The Toy (1982)

PG | 102 mins | Comedy | 10 December 1982

Director:

Richard Donner

Writer:

Carol Sobieski

Producer:

Phil Feldman

Cinematographer:

Laszlo Kovacs

Production Designer:

Charles Rosen

Production Company:

Rastar Films, Inc.
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HISTORY

End credits state: “The producers wish to thank the following for their cooperation in the making of The Toy: the Louisiana Film Commission, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, City Police of Baton Rouge, Louisiana National Bank, Goudchaux’s Department Store, American Bank, Mr. A. C. Lewis, and the people of Baton Rouge, Lousiana.”
       On 7 May 1981, HR announced Richard Pryor’s involvement in The Toy, a remake of Francis Veber’s 1979 French film, Le jouet, as part of a two-picture deal with Columbia Pictures’ Rastar Films, Inc. According to the previous day’s HR, production on the $10-12 million project was scheduled to begin 15 Jan 1982 in New York City locations and Los Angeles, CA, sound stages. Columbia executive Ray Stark was expected to personally oversee development as executive producer. By the end of the year, the 7 Dec 1981 DV stated that filming had been pushed back to Mar 1982.
       The 20 Jan 1982 HR indicated that Rastar and Columbia planned to launch a nationwide casting call for ten, eleven, and twelve-year-old boys to audition for the role of “Eric Bates” on 6 Feb 1982. The search was set to take place at Toys “R” Us stores in twenty U.S. cities, and the winner, which was expected to be announced 17 Feb 1982, would be flown to audition in Los Angeles before the late Mar 1982 production start date.
       A 10 Mar 1982 DV brief reported that prop toys and vehicles were being assembled inside Stage 25 at TBS Studios in Los Angeles. However, the “On Location” column in an Apr 1982 ... More Less

