39 years ago today, Pete’s Dragon had it’s World Premiere. The live-action musical was, and still, is one of my favourites. I would watch Pete’s Dragon more than I would watch Mary Poppins. Although, I wouldn’t say the music is better than Mary Poppins, I just preferred the story.
The film stars Legendary actor Mickey Rooney, who became famous as a child actor along side Judy Garland, who was also one of his best friends. British actor, and Carry On star, Jim Dale, played the con-man Dr. Terminus. His side-kick Hoagy is played by Red Buttons. But none of these actors were the lead or star of the film.
The female lead, and singer of the Academy Award nominated song from the film, Candle in the Water, was Helen Reddy. She didn’t become a massive star, but she was a well known singer, from Australia, who had a successful singing career.
Pete, the title character, was played by a young boy called Sean Marshall. He was only 12 years old, and Pete’s Dragon was his fist lead role and feature film. He got the part due to his unique voice, but sadly did not pursue a career in acting. He starred in two more films, but left the entertainment industry in 1978 to attend an education at Notre Dame College Preparatory.
But my favourite character and the only animated character in the film, is Elliot, Pete’s Dragon. He is big, bright green, with pink hair, has the head of a camel and he is so friendly and loving. All he wants to do is help Pete, and that is his purpose in the film.
It’s not fully explained in the film, but you get the understanding that Pete needed saving, and so Elliot came to Pete for that reason. He helps Pete escape the horrible “home” he’s in, where is used as a slave by the family who adopted him.
I so badly wanted Elliot to be real and be my invisible Dragon. The only difference was, I didn’t need saving, I just wanted a friend. Which is why I loved the film so much.
Watching it now, there’s a lot about the film that’s “out-dated”. Mainly the acting. But it was the 70’s, it wasn’t the greatest era of film, or for Disney as a company. The remake, which I’ve still to see, I think was needed. I am aware the story is completely different, but it needed to be in order to be current I think.
Pete’s Dragon doesn’t get the same credit that other films get, such as Mary Poppins. Thankfully though, my love of the film has rubbed off onto Jacob. It’s the one live-action film that he likes to watch. which I do find strange, because it takes a good 10 minutes before you actually see Elliot. And yet, my son stares at the screen as if he knows something magical is going to appear. Then he see’s Elliot under an apple tree!
What about you, did you like Pete’s Dragon? Is it one of your favs, or did you prefer another? Have you seen the remake yet, is it good? you’ll have to leave me a comment and let me know.
“Welcome the dragon while you have a chance, give him his moment to rise up and dance!” – Nora