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83 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A buried holiday treasure from the 60's resurfaces...
The technical aspects of this review refer to the Westlake Entertainment Group release.

Based on the classic children's book by Charles Tazewell comes this feature originally broadcast on "Hallmark Hall of Fame" in 1969. As an 11 year old at the time, I remember watching this on the ol' black and white TV each year it was broadcast. The show didn't catch on as...
Published on November 21, 2004 by hey_steve

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars poor image and sound quality
I imagine this is a transfer from an older VHS tape so probably can't expcect much better. Will keep this DVD purchase, however, since the story is so lovable.
Published 8 months ago by Sam Maben


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83 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A buried holiday treasure from the 60's resurfaces..., November 21, 2004
By 
hey_steve (Sedgwick, ME United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Littlest Angel (DVD)
The technical aspects of this review refer to the Westlake Entertainment Group release.

Based on the classic children's book by Charles Tazewell comes this feature originally broadcast on "Hallmark Hall of Fame" in 1969. As an 11 year old at the time, I remember watching this on the ol' black and white TV each year it was broadcast. The show didn't catch on as a continuing holiday tradition and was shuffled off to TV oblivion. Therefore, it was a completely unexpected joy to discover this on DVD.

Having not seen it for 25 plus years, I was wondering if I would view it as fondly as my memories were of the program. The first thing I noticed was it is a musical. I remember musical aspects of the show, but, it is a true musical and I think it plays much better for adults that way.

Starring Johnny Whitaker (of "Family Affair" fame) as Michael a shepherd boy who falls from a rock cliff and ascends to heaven. There he is greeted by God (E.G. Marshall) who sends him through the gates where he is welcomed by Gabriel (Cab Calloway!, that's worth the price of admission right there). Character actor John McGiver assigns Fred Gwynne ("The Munsters", "Car 54, Where Are You?") as Michael's guardian angel and introduces Michael to the wonders of heaven. Along the way Michael learns to fly with the help of flying teacher Connie Stevens and waits in a line for his heavenly job only to be befriended by a Roman who doesn't believe he is where he is, superbly played by Tony Randall. With the exception of E. G. Marshall and John McGiver, they all have a musical number. The highlight for me was Fred Gwynne's solo number of him reminiscing of his time on earth. He put such conviction in the number, when the song ends, you are right there with him wishing he could return.

Michael is still unhappy in Heaven and is allowed back to earth to retrieve his "treasure box" of artifacts from earth. When he returns, it is the night of the Messiah's birth. All angels are to present gifts and Michael presents the most special one of all.

I was just as touched at the ending of this program this time around, probably more so than the first time I saw it.

The drawback for a lot of people will probably be the technical parts of the program. First, notice I don't say movie or film. Although the first few minutes are filmed, the rest is videotaped. Made in 1969, this had to be one of the first productions that utilized the blue or green screen for the whole production. As such, it certainly is not on a par with what they can do today. But do all things have to be perfect? Can't you use a little imagination? With that said, there are a couple of glitches that lasts only for a couple of seconds in the master tape, probably due to the age, nothing to keep you from enjoying this story that brought back a lot of memories from Christmases long ago. The run time is listed as 90 minutes but actually runs 77 minutes.

Thanks to the release of this DVD, this will again be a tradition in my household. And with the low price, there is no reason for it not to be in your home also.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Littlest Angel is a classic!, September 29, 2004
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When I say it's a classic, of course, I refer to the Johnny Whittaker version--not the cartoon. I saw it once, years ago, when I was 8 years old myself, the same age as the character Michael in the movie. That movie made an impression on me that has lasted to this day, and I have wanted to see it again. Well, I now have. I have found and ordered the video from LDS Video Store, an online store. (...)

Having said that, it is my hope that "The Littlest Angel" will be made available on Amazon.com, and that the picture of the cover of this particular version will be changed, as it is obviously incorrect. The version offered here is a cartoon, not the Whittaker movie, and the picture of the cover needs to be that of the cartoon.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Littlest Angel 1969, December 4, 1999
The newest angel in Heaven, Johnny Whitaker (Jody from "Family Affair") meets up with fellow angel Fred Gwynn (Herman Munster from "The Munsters") in this charming story of two angels who just cannot seem to do things the right way. The music is wonderful and the movie itself can stand on it's own. It is my Christmas wish for 1999 that Bridgestone once again put this wonderful movie into production. They will not be sorry!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I know where to get this video!!!!, November 18, 2003
I too have been looking for this video since forever. I loved it as a child and was saddened when they stop showing it only to show a cartoon version. Well, weep no more folks!!! You can buy it at ChristianBook.com and the best thing is.....it is only 3.99!!!! I am unsure of the quality as I have not watched my copy yet. I hope this makes your holiday out there!
Merry Chirstmas to all! God Bless!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars littlest angel - brentwood home video - dvd, November 8, 2004
By 
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This review is from: The Littlest Angel (DVD)
an overlooked musical classic with fine performances by many stars. Johnny Whittaker is the boy who goes to heaven but doesn't like it there for various reasons. Fred Gwynne is his guardian angel, trying to make Johnny feel comfortable in his new home. Memorable songs and stars like Tony Randall, Cab Calloway, Connie Stevens, EG Marshall, and others make this a treat for all ages. The quality of the print is very good, considering this was filmed on videotape in 1969. Brentwood usually delivers good quality prints at a bargain price.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a heartwarming Christmas story.. great cast!, September 26, 1999
By A Customer
I remember this movie from my childhood, I have searched hi and lo, Johnny Whitaker was a child actor who could be as bad as Tom Sawyer and then a truly "Little Angel" in his dirty robe and disheveled halo! Fred Gwynn as Patience, it was a wonderful part of our holidays for many years! I am excited to have found it!!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully touching, November 30, 1999
By 
Jackie Mahoney (Staten Island, New York) - See all my reviews
I remembered watching this show as a Hallmark Hall of Fame special when I was a kid. I have loved this story ever since. Each holiday season I thought about this story and how it always made me cry. A few years ago while Christmas Shopping I found a beautiful hard covered copy of the book. I searched for a long time for the video but to no avail until Amazon.com. The video is obviously made in the 60's but the quality was excellent. Johnny Whittaker, (from the 60's show Family Affair), and Fred Gwynn, (from the shows Car 54 Where are you and The Munsters), were believeable angels. The ending still brings a tear to my eye. A very enjoyable film, especially for the over 40 set who can rememeber the 60's. My kids also loved it since they always think of it as the show and book mommy always cries over.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Littlest Angel -1969, October 11, 2000
By 
This movie about a young boy who becomes an angel, way before his time, is a seasonal treasure! I can't even finish the book version without seeing Johnnie Whitaker's angel face in my mind. This story exemplifies the true meaning of Christmas. I have been trying to buy a copy for at least 10 years. If anyone else out there feels the same way, write in, maybe they will re-release it. Christmas 2000 would be very special!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Score, Great Cast, Classic Story, but always read labels before using, April 23, 2007
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This review is from: The Littlest Angel (DVD)
"The Littlest Angel" began when legendary Hollywood star Loretta Young befriended renowned writer Charles Tazewell (who also wrote "The Small One,' which Disney later animated). Tazewell promised to write something especially for her, and some time later, a script arrived at her house: "The Littlest Angel."

