National Apple Dumpling Day was September 17
September 17 was National Apple Dumpling Day and, while most people celebrated this holiday by indulging on these sweet delicious pastries, we wanted to put a slightly different twist on the day. Please humor us – or be humored!
When folks at Disney – including us — think of Apple Dumplings, we are reminded of The Apple Dumpling Gang, a movie starring the memorable Bill Bixby, the hilarious Tim Conway, the legendary and lovable Don Knotts and the incomparable Harry Morgan.
The Apple Dumping Gang
The Apple Dumpling Gang was released back in 1975 and is a western about Russell Donovan, a gambler played by Bixby, who is tricked into taking care of a group of orphans. The orphans strike it rich during the California Gold Rush. Of course, you need a bunch of bumbling criminals – enter Tim Conway and Don Knotts who play Amos Tucker and Theodore Ogelvie – to try and take the gold away from the children.
Tucker and Ogelvie call themselves ‘The Apple Dumpling Gang,’ naming themselves after their favorite pastry (made by putting cored and peeled apples in dough and sprinkling them with cinnamon and sugar).
Roger Ebert – Thumbs Up?
On August 12, 1975, famed movie critic Roger Ebert wrote the following review about this comedic gem:
“A few years ago, while watching (as nearly as I can recall) a Disney movie named “Blackbeard’s Ghost,” I devised the Thunder Index as a means of measuring audience enthusiasm at kiddie matinees. To the degree that the kids do not thunder up and down the aisles (and up and down on each other), they’re enjoying the movie – or are at least lulled by it. But when there are more kids at the candy counter than in the theater, something has gone wrong. Judged by this standard, Walt Disney’s “The Apple Dumpling Gang” is a success. It even got a cheer at the end, which isn’t always the case; kids are just as cheerfully willing to boo.”
Ebert said that The Apple Dumpling Gang reminded him of the thrills and genuine artistry that went into the studio’s films during its golden age in the 1940s and 1950s.
Of course it did. Go back and reread the names of the actors who starred in this movie and you’ll understand why you’ll enjoy watching every one of them on screen.
The movie, which was based on the novel of the same name by author Jack Bickham, grossed more than $36,853,000. Back then, the commercial and financial success of The Apple Dumpling Gang spawned the idea of a sequel. A few years later, Knotts and Conway reprised their roles The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, but sometimes you need to just let something good be. Unfortunately, the sequel didn’t have the same success.
Knotts and Conway became the Laurel and Hardy (kind of) of Disney. They didn’t make as many films together and Laurel and Hardy did, but their chemistry and comedic genius together was as evident as Stan and Oliver’s. Knotts and Conway would appear together in The Prize Fighter in 1979, and The Private Eyes, as well as Gus (1976).
Take a Look
If you want to watch this fun flick – and you really shouldn’t miss watching something that includes this duo — you can rent it on Amazon Prime, YouTube or iTunes for $2.99.
If you’re still looking to satisfy your apple dumpling craving, consider this: many of the Disney restaurants offer apple-friendly desserts to choose from so you can indulge until you’re taste buds are content!