Animation Adventures

The One and Only Genuine Original Family Band: A Timeless Disney Classic

The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band is a charming musical movie released in 1968 that tells the story of a talented family band from the Midwestern United States. Directed by Michael O’Herlihy and produced by Walt Disney Productions, this movie is a delight for anyone who appreciates music and family values.

In this article, we will explore the story of this unforgettable movie, diving deeper into the characters, songs, and themes that make it a classic. The movie begins in the year 1888 during the presidential election campaign between Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland.

The character of Bower Family is introduced, who are passionate about music and politics, and are ardent supporters of the Democratic Party. The movie showcases the family’s electoral campaign and their efforts to convince their fellow townspeople to vote for Grover Cleveland.

The story revolves around teenage daughter Alice Bower, who falls in love with the son of the opposing party’s candidate. Despite their political differences, they share a love of music and eventually perform together, much to the delight of the public.

The cast of the movie includes legendary stars such as Walter Brennan, Buddy Ebsen, Janet Blair, and Lesley Ann Warren. Each performance throughout the movie is a feast for the ears, with the charming songs composed by the Sherman Brothers, known for their iconic Disney tunes.

The movie exposes the dynamics of American politics in the late 19th century, and how it impacted family life. Along with politics, it also showcases the importance of family values and their role in shaping one’s ideologies.

The Bower family highlights the importance of coming together as a family to support each other and face challenges head-on.

As one of Disney’s lesser-known productions, the movie has a strong cult following.

Despite not being a commercial success, it was praised for its themes of family, politics, and music. It provides a beautiful glimpse into a different time in American history, showcasing how music and family can break down political barriers.

The music in the film ranges from toe-tapping upbeat numbers like “Let’s Put It Over With Grover” to slower ballads like “Ten Feet Off the Ground.” The songs are catchy, and the lyrics convey the themes of the movie with ease, making sure they stick in the viewer’s mind. One of the most memorable moments in the movie is a delightful and hilarious dance performance by the cast to “The Happiest Girl Alive” that captures the spirit of the era.

Another heartwarming performance is “The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band,” that celebrates the joys of being in a family and sticking together through thick and thin. In conclusion, The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band is a beautiful representation of American life in the late 19th century.

The family-centric and music-centered themes are still relevant today, making the movie an enjoyable watch for audiences of all ages. The movie stands testament to the magic of the Sherman Brothers’ music, and the legacy of Walt Disney Productions, making it a timeless classic.

Building on the article about The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, we will delve into the plot in more detail. The story captures the profound changes taking place in American society during the late 19th century.

From the politics of the time to the impact of modern technology on people’s lives, the movie provides a vivid window into a bygone era. The Bower family, headed by patriarch Walter Brennan, is a politically active Democratic family in Dakota territory in 1888.

The family is divided into two camps, with the men and women divided on which candidate to support in the presidential election. While Mr. Bower and his sons are pro-Benjamin Harrison, the women are staunch supporters of Grover Cleveland.

The plot unfolds as each family member expresses their political views and tries to change the others’ minds. It forms the foundation of the movie, with each character presenting their arguments for their chosen candidates.

The conflict between the family members’ political beliefs adds an edge to the story, pushing the narrative forward.

Lesley Ann Warren plays Alice Bower, the teenage daughter of the family, who falls in love with a young trumpet player named Joe Carder (John Davidson) on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

Joe, who supports Harrison, is the son of the Republican candidate for the presidency. Despite their political differences, their mutual love for music brings them together, and they decide to form a band with their siblings.

Alice’s romantic subplot adds a touch of sweetness to the story, as she navigates through her feelings for Joe while grappling with her loyalty to her family. The romantic tension between the two leads is palpable, making for a satisfying story arc.

The political backdrop of the election provides the perfect scaffolding for the movie’s plot. In addition, technology also plays a role, with the Bower family being one of the first in the area to acquire a telephone.

The use of this modern technology provides comic relief and is integral to the plot, as it allows the family to communicate more effectively. The climax of the movie is centered around a big political rally and a music performance by the Bower family band.

The two opposing sides Harrison and Cleveland supporters come together to watch the band perform and end up uniting for the sake of enjoying the music. The movie’s themes of family, politics, love, and music make it relatable to viewers today.

