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Old Yeller [VHS]
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Product Description

There's nothing hip about this vintage Disney film that begins and ends with a corny song about the "best doggone dog in the West." But that's the beauty of Old Yeller, originally released in 1957. The simple, heart-warming story of a boy who bonds with a feisty stray dog in 1860s Texas is full of 1950s sensibilities: A Donna Reed-style perfect "Momma" (Dorothy McGuire) who knows best, a couple of brothers who quarrel in the best sitcom tradition, and a father (Fess Parker, in a small role) who goes off to provide for his family, leaving his older boy (Tommy Kirk) in charge and his incredibly cute younger one (Kevin Corcoran) to steal as many scenes in the movie as he possibly can. With Old Yeller at his side, Kirk becomes a little man, who in the end must make a decision so heart-breaking that it's one of filmdom's most memorable moments. --Valerie J. Nelson

No film better captures the powerful emotions of hope, courage, and friendship than this treasured and much beloved classic, OLD YELLER. The quintessential tale of a boy's love for his dog has touched the hearts of millions, its enduring legacy growing with each new generation and is "still one of the best!" (Leonard Maltin) Set amidst the landscape of 1860s Texas, a young boy named Travis (Tommy Kirk) wants nothing to do with the lop-eared stray. But Old Yeller quickly proves himself a loyal friend, protecting the family and saving Travis' life. Soon they become inseparable pals, sharing joyous experiences and learning valuable lessons about growing up.

Customer Reviews:

  • The Classic Tear-Jerker
    Shortly after Jim Coates leaves his wife and two young sons alone on their Texas frontier homestead to go on a cattle drive, the family takes in a large, thieving, stray, yellow dog as pet and protector. The story follows the time of Jim's absence and Old Yeller's stay, as the endearing dog takes on the roles of play-pal to little Arliss and chore partner to teenage Travis, and fights off dangerous animals to protect them all, putting himself in great danger. However, with the closeness of animals to the lives of American frontier-folk, diseases like rabies prove to be just as looming a threat, as the Coates family comes to learn in one of the most heart-wrenching endings in both literary and cinematic history.

    "Old Yeller" is a masterpiece of filmmaking and definitely among the finest work from the Walt Disney Studios to date. The tale is plain and simple, softer than the famous Fred Gipson book it was based on but extremely loyal at the same time, and easily one of the greatest coming-of-age tales of love and loss ever written or filmed. Painstaking detail was put into recreating life on the Texas frontier in this Disney classic, and though it was released in 1957, claims that the film is loaded with 50's sensibilities may be a bit unjust. This film is set shortly after the Civil War, not in modern day. Having things like the man being "head of the household" or "breadwinner" aren't always just 50's sensibilities. Anyway, if one takes a good look at Disney films of the time, one might be surprised to find that the Disney films often depict more believable families than what you'd see on television sitcoms and other films of the period. "Old Yeller" doesn't fall short in that area either. There are only seven human members to the cast, and all are outstanding (most Disney regulars) in strong, believable roles. Tommy Kirk (The Shaggy Dog, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, The Hardy Boys, Swiss Family Robinson) is the human lead as Travis Coates, the young teenager who grows closest to "Old Yeller" and is hurt the most when the dog meets his emotional and legendary end. Kevin "Moochie" Corcoran (The Shaggy Dog, Swiss Family Robinson, Toby Tyler) is little brother Arliss, a feisty little boy who throws rocks and never sits still. Dorothy McGuire (Swiss Family Robinson, Summer Magic) is the ever motherly Katie Coates, and Disney legend Fess Parker (Davy Crockett, The Great Locomotive Chase) rounds out the family as fatherly and loving Jim Coates. The always hilarious Jeff York plays lazy, meal-mooching neighbor Bud Searcy, with Beverly Washburn as his sweet and put-upon daughter with a crush on young Travis. The final human castmember is the well-known Chuck Connors, who plays Old Yeller's original owner and a kind visitor to the Coates' farmstead. Throw in Spike the dog as the title character, no less impressive an actor than any of them, and you have one of Hollywood's greatest casts! Not to mention that this was directed by Robert Stevenson (Mary Poppins, Darby O'Gill and the Little People, The Love Bug), one of Hollywood's all-time greatest directors! No, there's really nothing much corny or extremely '"50's" about this movie, if that's what you've been led to believe, aside from the "Old Yeller" theme song, though us Disney fanatics rather like it. It's wonderfully sung by Jerome Courtland (Disney's Andy Burnett).

