Way back in Part One of covering Snowball Express, we talked about the movie being released as a double-play alongside The World’s Greatest Athlete. This double-play was released in 1974, and given it’s own Campaign Manual to, once again, encourage newspapers to print the articles of both movies for promotion. These articles we will look at here are different then what we have covered in the past. They do not focus on just the one movie, but on both. Each one gives a summery, or description of their respective movies using different topics to drive the narration.
Character Actors Abound in Disney Comedy Duo
Character actors are essential to movies, whether they are understanding friends, misguided or evil villains or comic oddballs.
Masters at such specialized performances abound in two wild Walt Disney comedies, “The World’s Greatest Athlete” and “Snowball Express,” paired for the first time on a single bill.
In “The World’s Greatest Athlete,” Billy De Wolfe, a veteran character comedian, is the personification of power elite as president of the alumni association in the college town where jungle boy Jan-Michael Vincent, imported from Africa, becomes super sports champ of all time.
Nancy Walker, currently popular as “McMillan and Wife’s” mystery loving, eccentric housekeeper, Mildred, plays a landlady so near-sighted she never realizes one of her favorite roomers is a Bengal tiger in campus clothing.
As an extra treat, the actual World’s Greatest Athlete, Bill Toomey, ex- Olympic champ, portrays’ a spotter who can’t get in a word because of gregarious sportscaster Howard Cosell, a natural for the part. Producer Bill Walsh also enlisted Toomey’s services as technical advisor on the film.
In “Snowball Express,” Harry Morgan portrays a sharp-tongued, weather-beaten prospector who hires on as jack-of-alltrades when inexperienced Dean Jones inherits a dilapidated resort hotel atop the Colorado Rockies.
Morgan, a familiar face in countless television series and movies and a favorite character actor in Disney comedies, has played everything from the somberfaced detective co-star in “Dragnet,” to the wry next door neighbor Pete Porter in the “December Bride” teleseries, a character which he continued in his own situation comedy, “Pete and Gladys.”
Keenan Wynn, who has made more than 150 movies and acted in all forms of entertainment, is one of the screen’s best heavies. He appears here as a scheming, tight-fisted, two-faced banker. Ron Miller produced the movie, which was filmed on location in Crested Butte, Colorado.
The double-bill is re-released by Buena Vista.
Disney Comedy Duo Features Weakling and StrongmanÂ Â
Physical fitness and the lack of it provide hilarious contrasts in two wild Walt Disney comedies, “Snowball Express” and “The World’s Greatest Athlete,” set for dual engagement.
In “Snowball Express,” Dean Jones inherits a dilapidated resort hotel in the Colorado Rockies. His plans to convert it into a fashionable ski resort necessitates Jones’ learning to master the sport, and through his comic attempts, the neophyte skier leaves his mark â his sitzmark â all over the slopes. Daredevil Dean snowplows clumsily forward, unexpectedly backward and mostly on his stomach.
Being too fit is Jan-Michael Vincent’s problem in “The World’s Greatest Athlete,” as he portrays a jungle boy who outruns cheetahs and is imported to the United States as a sure bet to cure losing college coaches John Amos and Tim Conway of their troubles. Vincent astounds audiences with his athletic prowess while dismaying his witch doctor godfather, Roscoe Lee Browne. The godfather puts the whammy on Jan-Michael, and it takes a super charge of countermagic before the world’s greatest athlete is finally able to live up to his title.
Buena Vista re-release.
Hot and Cold Running Laughs Highlight Disney Double Comedy Bill
The climate for comedy shifts from the tropical heat of darkest Africa to the frigid temperatures of the Colorado Rockies in a pair of wild Disney comedies, “The World’s Greatest Athlete,” and “Snowball Express,” together for the first time on a single bill.
“The World’s Greatest Athlete” is Jan-Michael Vincent as Nanu, a jungle boy who becomes the super sports champ of all time in spite of being managed by a couple of the world’s losingest coaches, John Amos and Tim Conway.
Roscoe Lee Browne also stars as Nanu’s witch doctor godfather, and Harri, a trained Bengal tiger, makes audiences roar as Nanu’s house pet.
At the other end of the thermometer, Dean Jones inherits a dilapidated snowbound hotel high in the Rocky Mountains in “Snowball Express.”
Though Jones is exuberant about leaving the big city rat race to rebuild the hotel into a ski resort, wife Nancy Olson and children Kathleen Cody and Johnny Whitaker are less enthusiastic, especially when bad luck snowplows problems on top of the family.
The comedy combination is being rereleased by Buena Vista.
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