Friday, December 28, 2012

It's Film Strip Friday! Johnny Tremain

It’s Film Strip Friday!
Johnny Tremain
Release Date June 19th, 1957



          Meet young Johnny Tremain, a silversmith's apprentice with dreams of learning the trade and making his own way. When a terrible injury ends his hopes, he joins the emerging Sons Of Liberty. The Redcoats are coming as you journey back to the Boston Tea Party, the midnight ride of Paul Revere, and Lexington Green, where tyranny was vanquished by an idea -- freedom for all! Based on the classic novel by Esther Forbes.


Johnny Tremain is a 1957 film made by Walt Disney Productions, based on the 1944 Newbery Medal-winning children's novel of the same name by Esther Forbes, retelling the story of the years in Boston, Massachusetts prior to the outbreak of the American Revolution. The movie was directed by Robert Stevenson. It was made for television, then ultimately released to theatres, and finally wound up on television a year after that, on the Walt Disney anthology television series. It was shown on television in two episodes rather than as a complete film on a single evening. The song "Liberty Tree", with music by George Bruns and Lyrics by Tom Blackburn, became familiar, when the song was placed on the Disney Record album entitled "Happy Birthday and Other Holiday songs".


Johnny Tremain is an arrogant and exceptionally skilled apprentice silversmith to Mr. Lapham, who dreams of one day owning his own shop and becoming wealthy and respected. All of this is abruptly taken from him when his hand is damaged in a silver accident. He ends up joining the Sons of Liberty in the movement for American independence. Along the way Johnny befriends several historical giants including Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and Joseph Warren. The story reaches its climax with the start of the American Revolutionary War and the actions taken by so many notable figures of the time to lead a young America into her first battles.


  • Hal Stalmaster as Johnny Tremain
  • Luana Patten as Priscilla Lapham
  • Jeff York as James Otis
  • Sebastian Cabot as Jonathan Lyte
  • Richard Beymer as Rab Silsbee
  • Walter Sande as Paul Revere
  • Whit Bissell as Josiah Quincy
  • Rusty Lane as Samuel Adams
  • Walter Coy as Dr. Joseph Warren
  • Will Wright as Mr. Lapham
  • Virginia Christine as Mrs. Lapham
  • Ralph Clanton as General Gage
  • Geoffrey Toone as Major Pitcairn
Walt Disney's daughter Sharon Mae Disney also had a small uncredited role as Dorcas, a young friend of Johnny and Priscilla (who in the novel was one of Priscilla's sisters).

Educational films

Portions of Johnny Tremain were used in 1968 for educational purposes. Two distant sequence of the films were issued under the titles of The Boston Tea Party and The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.


After the movie was released, Walt Disney intended to build Liberty Street in Disneyland as an annex to Main Street USA. However, the project was never realized. Years later after Walt's death, the concept was revived and turned into the much more expansive Liberty Square in Walt Disney World, which opened on October 1, 1971.
Furthermore, an elm tree found on the Disney property (originally 6 miles from where the Magic Kingdom is located) was moved & transplanted by Disney engineers and now serves as the square's Liberty Tree. Adorning the tree are 13 lanterns, representing the original 13 American colonies.
Louis Marx and Company released an American War of Independence playset featuring character figures of the actors in the show as a film tie-in.

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