So Dear to My Heart (1949)

82 or 84 mins | Children's works | January 1949

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Midnight and Jeremiah and How Dear to My Heart . During the picture's onscreen credits, a written acknowledgment extends thanks to the Department of Conservation--State of Indiana and the Department of Animal Husbandry--California State Polytechnic College. Sterling North's book Midnight and Jeremiah , published in 1943, was a children's book, which North later incorporated into a longer adult novel entitled So Dear to My Heart , published in 1947. In order to advertise the film, a condensed version of So Dear to My Heart appeared in the Dec 1948 issue of Reader's Digest , which featured a special band around the magazine announcing that the story featured illustrations from the forthcoming motion picture. It was the first time that Reader's Digest had published an "abbreviated version of a book simultaneously with the release of the film version," according to a Sep 1948 Var news item.
       Dan Patch, the famed trotting horse portrayed in the film, raced during the early 1900s and set numerous trotting records. The horse's record of trotting a mile in under two minutes stood for thirty-three years. According to the press materials for the film, Dan Patch, who died in 1916, earned approximately $400,000 during his trotting career.
       A 21 Nov 1945 HR news item announced that Arthur Johnston had been signed to write music for the film, and on 1 Mar 1946 HR noted that Sam Coslow had "checked in" at the studio to write lyrics to accompany Johnston's music. Johnston and Coslow are not credited onscreen, ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Midnight and Jeremiah and How Dear to My Heart . During the picture's onscreen credits, a written acknowledgment extends thanks to the Department of Conservation--State of Indiana and the Department of Animal Husbandry--California State Polytechnic College. Sterling North's book Midnight and Jeremiah , published in 1943, was a children's book, which North later incorporated into a longer adult novel entitled So Dear to My Heart , published in 1947. In order to advertise the film, a condensed version of So Dear to My Heart appeared in the Dec 1948 issue of Reader's Digest , which featured a special band around the magazine announcing that the story featured illustrations from the forthcoming motion picture. It was the first time that Reader's Digest had published an "abbreviated version of a book simultaneously with the release of the film version," according to a Sep 1948 Var news item.
       Dan Patch, the famed trotting horse portrayed in the film, raced during the early 1900s and set numerous trotting records. The horse's record of trotting a mile in under two minutes stood for thirty-three years. According to the press materials for the film, Dan Patch, who died in 1916, earned approximately $400,000 during his trotting career.
       A 21 Nov 1945 HR news item announced that Arthur Johnston had been signed to write music for the film, and on 1 Mar 1946 HR noted that Sam Coslow had "checked in" at the studio to write lyrics to accompany Johnston's music. Johnston and Coslow are not credited onscreen, however, nor by any other contemporary source. Although a Jun 1946 memo, contained in the Walt Disney Archives, noted that Joyce Arling had been cast as "Tildy's" mother, that character does not appear in the finished film.
       According to daily production reports, located at the studio archives, the live-action sequences were shot on location at Porterville, Tulare and Hot Springs, CA. Modern sources add Sequoia National Park as a location site. According to contemporary sources, Spelman B. Collins, who plays a judge in the film, was an instructor at Cal Poly, and Fred Carter and Bill Todd ( Sheep handlers ), were two of his "sheep husbandry students." Sources also note that the county fair sequences were shot at Mooney Park in Tulare County in the San Joaquin Valley, and that many local citizens were used as extras for the fair scenes. Actor Burl Ives, director Harold Schuster and his assistant, Jasper Blystone, were borrowed from Twentieth Century-Fox for the production. In a modern interview, Schuster stated that his direction of the 1943 Twentieth Century-Fox motion picture My Friend Flicka prompted Disney to hire him.
