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COOLLY CRUISING THROUGH DISNEY'S OFFBEAT 'SUPERDAD'

Kurt Russell kicking back in SUPERDAD Year: 1973
A bizarre Disney film called SUPERDAD starring HOGAN’S HEROES star Bob Crane who, at this point, after his show was finished, appeared in more clandestine sex videos than mainstream movies. and so, Disney gave him a chance to upstart a fledgling career...

Maybe knowing Crane's backstory, the opening sequence is downright creepy and awkward. Bob Crane’s Charlie McCready doesn’t think his daughter deserves anyone else but Daddy...
Bob Crane and an incredibly annoying Bruno Kirby
Thus the first five minutes has daughter Wendy and her lifelong boyfriend Bart, played by Disney stock actor Kurt Russell, walking on a dusky beach while Charlie’s 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.

Charlie, a well-paid lawyer, lives in a nice house in the cozy suburbs, has a pretty wife in former ingenue Barbara Rush, but wishes that the generation gap separating himself from his only child would close up, completely...
The gang taking dad on a water ski trip in SUPERDAD
During perhaps the best and most memorable scenes, which are supposed to be what SUPERDAD is all about, Charlie spends a day at the beach with her friends, trying to take part in volleyball, body boarding and eventually waterskiing...

What's really strange is hearing Crane's high pitch, sow-screeching scream whenever, say, a wave crashes on him, or any other unlucky circumstance occurs, which is commonplace here in this mostly slapstick venture that doesn't really know what kind of comedy it wants to be: laidback family oriented fare or frantic goofball madness...
Barbara Rush, Bob Crane, Bruno Kirby, Ed Begley Jr., Kathleen Cody and Kurt Russell in Superdad
Made during the early seventies, it’s fun watching Disney kowtowing to young hip audiences. Of course 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... And while The Gang seem more BEACH BANKET BINGO than EASY RIDER, they're still, in his eyes, just as aimless as if being perpetually loaded...

But a gist of the film takes place at college in San Francisco: Charlie sends his girl to the same fancy school he went, away from Bart and his friends (including the great Bruno Kirby who's not so great with an annoyingly high voice); but things eventually backfire (he tricked her into going) and she winds up with a nefarious beatnik... 
Paul Muni lookalike Joby Baker painting a self portrait of Klutch in SUPERDAD Rates: ***1/2
During a seemingly endless final act, Charlie has to rescue her and, with the secret help of Russell’s Bart, he goes up against Joby Baker’s Klutch, a dock-dwelling artist hybrid of Charles Manson, Paul Muni and a cast member of THE ELECTRIC COMPANY.

Throughout the misadventure, we forget about our put-upon heroes’ initial titular quest to be SUPERDAD, making the original title, A SON-IN-LAW FOR CHARLIE MCCREADY, far more befitting the plot and purpose. 
Kurt Russell and Kathleen Cody in SUPERDAD
Bob Crane goes waterskiing in SUPERDAD
Nicholas Hammond is the perfect son... for dad in Superdad
Bob Crane creeping in in SUPERDAD
Bob Crane and Kathleen Cody in SUPERDAD
Bob Crane and Kathleen Cody in SUPERDAD
SUPERDAD poster contrasts on gritty New York subway in the original DEATH WISH
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