Many years ago, when I was very young, my father took me to see The Shaggy Dog when it was first released. I vividly recall going to what was then the best cinema in town, waiting in line to buy tickets, and then watching this Disney black and white release. It was so much fun. I loved the movie, and I have a very sentimental feeling for it now. The theater is long gone, my father has passed on, but thanks to cable TV and DVDs, I can still enjoy this movie and recall that special day at the movies with my father.
The Shaggy Dog stars Fred MacMurray as Wilson Daniels, a normal dad married to a loving wife, Freeda, played by Jean Hagen. They have just two challenges in life, their children. Their oldest son, Wilby, ends up in the title role. Yes, the teenager becomes a very shaggy canine. Loving him best as a dog is Wilby’s brother, Moochie, played by Kevin Corcoran, one of the best child actors in his era.
Also along for the fun are Annette Funicello as the girl across the street, Allison D’Allessio, though amazingly she really is not center stage here, Roberta Shore, as the new girl down the block, Franceska Andrassy, and Tim Considine, who plays Wilby’s somewhat villain-like best friend, Buzz Miller.
There is plenty of humor in the movie as Wilby tries to avoid turning into the dog, though naturally he does at the worst times. Then there are the scenes with the policeman who has conversations with the dog without really realizing it. Then there is the twist to the plot as it turns into a spy movie with Wilby overhearing information he should not have.
What is a hoot is watching the dog do some incredible things, and while there was a dog stand in in the form of a dressed-up human, according to the commentary on the DVD, the dog really did do a lot of amazing things, like climbing up a ladder.
I just love The Shaggy Dog. It is pure Disney, full of family humor, good acting, and a really cute dog.