    As for the DVD edition, the 2-disc Vault Disney release (now out of print) is a real triumph! Disc One includes two bonuses in addition to the beautiful widescreen presentation of the film: A delightful Pluto Cartoon, "Bone Trouble," in which Pluto's attempt to swipe Butch's bone breakfast leads him to be chased into a hall of mirrors, and an excellent audio commentary (featuring Kevin Corcoran, Fess Parker, dog-trainer Bob Weatherwax, and more than anyone, Tommy Kirk; it seems that Kevin and Parker were recorded separately). In addition, the DVD menus look great. Disc Two's amazing Vault Disney menu is loaded with goodies. There's, "Old Yeller: Remembering a Classic," a lengthy making-of documentary full of tear-jerking interviews with the surviving cast-members along with animal trainer Bob Weatherwax and T. Beck Gipson, the son of writer Fred Gipson. There's also a nearly 15 minute featurette titled, "Conversations with Tommy Kirk." This is an enjoyable, in-depth interview with Tommy about how he got into acting as a child, met Walt Disney, and various details about his career at the Disney studios, including an unfortunate misunderstanding with Fred MacMurray. There are a couple of montages too. One is a bit of a commercial really, and doesn't have much value. It's called "Dogs!," and is nothing but a fast-paced montage of Disney dog clips. The other montage is more appreciated. It's called "Disney Studio Album," and is a montage of Disney events of 1957. A sort of Disney video yearbook. "Lost Treasures: Ranch of the Golden Oak" is a guided tour of the California property where many films are still filmed, along with reminiscence from Old Yeller's cast members of course. A Production Archive on Disc Two is loaded with galleries in the categories of "Production Stills," "Publishing," "Advertising," "Screenplay Excerpt," "Documents," and "Biographies" (of everyone but Jeff York for some reason). There's also a slideshow titled "Production Gallery," though it just features some selections from the Production Stills gallery. The DVD also offers the original theatrical trailer, a 90's TV commercial for a TV airing, and another tear-jerker labeled, "News Segment: Old Yeller Memorial." This is a report on an Old Yeller statue dedication in writer Fred Gipson's hometown and focuses on his son. Laura Bush also gives a speech at this sentimental ceremony. What non-Texan folks might not know is that this isn't really a news segment, it's from an excellent Texas television program called "Texas Country Reporter." It's a long running show that is not unlike "Made In America" or other such shows on the more educational/informative cable channels like TLC, Travel Channel, or Food Network, just a little more down-homey. Also on Disc Two is a virtual jukebox featuring various audio explorations. There are two interactive Sound Studio experiences, a selection of Radio Spots, a Foley Demonstration, and a vintage "Old Yeller" record album story told by Fess Parker with dialogue from the film. Last, but certainly not least, one of my favorite types of extras to find on a Disney DVD, we get a complete episode of the Disneyland TV series! The episode, hosted by Walt, is "The Best Doggone Dog in the World." This treat shows us dogs of the world, introduces Dorothy McGuire talking about the film "Old Yeller" and narrating clips, and presents to us a "True-Life Adventure" type story about Arizona sheepdogs at work. A wonderful addition to a wonderful DVD release!

