I watched Walt Disney's FOLLOW ME BOYS on YouTube yesterday. The show was divided in fourteen segments. It had been a long time since I had seen this movie. Fred MacMurray plays Lem Siddons - a WWI vet who'd been on the road with a jazz band for eight years. Lem was ready to give up the touring and settle down. He stepped off the bus in a little town called Hickory and knew within moments that he wasn't going to get back on that bus. Lem became part of the town by taking on the roll of Scoutmaster for Troop 1. The movie is campy, predictable, sugar-sweet-sappy and I can't help but still be taken in by it.
I saw Follow Me Boys when I was eight years old and it made me want to join the Boy Scouts. I eventually did. I remember one jamboree when I saw the film a second time outside against a sheet. I have always been a singer - even as a kid. As corny as that song Follow Me Boys is - I remember singing it on hikes when I was a Tenderfoot. Did you know that after the movie came out - the Boy Scouts came very close to adopting the song Follow Me Boys as their anthem? I wonder how many kids during that day were influenced to join the scouts by that movie? I wonder how many grown men volunteered their time to scouting because of that movie?
Follow Me Boys was made back when Walt Disney produced Americana on a daily basis. This is the first of ten Disney movies that featured Kurt Russel. It's the only movie I recall ever seeing that focused on the Boy Scouts. Seeing this movie again reminded me of the works Frank Capra and Norman Rockwell. Both artist dealt with an ideals of America and not necessarily realistic. Their work however did encourage the better angels of our nature. As idealistic as this movie might be - it manages to lead me down some very familiar trails of my youth.
Before watching the movie yesterday, I was wondering if I'd be disappointed by it. The plot is predictable. The characters are stereotypical and right out of a Rockwell painting. I rediscovered that I am still an old sap when it comes to this movie. This fifty year old boy was still touched. I'm sure there are plenty of people that would watch it and laugh - but I have to say - it still to this day makes me want to go and join the Boy Scouts.
4 days ago