The Shaggy D.a.

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From 1976, The Shaggy D.A. continues the story of a character created back in the sixties.  That character was teenager Wilby Daniels, originally played by Tommy Kirk.  Now an adult, Wilby is married and ends up becoming involved with town politics.  Along the way, he ends up having to deal with the same problem he did as a teenager, that being turning into a shaggy dog.  It is the fault of a curse, and it comes back to play a major role in this picture.

Dean Jones portrays the adult Wilby Daniels.  He actually sings the movie theme song, which surprised me.  I do not think I knew that Jones was a singer.  Somehow, I missed that piece of his talent.

Suzanne Pleshette plays Wilby’s wife, Betty Daniels.  They had previously appeared together in Blackbeard’s Ghost, another Disney film and a personal favorite of mine. In fact, that picture also featured a young actor named Hank Jones as a member of the track team who is a big part of the story.  Jones is also in this film, only his part is much smaller and is that of a policeman.

A lot of the comedy comes from Tim Conway, who plays an ice cream truck vendor.  He has a great scene with a kid where he lists all 44 flavors of ice cream he has and then the kid chooses vanilla.  Conway’s character becomes involved with that of Jo Anne Worley’s, and together they have some cute bits.  My favorite, however, is at the very end when they acquire a bunch of adoptees.

Keenan Wynn is the villain of the piece and is terrific.  Though not playing his Disney signature bad guy of Alonzo P. Hawk, he is still badder than bad here.  No one bristles as vibrantly when upset as Wynn does in his roles.

The rest of the cast is terrific, including Dick Van Patten, Vic Tayback, Warren Berlinger, Ronnie Schell, John Fiedler, and Hans Conried.

The story  is pretty true to its predecessor, though there is no mention of the other characters and for me, some kind of acknowledgement of those people would have been nice.


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