    Ya know, I gotta say, as much as I love the Disney Renaissance period of films like "The Little Mermaid," "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," and so on, whenever I am walking around a Disney theme park and taking in the sights, sounds, and smells, it's films like this that really come to mind for me. The company still churns out some gems now and then, but Walt's legacy is the work the studio made under his guidance, and it really is at least as good as anything made after he was gone. Walking down nostalgic Main Street or anywhere else in the Magic Kingdom, I love having films like "The Happiest Millionaire," Pollyanna," "Swiss Family Robinson," and "Old Yeller" to look back on, and it's a shame that more young people aren't exposed to such films today. Thank goodness they're available on DVD for those who care enough to purchase them. Of course, as I mentioned, this Vault Disney 2-disc release is no longer in print and recently has become difficult to find. As with a few other excellent Disney releases, they have been recently rereleased in double feature editions, sometimes still in 2-disc sets, but usually missing some very nice extras. In Old Yeller's case, the film has been released on another 2-disc set, this time paired with its underrated sequel, "Savage Sam." While it's a fine way to acquire "Savage Sam" if you don't have it yet, I still recommend seeking out the Vault Disney edition if you don't yet have "Old Yeller." All the double feature lacks is the audio commentary, but for me that was reason enough to seek out the Vault Disney release. I will probably get the double-feature anyway to acquire "Savage Sam" though.

    ...more info
    This movie hit the theaters on Christmas Day in 1957 starring Dorothy McGuire as Katie Coates, Fess Parker as Jim Coates and Jeff York as Bud Searcy. Based on the novel by Fred Gipson, Old Yeller is set in Texas in 1869. While his father is away on a cattle drive, 15-year-old Travis Coates takes over management of the family farm. Adopting a strictly business policy, Travis is irritated when younger brother, Arliss, adopts a frisky stray dog. Soon Travis is as fond of the dog as everyone else in the family is; moreover, "Old Yeller" is an excellent watchdog. However, while fighting off a mad wolf, Yeller is infected with rabies. Though Yeller seems unaffected at first, he eventually behaves so viciously that the disheartened Travis has no choice but to **** *** ***. A heart-to-heart talk between Travis and his returning father coupled with the adoption of a new pup, paves the way to an emotional but reasonably happy ending. Earning eight million dollars domestically on its first release, Old Yeller convinced Walt Disney to devote more and more time to live-action films and less time to animation, which at the time was a great business move. In 1963, Disney released a lesser sequel to Old Yeller titled Savage Sam. I was wasn't that crazy about this picture either. To me once the dog got in the fight the movie was over. I give this movie Two-weasel stars because there was not much drama or action in this movie other then the fight with the wolf. ...more info
  • old yeller
    movie came in on time. however, it did not have a case with it. it was just the tape and that is it. ...more info
  • Good Dog, Yeller!
    This is the absolute classic boy-and-his-dog movie. Tommy Kirk loves his rascally dog, Yeller, who is brave and loyal to the end. It's a sad movie, but you'll want to see it again and again for the tenderness and honesty. Life in the old west was hard, and Old Yeller made it a little easier for a while. It doesn't get better than that.A must-see movie!...more info
  • Great Movie
    I just love this movie. I first saw it when i was like 8 or 9 and i loved it. I think most kids will enjoy this one but it;s sad at the end. I still cry to this day 15 years later. Great movie gotta see it....more info
  • You Are So Beautiful, . . . To Me
    Disney has done outstanding films about a boy and his dog - Old Yeller tops them all, including Lassie w/Roddy McDowell. And this DVD set comes with a second disc filled with an array of quick dog flicks coupled with interviews of people in the dog flick business.

    This 1957 movie is set in pre-Civil War America and centers around a frontier family whose "Pa" (played by Fess Parker) heads out on a cattle drive and leaves his eldest son, Travis, (is he only twelve?) in charge of "Ma" and his little brother Arliss. The boy feels like the odd one out with his little brother getting all the attention, until a stray yellow dog turns up. Travis and Old Yeller become best friends.

    Old Yeller wins the rest of the family over too by saving Arliss from a bear, saving the sweet corn from raccoons, and protecting Travis from wild hogs. The hog fight leaves both boy and dog with flesh wounds from their frightful encounter and everyone worried whether either of the two would come down with rabies. However, they both recover without incident.

    Then Old Yeller has a run-in with a wolf. Soon after, Old Yeller is frothing at the mouth trying to get out of the shed that Travis put him in as a precaution. Travis keeps telling his mother that Old Yeller will get better. But Old Yeller becomes so sick and so out his mind, that Travis has to become a man and put his best friend out of his misery.

