Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Tattooed Police Horse: It's All About the Hair!

This is my contribution to the Hoseathon hosted by "My Love of Old Hollywood." Giddyup over here and check out the rest of the line up.

Background
Horses, horses, horses. While my first human loves included Napoleon Solo and John Lennon, my first real loves were Man O'War, The Black Stallion and Flame, and Mr. Ed. Yes, I was one of those adolescent girls  who went ga ga over equine splendor. Eventually it dawned on me that Mr. Ed was never going to take me to the prom, so I switched species (a little reluctantly, I might add).
Hoping he'd call to ask me to the prom, but the call never came. :(
Now there are a ton of movies about horses that I love - "Misty," "The Miracle of the White Stallions," and "The Black Stallion," just to name a few, but there was one I saw a a kid that I never forgot called "The Tattooed Police Horse." When I saw that Page was hosting this event, I immediately thought this would be a great way to revisit something I adored as a kid, haven't seen in over 40 years, and see if it still had the same impact on me. However, before I signed up for this, I should have checked to see if it was available on DVD. To my dismay (panic) it wasn't, and since my other choices were already scooped up by other bloggers, I figured I'd write from memory. After all, the memory of my feelings about this film is what is so important to me. However, at the 11th hour, a crisis was averted since I was able to locate a copy of this film in a foreign country. Page - are you listening????? The things I do for you!


The Film
"The Tattooed Police Horse" (1964) was actually a Walt Disney "featurette" - a shorter film that played with the major release.  Based upon my movie going history that year, it probably was paired with "The Three Lives of Tomasina, "A Tiger Walks," or "Emil and the Detectives." I doubt it was shown with either "The Moonspinners" or "Mary Poppins." Wow - I was all over Uncle Walt that year! It eventually found its way to the TV show "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" in 1967.


Our film tells the story of Jolly Roger, a well-bred trotter who was a late bloomer. He and another horse, Tartan, are raised together. Tartan is a good pupil who schools well and runs to win. Roger is a bit nervous and has a nasty habit of breaking into a gallop when unnerved by noises, crowds, or any other distraction. This, of course, disqualifies him from winning any trotting race. He is championed by Pam Churchill, who owns and works him out, but after too many disqualifications, Roger is sold to his trainer. Things don't work out there, either, and Roger soon finds himself running at country fairs and eventually sold at auction with a bunch of mules. How the mighty have fallen!


A Boston police captain with a good eye for horses purchases Roger and eventually makes a man of his horse. All of the sounds of city rattle the skittish Roger, but under the steadying hand of the captain, Roger soon becomes a crack police horse. On duty at a special trotting race, Roger's blood is stirred by the sights and sounds of the track and when an accident occurs, he doesn't gallop, but trots to the rescue at full throttle with his surprised captain on his back. Roger is soon reunited with Pam Churchill, who identifies Roger as a racehorse by the tattoo inside his upper lip. She now knows Roger is matured and ready to race. In the showdown race with old rival Tartan, Roger surges in the stretch and bests Tartan at the wire. His old police buddies give him a heartfelt send-off and Roger is at last ready for the big time.


The film stars a great cast of unknowns - Sandy Sanders, Charles Seel, William Hilliard and Shirley Skiles. I have only heard of narrator Keith Andes, who always lets you know what Roger is feeling.


It Was Really All About the Hair
It was a grand story and, of course, everyone was rooting for Roger. Except me. You see, Tartan was this absolutely glamorous looking horse that I never forgot. For over 40 years I have held that horse in my imagination and have never seen one quite so beautiful. So, imagine the thrill when I got the DVD, popped it in and there he was! The gorgeous gray horse with the flowing white mane and tail! Since I can't find any photos from this movie on line, you'll have to use your imagination, but he looked something like these:




Because of that beautiful horse I have had a soft spot for that two-toned hair thing:


Am I the only one that thought she was glamorous?
I never wanted the puppies to die, but I did understand......

I LOVE your hair, kitty


See what I mean?

I am probably the only person that liked this look on Christina Aguilera.
All I could think of when I saw this "do" was the horse in the movie
(and I mean that in a good way).

And so, approximately 50 minutes in a movie theater over 40 years ago shaped my notion of what is beautiful and left me with a certain obsession. Living only in my memory (until now), I still felt the thrill of Roger winning that race, felt sad when he was sold with the mules, and stared in admiration at a beautiful horse. It was all as I remembered.








30 comments:

Jeff Flugel said...

What an enjoyable post! Your love for this Disney featurette - until now, unknown to me, having never been an adolescent girl :) - comes through loud and clear.

It wasn't about a horse, but I recall with great fondness Disney's movie about a field goal-kicking mule, GUS.

Elizabeth Boyde said...

It's funny how some things stick with you forever. How cool that you got a chance to re-visit that movie! :) I remember Breyer Horse Models brought out a Charcoal grey horse with white mane & tail in the late 60s. I wonder if somebody at Breyer also fell in love with Tartan?

Me, I'm still enamored of The Black and Flame ... but I'll let you have Mr. Ed. ;)

Thanks for sharing!

Page said...

FlickChick,
Girrlll, you had my emotions all over the place during this review!

I was so happy knowing you have had such a love of horses from an early age on. Then you couldn't find the film. (I felt horrible) Your other choices were taken (even worse) Then you found your favorite film. (I was so excited for you) Ha Ha

I can see why this film left such an impression on you. Other than the interesting story, that horse is spectacular! With that gorgeous white mane on black it certainly does leave an impression.

