Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Every Disney Hero Has a Voice ~ Arliss Coats


 Every Disney Hero Has a Voice
Arliss Coats
Old Yeller (1949)
Disney Legend ~ Bill Corcoran
June 10th, 1949


One of seven children of MGM studio policeman Bill Corcoran, Kevin Corcoran was born in 1949 in Santa Monica, California, and began acting when he was two. During his onscreen career, he would come to embody an "American Everykid."
"The Mouseketeers were entertainers and role models, and Tommy Kirk and Kurt Russell were teen faves," says film writer Donald Liebenson. "But kids in the audience related more to Corcoran, who created a character who was part All-American boy and part hellion."
Corcoran's first film appearance was as the kid version of Tyrone Power's character in Henry Kings' adventure film Untamed (1955), after which he and sisters, Noreen and Donna, played Quaker farmer Ernest Borgnine's children in Violent Saturday.
In 1956, Kevin auditioned for a serialized segment of the "Mickey Mouse Club" called "Adventures in Dairyland." He won the role of a character whose name was "Moochie," a nickname that seemed to suit his rambunctious personality. Walt Disney was so impressed with Kevin's Disney debut that he had a special role written for "Moochie" in another "Mickey Mouse Club" serial, "The Further Adventures of Spin and Marty."
Kevin went on to co-star in the Disney theatrical features "Old Yeller" (1957), "The Shaggy Dog" (1959), "Pollyanna", "Swiss Family Robinson", and played the title role in "Toby Tyle"r (1960). He also appeared in "Babes in Toyland" (1961), "Bon Voyage!", "The Mooncussers" (1962) "Savage Sam" (1963), and "A Tiger Walks" (1964). Kevin was top-billed in the Disney TV projects "Moochie of the Little League" (1959), "Moochie of Pop Warner Football" (1961), and "Johnny Shiloh" (1963).
Kevin quit acting after a minor role in "Blue" (1968), "When the film industry got very strange," he says. "I decided to retire from acting because I felt I knew more about the business than the people who were interviewing me for the parts."
After graduating from Cal State Northridge with a degree in Theatre Arts, Kevin returned to Disney, working behind the camera on such films as "Superdad" (1973), "Island at the Top of the World" (1974) and "Pete's Dragon" (1977) and television programs like "The New Mickey Mouse Club" (1977) and "The Kids Who New Too Much." (1980)
Kevin was associate producer of "Return from Witch Mountain" (1978) and "The North Avenue Irregulars" (1979), co-produced "Herbie Goes Bananas" (1980), and was the producer of Disney's 1983 comedy series "Zorro and Son."
He has been first assistant director on many TV series, including "Scarecrow and Mrs. King," "Baywatch," "Quantum Leap," "Profiler," and "Karen Sisco." For the beloved Angela Lansbury series "Murder, She Wrote," Kevin variously served as first assistant director, assistant producer, and director.
Kevin has avoided the disappointment and scandal of many child stars -- he has maintained a successful and stable career, and has been married to the same woman for 33 years. He credits his family's down-to-earth sensibility about the business for his ability to avoid its pitfalls. "Some people's families are in the delicatessen business," Kevin says simply. "My family was in the picture business."
He also credits Walt Disney for being a caring father figure. Kevin remembers going to Walt's office after one contract negotiation. "He called me up there and said, 'This is between you and me. I want to know if you feel you're being treated fairly.' I know darn well if I had said I was unhappy, he would have done something about it."

Kevin Anthony "Moochie" Corcoran (born June 10, 1949) is an American director, producer, and former child actor. He appeared in numerous Disney projects between 1957 and 1963, frequently as an irrepressible character with the nickname Moochie. One of eight children, most of whom did some acting in the late 1950s to early 1960s, Corcoran is the sibling whose work is best remembered. His father, William "Bill" Corcoran, Sr. (1905–1958), was a police officer and then director of maintenance at MGM Studios. Corcoran's mother, the former Kathleen McKenney (1917–1972), was, like her husband, a native of Quincy, Massachusetts.

Moochie

Between 1956 and 1960, Corcoran played several different (but similar) characters, each bearing the nickname Moochie. Although he was never a Mouseketeer, Corcoran appeared in three Mickey Mouse Club serials, beginning with Adventure in Dairyland, where he played Moochie McCandless, a farmer's son. This was the first of Corcoran's many Disney credits. He soon returned, as Montgomery (Moochie) O'Hara, in two Spin and Marty serials, The Further Adventures of Spin and Marty and The New Adventures of Spin and Marty.
Corcoran appeared in a Mouseketeer outfit with the name Moochie across his chest - once. In Disneyland: The Fourth Anniversary Show (1957), an episode of the Disney anthology television series, "Mouseketeer" Moochie repeatedly badgers Walt Disney for information about Zorro.
Continuing his fictional Moochie roles, Corcoran played Montgomery "Moochie" Daniels in the 1959 Disney film The Shaggy Dog. He also starred as Moochie Morgan in Moochie of the Little League (1959) and Moochie of Pop Warner Football (1960), both for the Disney anthology series. Character actor Russ Conway played his father.
In each iteration, Moochie likes to hang out with the older "guys" (big brother Wilby in The Shaggy Dog, the title characters in Spin and Marty), and hates being treated like the little kid he is. His determination to emulate elder peers despite adult warnings (swimming, helping Wilby, even switch-hitting) frequently gets him in trouble, but Moochie's bravado always returns soon afterward. Film writer Donald Liebenson has called Corcoran's character "part All-American boy and part hellion."

