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The Fantasticks (1964)

Neighboring widowers plot to romantically unite their son and daughter by pretending to feud and forbidding the two children to associate with each other. Their scheme works and the two ... See full summary »


George Schaefer


Tom Jones (book), Edmond Rostand (play) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Ricardo Montalban ... El Gallo
Bert Lahr ... Hucklebee
Stanley Holloway ... Bellamy
Susan Watson Susan Watson ... Luisa
John Davidson ... Matt


Neighboring widowers plot to romantically unite their son and daughter by pretending to feud and forbidding the two children to associate with each other. Their scheme works and the two youngsters fall head-over-heels in love. To end their "feud" the fathers hire a bandit and his henchmen to fake an abduction and allow the son to rout the assailants. The plan works, but the two love birds discover that requited love is much less exciting than forbidden romance and they break off their relationship. Matt, the son, resolves to see the world and receives a severe buffeting, while Luisa, the daughter, has an unhappy romance with the bandit, who steals her most precious possession, her mother's necklace. Matt returns, sadder but wiser, and the two former lovers reunite. Written by David Bassler

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

18 October 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: The Fantasticks (#14.1) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Compass Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Based on the longest playing musical in NY theater history. See more »


[first lines]
El Gallo: Let me tell you a few things before we begin the play. First of all, the characters: a boy, a girl, two fathers. It is hard to know what is most important or how it all began. The boy was born, the girl was born, they grew up - quickly - went to school, became shy in their own ways and for different reasons. Read romances, studied cloud formations in the lazy afternoon and instead of reading textbooks tried to memorize the moon.
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Edited into Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951) See more »


Never Say No
Music by Harvey Schmidt
Lyrics by Tom Jones
Performed by Bert Lahr and Stanley Holloway
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User Reviews

Hideous TV Adaptation
8 March 2016 | by drednmSee all my reviews

Sadly, the long-running Off-Broadway stage musical wasn't filmed with its original stars. This cut-down 1964 show for NBC gets it all wrong. The music is too loud and too orchestral. The two fathers' roles have been beefed up at the expense of the lovers' roles. The sets are cheesy. The singing is bad.

First off, Ricardo Montalban as El Gallo can't really sing. Neither can the fathers, as portrayed by Bert Lahr and Stanley Holloway. That they can't sing doesn't matter so much since they are characters parts, but there's no harmonizing and no chemistry. John Davidson as Matt is fine, but Susan Watson as Luisa is just plain awful and her high notes are weak and often sour. It doesn't help that the music drowns out the singers on several occasions.

Listen to the 1960 soundtrack from the original show if you want to really hear the terrific score by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones (no not THAT Tom Jones). The original production utilized a piano, harp, and xylophone. This TV production's full orchestra is too big and loud.

Jerry Orbach was the original Gallo and he had a good singing voice. Likewise Kenneth Nelson as Matt. Their numbers together featured two strong voices and nice harmonizing. Rita Gardner as Luisa had a great soprano voice and held her own with the men as well as being able to hold those high notes.

Major victim here is the elimination of "It Depends on What You Pay," in which Gallo sells the fathers on the idea of a rape (abduction) so that the boy can save the girl. They mutter a few lines in place of the song. "Rape Ballet" has already (this is 1964) been renamed "Abduction Ballet" and played confusingly. Also, the "Round and Round" number is cut in half and badly filmed in an artsy out-of-focus way.

As bad as this TV production is, the 2008 feature film was even worse. If you want to experience "Try to Remember," "Soon It's Gonna Rain," and "They Were You," by the CD of the original 1960 show.

Rita Gardner, Kenneth Nelson, and Jerry Orbach stand supreme in this one-of-a-kind musical.

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