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HISTORY

The 5 Oct 1970 Publishers Weekly reported that Walt Disney Productions had acquired the rights to Alan Cailou’s The Cheetahs, the second in a series of animal novels. The price of the sale was to be determined by whether the project would be a theatrical release or a television movie.
       A 7 Jan 1988 Var news brief used the working title Cheetah and the Hare to announce principal photography was scheduled to begin 15 Jan 1988 in Kenya.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library, three different cheetahs were used. Despite being wild animals, they are tame and easy to work with. When one of them licked actress Lucy Deakins’ face, she suffered an allergic reaction, and thereafter had sneezing fits or broke out in a rash whenever she got too close to the cats.
       The 18 Aug 1989 NYT reported that a 1948 animated short, “Mickey and the Seal,” was reissued to screen with Cheetah. ... More Less

The 5 Oct 1970 Publishers Weekly reported that Walt Disney Productions had acquired the rights to Alan Cailou’s The Cheetahs, the second in a series of animal novels. The price of the sale was to be determined by whether the project would be a theatrical release or a television movie.
       A 7 Jan 1988 Var news brief used the working title Cheetah and the Hare to announce principal photography was scheduled to begin 15 Jan 1988 in Kenya.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library, three different cheetahs were used. Despite being wild animals, they are tame and easy to work with. When one of them licked actress Lucy Deakins’ face, she suffered an allergic reaction, and thereafter had sneezing fits or broke out in a rash whenever she got too close to the cats.
       The 18 Aug 1989 NYT reported that a 1948 animated short, “Mickey and the Seal,” was reissued to screen with Cheetah. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 1989
p. 4, 59.
Los Angeles Times
22 Aug 1989
Calendar, p. 2.
New York Times
18 Aug 1989
p. 14.
Publishers Weekly
5 Oct 1970.
---
Variety
7 Jan 1988
p. 6.
Variety
23 Aug 1989
p. 28.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Walt Disney Pictures presents
A Robert Halmi Production
Produced in association with Silver Screen Partners III
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr/1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Addl 1st asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
Kenyan unit mgr
Dir, 2d unit
Asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Scr story
Based on the book "The Cheetahs" by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
B cam op
Steadicam op
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
Asst cam, 2d unit
Key grip/Gaffer, 2d unit
Cam and lenses by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
Set dresser
Set dresser
Asst set dresser
Const coord
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus ed services by
Mus ed services by, The Music Design Group
Mus ed services by, The Music Design Group
Asst to the comp
Mus rec
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd eff
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst ADR ed
ADR rec
Cheetah vocalizations
Boom op
Re-rec
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opt eff supv
MAKEUP
Make-up/Hair supv
Make-up/Hair asst
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod accountant
Prod liaison
Prod coord
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Prod asst
Prod asst
Casting, England
Casting, Kenya
Asst casting, Kenya
Transportation coord
Animals trained by
Trainer, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Trainer, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Greyhound trainer, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Addl animal trainers, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Addl animal trainers, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Safari outfitter
Script supv, 2d unit
Loc equip provided by
STAND INS
Photo double
Photo double
Photo double
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book The Cheetahs by Alan Caillou (New York, 1970).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Jambo Bwana," written by Teddy K. Harrison, courtesy of Polygram Records (Kenya) Ltd.
"Palaba," written by Bateke, performed by The Bateke Beat
"Mwana Ya Congo," written by Bateke, performed by The Bateke Beat.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Cheetah and the Hare
Release Date:
18 August 1989
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 18 August 1989
Production Date:
began 15 January 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc.
Copyright Date:
14 August 1989
Copyright Number:
PA421983
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Prints
Prints by Metrocolor®
Duration(in mins):
84
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28233
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Siblings Ted and Susan Johnson join their parents in Kenya where their father, Earl Johnson, works at a NASA tracking station. Ted’s dreams of roughing it on the savannah are squashed when his mother, Jean, leads him into a house that looks like it belongs in Pasadena, California. Although Jean forbids her children to explore, Ted and Susan sneak out to a nearby watering hole to meet with ten-year old Morogo, a goat herder. Morogo shows the siblings the wildlife of Kenya and they show him how to play video games. One day, Jean Johnson comes home to discover Morogo in her home. Ted and Susan plead with their parents to let Morogo be their guide. Reluctantly, the parents give in. One day, Ted kicks a soccer ball over a barrier and it lands against a sleeping rhino. Morogo sneaks up on the beast, retrieves the ball, and places a small stone on the rhino’s side. He then gives Ted another stone, daring him to do the same. The rhino awakens as Ted nears, sending him scampering up an embankment. A laughing Morogo tells him that a person must approach a Rhino downwind or it will smell him. Kipoin, Morogo’s father, is displeased his son is keeping company with Americans, because they are “cattle eaters.” He is even more disgusted to learn they eat fish. One day, the trio comes across a cheetah cub whose mother has been killed by poachers. Susan insists they take the cub home and talk their parents into letting them raise it. The cub, Duma, becomes the household pet, playing ball, wrestling, and riding in the family car. Ted trains him to ... +