Other childhood roles

Corcoran appeared in numerous Disney projects (and a handful of non-Disney ones) without the Moochie name. He starred as Toby, an orphan who runs off to join the circus, in Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus (1960). This was the only theatrical film in which Corcoran had the lead role. Important co-starring roles include the following:
  • Old Yeller (1957) - younger son Arliss Coates
  • Goliath II (1960) - Goliath II
  • Pollyanna (1960) - Pollyanna's friend, orphan Jimmy Bean
  • Swiss Family Robinson (1960) - youngest son Francis Robinson
  • Daniel Boone (1960 Disney miniseries) - son James Boone
  • Babes in Toyland (1961) - nursery rhyme character Boy Blue
  • Bon Voyage! (1962) - younger son Skipper Willard
  • The Mooncussers (1962 Disney TV) - Jonathan Feather
  • Johnny Shiloh (1963 Disney TV) - Union Army drummer Johnny Lincoln Clem
  • Savage Sam (1963) - Arliss Coates again
  • A Tiger Walks (1964) - Tom Hadley
Kevin Corcoran and Tommy Kirk played brothers in five films, beginning with 1957's Old Yeller. The other films in this category were The Shaggy Dog (1959), Swiss Family Robinson (1960), Bon Voyage! (1962) and Savage Sam (sequel to Old Yeller, 1963). Fred MacMurray played their father in The Shaggy Dog and Bon Voyage! Dorothy McGuire played their mother in Old Yeller and Swiss Family Robinson.
Corcoran largely retired from acting after A Tiger Walks, although he also appeared in the 1968 film Blue in a minor role. It was probably around the time of the latter film that he attended college. In an interview for the DVD release of The Shaggy Dog, he credits his studio teachers with having prepared him well for his college studies.

Adult career

Corcoran graduated from California State University, Northridge with a degree in theatre arts. After this he returned to Disney, this time working behind the camera as an assistant director and producer. His credits from this era include Superdad (1973), The Island at the Top of the World (1974) and Pete's Dragon (1977). Appropriately, he also worked on The New Mickey Mouse Club (1977). He was an associate producer on Treasure of Matecumbe (1976), on the sequel Return from Witch Mountain (1978) and on The North Avenue Irregulars (1979). He co-produced Herbie Goes Bananas (1980), and was the producer of the comedy television series Zorro and Son (1983). Corcoran's more recent contributions to Disney include commentaries and interviews on such Disney DVD releases as The Shaggy Dog and Pollyanna.
He has also served as first assistant director on several non-Disney television series, including Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Quantum Leap, Profiler and Karen Sisco; and produced a number of projects. Over the course of his tenure on the Angela Lansbury series Murder She Wrote, he was credited as first assistant director, assistant producer, and director.

Family

Kevin Corcoran is the brother of Donna Corcoran, Noreen Corcoran, Hugh Corcoran, Brian Corcoran, Kerry Corcoran, and Kelly Corcoran (1958–2002). Elder siblings Donna, Noreen, and Hugh Corcoran have extensive film and television credits as child actors during the 1950s. Donna, Noreen, and Kevin all appeared in the 1955 film Violent Saturday.
Noreen Corcoran starred as Kelly Gregg on the television series Bachelor Father from 1957-1962. During its five-year run, Bachelor Father was seen on all three national networks. Brian Corcoran played Kevin's brother, and Kerry, his sister, in the 1960 Daniel Boone miniseries on Walt Disney Presents, then on ABC. Brian also was Willie Winkie to Kevin Corcoran's Boy Blue in the 1961 film Babes in Toyland.
Donna Corcoran played Moochie's sister Marian in Moochie of the Little League (1960). She also played Bridget White, ("...eight years old") as the little orphan who saw the "Angels in the Outfield" in the original 1951 version with Paul Douglas and Janet Leigh. Younger brother Kelly Corcoran (1958–2002) portrayed 8-year-old Kip Pride in the NBC western series The Road West (1966–1967), starring Barry Sullivan.
Kevin Corcoran and his wife have been married since 1972.

Disney Legend

Kevin Corcoran was honored as a Disney Legend on October 9, 2006. Among the other recipients at the 2006 ceremony were the two lead actors in Corcoran's Spin and Marty serials, Tim Considine and David Stollery, and Corcoran's frequent co-star, Tommy Kirk, himself a veteran of Mickey Mouse Club serials about the Hardy Boys.




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