       The film was previewed at the 27th National 4-H Congress in Chicago on 29 Nov 1948. Bobby Driscoll made a personal appearance at the 4-H convention, which was attended by over 1,200 children, and part of the event was filmed for an NBC television show. According to a 14 Dec 1948 FD news item, the picture was to have another preview for the National Cartoonist Society on 23 Dec 1948. An "area world preview" was held 14 Jan--22 Jan 1949 in Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, during which Disney and cast members attended many publicity functions and several screenings of the picture. Bobby Driscoll, Luana Patten and Beulah Bondi were joined at the official premiere on 19 Jan 1948, in Indianapolis, IN, by Clarence "Ducky" Nash, who provided the voice of Donald Duck, and Roy Acuff and His Smoky Mountain Boys.
       The film, which received very positive reviews, features approximately twelve minutes of animation, primarily of the "Wise Old Owl" as he sings stories about David and Goliath, Christopher Columbus and others in order to encourage "Jeremiah" in his efforts to make his lamb a champion. It was the least amount of animation to appear in a Disney feature film until the all live-action production of Treasure Island in 1950. In a 6 Feb 1949 article, NYT reviewer Bosley Crowther stated that Disney had entered the field of live-action films "more from necessity than from choice," due to the shortage of cartoonists after the end of World War II and to the economic advantages of producing live action instead of feature-length animation. According to an Oct 1947 HR news item, the first Disney True-Life Adventure short, Seal Island was completed especially to run with So Dear to My Heart , thereby eliminating the need for a second movie on the traditional double bill.
       So Dear to My Heart marked the last screen appearance of longtime western actor Harry Carey, who died in Sep 1947. Eliot Daniel and Larry Morey received an Academy Award nomination for Best Song for their adaptation of the English folksong "Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly)." The film's popular songs were recorded by a number of well-known singers, including Dinah Shore, Peggy Lee and Mel Tormé. According to an Apr 1949 HR news item, Schuster was awarded the Blue Ribbon Plaque by the National Screen Council. Child actor Driscoll received a special Oscar as the "outstanding juvenile actor" of 1949 for his work in this film and the RKO production The Window . So Dear to My Heart has been theatrically re-issued only once, in 1964, but has been released on home video twice. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
11 Dec 1948.
---
Box Office
9 Apr 1949.
---
Chicago Herald American
29 Nov 1948.
---
Christian Science Monitor
19 Feb 49
pp. 8-9.
Collier's
19 Feb 1949.
---
Columbus Dispatch
20 May 1946.
---
Daily Variety
29 Mar 1948.
---
Daily Variety
20 Mar 1947.
---
Daily Variety
8 Jul 1948.
---
Daily Variety
19 Nov 1948.
---
Daily Variety
8 Dec 48
p. 3, 14
Daily Variety
18 Jan 1949.
---
Film Daily
13 Dec 48
p. 6.
Film Daily
14 Dec 1948.
---
Hollywood Citizen-News
23 Feb 1949.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 45
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Mar 46
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 46
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 46
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 47
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 47
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 47
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 48
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 48
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 48
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Dec 48
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jan 49
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jan 49
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jan 49
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 49
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jan 49
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jan 49
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 49
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 49
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jun 1964.
---
Independent Film Journal
15 Jan 1949.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
23 Feb 1949.
---
Los Angeles Times
16 Jul 1947.
---
Motion Picture Daily
9 Dec 1948.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
11 Dec 48
p. 4418.
Mustang Roundup
1 Nov 46
pp. 4-6.
New York Times
30 Jul 1946.
---
New York Times
31 Jan 49
p. 14.
New York Times
6 Feb 1949.
---
The Indianapolis Star
16 Jan 1949.
---
The Purdue Exponent
14 Jan 1949.
---
The San Diego Journal
13 Dec 1948.
---
Time
2 Feb 1948.
---
Variety
7 Jan 1948.
---
Variety
22 Sep 1948.
---
Variety
8 Dec 48
p. 11.
