Savage Sam (1963)

G | 103 mins | Adventure | 10 July 1963

Director:

Norman Tokar

Producer:

Walt Disney

Cinematographer:

Edward Colman

Editor:

Grant K. Smith

Production Designers:

Carroll Clark, Marvin Aubrey Davis

Production Company:

Walt Disney Productions
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HISTORY

The 24 Aug 1961 DV announced the Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of motion picture rights to the novel by Fred Gipson, scheduled for publication in Feb 1962. Both the book and the picture were sequels to another Gipson story, Old Yeller (1958, see entry). The 13 Oct 1961 LAT credited H. N. Swanson with negotiating the deal. Gipson was expected at Disney Studios on 30 Oct 1961 to begin writing the screenplay. Seven months later, the 23 May 1962 DV identified Ron Alexander as the new screenwriter, although his name appears nowhere else in contemporary sources. Principal photography began 22 Aug 1962, according to the 24 Aug 1962 DV. The 26 Nov 1962 LAT noted that actor Dewey Martin had recently completed his role. The 10 Jul 1963 LAT identified locations in the vicinity of Thousand Oaks, CA, in addition to Disney Studios in Burbank, CA.
       The 9 Jan 1963 Var reported that the premiere would take place in Gipson’s home state of Texas “as a publicity gesture.” Cities under consideration were Dallas and San Antonio, the latter of which was near Gipson’s hometown of Mason. No date had been set at the time of the article.
       Savage Sam opened 10 Jul 1963 in Los Angeles, CA, and 31 Jul 1963 in New York City. Reviews were unenthusiastic, with the 22 May 1963 Var describing the picture as “unsatisfactory.” The 1 Aug 1963 NYT indicated a number of flaws, including the fact that the titular ...

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The 24 Aug 1961 DV announced the Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of motion picture rights to the novel by Fred Gipson, scheduled for publication in Feb 1962. Both the book and the picture were sequels to another Gipson story, Old Yeller (1958, see entry). The 13 Oct 1961 LAT credited H. N. Swanson with negotiating the deal. Gipson was expected at Disney Studios on 30 Oct 1961 to begin writing the screenplay. Seven months later, the 23 May 1962 DV identified Ron Alexander as the new screenwriter, although his name appears nowhere else in contemporary sources. Principal photography began 22 Aug 1962, according to the 24 Aug 1962 DV. The 26 Nov 1962 LAT noted that actor Dewey Martin had recently completed his role. The 10 Jul 1963 LAT identified locations in the vicinity of Thousand Oaks, CA, in addition to Disney Studios in Burbank, CA.
       The 9 Jan 1963 Var reported that the premiere would take place in Gipson’s home state of Texas “as a publicity gesture.” Cities under consideration were Dallas and San Antonio, the latter of which was near Gipson’s hometown of Mason. No date had been set at the time of the article.
       Savage Sam opened 10 Jul 1963 in Los Angeles, CA, and 31 Jul 1963 in New York City. Reviews were unenthusiastic, with the 22 May 1963 Var describing the picture as “unsatisfactory.” The 1 Aug 1963 NYT indicated a number of flaws, including the fact that the titular canine hero was responsible for creating the situation from which he later had to rescue his owners. Regardless, the picture earned approximately $126,500 in its first two weeks in Los Angeles.
       The 5 Apr 1964 LAT announced that “Tom Dooley,” the dog who portrayed “Savage Sam,” won a Patsy Award from the American Humane Association on 4 Apr 1964, placing him among the best animal actors of 1963.
       The 23 Mar 1963 LAT identified the vocal group heard on the soundtrack as The Wellingtons.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 Aug 1961
p. 2
Daily Variety
23 May 1962
p. 3
Daily Variety
24 Aug 1962
p. 8
Daily Variety
29 Oct 1963
p. 209
Los Angeles Times
13 Oct 1961
p. 29
Los Angeles Times
26 Nov 1962
Section C, p. 12
Los Angeles Times
23 Mar 1963
Section A, p. 6
Los Angeles Times
10 Jul 1963
Section D, p. 8
Los Angeles Times
12 Jul 1963
Section D, p. 9
Los Angeles Times
5 Apr 1964
Section F, p. 7
New York Times
31 Jul 1963
p. 19
New York Times
1 Aug 1963
p. 17
Variety
9 Jan 1963
p. 80
Variety
22 May 1963
p. 6
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
Music ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the prod
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Savage Sam by Fred Gipson (New York, 1962).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
SONGS
"Savage Sam and Me," words and music by Terry Gilkyson.
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
10 July 1963
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 10 Jul 1963; New York opening: 31 Jul 1963
Production Date:
22 Aug--Nov 1962
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Walt Disney Productions
16 May 1963
LP25088
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
103
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In 1870 18-year-old Travis Coates is left in charge of his precocious 12-year-old brother, Arliss, on the family farm in Southwest Texas, while their parents visit an ailing grandmother. While Arliss and his dog, Savage Sam, are tracking a wildcat, Travis is warned by Bud Searcy that renegade Apache Indians are in the area. When Travis joins Bud's 17-year-old daughter, Lisbeth, in a search for Arliss, all three are captured by a band of Apaches led by a Comanche. The boys' Uncle Beck Coates witnesses the scene and manages to wound the Indian leader, but Beck's horse is shot by one of the braves, allowing the Comanche and his followers to escape with the captives. Beck alerts the U. S. Cavalry, but the Indians split into three groups and ride for the hills; in the confusion, Travis escapes but is knocked unconscious and left to die. Beck and his posse of five find Travis and his dog, set out in pursuit of the other captives, and eventually find the Indians in a valley fighting over Lisbeth. Although posse member Pack Underwood, bent on revenge for the massacre of his family, fires a shot that alerts the Indians to their planned ambush, the youngsters are saved and the renegades ...

More Less

In 1870 18-year-old Travis Coates is left in charge of his precocious 12-year-old brother, Arliss, on the family farm in Southwest Texas, while their parents visit an ailing grandmother. While Arliss and his dog, Savage Sam, are tracking a wildcat, Travis is warned by Bud Searcy that renegade Apache Indians are in the area. When Travis joins Bud's 17-year-old daughter, Lisbeth, in a search for Arliss, all three are captured by a band of Apaches led by a Comanche. The boys' Uncle Beck Coates witnesses the scene and manages to wound the Indian leader, but Beck's horse is shot by one of the braves, allowing the Comanche and his followers to escape with the captives. Beck alerts the U. S. Cavalry, but the Indians split into three groups and ride for the hills; in the confusion, Travis escapes but is knocked unconscious and left to die. Beck and his posse of five find Travis and his dog, set out in pursuit of the other captives, and eventually find the Indians in a valley fighting over Lisbeth. Although posse member Pack Underwood, bent on revenge for the massacre of his family, fires a shot that alerts the Indians to their planned ambush, the youngsters are saved and the renegades captured.

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

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