ... Buffalo Bill Cody / The Dragon / General Custer (voice)
Paul Kligman Paul Kligman ... Christopher Columbus / Sitting Bull (voice)
Bernard Cowan Bernard Cowan ... Khufu / Ned the Caveman (voice) (as Bunny Cowan)
Paul Soles Paul Soles ... Pablo the Monkey / King Ferdinand (voice)
Peggi Loder Peggi Loder ... (voice) (as Pegi Loder)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Corinne Conley ... (voice)
James Doohan ... (voice)
Claude Rae Claude Rae ... (voice) (as Claude Ray)


Frustrated genius Rasputin Von Rotten has decided to make his mark upon history once and for all by building a time machine to travel back to all the important achievements in history and take credit for them himself. The plan looks foolproof until his talking pet monkey Pablo runs off with the blueprints for the doctor's scheme. Pablo is discovered by boy genius Willy McBean, who decides to go back in time himself and undo the doctor's damage, if for no other reason than to keep from having to study history all over again. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Mad Romp Through Time! See more »



Did You Know?


This was Rankin-Bass' first theatrical stop-motion "Animagic" feature film. See more »


Willy McBean: Pablo, we have to help him.
Professor Von Rotten: Of course you do, little boy! If you don't hurry, I'll... I'll tell your mother!
See more »


I'm the Most Exciting, Horrible Dragon (In All of Camelot)
Music and Lyrics by Edward Thomas, Gene Forrell and James Polack
Performed by Alfie Scopp
See more »

User Reviews

It looks like they spent far less on this feature-length theatrical film than their TV specials.
12 October 2020 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Back in the 60s and early 70s, the Rankin-Bass company made some of the best and most iconic Christmas specials ever, such as "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". If these films are the only Rankin-Bass films you've seen, then films like "Willy McBean and His Magic Machine" will come as a surprise for several reasons. First, the company didn't just make Christmas or other holiday specials. Second, the quality of their productions varied tremendously...and some, like this film, look a tad shabby by comparison. I am not completely sure why, but it may be because the Rankin-Bass folks farmed the animation out to studios in Japan...and which Japanese company made them changed several times. All I know is that this feature-length movie just isn't the same quality of the great Christmas shows. Now I am not saying it's bad...but it certainly isn't great.

The story begins with the evil Professor Von Rotten building a time machine and planning to go back in history to make himself one of the most important figures ever. But his monkey, Pablo, steals the blueprints and brings them to Willy McBean, who is sort of like a Dexter or Jimmy Neutron...a brilliant kid with super-special scientific skills. So Willy makes his own time machine and takes Pablo with him through history to stop the wicked Professor!

On the plus side, one or two of the songs are catchy...one in particularly got stuck in my head. And, I am sure it took a lot of work to create this stop-motion film...I do appreciate that. But the story and characters are pretty forgettable and I have a hard time imagining kids today sitting through this film. Interesting for nostalgia sake but otherwise a film that is, at best, a time-passer. If you are curious, it's currently posted on YouTube....along with several other Rankin-Bass full-length films and specials you probably never saw before or have long forgotten.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 4 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.



Japan | USA



Release Date:

23 June 1965 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed