Old Yeller – Disneycember

Gives new meaning to the term “Dog Gone.”

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.


  1. Having just seen this video now after the new Disneycember posts, I humbly make one correction to your review. It’s Tommy Kirk in the role of the son who ultimately befriends Old Yeller. Kirk was one of Disney’s many young contract stars that worked for the company for years. Most of the classic live action films from the golden age of Disney from the late 50s and early 60s featured Kirk in a major or supporting role. He got his start playing one of the Hardy Boys in a re-occurring serial on the Mickey Mouse Club. He was THE Shaggy Dog, the boy in Old Yeller and its sequel Savage Same, one of the members of The Swiss Family Robinson, a supporting player in The Absent Minded Professor and it’s sequel Son of Flubber, the toymaker’s assistant in Babes in Toyland. He was THE break out star from Disney, right up there with Annette Funichella, who he often starred opposite with.

    However, he was a troubled person. He was young, he desperately wanted a father figure that understood him better while he was making all these films . . . and he was gay. He was gay, a teenager, in the late 50s-early 60s in America while under contract to star in films for WALT DISNEY. It also didn’t help that when he was filming The Misadventures of Merlin Jones he met a 15 year old boy at a local swimming pool and the two of them developed a relationship. When the boy’s parent’s found out they informed the Disney company and Walt himself fired Kirk.

    Even with this exile from Disney, Kirk’s career was doing alright. He landed a contract with AIP, Merlin Jones turned out to be a HUGE success and Disney asked him back to do the sequel, and he was cast opposite John Wayne in a film. But in 1964 he was busted for possession of marijuana and some of roles he had secured dropped him and recast with other actors. As the 60s wore on he became more of a waning former child star who was cast in low budget films for his former name recognition. His acting became less and less as his drug and alcohol addiction grew larger and larger. Finally, by the mid 70s he had over come his drug and alcohol problem and opened his own carpet cleaning business, which he ran for 20 years.

    He’s still alive, was inducted into the Disney Legends hall of fame in 2006. He has no regrets about his career, is very proud to be out and gay, and blames no one about his poor life choices other than himself.

    THAT was a very long comment, but no one had left anything for Old Yeller so I thought I’d post a nice hearty one. This whole ramble wasn’t me in any way shape or form angrily raging that you got Tommy Kirk’s name wrong in your video. More or less, I just find him to be a damn good actor when he was actively doing it as a kid and sorry to see things end as bad for him when they did.

  2. If this movie makes you uncomfortable about the treatment of animals by Disney, whatever you do, don’t watch Lemmings. Just dont.

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