    This film made Sputnik look like a hot-air balloon!...more info
  • Good but Sad!
    I'm a Tommy Kirk fan and I thought Old Yeller was a very good movie and I really enjoyed it for the most part but it was also a very sad movie and I remember when I was a little girl that I cried my eyes out at the end but It's still a wonderful classic....more info
  • This is the best movie I ever watched.
    I recomend this movie for everyone...more info
  • Best cow dog movie I've ever seen.
    Excellent movie about an unwanted stray yellow black mouthed curr that adopts a family and wins their hearts by saving their lives several times in 19th century Texas. I wish my cowdog worked cows like that one....more info
  • " doggone dog in the west!" Classic of Classics!
    A boy, a dog, the old west... AND Fess Parker! This movie simply could NOT have failed! If someone out there still hasn't seen it, I envy their opportunity! Fred Gipson's book was filmed faithfully by Disney (you can't say THAT very often! ) in fantastic Technicolor and the dog actor was GREAT-- one of the all-time best canine performances!

    Sure, we all know it's a bummer, but it's also the best, most character-defining bummer on film!

    It just can't be recommended highly enough! AL...more info

  • You MUST buy this movie!!!
    This movie was my absolute favorite growing up. The story is timeless. The end sequence makes me cry every time, even though I watch it probably once a week....more info
  • Will Always remain a classic
    I fell in love with this movie many years ago as a kid, and it still remains a treasured classic in my heart. This movie embodied more than just the heart-warming love between a boy and his dog who've been through thick and thin together. What this movie embodies is old American values, things we barely see anymore in today's society. I loved seeing a woman worry about her husband who was about to go off on a three-month long cow drive. I liked that men acknowledged young Travis's delegated authority to be in charge of the house while his father was away. They did their part by grooming him and helping him to be a man. You could also tell who was worthless.

    Yes, Old Yeller was more than just a movie about a young man and his dog. It was about a young man becoming a man by making one of the toughest decisions in his life at a very young age. As Fess Parker's character at the end of the movie says to Travis, "That's pretty rough son, but I'm proud of how my boy handled the situation. I couldn't ask much more of a man."

    These are the reasons why this movie is a classic and brings tears to my eyes. It has heart and true American sprirt....more info
  • A Classic - Old Yeller
    After searching in local big box stores, I was able to locate only the "non-Disney" releases of this classic motion picture. However, Amazon offered both choices and I was able to secure a copy that contains the original graphics and issued from Disney....more info
  • This movie was so sad
    I never had a dog. But I had this movie on tape. It was so sad with the boys and the mom and that big silly dog. I wanted a dog. My mother before she died said no. But I could always pretend. in my clubhouse I would. I liked to pretend i was on the fronteir with Old Yeller, only he wasn't dead. We hunted stuff and he would lick my face. If Old Yeller wasn't dead and he was my dog the movie would be better. I guess it just happens and stuff, but did it have to be him....more info
  • Best Doggone Dog in the West
    Life was tough in the old west. There were wild critters, Native Americans (annoyed that someone was taking their land, again), insufficient rain, the lecherous fat guy looking to mooch your food, and hydrophoby (hydrophobia, also known as rabies). Yep, life was tough in the old west. But no problem, Katie Coates (classy actor Dorothy McGuire who appeared in numerous roles in movies such as "Friendly Persuasion," "Swiss Family Robinson," and "Summer Magic") manages to survive everything with the support of son Travis (Disney regular Tommy Kirk). Katie needed help because her other son Arliss (Kevin Corcoran, another Disney regular) was an obnoxious brat.

    Father Jim Coates (Fess Parker, who was already a huge success in Disney's Davy Crockett shows) goes on a trip, leaving Katie, Travis and Arliss to fend for themselves. Before long a big yellow dog shows up, much to Arliss's delight. Initially Travis resents the dog because it causes him a lot of work when the dog causes destruction on the farm. However, the big yellow dog is friendly and manages to save Arliss's life. Old Yeller even wins Travis's love.

    Much of this movie is a comedy. Arliss and Old Yeller keep us entertained with their antics. Old Yeller is so big and lovable that you have to laugh sometimes. Old Yeller is also very protective of his new family.

    As I said before, life is tough in the old west. Wild animals existed all around the Coates homestead. One day a wolf attacks the family. The only thing that saves the family is the big yellow dog. Katie quickly realizes that the wolf had rabies, and she pens Old Yeller up to learn whether the wolf has given Old Yeller rabies.

