Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure

Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure is a 1977 live-action/animated musical fantasy film loosely adapted from the 1924 novel Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees. It was directed by Richard Williams, produced by the Bobbs-Merrill Company, and released theatrically by 20th Century-Fox.[4] A 1941 short film had previously featured the Raggedy Ann and Andy characters created by Johnny Gruelle.

Raggedy Ann & Andy:
A Musical Adventure
Raggedy Ann & Andy A Musical Adventure poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRichard Williams
Screenplay by
Based onCharacters
by Johnny Gruelle
Produced by
  • Richard Horner
  • Stanley Sills
Starring
Cinematography
  • Dick Mingalone (Live-action)
  • Al Rezek (Animation)
Edited by
  • Harry Chang
  • Lee Kent
  • Ken McIlwaine
  • Maxwell Seligman
Music byJoe Raposo
Production
companies
Distributed by20th Century-Fox
Release date
  • April 1, 1977 (1977-04-01)
Running time
85 minutes[1]
Countries
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$4 million[2]
Box office$1.35 million (Rentals)[3]

PlotEdit

A little girl named Marcella returns home from school one day and immediately rushes upstairs to her nursery playroom to put away Raggedy Ann, her favorite doll. When Marcella leaves, the various toys in the playroom come to life, and Ann tells them of the wonders of the outside world ("What Do I See?"). She then shares the news that it is Marcella's seventh birthday, and the toys notice a large package in the corner, presumably a present for her. Ann's brother Raggedy Andy is trapped under the package, and, after being freed, complains about the feminine nature of the nursery ("No Girl's Toy"). Marcella opens the present to reveal a beautiful bisque doll from France named Babette. Ann leads the toys in welcoming Babette to their nursery ("Rag Dolly"), but she is too homesick for Paris to accept their greeting ("Poor Babette"). Meanwhile, Captain Contagious, a ceramic pirate who lives in a snow globe, notices Babette and is immediately smitten ("A Miracle"). After tricking Ann into freeing him, he kidnaps Babette and leaps out the nursery window with his crew ("The Abduction/Yo Ho!"). Ann decides to rescue Babette, with Andy volunteering to accompany her.

Ann and Andy leave the playroom and enter the woods, where they reaffirm their courage and love for one another while exploring ("Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers"). As the dolls travel, they come across the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees, a blue stuffed animal who has been abandoned by his previous owners ("Blue") and regularly envisions a ghostly caravan of camels beckoning him to an unknown home. Ann promises that once they find Babette, he may return with them. With Ann and Andy in tow, the Camel chases down the caravan and blindly rushes off a cliff. They find themselves in the Taffy Pit, where an enormous sentient blob of candy known as the Greedy lives. The Greedy explains that, despite endlessly eating the various delicacies that compose his body, he never feels satisfied, as he lacks a "sweetheart" ("I Never Get Enough"). He thus attempts to take the candy heart sewn inside of Ann, but the toys successfully escape his lair. During a moment of rest, the toys encounter the obnoxious knight Sir Leonard Looney, who welcomes them to the realm of Looney Land, the source of the world's practical jokes ("I Love You"). Looney pursues the toys through Looney Land and into the court of its diminutive monarch King Koo Koo. Koo Koo laments his tiny stature ("It's Not Easy Being King") and explains that the only way he can grow is by laughing at the expense of others. He thus intends to keep the toys his prisoners so they may keep him laughing; in the event that the toys lose their comedic value, they face transformation into one of the many giggling robotic inhabitants that clutter his court. The dolls escape this fate by triggering a large fight with cream pies, then slipping away and fleeing Looney Land in a boat. The furious King Koo Koo follows them with the aid of an enormous sea monster named Gazooks.