End credits state: “The producers wish to thank the following for their cooperation in the making of The Toy: the Louisiana Film Commission, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, City Police of Baton Rouge, Louisiana National Bank, Goudchaux’s Department Store, American Bank, Mr. A. C. Lewis, and the people of Baton Rouge, Lousiana.”
       On 7 May 1981, HR announced Richard Pryor’s involvement in The Toy, a remake of Francis Veber’s 1979 French film, Le jouet, as part of a two-picture deal with Columbia Pictures’ Rastar Films, Inc. According to the previous day’s HR, production on the $10-12 million project was scheduled to begin 15 Jan 1982 in New York City locations and Los Angeles, CA, sound stages. Columbia executive Ray Stark was expected to personally oversee development as executive producer. By the end of the year, the 7 Dec 1981 DV stated that filming had been pushed back to Mar 1982.
       The 20 Jan 1982 HR indicated that Rastar and Columbia planned to launch a nationwide casting call for ten, eleven, and twelve-year-old boys to audition for the role of “Eric Bates” on 6 Feb 1982. The search was set to take place at Toys “R” Us stores in twenty U.S. cities, and the winner, which was expected to be announced 17 Feb 1982, would be flown to audition in Los Angeles before the late Mar 1982 production start date.
       A 10 Mar 1982 DV brief reported that prop toys and vehicles were being assembled inside Stage 25 at TBS Studios in Los Angeles. However, the “On Location” column in an Apr 1982 issue HR stated that approximately forty percent of the picture was being filmed at the Charbonnet House in Baton Rouge, LA, which had been suggested by LA Film Commission employee Phil Seifert after the location team had scouted properties throughout Southern U.S. states such as OK and FL. Interior sets, including three bedrooms, two bathrooms, one toy room, corridors, and a staircase, were constructed over the course of six weeks inside a warehouse near the Charbonnet estate.
       According to the 14 Apr 1982 Var, the film’s setting was changed from New York City to Baton Rouge in order to save money on location costs. Production was expected to last ten weeks, with $15 million of the film’s now $17 million budget being spent there. The “On Location” story noted that, as a result, 250 local citizens found jobs working on the film. With its six day-per-week schedule, principal photography was expected to conclude during the first week of Jun 1982. The 10 May 1982 LAT reported that Richard Pryor had been briefly hospitalized with minor respiratory illness, and the 24 Jun 1982 DV announced that production concluded that day, three weeks behind schedule.
       Onscreen credits for “Chicago unit cameraman” William Burch indicate that production also took place in Chicago, IL, although the extent of the filming there remains undetermined.
       Although the 14 Apr 1982 Var originally anticipated a tentative 1983 release, the 29 Oct 1982 Var reported that composer Patrick Williams had completed recording sessions in time for a preview screening to be held that evening in San Diego, CA. According to the 11 Nov 1982 DV, additional nationwide previews were scheduled throughout the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in order to increase word-of-mouth publicity. The 26 Nov 1982 DV stated that screenings would begin 27 Nov 1982 in 600 theaters before its national 10 Dec 1982 release in 1,300 theaters. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
7 Dec 1981.
---
Daily Variety
10 Mar 1982.
---
Daily Variety
24 Jun 1982.
---
Daily Variety
11 Nov 1982.
---
Daily Variety
26 Nov 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 May 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 1982
p. 36.
Hollywood Reporter
Apr 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Nov 1982
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
10 May 1982.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Dec 1982
p. 21.
New York Times
10 Dec 1982
p. 4.
Variety
14 Apr 1982.
---
Variety
29 Oct 1982.
---
Variety
1 Dec 1982
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures Presents
A Ray Stark Production
A Richard Donner Film
From Rastar
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Set lighting best boy
Key grip
Dolly grip
Best boy grip
Still photog
Chicago unit cam
Cam op
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Set des
Set dec
Leadman
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Standby painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Women's ward supv
Men's ward supv
Mr. Pryor's ward
MUSIC
Mus score
Supv mus ed
Supv mus ed
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom man
Sd eff
Sd eff
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff
Spec eff
Titles by
Titles by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Mr. Pryor's makeup
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt, Baton Rouge
Prod assoc
Prod coord
Prod accountant
Asst to Mr. Donner
Asst to Mr. Donner
2d unit consultant
Casting, Baton Rouge
Casting, Baton Rouge
Unit pub
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Prints by
[Col by]
[Col by]
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the French film Le jouet by Francis Veber (Renn, 1976).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"I Just Want To Be Your Friend," performed by Jeffrey Osborne, music and lyrics by Trevor Lawrence and Frank Musker.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
10 December 1982
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 10 December 1982
Production Date:
April--24 June 1982 in Baton Rouge, LA, and Los Angeles
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
17 January 1983
Copyright Number:
PA161334
Physical Properties:
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
102
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26817
SYNOPSIS

In an impoverished neighborhood of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, unemployed journalist Jack Brown learns from his wife, Angela, that he risks losing his house if he cannot make his payments. Although he reaches out to his repossessor friend for help, he realizes that he needs to find a job, and rides his bicycle to the office of business tycoon and Bugle newspaper owner, U. S. Bates. Before entering the building, Jack holds a door open for Fancy, Bates’s ditzy young wife. During his meeting, one of Bates’s employees, Mr. Morehouse, suggests he get a job at the Bugle, but Jack insists the paper has already denied his many efforts to work there because Bates refuses to hire African Americans. Desperate, Jack accepts a job working as a “cleaning lady,” which requires him to serve food at Bates’s dinner meetings and vacuum his department store after closing time. That evening, Jack reports to the head housekeeper, Ruby Dee Simpson, who clothes Jack in a maid’s dress, apron, and pantyhose, and sends him into the dining room during the meal. When Jack causes a commotion among the guests, Bates fires him. However, Jack still performs his duties at the department store that night, unaware that Bates’s bratty nine-year-old son, Eric, has arrived to pick out an item from the toy department. After watching Jack play with various items, Eric tells Mr. Morehouse that he wants to purchase Jack as his personal “toy.” Informing Jack of Eric’s wishes, Bates’s men give him money until he agrees to accompany them to the Bates mansion. ... +