The Bower family values and their commitment to each other are inspiring and heartwarming, reminding viewers of the importance of family. The political message is still relevant today, showcasing the democracy’s power to unite people.

Finally, the music in the movie is a highlight of the plot, with each song invoking joy and nostalgia. The Sherman Brothers’ iconic music is unforgettable and adds a layer of magic to the already enchanting story.

In conclusion, The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band is a heartwarming and entertaining movie that captures a crucial time in American history. The plot is layered and nuanced, tackling different themes with a deft touch.

The characters, especially the Bower family, are unforgettable and resonate with viewers today. The music is a standout, pairing beautifully with the story, making it a timeless classic in Disney’s catalog.

In addition to the plot and themes, the production of The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band holds a unique place in the history of Walt Disney Productions. The movie faced unprecedented challenges during its production, which resulted in significant changes in direction and focus.

Before production began, Walt Disney secured the rights to the book of the same name by Laura Bower Van Nuys, one of the descendants of the real-life Bower family that the story is based on. The production team envisioned the movie as a large-scale, big budget musical, similar to other Disney productions of the time such as Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music.

However, during the early stages of the movie’s development, there were creative differences between the director, Michael O’Herlihy, and Walt Disney’s team. Disney himself questioned the direction of the project and decided to intervene in the production process.

He shifted the focus of the movie from a large production-scale movie to a more muted, low-budget feature. The shift in direction required significant rewrites of the movie’s script, which had to remove references to subplots and characters.

Additionally, the various musical numbers that were intended for the original movie had to be reduced to just a few key performances, resulting in a lower production cost for the movie. Despite the obstacles, the production team overcame, and the movie went into production.

Filming took place on various sound stages and studio backlots in Los Angeles, including the Disney lot. Some scenes required the use of extensive background scenes, such as an election rally, which became one of the largest sets ever constructed for a Disney movie up to that point.

The involvement of the Sherman Brothers, who composed the music for the film, was critical to the success of the production. The brothers were known for creating elaborate and catchy song numbers, and they composed some of the most iconic songs in Disney’s library.

The music they wrote for the film was catchy, memorable, and captured the essence of the era’s style. The costume design of the movie was also noteworthy, with elaborate period costumes for the various characters.

The wardrobes were historically accurate, with attention to detail paid to the costumes to reflect the fashion of the time. The movie’s visual effects were minimal, with the only special effect used being the rear projection of certain scenes, such as the family driving in a horse-drawn carriage through the town.

Additionally, certain scenes shot outdoors were shot on a soundstage. In conclusion, the production of The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band involved various challenges and significant changes to the movie’s direction during the production process.

Despite these challenges, the movie stands out as a charming and heartwarming musical, with catchy songs and memorable performances. The hard work of the cast and crew allowed the movie to overcome the obstacles presented and produce a movie worthy of its place in Walt Disney Productions’ history.

The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band was released in 1968 by Walt Disney Productions. The film had its world premiere in Seattle, Washington, on March 21, 1968, before opening in movie theaters across the United States and other countries.

Despite the significant changes the movie underwent during its production, audiences eagerly anticipated its release. The movie was widely promoted, and the Disney team pulled out all the stops in generating buzz for the movie.

The movie opened to mixed reviews, with some critics praising the charming performances, beautiful music, and heartwarming story while others found it too simplistic and light-hearted. Despite the mixed critical reception, the movie was a moderate box office success, grossing over $4 million in the United States against a budget of $2.7 million.

The movie’s moderate success was a relief for Walt Disney Productions, given the battles they had faced during its production. The movie’s soundtrack was also a commercial success, with LP sales reaching over 250,000 copies.

While the movie was not a massive commercial success, it amassed a devoted following after its release, especially among Disney fans and those interested in the period piece the movie represents. After its initial release, the film was later aired on television and released on home video, further solidifying its status in the canon of Disney’s musicals.

The release of The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band was a pivotal moment in Walt Disney Productions’ history. The film, while not a critical or commercial blockbuster, represented a turning point in Disney’s approach to musicals.

The studio was then known for creating massive musical productions with huge budgets, but The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band presented a simpler, more intimate version of a musical, one that emphasized themes of family and politics. The movie’s themes have continued to resonate with audiences decades after its release.