While sailing, Ann, Andy and the Camel notice Contagious's pirate ship and eagerly board, only to discover that Babette has staged a mutiny and made herself the new captain to return to Paris ("Hooray for Me!") while imprisoning Contagious in the galley with only his pet parrot Queasy for company ("You're My Friend"). When Ann tries to tell Babette that she must go back to Marcella, the French doll becomes enraged and has the trio tied to the mast. Meanwhile, Queasy successfully unlocks Contagious's shackles, and he returns above deck, freeing the other dolls and pledging his love for Babette. Before she can respond, King Koo Koo and Gazooks attack the ship and seize all but Ann, Babette, and Queasy to subject them to tickle torture, making the monarch swell to mammoth proportions. Babette sees that her selfishness has endangered everyone and begs forgiveness, only for her and Ann to be captured and tickled as well. The dolls realize that King Koo Koo's literally-inflated ego is "full of hot air" and Andy tells Queasy to pop him, which creates a massive explosion that sends them spiraling through space. The next morning, Marcella discovers the dolls and toys lying among the leaves in her backyard, having been presumably blown back there by the force of Koo Koo's demise. She returns all but the Camel to the nursery, where Babette apologizes for her actions and accepts both Ann's offer of friendship and Contagious's affections. The heroes are happy to be back in the playroom ("Home"), and Ann notices the Camel gazing at them through the window. The dolls eagerly welcome him to their family and express joy at being together once more ("Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers Reprise"). The next day, Marcella finds the Camel among the dolls and, after a moment's confusion, hugs him tightly, accepting him as her newest friend.

CastEdit

  • Claire Williams as Marcella
  • Joe Raposo (uncredited) as the Bus Driver
Voices

MusicEdit

Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure
(Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by
various artists
Released1977
RecordedFebruary 8, 1977
GenreSoundtrack
LabelColumbia Records
ProducerJoe Raposo

Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure soundtrack was released on vinyl, cassette tape and 8-track tape by Columbia Records in 1977.

ProductionEdit

The Bobbs-Merrill Company approached Richard Williams to produce an animated film based on Raggedy Ann. Williams pitched the idea to Universal Pictures and Warner Bros., but they declined. Williams pursued 20th Century-Fox president Alan Ladd Jr. to finance the film. Abe Levitow was originally attached to direct with Williams serving only as animation supervisor. However, when Levitow became ill and eventually died, Williams reluctantly decided to replace him as director. He clashed with the producers over many aspects, including the multitude of musical numbers and weak character development[citation needed]. Despite his misgivings, the producers forbade him to cut a single scene. Eventually, like many of his other projects, the film went over time and budget[citation needed], and Williams was removed at the end so the film could be released on time[citation needed]. His name remained on the finished product. Hal Ambro and Art Babbitt from Disney, and Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies animator Gerry Chiniquy also worked on the film. Animators worked remotely; there wasn't a central studio like most animated feature films.[5] The music was composed by Joe Raposo, longtime musical director of Sesame Street and The Electric Company.

Tissa David became one of the first women to animate a leading character in a major film when she designed and animated Raggedy Ann for the project.[6] In a 1977 interview, David told the New York Times that she designed the Raggedy Ann character as "a plain Jane with a heart of candy — and she's all female."[6][7]

Drawings were used to test "videoCel", an early CGI system developed by Computer Creations Corp.[8]

ArtistsEdit

  • ANIMATORS: Hal Ambro, Cosmo Anzilotti, Art Babbitt, George Bakes, Warren Batchelder, John Bruno, Gerry Chiniquy, Corny Cole, Doug Crane, Ray DaSilva, Tissa David, Chuck Downs, Emery Hawkins, Fred Hellmich, John Kimball, Chrystal Klabunde, Grim Natwick, Spencer Peel, Gerald Potterton, Willis Pyle, Tom Roth, Jack Schnerk, Irven Spence, Art Vitello
  • ASSISTANT ANIMATORS: David Block, Loren Bowie, Michelle Clay, John Celestri, Sheldon Cohen, James A. Davis, Gerry Dvorak, Glenn Entis, Brad Frost, Jay Jacoby, Jeffrey Gatrall, John R. Gaug, Eric Goldberg, Leslie Gorin, Murad Gumen, Judith Hans, Dan Haskett, Patricia Hoyt, Helen Komar, Susan Kroyer, Judy Levitow, Jim Logan, Karen Marjoribanks, Marlene Robinson May, Carol Millican, Jack Mongovan, Alissa Myerson, Lester Pegues Jr., Karen Peterson, Kevin Petrilak, Barney Posner, Mitch Rochon, Louis Scarborough, Jr., Tom Sito, Michael Sporn, Mary Szilagyi, Peggy Tonkonogy, Duane Ullrich, Chung Yuan (James) Wang, Amanda Wilson