In an impoverished neighborhood of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, unemployed journalist Jack Brown learns from his wife, Angela, that he risks losing his house if he cannot make his payments. Although he reaches out to his repossessor friend for help, he realizes that he needs to find a job, and rides his bicycle to the office of business tycoon and Bugle newspaper owner, U. S. Bates. Before entering the building, Jack holds a door open for Fancy, Bates’s ditzy young wife. During his meeting, one of Bates’s employees, Mr. Morehouse, suggests he get a job at the Bugle, but Jack insists the paper has already denied his many efforts to work there because Bates refuses to hire African Americans. Desperate, Jack accepts a job working as a “cleaning lady,” which requires him to serve food at Bates’s dinner meetings and vacuum his department store after closing time. That evening, Jack reports to the head housekeeper, Ruby Dee Simpson, who clothes Jack in a maid’s dress, apron, and pantyhose, and sends him into the dining room during the meal. When Jack causes a commotion among the guests, Bates fires him. However, Jack still performs his duties at the department store that night, unaware that Bates’s bratty nine-year-old son, Eric, has arrived to pick out an item from the toy department. After watching Jack play with various items, Eric tells Mr. Morehouse that he wants to purchase Jack as his personal “toy.” Informing Jack of Eric’s wishes, Bates’s men give him money until he agrees to accompany them to the Bates mansion. Eric eats dinner with his overbearing German governess, Fraulein, and tells his father he wants to spend more time with him. Eric gets up from the table and runs to the enormous toy room, which contains a wooden crate with Jack packed inside. As Eric opens the box, Jack explains the situation to Bates. Although initially outraged by his son’s behavior, Bates offers to pay Jack the same rate he pays his reporters in exchange for entertaining Eric until he returns to his mother’s home in Houston, Texas, the following week. Insulted by the arrangement, Jack refuses, but eventually convinces Bates to pay him $2,500. Later, Jack telephones Angela to tell her he will not be returning home. Eric then drives Jack through the house in a miniature car, destroying furniture and knocking over the tray containing Jack’s dinner. Angry, Jack locks Eric in a closet until his father retrieves him. Upstairs, Eric challenges Jack to a game of air hockey, proposing that Jack be allowed to return home with his full salary if he wins. When Eric begins to lose, he stubbornly quits the game. That evening, Jack is humiliated after Fancy introduces him to their dinner party guests as Eric’s “toy,” and threatens to leave. Eric locks him outside, setting off the house security alarm and indoor fire sprinkler system, and Jack returns home. Later, Eric blames Fancy for Jack’s departure and sends Mr. Morehouse to retrieve him. For an additional $10,000, Jack continues to endure Eric’s mischief while gradually teaching the boy how to properly treat his friends. While fishing one afternoon, they find Mr. Morehouse drinking on the riverbank, distraught because Bates forced him to fire an employee for petty reasons. To exact revenge, Jack and Eric compile scandalous information about Bates, Fancy, and the household staff to print as an exposé in the Bugle. While printing the issues, Jack and Eric are arrested, but manage to escape. After reading the story, Bates angrily accuses Jack of libel, but offers him a job as a newspaper reporter. Eric criticizes Jack for considering working for his horrible father, but Jack insists he needs the money. The next day, Bates invites Louisiana State Senator Newcomb to his estate for a fundraising event, secretly financing the Ku Klux Klan. Offended, Jack and Eric ride motorbikes through the festivities, collapsing multiple tents and frightening the party guests. Bates chases them in a golf cart, but drives into the swimming pool. That night, Bates thanks Jack for saving him from drowning, and Jack encourages Bates to be more affectionate with his son. After Jack goes home, Bates attempts to speak openly with Eric before he returns to Houston, offering to take him on a vacation to Europe. Once at the airport, however, Eric jumps into a taxi and flees to Jack’s house. Eric begs to stay with Jack, who encourages the boy to give his father a chance. When Bates arrives, father and son embrace and declare their mutual love. Bates renews Jack’s job offer and promises to allow him to see Eric during his next visit. After they leave, one of Fancy’s wealthy friends arrives to ask Jack if he would consider disciplining their son, causing Jack to run away in fear. +

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

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