Uncle Joe Shannon (1978)

PG | 115 mins | Drama | 27 December 1978

Writer:

Burt Young

Cinematographer:

Bill Butler

Editor:

Don Zimmerman

Production Designer:

Bill Kenney
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HISTORY

Chartoff-Winkler Productions announced plans to develop a film project with Rocky (1976, see entry) actor, Burt Young, in an 18 Apr 1977 Box news brief. Young signed on to star in and write his first original screenplay. A 19 Apr 1978 Var article reported that the budget was estimated at $2 million.
       The 17 Jul 1978 Box announced that principal photography began 22 May 1978.
       According to a 27 Dec 1978 Var article, Uncle Joe Shannon opened nationally on 27 Dec 1978. Var also reported that the film “opened in a coma” at New York City’s Festival theater, taking in a meager $1,521 in its first week and only $232 in the first two days of its second week at the ... More Less

Chartoff-Winkler Productions announced plans to develop a film project with Rocky (1976, see entry) actor, Burt Young, in an 18 Apr 1977 Box news brief. Young signed on to star in and write his first original screenplay. A 19 Apr 1978 Var article reported that the budget was estimated at $2 million.
       The 17 Jul 1978 Box announced that principal photography began 22 May 1978.
       According to a 27 Dec 1978 Var article, Uncle Joe Shannon opened nationally on 27 Dec 1978. Var also reported that the film “opened in a coma” at New York City’s Festival theater, taking in a meager $1,521 in its first week and only $232 in the first two days of its second week at the house.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Apr 1977.
---
Box Office
17 Jul 1978.
---
Daily Variety
28 Nov 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Nov 1978
p. 3, 5.
Los Angeles Times
15 Dec 1978
p. 26.
New York Times
17 Dec 1978
p. 101.
United Artists Press Release
23 May 1978.
---
Variety
19 Apr 1978.
---
Variety
24 May 1978.
---
Variety
29 Nov 1978.
---
Variety
27 Dec 1978
p. 3, 30.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
a Robert Chartoff-Irwin Winkler Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2nd asst cam
Underwater photog
Best boy
Key grip
2d grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Set dec
Prop master
Prop asst
Const foreman
Painter
Painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Trumpet solos by
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Loop ed
Re-rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Visual eff
Titles
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod
Casting
Scr supv
Transportation coord
Transportation co-capt
Craft service
Prods' assistant
Prods' asst
Mr. Hanwright's assoc
Prod coord
Prod coord
Prod asst
Casting asst
Prod accountant
Tech adv
Trumpets supplied by
DETAILS
Release Date:
27 December 1978
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 15 December 1978 at Westwood # 1
New York opening: 17 December 1978
Production Date:
began 22 May 1978
Copyright Claimant:
United Artists Corporation
Copyright Date:
7 May 1979
Copyright Number:
PA30803
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Color by Technicolor®
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex Camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
115
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25396
SYNOPSIS

Joe Shannon, a successful trumpet player in New York City, becomes a widower when his wife, Peggy, and son, Tommy, die in an apartment fire. Tommy would have been saved, but he ran inside to retrieve a miniature trumpet that Joe gave him for his birthday. Four years later, Joe is alcoholic and destitute, wandering the streets with his trumpet. One night, police arrest Joe for public drunkenness and disturbing the peace, and the next morning, Joe’s musician friend, Goose, bails him out of jail. Goose begs Joe to get help, then invites him to the club he owns to join him for dinner with his wife, Margaret. Joe arrives at the club late, drunk, and blaring his trumpet. He jumps on stage, interrupting the band and Goose kicks him out. Joe then drives to a closed diner to visit his lover Gloria, who lives in an apartment behind the restaurant. Joe breaks a window and lets himself in, frightening Robbie, Gloria’s son. Joe finds Robbie alone, and begins to leave, but Robbie talks him into staying. The next morning, Joe awakens to a police officer, representatives from child protective services, and Sister St. Raymond, who wants to take Robbie to the Sisters of Hope Orphanage. Joe learns that Gloria abandoned Robbie after her recent arrest for robbery. The nun mentions that Robbie is in need of medical attention for his bad leg, and the police warn Joe to stay away from the boy. The next day, Robbie shows up at Joe’s apartment building, telling the manager, Marvin, that Joe is his uncle. Robbie ran away ... +