Young set about to record the script for Decca Records, but was at a retreat (she was a devout Catholic) and told her agent the recording session had to wait until after that weekend. However, Greer Garson had read the script in a Decca office and was going to record it unless Young did it first. Young raced from the retreat, recorded the six-disc 78 RPM with a full orchestra, and returned to the retreat without missing a prayer. Even the musicians were amazed how they were able to record it in a flash with no problems.

The record album was a huge hit, was later released on vinyl, performed on radio, and adapted into a book by Tazewell. One of the reasons Young was so touched by the story is because she and her husband has suffered through miscarriaged and considered her lost children as "angels in heaven." Therein lies the issue -- this fantasy is indeed about a little boy who dies, goes to heaven, has trouble fitting in, and ultimately gives a great gift. But it's more than a story about death -- it's about life everlasting, and that's why Hallmark made it into a musical special in 1969.

The music and lyrics are by Lan o"kun, a longtime collaborator with Shari Lewis who co-wrote an episode of Star Trek with her. The arrangements are by John Morris, who added so much to Mel Brooks films of the 70's and wrote "The French Chef." The case is superb and the production values are way way way out of date by today's standards, but back then they were the best TV could do with limited time, budgets, and the tools they had. Today, you can do better effects on your PC, but one might be forgiving when appreciating this show in context.

That all said, even though I love the music (and listen to the LP record almost every Christmas), and have had the VHS tape for years, I'm waitng for the right time to show this to my young children. My wife and I have watched it together (and we have experienced the losses of loved ones), and enjoy the show for what it is. We'd like to share it with the kids, but we're waiting for the right year. It may be this year, but we'll see.

[...]

I really like this special, but I guess it's not for everyone. It's unfortunate that several people have been caught unawares by it and upset by it. Many thanks to them for sharing that with others.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally got to see the whole thing, December 25, 2005
This review is from: The Littlest Angel (DVD)
I remember seeing this Hallmark Hall of Fame special when I was a small child, but we had to leave about half way into it, to go

somewhere. Even though I looked for it for many years,

it was never shown again. I even remember being in a Sunday School "Littlest Angel" play.

Recently, I saw(and immediately bought)it at a dollar store as a double feature DVD(by Treasure Box/Family Value Collection)which included "Little Boy Lost" starring Nathan Dawes. The box says digitally remastered. The quality is suprising good considering that is was shot on video for the tv show; and the blue screen is very good for a low budget production done in 1969. Hallmark Productions were always known for their great performances, and not their budget scenery or props, anyway.

Well, for a $1.00 and after 36 years, I finally got to watch the whole thing from start to finish, and must say it really moved me. The music and performances were quite good. Seeing all those, now deceased, great actors and performers,(e.g.,Fred Gwyne, Tony Randall, Cab Calloway, James Coco, and EG Marshall), reminded me of all my late relatives, who were part of my

childhood and Christmas celebrations.

Johnny Whitaker did an absolutely incredible job of acting and

singing(reminded me of a male Shirley Temple). I think it is truly a sad injustice for Hallmark not to have made this an annual Christmas staple, like "Rudolph.." or "The Grinch Who.." is. It has all the qualities that make it deserve to be a holiday classic.

I don't know if I could watch it again, only because of all the

emotions I felt. As a child, I really didn't understand or remember, that the lead character died at the very beginning. I just remember that he was in heaven. Even our Sunday School Christmas play started out with the kid in heaven.

Coincidentally, I recently saw the present day Johnny Whitaker, on a pathetic show, called "Elimidate". He's aged relatively well - same recognizable face and red hair, but, obviously, older and heavier. He seems like a joyful and very likeable soul (much like his "Family Affair" Jody character). It's a real shame his career didn't take off, despite all of his extraordinary talent as a child actor.
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The Littlest Angel
The Littlest Angel by Joe Layton (DVD - 2003)
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