There’s a nice cast featured in this Disney film that probably played much better had I seen it as a kid as opposed to now. Sadly it’s just not that funny to my grown up eyes.
It’s a story of two safe crackers played by Darren McGavin and Don Knotts who wind up involved in a phony kidnapping. Can you guess which one of our two would be criminals is the bumbling one?
Wealthy Grandfather David Niven is expecting his two grandchildren for the Easter vacation but really doesn’t want the rugrats hanging out at his estate. From his Rolls Royce he sees a comedy of errors develop when the children latch on to McGavin and Knotts.
The children devise a kidnapping scheme to extort money from Niven and are hoping to reunite with their mother Barbara Feldon. Enter local mobster Vic Tayback whose putting the bite on our two D’s, Darren and Don.
It’s all rather obvious and overlong but if you’ve always wanted to have a pet skunk then you’ll enjoy the children’s pet named Duster. Animal lover that I am I must admit I would at least like to pet a tame one. I am not so sure about veteran character actor James Hong. The skunk pretty much ruins his diner.
In true Disney fashion we’re headed to a happy ending. Tayback will take the fall for the supposed kidnapping. Don and Darren are sure to wind up heroes and avoid jail time and miserly David Niven just might grow to love his grand kids. Could there even be some romance in the future for single Mom Feldon and handsome Darren McGavin? Quite possibly.
Like many seventies Disney flicks, this one is strictly by the book. Laughs aimed at the kids as I suppose they should be. While I never saw this one at that young age I did see many of the Kurt Russell flicks and some of Don Knotts films for the famed studio and fondly recall my time spent at the theater seeing them. Flicks like The Apple Dumpling Gang and The Strongest Man In The World.
The director of this one, Norman Tokar did many of these live action films for Disney including Candleshoe which also starred Niven and Follow Me Boys.
Niven doesn’t really have much to do here and Knotts is always channeling the spirit of Barney Fife. Once the seventies rolled around, Don never quite seemed to recapture that magical character. Perhaps it became outdated.
I”m not sure because his Barney is one of my favorite characters as are his variations on the lovable Deputy in his flicks that he left the series for in the sixties. Movies like The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.
Strictly for the kiddies and fans of the leading actors which is of course what led me to finally give this one a look.