Siblings Ted and Susan Johnson join their parents in Kenya where their father, Earl Johnson, works at a NASA tracking station. Ted’s dreams of roughing it on the savannah are squashed when his mother, Jean, leads him into a house that looks like it belongs in Pasadena, California. Although Jean forbids her children to explore, Ted and Susan sneak out to a nearby watering hole to meet with ten-year old Morogo, a goat herder. Morogo shows the siblings the wildlife of Kenya and they show him how to play video games. One day, Jean Johnson comes home to discover Morogo in her home. Ted and Susan plead with their parents to let Morogo be their guide. Reluctantly, the parents give in. One day, Ted kicks a soccer ball over a barrier and it lands against a sleeping rhino. Morogo sneaks up on the beast, retrieves the ball, and places a small stone on the rhino’s side. He then gives Ted another stone, daring him to do the same. The rhino awakens as Ted nears, sending him scampering up an embankment. A laughing Morogo tells him that a person must approach a Rhino downwind or it will smell him. Kipoin, Morogo’s father, is displeased his son is keeping company with Americans, because they are “cattle eaters.” He is even more disgusted to learn they eat fish. One day, the trio comes across a cheetah cub whose mother has been killed by poachers. Susan insists they take the cub home and talk their parents into letting them raise it. The cub, Duma, becomes the household pet, playing ball, wrestling, and riding in the family car. Ted trains him to come when he blows a whistle. As the date approaches that Ted and Susan must return to the U. S. to continue school, their father tells them it is time to decide Duma’s fate. They go to town and meet with Larry, a game warden, who explains that before Duma can be released into the wild, he must be taught to hunt or he will starve. Mr. Patel, a storeowner, offers to buy Duma, but Susan refuses. When they leave the store, Patel explains to Nigel, a British adventurer, that he has an uncle in India that races cheetahs against greyhounds, and he could become rich if he could do the same with Duma. Larry tries to train Duma by placing roadkill in a burlap bag and dragging it behind his jeep. Instead of attacking the bag, Duma jumps into the jeep for a ride. Ted, Susan and Morogo continue the training by dragging bags of meat behind their bicycles. Slowly, Duma catches on and they take him out on the plains near a herd of gazelles. As Ted and Susan watch from a hill, they see a cheetah kill a gazelle, and think it is Duma, but Duma is asleep behind them. Meanwhile, Patel and Nigel hire a Kenyan, Abdullah, to kidnap Duma. Patel explains that cheetahs are sprinters, not distance runners. He plans to make the race just long enough that the cheetah will run out of steam. Unlike all the other gamblers, he will bet on the dogs and make a fortune. The night before Ted and Susan are to leave Africa, Nigel, Patel and Abdullah break into the house, steal Ted’s whistle, and use it to lure Duma away. The next morning, when Ted cannot find Duma, Susan suggests it is a good sign the cat is exploring without them. After a tearful goodbye with Morago, the family stops at Patel’s store to get gasoline. Patel sees the tears in Susan’s eyes and asks if she is crying over losing her pet. Ted realizes Patel could not know about Duma’s disappearance and then notices that Abdullah is wearing shoes made from old tires, just like the tracks they found around Duma’s mother’s corpse. Ted tries to convince his parents that Patel kidnapped Duma, but they insist the animal is out “exploring.” At the airport, Earl tells his children he and Jean will join them in America in one month and their grandmother will look after them until then. Ted convinces Susan that Duma is in trouble. After sending their grandmother a telegram saying they will be delayed, the siblings take a bus back to Patel’s store and discover he is gone, but learn his whereabouts from his cousin. The two sneak into Morago’s village and beg their friend to guide them. Morago refuses, fearing his parents’ disapproval, but tells them it is a two-day walk and gives directions. Although Susan argues it is insane to make a two-day trek across the Savannah, Ted reminds her that Duma is in trouble. After a night of sleeping in a tree, Ted awakens to find something watching them from the bushes. As he and Susan hug each other, Morago leaps out laughing. The trio spend a day crossing rivers, hills and miles of grassland. The next day, Morago’s father, Kipoin, goes to the tracking station to tell Earl his children have run off with Morago. After calling the grandmother, Earl realizes Ted may have been right about Patel. The fathers go to the store and force Patel’s cousin to reveal his whereabouts. After calling police, they learn that Morago’s mother, Lani, visited Jean and both women have gone after Patel themselves. Across the Great Rift, the children find Patel’s camp protected by a high fence and trip wires. They wait for nightfall before sneaking in. Along with a stack of fliers advertising Duma’s race against the greyhounds, they find cheetah skins drying on the walls. Hearing Duma’s whimpers, they enter a barn and find him locked in a cage. Susan and Ted go into a cabin looking for something to break the lock and are jumped by Abdullah. Nigel and Patel arrive and the three men argue over what to do with them. Abdullah wants to kill them, but Nigel suggests they lock them in the cage until after the race. When the men drive away with Duma, Morago comes out of hiding. Susan, who was watching the poachers, gives him the combination to unlock the cage. They walk to a road, where they are picked up by a policeman, but they escape at a gas station and hide in a truck full of sheep headed for the city of Nairobi. When the parents get to the police station and are told the children ran off, Earl sees a flier for the race and realizes they are heading for Nairobi. The children reach the racetrack in time to hear the cheetah-greyhound race being announced. Patel crows to Nigel that he has bet a fortune that Duma will lose. Duma takes an early lead in the race, but as the race progresses the greyhounds catch up, then pass the cat. Ted grabs a policeman’s whistle and blows. Hearing the whistle, Duma gets a second wind and wins by five lengths. The parents arrive just as Duma attacks Abdullah, and Earl pulls the cheetah off him. As both sets of parents berate their children for being irresponsible, police arrest the three kidnappers. Later, the family releases Duma into the wild in “Cheetah Valley.” As Susan removes Duma’s collar, a female cheetah appears and Duma runs toward her. Susan quotes a Kenyan adage, “Though they are separated, their spirits still share the same earth and sky.”
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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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