Monday, December 26, 2011
3985. Herry Henderson the Bigfoot
Harry and the Hendersons is a 1987 American comedy film directed and produced by William Dear, and starring John Lithgow, Melinda Dillon, Lainie Kazan and Don Ameche. It is the story of a family's encounter with the cryptozoological creature Bigfoot. The film won an Academy Award for Best Makeup, and inspired a follow-up TV series, also called Harry and the Hendersons.
The film was originally released as Bigfoot and the Hendersons in the United Kingdom, though the TV series retained the American title. The DVD and all current showings of the movie in the UK now refer to the movie by its original title.
Bruce Broughton composed the music throughout the entire film, and Joe Cocker performs "Love Lives On" (later released in 1989) during the end credits. The film earned mostly mixed reviews and was a modest success at the box office during its release, but has since gone on to earn a cult following amongst fans.
On their way home to Seattle from a camping trip, the Hendersons accidentally run over a strange and unknown creature. Realizing it might be the legendary Bigfoot creature and thinking it's dead, they strap it to the roof of their station wagon and take it home. The creature is not dead, and initially causes havoc in the Henderson household when it wakes. Eventually, the creature sees the Hendersons are not hostile towards it, and the family realizes that the creature is actually very gentle. Given the name "Harry", the creature becomes emotionally confused and runs off into the city. Sightings of him strike fear into the populace. In their attempts to keep Harry a secret, the Henderson's have to hide him from the authorities and a man, who has made it his goal in life, to catch a "bigfoot". The Hendersons, with the help of Dr. Wrightwood, a once disillusioned and embittered ex-scientist and Bigfoot-believer, come to realize that the best thing for Harry is to return him to his home in the wilderness. Doing so, they strengthen their friendship with Harry and change the heart of the primary antagonist in the film. In the final scenes, the Hendersons and their new friends are amazed to see Harry received by more of his fellow species as he returns home.
Harry and the Hendersons is an American sitcom based on the film of the same name, produced by Amblin Entertainment for Universal Television. The series aired in syndication from January 13, 1991 to June 18, 1993, with 72 half-hour episodes produced. The series is about a family who adopt a Bigfoot called Harry.
Bruce Davison and Molly Cheek played the parents (in the film, they were played by John Lithgow and Melinda Dillon respectively) with Carol-Ann Plante and Zachary Bostrom as the children (in the film, they were played by Margaret Langrick and Joshua Rudoy respectively). Kevin Peter Hall played the role of Harry in both the film and TV series, until his death late in the production of the first season. He was replaced first by Dawan Scott and then by Brian Steele in the third season (Steele had filled in for Scott in the Harry costume for numerous scenes during season two, before taking over the role full time).
In the series, George and Nancy were an upwardly mobile two-career couple, with the former working for a sporting goods company. George eventually launched his own magazine, The Better Life, late in the second season. Initially helping the Hendersons with Harry's care, and sasquatch research, was Walter Potter, a biologist working for the Department of Animal Control. Also seen early on were the Glicks, neighbors of the Hendersons; Samantha was a pretty, young single mother and reporter, and Tiffany was her precocious little girl, a classmate of Ernie's who had an obvious crush on him. Samantha, Tiffany, and Walter were all written out after the first season, but the aspect of having a girl next door who chased after Ernie was retained through a new character, Darcy Payne, for the 1991-92 season. Darcy was more annoying than her predecessor, and spent all her waking hours trying to make the Hendersons' young son hers. However, she did catch on to the fact that the family was hiding a bigfoot, and had several close encounters with Harry; fortunately, Darcy disappeared from the show before she could have exposed the secret about him. Nancy's younger brother Bret, a photographer, moved in with the Hendersons in the second season, and was also sworn to secrecy about Harry. When George began The Better Life in the spring of 1992, Bret was hired as the publication's chief photographer and a financial beneficiary.
The following year brought many changes, as in the season premiere Harry's existence was accidentally exposed. Just as the Hendersons feared he would be captured by the government and possibly killed, he was rather embraced by the public and received overnight regional fame. For a while, Harry had to adjust to a high-profile life full of exhibition and additional scientific studies, but at the same time the entire family got used to resting more comfortably now that they did not have to hide the big creature from view anymore. Hilton, a friend of Ernie's and the son of a local police chief, joined the cast in the third season.
The TV series credits contains an artistic representation of key scenes from the film.