    I leave you to watch the end of the movie for yourself.

    "Old Yeller" is one of those movies that deliberately tugs at your heartstrings. Even I struggled to keep my eyes from watering when Travis faced Old Yeller in the shed. However, Disney movies nearly always end with a message of hope and love, and so does this one.

    Sometimes it feels good to have your emotions manipulated, even if you are sad for a little while. This movie does it so well that you may want to watch it twice in a row.

    ...more info
  • the dog croaks
    I was sorely disappointed that the director killed the dog. I mean how many dogs back then contracted rabies from their owners?...more info
  • Great Movie - Family oriented
    A great family movie. Teaches a lot about life and the trials youth must face. The dog does die (from rabies contracted from a wolf, not his owners!), yet that is a fact of life. We live in an 'instant' society where the current generation seems to actually believe that the events programmed into video games - like getting more chances if you mess up - are real. They are not! Old Yeller shows that life is tough, but it is worth living....more info
  • Worst Doggone movie is the world!!!!!!!
    I watched this film because everyone said it is a classic. Like many classics it is anything but. Why does everyone cry at this movie? I didn't cry at this movie; I didn't anything close to tears. This is not because I hate dogs, I think that dogs are not people and that the dog was better off after he was shot. Also this movie may have been much better if the acting had be decent. The acting of the boy made me laugh instead of cry when the dog died. And if his little brother had spoken one more time I would have screamed. This same little boy is in many Disney films and every time he is unbarable. So unless you have a love for punnishment don't watch this movie. ...more info
  • Dissapointed me
    First, you must know I love animals, I love movies and I love movies in which I can cry my heart out. I have cried on almost every movie I have ever saw, but somehow this movie didn't make me cry.
    I guess that isn't a real bond for having a dog for such a small period of time....
    It's a nice movie, not big deal...more info
  • Great Dog movie
    I saw this movie when i was about 6 or 7...when i first saw the cover i thought it would be the stupidest movie id ever see, but since it was there in my house i thought i might as well see it, and i fell in love with it, it was the most heartworming movie id ever seen, and even today i watch it and im not tired of it..its a must see movie. I read the book,and i aslo read "Savage Sam" the sequel to the book, and i know the movie exists but no matter where i look i cant find the movie, both versions are very heartworming and if u dont see it ure missing out on something great....more info
  • My second favorite live-action film from Disney.
    "Old Yeller" was Walt Disney's first boy-and-dog film, and is his best. Just about everything in this movie is perfect: the Technicolor photography, the acting, performances, and scenery. The best performance in the movie is from Tommy Kirk, as the older boy Travis. Tommy Kirk has been on The Mickey Mouse Club in the 50s', and a lot of Disney live-action films at that time, but this is his best role. For Disney lovers or first-time viewers, be prepared to cry during the scene near the end when Travis has to make a difficult decision about Old Yeller. It's one of Disney's most memorable heart-rending moments, along with Bambi's mother's death from "Bambi". "Old Yeller" is very much like "Bambi". "Bambi" is my favorite Disney animated film, and "Old Yeller" is also at the top of my favorite Disney live-action films list....more info
  • Disney's Classic Coming-of-Age Film
    When pa Fess Parker has to take a long trip, he entrusts the care of ma Dorothy McGuire and little Arliss to older son Travis, played by Tommy Kirk of "Shaggy Dog" fame. Life isn't easy on a Texas farm in the 1860s and that Arliss sure is a handful for Travis. Then a stray dog comes on the scene, one that doesn't so much bark as yell, and so earns the name Old Yeller. Travis learns to love and rely on Old Yeller as the two go through many adventures together, until Yeller bravely saves the whole family at a crucial juncture. But there's one more lesson in growing up in store for Travis regarding Old Yeller before Pa's return, one that marks the turning point between boy and man. A good movie to watch with children above the age of eight....more info
  • best doggone dog in the west!
    This movie will make you laugh and cry. It's a little hokey :), but in this case, hokey is good. Old Yeller is the best dog gone dog in the west....more info