Reviews

Toby Tyler (1960)

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I have been aware of Toby Tyler for years, but never bothered to watch it until now. I  had always thought it was a TV movie, but lo and behold, it actually went to theaters! Without further ado, let’s jump into my review of Toby Tyler!

And remember, SPOILERS AHEAD!

The film takes place in the late 1800s presumably and begins with our main character, young Toby Tyler, played by Kevin Corcoran, sneaking off from his farmhouse to watch a traveling circus parade.

This The Lion King remake does look realistic!
Even this Dumbo remake looks realistic!
This is literally the scariest thing to ever appear in a Disney film!

He returns home to an irate Uncle Daniel, played by Tom Fadden. Toby lives with his Uncle Daniel and Aunt Olive, played by Edith Evanson, who are both disappointed that Toby shirked on his farm duties to watch the circus parade. Thinking that they don’t like him anymore, Toby runs away from home that night to join the circus. He’s hired by a manipulative, less-than-honest concessionaire named Harry Tupper, played by Bob Sweeney.

“Gregory Peck couldn’t do it, so I took the role!”

As the circus rides off to the next town that night, Toby is placed to ride with Ben Cotter, played by Henry Calvin. Mr. Cotter is a big man who gives off a tough guy image but learns to care for Toby as the time passes.

The next day, Toby meets other circus performers including a kind-hearted clown named Sam Treat, played by Gene Sheldon, in a rare speaking role. Toby also discovers what being a concessionaire really entails.

“Join the circus, they said! It’s a fun life, they said!”

Another friend Toby makes is a chimpanzee whom he dubs Mr. Stubbs. Although both were hostile to each other at first, they soon learn to be friendly towards each other. On the next parade, Mr. Stubbs actually gets loose in the town and gets his hands on a gun at the local sheriff’s office.

“I don’t want no trouble here, see! Put all the bananas you have in the bag and nobody gets hurt, see!”

The sheriff is ready to take matters into his own hands.

I feel that’s what the people thought about Harambe!

But Toby walks in and manages to take the gun away from Mr. Stubbs.

And not a moment too soon! Mr. Stubbs was about to end it all!

Back at the circus grounds, this whole hullabaloo has brought extra publicity to the circus pleasing the circus owner, Colonel Castle, played by Richard Eastham. He entrusts Toby with the responsibility of taking care of Mr. Stubbs full-time due to their friendship with each other.

Toby gets even more responsibilities when he lies about having horse riding experience and the Colonel has him replace a young horse rider who suffered an injury. Toby decides to run away with the money he’s earned before the Colonel learns the truth, but Mr. Stubbs loses Toby’s hard-earned coins.

“Whoops, did I do that?”

Toby then seeks Mr. Cotter’s and Mr. Treat’s help to learn horse riding skills. Toby even does well on his first performance, but soon discovers that Mr. Tupper has been keeping letters from him. These letters were written by his aunt and uncle wanting to make amends and for Toby to come home.

Toby decides to run back home to his aunt and uncle after the show is over. But when Mr. Tupper fins out, he tries to catch up with Toby before he reaches home. Mr. Stubbs has also followed Toby and accidentally gets shot by a hunter. Toby is saddened at the loss of his friend and Mr. Tupper manipulates this incident to convince Toby to come back to the circus with him.

“Come with me, Simba! Come with me and never return!”

Back at the circus, Toby’s aunt and uncle are there waiting for him and seeking his forgiveness. This cheers Toby up as well as the fact that Mr. Stubbs isn’t dead after all! Mr. Treat treated the chimpanzee and now he’s as good as new! Toby’s uncle and aunt get to see him perform and Mr. Cotter gives Mr. Tupper a lesson!

“Sleep with the fishes, Tupper!”

And that was Toby Tyler! It’s honestly a decent enough flick. It’s nothing amazing, but it’s a film with enjoyable characters who keep your interest throughout the film. The acting by all was great, overall, although the chimpanzee did annoy me at times!

The circus stunts with the circus performers and horses were done with a level of mastery that add to the film’s viewing experience. If you haven’t seen this film yet, it’s definitely worth at least one viewing!

So, my final score for this film is 29/35 = 82.86% (B-) !

The next review will be posted on July 2, 2019.

2 thoughts on “Toby Tyler (1960)

  1. Here’s my brief review of Toby Tyler on Amazon UK:
    This is a well-made, delightful, sentimental, predictable and somewhat corny product of the Disney Studio that achieved exactly what it set out to do, which was to please a 1959 audience.
    And 50 years on, it still pleases.
    Most interesting is the casting of circus boss ‘Colonel Castle’ played by Richard Eastham who bears a strong resemblance to Walt Disney himself! Walt was a self-confessed ‘corny guy’ and a consumate showman.
    Castle runs his circus very much the way Walt ran his studio.
    Turn of the century small town America was very dear to Walt’s heart and its lovingly re-created here.
    Kevin Corcoran (Toby) was a phenominally popular and ubiquitous Disney child star of the era and both Henry Calvin and Gene Sheldon were familiar from Disney’s ‘Zorro’ TV series.
    A non-Disney TV series ‘Circus Boy’had been successful so ‘Toby Tyler’ seemed a safe bet offering the colour and production values not provided by TV.

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