A buried holiday treasure from the 60's resurfaces...
native main-ah | Sedgwick, ME United States | 11/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The technical aspects of this review refer to the Westlake Entertainment Group release.
Based on the classic children's book by Charles Tazewell comes this feature originally broadcast on "Hallmark Hall of Fame" in 1969. As an 11 year old at the time, I remember watching this on the ol' black and white TV each year it was broadcast. The show didn't catch on as a continuing holiday tradition and was shuffled off to TV oblivion. Therefore, it was a completely unexpected joy to discover this on DVD.
Having not seen it for 25 plus years, I was wondering if I would view it as fondly as my memories were of the program. The first thing I noticed was it is a musical. I remember musical aspects of the show, but, it is a true musical and I think it plays much better for adults that way.
Starring Johnny Whitaker (of "Family Affair" fame) as Michael a shepherd boy who falls from a rock cliff and ascends to heaven. There he is greeted by God (E.G. Marshall) who sends him through the gates where he is welcomed by Gabriel (Cab Calloway!, that's worth the price of admission right there). Character actor John McGiver assigns Fred Gwynne ("The Munsters", "Car 54, Where Are You?") as Michael's guardian angel and introduces Michael to the wonders of heaven. Along the way Michael learns to fly with the help of flying teacher Connie Stevens and waits in a line for his heavenly job only to be befriended by a Roman who doesn't believe he is where he is, superbly played by Tony Randall. With the exception of E. G. Marshall and John McGiver, they all have a musical number. The highlight for me was Fred Gwynne's solo number of him reminiscing of his time on earth. He put such conviction in the number, when the song ends, you are right there with him wishing he could return.
Michael is still unhappy in Heaven and is allowed back to earth to retrieve his "treasure box" of artifacts from earth. When he returns, it is the night of the Messiah's birth. All angels are to present gifts and Michael presents the most special one of all.
I was just as touched at the ending of this program this time around, probably more so than the first time I saw it.
The drawback for a lot of people will probably be the technical parts of the program. First, notice I don't say movie or film. Although the first few minutes are filmed, the rest is videotaped. Made in 1969, this had to be one of the first productions that utilized the blue or green screen for the whole production. As such, it certainly is not on a par with what they can do today. But do all things have to be perfect? Can't you use a little imagination? With that said, there are a couple of glitches that lasts only for a couple of seconds in the master tape, probably due to the age, nothing to keep you from enjoying this story that brought back a lot of memories from Christmases long ago. The run time is listed as 90 minutes but actually runs 77 minutes.
Thanks to the release of this DVD, this will again be a tradition in my household. And with the low price, there is no reason for it not to be in your home also. "
The Littlest Angel 1969
Nancy Stone | 12/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The newest angel in Heaven, Johnny Whitaker (Jody from "Family Affair") meets up with fellow angel Fred Gwynn (Herman Munster from "The Munsters") in this charming story of two angels who just cannot seem to do things the right way. The music is wonderful and the movie itself can stand on it's own. It is my Christmas wish for 1999 that Bridgestone once again put this wonderful movie into production. They will not be sorry!"
The Littlest Angel is a classic!
Kathy Green | Oklahoma | 09/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I say it's a classic, of course, I refer to the Johnny Whittaker version--not the cartoon. I saw it once, years ago, when I was 8 years old myself, the same age as the character Michael in the movie. That movie made an impression on me that has lasted to this day, and I have wanted to see it again. Well, I now have. I have found and ordered the video from LDS Video Store, an online store. (...)
Having said that, it is my hope that "The Littlest Angel" will be made available on Amazon.com, and that the picture of the cover of this particular version will be changed, as it is obviously incorrect. The version offered here is a cartoon, not the Whittaker movie, and the picture of the cover needs to be that of the cartoon. "
I know where to get this video!!!!
Theresa Robertson | Fort Worth, TX USA | 11/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I too have been looking for this video since forever. I loved it as a child and was saddened when they stop showing it only to show a cartoon version. Well, weep no more folks!!! You can buy it at ChristianBook.com and the best thing is.....it is only 3.99!!!! I am unsure of the quality as I have not watched my copy yet. I hope this makes your holiday out there!
Merry Chirstmas to all! God Bless!"
Littlest angel - brentwood home video - dvd
LL | boston, ma | 11/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"an overlooked musical classic with fine performances by many stars. Johnny Whittaker is the boy who goes to heaven but doesn't like it there for various reasons. Fred Gwynne is his guardian angel, trying to make Johnny feel comfortable in his new home. Memorable songs and stars like Tony Randall, Cab Calloway, Connie Stevens, EG Marshall, and others make this a treat for all ages. The quality of the print is very good, considering this was filmed on videotape in 1969. Brentwood usually delivers good quality prints at a bargain price."