Monday, February 16, 2015

Boys and Their Pets

I was watching The Red Balloon Saturday and I thought, "Hey, this story is so familiar." What did it remind me of. It reminded me of several Boy and His Pet movies. I don't mean films like Lassie Come Home or Old Yeller. The pets I'm thinking of are a caterpillar, a balloon and an alien. I dare you to binge-watch these three films and see how much the plots resemble each other. It's uncanny. Or is it just the fact that all stories come from the same plot?

Why do I think these plots seem similar? Well, they're all about a boy getting a pet, boy gets attached to the pet, enemies try to do away the pet, boy has to let the pet go. Sob.

First we have the strangest of the three films. It's called Once Upon A Time, from 1944. It stars Cary Grant and a little boy and his caterpillar. When I saw it, I was shocked that Cary Grant would have signed on for this silly movie. But I guess in the old studio days, the actors had to star in whatever movies were assigned to them. But watch it and see how similar the plot is to The Red Balloon and ET.  It's a very interesting comparison. This trailer is not great. The boy and his caterpillar never make an appearance. But it was the only one on YouTube.

The Red Balloon was filmed in 1956. It's an incredible film. I don't know how they filmed it in the days before computers. The director of the film, Albert Lamorisse, used his son as the main character. And what a cutie he is. Perfect for the part.

ET The Extra Terrestrial, a film by Steven Spielberg from 1982 is about the boy, Elliot who befriends the alien. You all probably remember this film. But wouldn't it be fun to rewatch it along with the other two.?


It's an interesting trio. See what you think.


  1. I haven't seen the Red Balloon or Once Upon a Time, but will do so now.

  2. My commenter control keeps cutting me off. That trailer for the Red Balloon in wonderful. I'm going to keep it on my home screen as use it as a literal pick-me-up. How did they do that????

  3. Nancy, I was reminded of this when I read your account of reoccurring themes.

    "There are only seven stories in the world. I used to think there were a lot more than that, based on visits to Blockbuster and my school reading list, but my high school Creative Writing teacher, Mrs. Post, which is an awesome name for an English teacher, corrected my ignorance. She said that all plots are a variation of one of seven basic themes. She used a list made by Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch. Here they are:
    man against man
    man against nature
    man against himself
    man against God
    man against society
    man caught in the middle
    man and woman"
    Taken from the web site: