The Shaggy D.A. (1976)

G | 92 mins | Comedy | 25 December 1976

Director:

Robert Stevenson

Writer:

Don Tait

Producer:

Bill Anderson

Cinematographer:

Frank Phillips

Production Designers:

John Mansbridge, Perry Ferguson

Production Company:

Walt Disney Productions
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HISTORY

Production notes from the AMPAS library stated that The Shaggy D.A., Walt Disney Productions’ sequel to The Shaggy Dog (1959, see entry), opened nationwide on 25 Dec 1976.
       Although reviews for the film were critical of its formulaic nature, they were generally positive. The 3 Jan 1977 Box predicted that it would be “one of the year’s biggest hits,” and the 10 Dec 1976 DV described the film as “all frothy fun, not to be taken seriously or analyzed.” Both reviews singled out impressionist George Kirby, who dubbed several dog voices in the styles of actors Mae West, Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson.
       The DV review mentioned that actor Liam Dunn, who died before principal photography was completed, played a cameo role as a dogcatcher. The review in the 18 Dec 1976 LAHExam noted that The Shaggy D.A. marked actress Jo Anne Worley’s feature film debut.
       The inclusion in the film of a Great Dane named “Brutus” was possibly a reference to The Ugly Dachsund, (1966, see entry) a Walt Disney production that also starred Dean Jones and Suzanne Pleshette, which featured a Great Dane named ... More Less

Production notes from the AMPAS library stated that The Shaggy D.A., Walt Disney Productions’ sequel to The Shaggy Dog (1959, see entry), opened nationwide on 25 Dec 1976.
       Although reviews for the film were critical of its formulaic nature, they were generally positive. The 3 Jan 1977 Box predicted that it would be “one of the year’s biggest hits,” and the 10 Dec 1976 DV described the film as “all frothy fun, not to be taken seriously or analyzed.” Both reviews singled out impressionist George Kirby, who dubbed several dog voices in the styles of actors Mae West, Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson.
       The DV review mentioned that actor Liam Dunn, who died before principal photography was completed, played a cameo role as a dogcatcher. The review in the 18 Dec 1976 LAHExam noted that The Shaggy D.A. marked actress Jo Anne Worley’s feature film debut.
       The inclusion in the film of a Great Dane named “Brutus” was possibly a reference to The Ugly Dachsund, (1966, see entry) a Walt Disney production that also starred Dean Jones and Suzanne Pleshette, which featured a Great Dane named Brutus. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Jan 1977.
---
Cue
22 Jan 1977.
---
Daily Variety
12 Feb 1976.
---
Daily Variety
25 Mar 1976.
---
Daily Variety
10 Dec 1976
p. 3, 11.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 1976
p. 4.
LAHExam
18 Dec 1976.
---
Los Angeles Times
20 Dec 1976
p. 16.
New York Times
27 Dec 1976
p. 18.
Variety
15 Dec 1976
p. 19.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Unit mgr/Asst dir
2d asst dir
Prod mgr
2d asst dir
2d unit asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam asst
Cam asst
Gaffer
Best boy
1st unit key grip
1st unit 2d grip
2d unit key grip
2d unit 2d grip
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
2d unit art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
2d prop master
2d unit prop master
Leadman
COSTUMES
Women`s cost
Men`s cost
Men`s cost
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd supv
Sd mixer
Mikeman
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Matte artist
Titles
Titles
Titles
Spec eff, 1st unit
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the prod
Scr supv
2d unit scr supv
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Casting
Casting
Casting
Unit pub
Craft service
Transportation capt
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by The Hound of Florence by Felix Salten (New York, 1930).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
"The Shaggy D.A." sung by Dean Jones, written by Shane Tatum and Richard McKinley
"Down by the Old Mill Stream," sung by Tim Conway, written by Tell Taylor.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 December 1976
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 18 December 1976
New York opening: 25 December 1976
Production Date:
Early 1976
Copyright Claimant:
Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Copyright Date:
17 December 1976
Copyright Number:
LP47148
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Photophone Sound Recording
Color
Duration(in mins):
92
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the town of Medfield, burglars Freddie and Dip load the Daniels’s possessions into their moving van. Admiral Horton C. Brenner, who lives next door, offers them each a glass of beer while unwittingly congratulating the men on their work ethic. When Wilby, Betty and their son, Brian Daniels return to their ransacked home, Wilby calls the police from Brenner’s house, but the desk sergeant dismisses the complaint. Wilby blames his family’s plight on the lax policies of district attorney “Honest” John Slade, and threatens to run for the office himself. Despite his family’s encouragement, Wilby elects to remain in his private law practice, but when the Daniels’s remaining clothing and blankets are stolen that evening, Wilby determines to unseat Slade. Later, with his campaign underway, Wilby tries to endear himself to Medfield’s voters, which includes allowing himself to be smeared with chocolate by an overly affectionate toddler. At a press conference, Slade disparages his opponent as a sensationalist. Afterward, Slade calls crime boss Eddie Roschak, who is worried by Wilby’s campaign, but Slade assures him that their criminal enterprise is secure. Later, at the art museum, Freddie and Dip attend a lecture by Prof. Whatley, who displays a priceless scarab ring that once belonged to Florentine aristocrat Lucrezia Borgia, and explains that the ring enabled her to turn her unfaithful lover into a dog. The burglars steal the ring, but are unable to sell it to Roschak. At the Daniels house, a television crew prepares for a live interview with Wilby and Betty while the family dresses upstairs. Upon hearing the news that the Borgia ring has ... +