I'm just wondering why you didn't include a photo of a skunk. They have that black and white thing going on to you know. (Including the pick of Cary Grant gave me a big smile)

Thanks so much for not only participating in my Horseathon but giving us a peak into your love of horses, and the films you cherished as a kid with your favorite equines. It was great to learn something new about you.

If you don't mind though, I'm going to ignore the Mr. Ed and the prom info.

As for Jeff. I haven't seen that many Disney films (disgraceful) but I do remember Gus.

Oh, now that you've found The Tattooed Police Horse, how many times have you watched it?

Page

Caftan Woman said...

I have no memory of "The Tattooed Police Horse" from my Disney youth. How did I miss it?! From your description, if I had seen it I surely would not have forgotten Tartan.

I do, however, have very strong memories of "Run, Appaloosa, Run". Ring any bells? Disney. Sunday night. Cartoons. Horses. Good times.

sandrabranum said...

I, too, have a love for horses that began as a child when my dad took me riding at Grand Marias Park, E. St. Louis, IL every Tuesday morning. How I loved Tuesdays and those rides. My list of horses I love and horse movies is huge: Tonka Wacon - The Great One, My Friend Flicka, The Horsemasters, The Lion and the Horse, Smokey, The Return of October, and Missouri Mules Jenny and Crowder in Scudda Ho Scudda Hay... Alas I no longer ride, but I Still watch my movies.

Diane said...

I didn't see the movie but I must agree that the picture of the black horse with the whit mane is absolutely fabulous.
It is amazing to me that you remembered him after all those years. Now I know you really really do love movies.

Diane said...

That would be White mane.

FlickChick said...

Jeff - thank you. Yes - you kind of had to be a girl to have that horse-love feeling! (or at least admit to it!).

FlickChick said...

Elizabeth - it is amazing how much I remembered after only seeing it once so long ago. I remember that Breyer horse, too!And yes, Black and Flame are gorgeous, but you can really talk to Ed.

FlickChick said...

Page - I went through hell for this!! I thought about adding Pepe Le Pew, but, somehow, he didn't move me...
So far I have watched it 3 times and I plan to watch it again!

FlickChick said...

Sandra - I, too, will never lose the love of the horses. As i write this I am on vacation and have just come back from seeing the wild ponies of the outer banks. Amazing!

said...

I really enjoyed your entry! I've never heard about this movie and I can imagine you odissey to get a copy, and you got it in a foreign country! I, myself, had to search for some videos and information about A Day at the Races, because I watched it a while ago and forgot some details.
And, by the way, I also think Cruela Devil has a fancy look.
Kisses!

FlickChick said...

Caftan Woman - I swear, I don't know a soul who has seen this film. Until I actually had it in my hands I was beginning to think I dreamed it!

FlickChick said...

Le - love of horses is worth crossing international borders for! Thanks so much for stopping by!!

FlickChick said...

Diane - you know what I went through to locate this film - but I did it and am so glad I did.

whistlingypsy said...

Hi Marsha, may I begin by saying Walt Disney made a film about a horse, new to me. A fun review of a film entirely new to me; it certainly seems to have brought back great memories for you. I couldn’t help thinking while I read the description of Jolly Roger’s life of the similarities to Black Beauty’s life. A horse that goes from home to home, owner to owner, and lives a happy life at the end. I haven’t seen a horse with the same two-tone coloration as those in the photos, but my obsession was a horse with a two-tone amber and dark brown blend, a strikingly beautiful animal.

FlickChick said...

Gypsy - it's funny how something so long ago can leave such an impression. And yes - that 2-tone look is a beauty.

silverscreenings said...

Great post! I loved how you described the policeman making "a man" of the horse.

FlickChick said...

Thank you, Silent Screenings. Yes - he was just a boy-horse who became a man-horse!

Dawn said...

I have never heard of the classic movie,"The Tattooed Police Horse". After reading your wonderful review, I will add it to my "must see" list of films..

Yvette said...

Oh a terrific memoir post, Flick Chick. I love reading about movies that influenced us when we were kids.

I've never seen this movie and I don't think I've ever seen a two-toned horse. But thanks for telling me about it anyway. :)

FlickChick said...

Dawn - I wouldn't classify this as a classic - just a fun Disney film - but good luck finding it. It is not on DVD and I had to really move heaven & earth to find it.

FlickChick said...

Thanks, Yvette. Good thing that horse was polka-dotted!

HailCesar said...

I love two toned hair as well! I always wished to have Cruella Deville's car!

FlickChick said...

@ HailCaesar - and I'll bet you are beautiful!

Rick29 said...

I may have seen this featurette, as we saw most things Disney during that period (plus, my sister also loves horses). Alas, I don't remember it--and based on your delightful review, I think I would have. It was great to experience THE TATTOOED POLICE HORSE through your memories!

FlickChick said...

Thanks, Rick - I was so lucky to find it!

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I knew when I read the title of this one it was a Disney film -- but how I managed to miss this one is a mystery, since we saw more Disney flicks as kids than the minimum recommended daily requirement. But it's great that you were able to track down a copy and revisit it...and I think Page should send you something special for all your hard work.

FlickChick said...

Ivan, I agree about the sending me something special.... Page, you listening?

Ioana-Carmen said...

Sweetie I`m watching your blog for a while! Maybe you wanna follow each other? just announce me :X

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