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Walt Disney Home Video presents
The Shaggy D.A. (1976)

"I've gotta find that ring before I turn into a dog again!"
- Wilby Daniels (Dean Jones)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: March 22, 2006

Stars: Dean Jones, Tim Conway, Suzanne Pleshette
Other Stars: Keenan Wynn, Jo Anne Worley, Dick Van Patten, Shane Sinutko, Vic Tayback, John Myhers, Richard Bakalyan, Warren Berlinger, Ronnie Schell, Jonathan Daly, John Fiedler, Hans Conried, Michael McGreevey
Director: Robert Stevenson

MPAA Rating: G for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:31m:45s
Release Date: March 07, 2006
UPC: 786936704426
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+A-A C+

DVD Review

In 1959, Disney released its first live-action comedy, The Shaggy Dog, to enormous success. In the original, a young boy, Wilby Daniels, finds a ring carrying a family curse, which transforms him into a dog any time the inscription adorned upon it is spoken, with hilarious consequences.

In this 1976 sequel, Wilby (Dean Jones) has grown up, and is now a lawyer with wife Betty (Suzanne Pleshette) and son Brian (Shane Sinutko). The family returns home to find their house has been burgled to the bare walls. When calls to the police yield less than satisfactory results, Wilby is infuriated. With crime rampant in town, and criminals not getting the punishment they deserve, he is determined to do something about it, and decides to run for District Attorney. Wilby also suspects that incumbant, 'Honest' John Slade (Keenan Wynn) is not as honest as his nickname would make him seem. In fact, Slade is in cahoots with a local crime boss (Vic Tayback as Eddie Roschak) behind the recent string of robberies. There is only one problem with Wilby's campaign—the crooks have stolen the enchanted ring that can turn him into a dog.

That happens to be Elwood, a sheep dog belonging to Tim (Tim Conway), the local ice cream man, who unwittingly purchases the ring from one of the crooks to give to his would be girlfriend, Katrinka (Jo Anne Worley). As Wilby prepares to do an on-camera interview launching his bid for office, Tim reads aloud the inscription on the ring, causing Wilby to transform. The race is on to find the ring as Wilby tries to expose the corruption in office, while keeping his little problem a secret from the press—and his opponent.

Even Disney doesn't make films like this any more. Silly, and loaded with slapstick, from Conway's bits trying to make his riches off a talking dog to a full-fledged pie fight, it is a wholesome, entertaining film that can still elicit a good giggle. The action is plentiful, and the gags over the top. Jones and Pleshette (reunited from The Ugliest Dashound) play it relatively straight, while Conway and Worley add the comic relief. Wynn and his sidekick, Dick Van Patten, play heavies alongside Alice's Vic Tayback. Young Shane Sinutko provides on-screen his dad with some much needed antagonizing, and there is a smattering of recognizable faces throughout in bit parts. You can tell that the whole cast had fun making the picture. Apart from being a color production, the biggest difference here is that adults are the central characters. There is a charm in the cheesy special effects, and while the story is straightforward, there are a few moral messages to be found, but not over done. While far from a cinematic masterpiece, The Shaggy D.A. has that good old Disney magic, with enough repeat value that the whole family can enjoy it time and time again.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Disney delivers another fine transfer to its stock of 1970s features. Colors are bright, contrast is excellent, and the source is clean and clear, with nary a defect to be found—not even dog hair.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Spanish, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: Mono audio is clean and free of distortion. Dialogue is clear and easily understood. These films were never intended to be audio showpieces, so the presentation here fits the bill just fine. French and Spanish tracks are also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 9 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
7 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Little Mermaid, Cars, Chicken Little, Airbuddies, The Wild, The Chronicles of Narnia, Brother Bear 2
2 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Tim Conway, Jo Anne Worley, Dick Van Patten
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: Unlike some of their bare-bones efforts of the past, Disney delivers The Shaggy D.A. with a few worthy extras. First is a commentary track with Tim Conway, Jo Anne Worley, and Dick Van Patten. Edited from separate sessions, the talk here reflects positively on the Disney movie-making experience, and all three actors remember the film fondly, despite some less than ideal work situations (three-day-old pie among them). There is plenty of insight into the workings on set, with Van Patton and Conway supplying the bulk of the conversation.

Two featurettes are included. The first, Putting on the Dog (6m:40s), features make up artist Robert J. Schiffer describing the process for transforming Dean Jones into a sheep dog. The second, The Good, the Bad and the Funny (9m:30s) has Conway and Van Patten reminiscing on some of the gags, and the process of making the film. There is a bit of overlap with the commentary, but not too much.

A collection of front-loaded but skippable trailers for theatrical and DVD releases includes The Little Mermaid, Cars, Chicken Little, Airbuddies, The Wild, The Chronicles of Narnia and Brother Bear 2.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

The Disney DVD library from the 1970s continues to grow, as The Shaggy D.A. joins classics such as Escape to Witch Mountain, The Apple Dumpling Gang, Freaky Friday and Candleshoe. Great fun for a Saturday afternoon, this one gets a clean transfer and a respectable extras complement. Recommended.


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