When Disney+ went live for the entire World on November 12th of this year – there was much to kind of be amazed about… I did in fact write about my first couple of hours after subscribing to the service. Beyond the likes of The Mandalorian, catching up with 30 seasons of The Simpsons, and being tempted by about 100 other shows… I was delighted to find earlier Disney films that I had not ever had the pleasure of seeing before. In that original article I pointed out two in particular – 1974’s The Castaway Cowboy starring James Garner as well as 1967’s The Adventures of Bullwhip Grifffin. The latter stars an actor that I loved after I first saw him – which just so happened to be the theatrical run of the pilot for 1969’s Night Gallery, a segment entitled The Cemetery and starring Roddy McDowall. It wouldn’t be long before I caught him as Cornelius in 1968’s Planet of the Apes and 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure – his general genteel nature and his skill at playing angel and devil with equal glee, made Roddy McDowall one of my favorite actors. While I may not be able to claim that I have been able to see every single picture and television show that he made an appearance in – thanks to Disney+ I can mark The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin off the list.
The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin is actually based on a children’s book by Sid Fleischman entitled By The Great Horn Spoon! – originally published back in 1963. Besides the likes of Roddy McDowall, the film also starred the beautiful and talented Suzanne Pleshette (The Birds), Karl Malden (Patton), and Harry Guardino (Dirty Harry) to name just a very few. The story concerns a proper Boston Family, Arabella Flagg (Pleshette) and her younger brother Jack (Bryan Russell) finding out they are flat broke after their relative passes away – the young boy sets off for California in an attempt to get in on the gold rush. Which leaves it up to Eric Griffin (McDowall), the loyal and unflappable Family butler to retrieve the boy. It also is a prime opportunity for Jack and Eric to restore the Family fortune by getting in all manner of adventures… and making just as many enemies on the way.
I should point out that the glove that Roddy smacks Mike Mazurki’s “Mountain Ox” with in that clip is packed with gold… so everyone assumes he is an incredible fighter. While to be fair, I must point out that The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin falls on the formulaic side of the equation – it is an incredibly entertaining Family film all the same. While I’ve not had the pleasure of reading the source material – I would highly recommend you check the film adaptation out. It happens to feature a soundtrack by the Sherman Brothers – so there is probably a tune or two that you might find you are tapping your toe to.
Although I want to point out that I noticed something a little odd when the film started – there was a title card informing me that the movie had been edited for content. What could have possibly been needed to be cut out of 1967’s The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin?