Written by / 8/29/2013 / No comments / , , , ,

VIEWING SUPERDAD THROUGH ROSE-COLORED GLASSES

Year: 1973
The sixth letter is “D”, not “B,” so don’t mistake this with the popular slacker comedy...

A bizarre Disney film called SUPERDAD starring HOGAN’S HEROES star Bob Crane who, at this point, appeared more in clandestine sex videos than mainstream movies. Disney gave him a chance to upstart a fledging career and nothing came of it. DAD remains only on VHS, although there are ways to stream this to your computer (and now, since this was written, the movie is on DVD but rather cheap and dark toned). Either way it’s a lost/forgotten curio: All this would make you think SB was a really bad flick. Well it is and it isn't: The opening sequence is creepy and awkward. Bob Crane’s Charlie McCready doesn’t think his daughter deserves anyone else but Daddy... Thus the first five minutes plays out like a flu dream version of a condom ad with daughter Wendy and her lifelong boyfriend Bart, played by Disney stock actor Kurt Russell, walking on a dusky beach while Charlie’s ghostly voice-over reminds her of his omnipresence… And like all desperate fathers, he eventually loses touch with Daddy’s Little Girl. She grows up to have lots of beachy friends and just wants to have... you know... fun.
The gang includes Ed Begley and Bruno Kirby
Charlie works as a lawyer, lives in a nice house in the cozy suburbs, but wishes that the generation gap separating himself from his daughter would close up, completely. During perhaps the best and most memorable scenes, Charlie spends a day at the beach with her friends, trying to take part in volleyball and eventually waterskiing. Everything he touches turns to fool’s gold. The really strange thing is hearing Crane's high pitch screaming, like a sow being poked before slaughter, whenever things get too hairy.

Made during the early seventies, it’s fun watching Disney kowtowing to young hip audiences. There aren’t drug or rock n’ roll references, but the kids are freespirited and of that independent mind-set that the conservative middle-age Charlie cannot relate to.
Bob Crane tries to rescue his daughter from college life
A gist of the film takes place at college: Charlie wants Wendy to get away from Bart and his friends, including the great Bruno Kirby who's not so great with an annoyingly high voice and Ed Begley Jr., but things eventually backfire and she winds up with a nefarious beatnik artist in San Francisco.

The final act makes an already lackluster film fall apart completely. Charlie has to rescue his daughter and, with the secret help of Russell’s Bart, he goes up against Joby Baker’s Klutch, a cross between Charles Manson and a cast member of THE ELECTRIC COMPANY. Klutch is perhaps the worst villain in Disney film history.

Throughout the misadventure, we forget about our put-upon heroes’ quest to be SUPERDAD and yet, things work out perfectly. And it takes a bizarre, uneven, yet completely interesting movie to make that happen.
Kathleen Cody looks at Bob Crane
Bob Crane and Bruno Kirby
Driving dad on waterskis...
Bob Crane tries wooing his daughter's friends
Kathleen Cody with Kurt Russell
Joby Baker as the villainous beatnik Klutch
Nicholas Hammond as dad's daughter's hopeful boyfriend
Bob Crane and Kathleen Cody in SUPERDAD
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