UltimateDisney.com's Top 30 Live Action Disney Movies Countdown
25. The Shaggy Dog (1959)
Even though, I am not old enough to have attended the original debut of Disney's The Shaggy Dog, it still has been many years since I viewed this classic, which last occurred in my childhood during the 1970's Summer Disney film festivals at my local movie theater (an era before the advent of VCRs & DVDs). Accordingly, while my memory of this film may not be as clear in comparison to that of the practically perfect motion picture, Mary Poppins, or more recent live action movies, I do know that The Shaggy Dog did make an indelible impression in my life, which led twenty-five years ago to the adoption of my first Old English Sheepdog, Waldo, and the more recent addition to my furry family, Rupert.

The Shaggy Dog is a lighthearted wholesome family comedy shown in a black & white format. Debuting in 1959, there will be stereotypical roles and relationships demonstrated in this time capsule from a simpler era, which will most likely make this film appear dated. However, the comedic premise of this slapstick movie mixed with bumbling police officers, a hilarious psychiatrist session with a confused dad, along with a car chase scene, would make viewing this film as enjoyable today as it probably was forty-five years ago. Most notably, this classic proudly does hold a special place in Disney history as the first live action comedy motion picture that Disney produced.

Starring Fred MacMurray and a few cast members from the original Mickey Mouse Club, this film follows the hilarious adolescent adventures of a teenaged character, Wilby Daniels, who accidentally stumbles upon an ancient ring with mysterious powers, which at random moments, transforms him into an Old English Sheepdog. In order to be released from this spell, Wilby must perform a heroic act. Along with dealing with these unscheduled hair-ried changes in his physical appearance and the puppy love feelings that he and his best friend have towards the new girl in town, Wilby must also face ordeals with his father (a mailman who has developed a negative impression of dogs) and a group of spies that Wilby undercov-hair discovers has moved into his neighborhood.

Two years ago, while walking my Old English Sheepdog, a young girl came running over to us, questioning if the dog was "real" and exclaiming that he looked "just like that dog from the movie." After informing her that "Rupert" is a live puppy, I stated that "Yes, he is just like the dog in The Shaggy Dog." Looking confused at me, she replied, "No, he looks just like the dog in The Little Mermaid." After agreeing with her, I suddenly realized the huge differences in our ages. Judging from her appearance, I figured she must have been born a few years after The Little Mermaid debuted, which is the same time length between the premier of The Shaggy Dog and my birth. The thirty year gap in time not only produced an obvious difference in our ages and a differing identification to the comparison of a theme in Disney movies, but a vast understanding that there is an undiscovered pool of once popular Disney movies still waiting to be introduced to new generations of mouseketeers.

In 1976, a sequel to this film was released to movie theaters titled, The Shaggy D.A.. Eleven years later, a made for television sequel, The Return of the Shaggy Dog, debuted. Rumor has it that Disney has rewritten a script loosely based on The Shaggy Dog motion picture series and will begin filming with Tim Allen in 2004. If this rumor is true, hopefully this will provide the incentive to the Disney marketing executives to release this groundbreaking live action comedy classic from the vault and finally onto the DVD format for many generations of mouseketeers to enjoy once again or discover for the very first time.

-Jeff Miller

Many years ago, I was a youth leader at the local Junior Red Cross. Every once in a while, we would rent a 16mm film for our young members. The Shaggy Dog was always a favourite with our kids and grown-up leaders as well. That film is simply hilarious, and I don't think I've ever seen a film bring out more laughter.

-Anders M Olsson

DVD Details
Announced as a 45th Anniversary Edition with commentary and more, The Shaggy Dog and its sequel Shaggy D.A. were pulled from the August 2004 release calendar. They'll now show up with 16x9-enhanced widescreen transfers and nearly all the announced extras (plus more) on March 7, 2006, the week that the Tim Allen remake comes to theaters.
Preorder The Shaggy Dog: The Wild & Woolly Edition DVD (Release Date: March 7, 2006)
Preorder The Shaggy D.A.: The Canine Candidate Edition DVD (Release Date: Mar. 7, '06)
More on The Shaggy Dog remake starring Tim Allen (coming to theaters in March 2006)
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