In the town of Medfield, burglars Freddie and Dip load the Daniels’s possessions into their moving van. Admiral Horton C. Brenner, who lives next door, offers them each a glass of beer while unwittingly congratulating the men on their work ethic. When Wilby, Betty and their son, Brian Daniels return to their ransacked home, Wilby calls the police from Brenner’s house, but the desk sergeant dismisses the complaint. Wilby blames his family’s plight on the lax policies of district attorney “Honest” John Slade, and threatens to run for the office himself. Despite his family’s encouragement, Wilby elects to remain in his private law practice, but when the Daniels’s remaining clothing and blankets are stolen that evening, Wilby determines to unseat Slade. Later, with his campaign underway, Wilby tries to endear himself to Medfield’s voters, which includes allowing himself to be smeared with chocolate by an overly affectionate toddler. At a press conference, Slade disparages his opponent as a sensationalist. Afterward, Slade calls crime boss Eddie Roschak, who is worried by Wilby’s campaign, but Slade assures him that their criminal enterprise is secure. Later, at the art museum, Freddie and Dip attend a lecture by Prof. Whatley, who displays a priceless scarab ring that once belonged to Florentine aristocrat Lucrezia Borgia, and explains that the ring enabled her to turn her unfaithful lover into a dog. The burglars steal the ring, but are unable to sell it to Roschak. At the Daniels house, a television crew prepares for a live interview with Wilby and Betty while the family dresses upstairs. Upon hearing the news that the Borgia ring has been stolen, Wilby tells Betty that the ring had turned him into a neighbor’s sheepdog years earlier, as Brian listens outside the door. Elsewhere, Tim, an ice cream vendor for the Dolly Dixon Company, buys the ring from Freddie for $5, as a gift for his coworker, Katrinka Muggelberg. When Tim reads the Latin inscription on the ring aloud, Elwood, his sheepdog and constant companion, disappears. In Wilby’s study, Brian watches his father transform into Elwood moments before his interview is set to begin. When Betty and the television interviewer enter the study, she realizes that Wilby was telling the truth about the Borgia ring, and joins Brian in making excuses for her husband’s absence. Meanwhile, Slade and his driver, Raymond, watch the interview on television, ecstatic over Wilby’s absence. While searching for his dog, Tim sees Elwood through the Daniels’s window and calls to him. The dog jumps out the window and Tim gives chase, eventually wrangling Elwood into the ice cream truck. The two argue for several moments before Tim realizes that his dog can talk, and fantasizes about an entertainment career. Elwood escapes, and after an altercation with a Great Dane named Brutus, he reverts to human form as Wilby, while Elwood reappears in Tim’s truck. Upon his return home, Wilby announces on television that, if elected, he will launch an investigation into Slade’s connection to Roschak. In order to ensure Wilby’s defeat, Slade orders Raymond to uncover a salacious event from his opponent’s past. Meanwhile, Tim brings Elwood to a bar, where he bets Harry the bartender that the dog can talk; when Elwood remains silent, Tim attempts ventriloquism before admitting defeat. Later, as Tim reloads his truck at Dolly Dixon, he gives the ring to Katrinka, who reads the Latin inscription aloud, “In canis corpore transmuto.” Wilby, who is giving a speech to the Daisies Garden Club, transforms into Elwood. Betty creates a distraction as Elwood makes a disruptive exit, all of which is witnessed by Raymond. Elwood hops into a taxi and carries on a conversation with the driver, who is unaware that he is talking to a dog. Tim gives chase, removing Wilby when the taxi stops at a traffic light. Unaware that the spell has worn off, Tim places another bet with Harry, who physically throws both dog and owner out the door. Later in the day, Brian strikes up a conversation with Tim, telling him about the ring. Tim directs the family to Dolly Dixon, where Wilby offers to buy the ring from Katrinka for $2000. However, the ring was lost among a large order of cherry pies, delivered to the hotel for a Slade campaign fundraising event. Wilby offers the reward to whomever finds the ring, and the entire bakery staff rushes to the hotel. In the hotel kitchen, the search for the ring devolves into a pie fight. When Freddie is hit with a stray pie, he is again in possession of the ring, but is soon arrested after trying to sell it to a plainclothes detective. At the police station, Raymond overhears Prof. Whatley explain the ring’s power, citing the example of Wilby in his youth. Slade confiscates the ring and invites Wilby to his office. When Wilby refuses to end his campaign, Slade turns him into a dog, while a pair of dogcatchers wait outside. Wilby escapes, but that night he is captured and taken to an animal shelter to be gassed. He and the other condemned dogs tunnel out of the pound, and Wilby drives them to safety in an Animal Control van. Meanwhile, Slade continually recites the incantation to keep Wilby in his canine form, despite warnings that he could become sensitized to the ring’s magic. Wilby devises a ploy to draw Slade to Roschak’s warehouse and enlists Tim as his messenger. Tim and Wilby then bicycle to the warehouse to witness the meeting, unaware that Brian is following on his skateboard. At the warehouse, they find a cassette recorder among the many stolen items, which Wilby uses to record an incriminating conversation between Slade and Roschak. When Wilby is seen by the two criminals, they draw their guns and chase him into the warehouse. As Slade and Roschak corner Wilby, they are attacked by the grateful pound dogs, who retrieve the ring from Slade, thereby allowing Wilby to return to human form. Tim, Brian and Wilby make their escape in a Jeep, and both car and passengers are covered in red paint and feathers before crashing through the warehouse door. Slade’s reckless repetition of the incantation turns him into a bulldog. Weeks later, Tim and Katrinka invite district attorney Wilby Daniels and his family to their engagement party. The couple has also adopted all of the escaped pound dogs. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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