ReceptionEdit

Despite the talented voice cast, Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure received mixed-to-negative reviews. Many critics found it hard to watch, criticizing that the plot moved too slowly, had little focus, and was burdened by too many musical numbers. Many characters were considered too disturbing for children, but the settings and rest of the film's concepts was praised. There is also some adult humor and subtext, mainly in Captain Contagious, as his moustache grows erect and he performs pelvic thrusts when he first sees the character of Babette. Raggedy Ann and Andy have very little character development; they move from place to place meeting strange characters, but the focus is always on the new character, and they essentially just move the plot forward. Some viewers were also confused over whether Ann and Andy were supposed to be siblings or romantic partners, especially after Andy sings what is basically a love song to Ann. Although, Ann does introduce Andy to Babette as her brother. (In other works such as the 1941 short film, however, the pair are clearly depicted as sweethearts, and even marry at the end.)

According to Halliwell's Film Guide, "[In this] attractive fully animated cartoon feature [...] only the central story is lacking in pace and humor."[9]

ReleaseEdit

After its short initial box office run, the film saw little to no distribution with the exception of airing on Showtime in May 1978 and one night in 1979 on CBS and later a release on the long defunct RCA CED Videodisc system. In the early 1980s, it was released on VHS by CBS Video. It did receive a considerable amount of play on the Disney Channel during the late 1980s and early 1990s, as well as on the Nickelodeon series Special Delivery.

"Blue" was featured on a season 3 episode of The Muppet Show with Helen Reddy and the song sequence from the film was also featured on an episode of The Big Blue Marble and the special, Sing! Sesame Street Remembers the Music of Joe Raposo. The song "Home" was featured on an episode of Shining Time Station in which Conn co-starred later in her career and for which Raposo provided the theme song and some incidental music just before his death. Nevertheless, the film has not been shown on television for many years. It was released on video by CBS/Fox Video (through their Playhouse Video imprint) in the late 1980s.

Currently, Paramount Global through Paramount Pictures owns the rights to the film via its Simon & Schuster subsidiary, who owns the rights to the Raggedy Ann and Andy characters. However, during the theatrical release, 20th Century Fox (currently 20th Century Studios) also still owns the rights to the film, making it the only Raggedy Ann and Andy film to do so. This is because Paramount Global and 20th Century Fox are competitors in the movie industry. As of 2021, an official DVD and Blu-ray release of this film has yet to be scheduled, though scans taken from 35mm copies have found their way onto the internet.

Stage adaptationsEdit

The film has been adapted for the stage twice.

In 1981, screenwriter Patricia Thackray reworked the story for Raggedy Ann & Andy, a play which is available to license for performances at schools and community theatres.[10] There are many deviations in this version, most notably there are only two sets and Prince Leonard-the-Looney-Hearted (known as Sir Leonard Looney in the film) replaces The Captain.

In 1984, Raposo and playwright William Gibson crafted a much darker variation of the story, first called Raggedy Ann and then briefly retitled Rag Dolly. Raposo retained two songs (Rag Dolly and Blue) and reworked the opening title theme into a song called Gingham and Yarn. The plot was completely different and follows the dying young Marcella, who goes on a journey with Raggedy Ann and her friends to meet the Doll Doctor, who can mend her broken heart. This version ran in three theatres (including one in Moscow) before landing with a thud on Broadway in 1986.[11]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "RAGGEDY ANN AND ANDY (U)". British Board of Film Classification. May 23, 1978. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  2. ^ Canemaker (1977), p. 285.
  3. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p233. Please note figures are rentals accruing to distributors and not total gross.
  4. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. pp. 199–200. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  5. ^ "TAG Blog: The David Block Interview Part II". April 10, 2013. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Passings: Tissa David, master animator who broke ground in the field for women, dies at 91". Los Angeles Times. August 26, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  7. ^ Culhane, John (March 20, 1977). "Can 'Raggedy Ann' Compete With Disney?; 'Raggedy Ann and Andy'". New York Times. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  8. ^ "videoCel (1977-1979)". Archived from the original on December 14, 2021.
  9. ^ Gritten, David, ed. (2007). "Raggedy Ann and Andy (*)". Halliwell's Film Guide 2008. Hammersmith, London: HarperCollins Publishers. p. 967. ISBN 978-0-00-726080-5.
  10. ^ "Dramatic Publishing Raggedy Ann & Andy". June 19, 2013. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012.
  11. ^ "IBDB: The official source for Broadway information". June 19, 2013.

External linksEdit