Variety
2 Feb 1949.
---
Variety
9 Feb 1949.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Cartoon dir
Photoplay dir
Photoplay asst dir
Photoplay asst dir
Cartoon asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Adpt
Cartoon story trmt
Cartoon story trmt
Cartoon story trmt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Photoplay art dir
Cartoon art trmt
Cartoon art trmt
Cartoon art trmt
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Photoplay set dec
MUSIC
Mus score
Voc dir
Mus ed
Voc arr
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec process
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech dir
Photoplay prod mgr
Cartoon secy
STAND INS
Stand-in for Beulah Bondi
Stand-in for Bobby Driscoll
Stand-in for Luana Patten
Stand-in for Burl Ives
ANIMATION
Cartoon layout
Cartoon layout
Cartoon layout
Cartoon backgrounds
Cartoon backgrounds
Cartoon backgrounds
Cartoon backgrounds
Cartoon backgrounds
Cartoon backgrounds
Anim
Anim
Anim
Anim
Anim
Eff anim
Eff anim
Eff anim
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book Midnight and Jeremiah by Sterling North (Philadelphia, 1943).
SONGS
"So Dear to My Heart," music by Ticker Freeman, lyrics by Irving Taylor
"It's Whatcha Do with Whatcha Got," music and lyrics by Don Raye and Gene DePaul
"Ol' Dan Patch" and "Stick-to-it-ivity," music by Eliot Daniel, lyrics by Larry Morey
+
SONGS
"So Dear to My Heart," music by Ticker Freeman, lyrics by Irving Taylor
"It's Whatcha Do with Whatcha Got," music and lyrics by Don Raye and Gene DePaul
"Ol' Dan Patch" and "Stick-to-it-ivity," music by Eliot Daniel, lyrics by Larry Morey
"Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly)," music by Eliot Daniel, lyrics by Larry Morey, adapted from an English folk song
"County Fair," music by Robert Wells, lyrics by Mel Tormé
"The Soldier's Joy," played by The Kentucky Quintet
"Billy Boy," traditional.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
How Dear to My Heart
Midnight and Jeremiah
Release Date:
January 1949
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Indianapolis, IN: 19 January 1949
New York opening: 30 January 1949
Production Date:
live action seq 15 May--23 August 1946
retakes 5 February--7 February 1947, 18 March 1947 and 27 March--29 March 1947
Copyright Claimant:
Walt Disney Productions, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
12 August 1948
Copyright Number:
LP2366
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
82 or 84
Length(in feet):
7,383
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11706
SYNOPSIS

In 1903, young orphan Jeremiah Kincaid lives with his pious, hard-working grandmother on their farm near Fulton Corners, Indiana. One day, Jeremiah and his friend Tildy greet an arriving train that is carrying champion trotter Dan Patch. Jeremiah watches in awe as the local blacksmith, "Uncle" Hiram Douglas, puts a new nail in one of the beautiful horse's shoes. Proudly wearing the old nail as a ring, Jeremiah tells Hiram and Granny that he wants a colt of his own to rear as a racehorse. Granny tries to discourage Jeremiah's impractical daydreams, but allows him to keep a newborn, coal black lamb that is rejected by its mother. Naming the lamb Danny, Jeremiah tends to him and hopes to make him a champion so that he will be allowed to keep him. When Jeremiah pastes a picture of Danny into his scrapbook, he imagines that the "Wise Old Owl" emblem of the Farmers Trust and Savings comes to life and advises him to do the best with what he's got, as David did when he defeated Goliath. As time passes, Danny matures but is still a rambunctious lamb, constantly in trouble. After Danny rips apart a screen door, Granny orders Jeremiah to keep him in the barn, but Danny's plaintive cries induce Jeremiah to put him on a leash and take him along to Pete Grundy's general store. At the store, Danny raises another ruckus and breaks through Grundy's screen door, but Jeremiah explains to Hiram that Danny was frightened by Grundy's mean son Fud. Hiram then tells Jeremiah about the sheep-judging contest at the Pike County Fair, and later, while Jeremiah ... +