Joe Shannon, a successful trumpet player in New York City, becomes a widower when his wife, Peggy, and son, Tommy, die in an apartment fire. Tommy would have been saved, but he ran inside to retrieve a miniature trumpet that Joe gave him for his birthday. Four years later, Joe is alcoholic and destitute, wandering the streets with his trumpet. One night, police arrest Joe for public drunkenness and disturbing the peace, and the next morning, Joe’s musician friend, Goose, bails him out of jail. Goose begs Joe to get help, then invites him to the club he owns to join him for dinner with his wife, Margaret. Joe arrives at the club late, drunk, and blaring his trumpet. He jumps on stage, interrupting the band and Goose kicks him out. Joe then drives to a closed diner to visit his lover Gloria, who lives in an apartment behind the restaurant. Joe breaks a window and lets himself in, frightening Robbie, Gloria’s son. Joe finds Robbie alone, and begins to leave, but Robbie talks him into staying. The next morning, Joe awakens to a police officer, representatives from child protective services, and Sister St. Raymond, who wants to take Robbie to the Sisters of Hope Orphanage. Joe learns that Gloria abandoned Robbie after her recent arrest for robbery. The nun mentions that Robbie is in need of medical attention for his bad leg, and the police warn Joe to stay away from the boy. The next day, Robbie shows up at Joe’s apartment building, telling the manager, Marvin, that Joe is his uncle. Robbie ran away from the orphanage and wants Joe to take care of him until his mother returns. Joe refuses, so Robbie asks for bus fare so he can get to his grandfather’s house in Evansville, Indiana. To earn the money, Joe plays trumpet at a war veteran’s funeral, but gets paid in free alcohol. Joe stumbles home drunk to find that Robbie cleaned his apartment and prepared dinner. Robbie mentions reading old newspaper articles about Joe’s previous music career, and asks why he let it lapse, but Joe tells the boy to mind his own business. The next day, Robbie steals Santa Claus and elf costumes from a department store, then drives to Chinatown with Joe to play music in the street and collect money. Returning home, Joe tells Robbie to pack his belongings since they made enough for bus fare, but Robbie confesses that his grandfather is deceased, and he has no other family. Although Robbie begs to stay, Joe points out that the boy needs more help than he can give, including medical attention. Robbie refuses to see a doctor, fearing they will cut him up, and Joe leaves to get a drink. While he is away, Robbie discovers the miniature trumpet Joe gave Tommy, then takes it to the bar. There, the boy plays the trumpet and suggests they become an act, but Joe grabs the instrument and slaps Robbie. He later takes Robbie to the orphanage, listening to Robbie cry inconsolably as he leaves. After a few hours, Joe returns to the orphanage and helps the boy escape, but runs into Sister St. Raymond, who warns she will report Joe to the authorities. Joe takes Robbie to Goose’s nightclub, hoping his friend will take them in. As Margaret shows Robbie to bed, Goose demands to know where Robbie’s parents are, and why he is with Joe. Joe explains that Robbie is an orphan, and he wants to help him. Goose laughs that Joe cannot even take care of himself. Joe says he plans on getting back into music, but Goose believes that Joe has lost his talent since Peggy and Tommy’s death. The next day, Goose insists on calling the authorities to insure Robbie receives medical attention. Terrified of doctors, Robbie begs Joe not to take him to the hospital. When Goose calls the police, Joe flips over the table and refer to Robbie by his son’s name, “Tommy.” Crying, Joe finally agrees to take Robbie to the hospital, despite Robbie’s protests. The next day, Dr. Simon and Dr. Clark informs Joe that Robbie has a fast growing cancer in his bone cartilage. Robbie’s best chance of survival is to amputate his leg. When Joe goes to tell Robbie, he learns the boy ran away, but he tracks Robbie down at the diner. Robbie explains that his grandfather suffered from the same condition and endured multiple amputations, but still died. Joe explains that if Robbie does not get surgery immediately, he too will die. After the surgery, Robbie becomes depressed, and the doctor warns Joe that Robbie may not survive if he refuses to participate in his own recovery. Joe tries to snap Robbie out of his depression, but the boy is unresponsive. Begging God to save Robbie, Joe returns to the hospital with his trumpet and tells the boy he has decided to “join the living.” If Robbie wants to do the same, then he should come downstairs to the hospital Christmas party. Joe joins the party, playing his trumpet for the children. Robbie, hears the music, pulls himself out of bed, and into the wheelchair. Arriving at the party, he grabs a pair of crutches and wobbles into Joe’s loving arms. +

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

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