The idea of family and the importance of unity in the face of adversity are themes that continue to find relevance today, while the political message of the movie remains timeless. In addition, the music’s catchy tunes and memorable lyrics have remained popular long after the film’s release, standing the test of time as iconic pieces of American music history.

In conclusion, The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band was not a resounding commercial success but has found a devoted following among Disney fans and lovers of musicals. The film’s significance lies in its subtle and nuanced approach to the traditional Disney musical, focusing more on the themes and characters’ emotions rather than grandiose musical numbers.

Despite the challenges the movie faced, its enduring message and timeless music have cemented it in Disney’s musical legacy, making it a must-see for those who want to experience the charm of a simpler time in American history. The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band’s soundtrack, composed by iconic Disney music duo the Sherman Brothers, is widely regarded as one of the highlights of the movie.

The soundtrack features a mix of upbeat, catchy tunes and poignant ballads that perfectly capture the film’s themes of family and patriotism. The opening number, “The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band,” sets the tone for the movie and celebrates the joys of being part of a family.

The song features the entire cast, with each member showcasing their musical talents, making it a thrilling opening number. Another standout song in the movie is “Let’s Put It Over With Grover, a catchy tune that captures the chaotic atmosphere of the presidential campaign and the excitement that surrounds it.

The song, led by the character of John Davidson, is a visual and auditory feast, complete with vibrant colors and energetic dance moves. The soundtrack’s ballads, such as “West o’ the Wide Missouri” and “Ten Feet off the Ground,” showcase the Sherman Brothers’ ability to craft emotional songs that tug at the heartstrings.

The former is a poignant ballad about leaving home and beginning anew, while the latter is a charming song about seeing the world from a new perspective. One of the most memorable performances in the movie is “The Happiest Girl Alive, an upbeat dance number led by Lesley Ann Warren.

The song, which captures the era’s dynamic dance styles, is a charming and memorable highlight of the movie. The soundtrack’s final song, “Bout Time,” is performed solely by John Davidson and represents the culmination of the movie’s storyline.

The song captures the spirit of unity and reconciliation, as the two families supporting rival candidates come together to dance to the music. It’s a fitting end to the movie, showcasing how music can bridge seemingly insurmountable differences.

The soundtrack’s success was not limited to the film’s commercial success, as it reached number 127 on the Billboard 200 chart. The soundtrack’s success is a testament to the Sherman Brothers’ iconic style and their enduring impact on American music.

In addition to the movie’s original songs, the soundtrack features a handful of period pieces that help transport the viewer back to the late 19th century. These songs, such as “The Glendy Burk” and “Wait for the Wagon,” are well placed in the movie and help to establish its historical setting.

In conclusion, The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band’s soundtrack is an iconic and unforgettable part of the movie. The Sherman Brothers’ ability to craft uplifting, catchy tunes and poignant ballads is on full display in the soundtrack.

The music adds layers to the movie, further showcasing the emotions and themes present in the story. The soundtrack’s commercial success and enduring popularity are a testament to the Sherman Brothers’ music’s timeless appeal and their legacy of producing unforgettable music.

In conclusion, The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band is a classic Disney movie that combines family values, politics, and music into a heartwarming and entertaining story. The movie’s enduring themes, unforgettable characters, and iconic music have solidified its place in Disney’s legacy, making it a must-watch for lovers of musicals and American history.


Q: What sets The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band apart from other Disney productions? A: The movie represented a shift in Disney’s approach to musicals, moving away from large-scale productions and focusing more on themes and characters.

Q: Is the movie historically accurate? A: While the Bower family and the political backdrop of the movie are based on real events, the movie takes creative liberties with subplots and characters.

Q: Is the movie suitable for all ages? A: The movie contains themes of family and politics that may not be engaging or comprehensible for very young viewers, but generally, the movie is family-friendly.

Q: What is the significance of the movie’s soundtrack? A: The Sherman Brothers’ music is iconic, and the movie’s soundtrack further solidified their place in American music history.

Q: Was the movie a commercial success? A: While not as commercially successful as other Disney productions, the movie’s message and music resonated with audiences, cementing its place as a beloved classic.

Popular Posts