In 1903, young orphan Jeremiah Kincaid lives with his pious, hard-working grandmother on their farm near Fulton Corners, Indiana. One day, Jeremiah and his friend Tildy greet an arriving train that is carrying champion trotter Dan Patch. Jeremiah watches in awe as the local blacksmith, "Uncle" Hiram Douglas, puts a new nail in one of the beautiful horse's shoes. Proudly wearing the old nail as a ring, Jeremiah tells Hiram and Granny that he wants a colt of his own to rear as a racehorse. Granny tries to discourage Jeremiah's impractical daydreams, but allows him to keep a newborn, coal black lamb that is rejected by its mother. Naming the lamb Danny, Jeremiah tends to him and hopes to make him a champion so that he will be allowed to keep him. When Jeremiah pastes a picture of Danny into his scrapbook, he imagines that the "Wise Old Owl" emblem of the Farmers Trust and Savings comes to life and advises him to do the best with what he's got, as David did when he defeated Goliath. As time passes, Danny matures but is still a rambunctious lamb, constantly in trouble. After Danny rips apart a screen door, Granny orders Jeremiah to keep him in the barn, but Danny's plaintive cries induce Jeremiah to put him on a leash and take him along to Pete Grundy's general store. At the store, Danny raises another ruckus and breaks through Grundy's screen door, but Jeremiah explains to Hiram that Danny was frightened by Grundy's mean son Fud. Hiram then tells Jeremiah about the sheep-judging contest at the Pike County Fair, and later, while Jeremiah and Tildy are playing, he tells her about the fair and she offers to help with Danny so that she can go along. On the farm, Granny complains to Hiram that Jeremiah's devotion to Danny has made him disobedient, and that she will have to sell the lamb the next time he causes trouble. Just then, Danny, who has been startled by a train whistle, rips through the new screen door, which Hiram has just installed. Fed up, Granny announces she is selling Danny in the morning, but again gives in when she finds Jeremiah asleep with Danny in the barn. Hiram builds a sturdy pen for Danny, then tries to help the children persuade Granny to allow them to take Danny to the fair. Granny refuses, however, saying that the trip would cost too much money. Discouraged, Jeremiah is about to give up when the Wise Old Owl encourages him to have some "stick-to-it-ivity," just like Christopher Columbus and Scottish king Robert the Bruce. His determination renewed, Jeremiah works hard over the next few months, but earns only two dollars and fourteen cents. Grundy offers to pay Jeremiah for wild honey, and so Jeremiah and Tildy follow a bee into the treacherous swamp, where they eventually find a huge cache of honey. Grundy pays Jeremiah twenty-two dollars, but when Jeremiah and Hiram head home, Granny tells them that Danny has run off and Tildy got lost while looking for him. Tildy returns, but the anguished Jeremiah spends hours searching for his pet. Although she is worried about Jeremiah, Granny reproves him for caring more about potential prizes than about Danny himself. The next day, Jeremiah finds Danny and then informs Granny that he promised God that if he could find Danny, he would not go to the fair. Touched by Jeremiah's resurgance of faith, Granny tells him that she promised God that they would go to the fair if Danny returned home safely. At the fair, Jeremiah walks Danny into the ring for the judging of the champion ram lamb. Danny is the only black lamb, and Jeremiah is the youngest handler, but the head judge chuckles sympathetically when Jeremiah reluctantly reveals Danny's dubious pedigree. Danny then butts the judge as he bends over, and Jeremiah is crestfallen when the blue ribbon is awarded to another lamb. The judge stops Jeremiah from leaving the ring, however, and tells him that Danny is in "a class by himself." Because he has done the best with what he has, the judge awards Jeremiah a special award of merit, and Granny tearfully applauds her grandson and his beloved lamb. Back in Fulton Corners, the townspeople welcome Jeremiah and Danny, and Grundy treats everyone, including Danny, to soda and watermelon. +

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

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