Disney has recycled several of its classic films, including "The Parent Trap," "The Love Bug," "Freaky Friday" and "That Darn Cat." Now, the studio has brushed off "The Shaggy Dog": The new version, which stars Tim Allen, will be unleashed in theaters on Friday.
The 1959 black-and-white original was not only the studio's first live-action comedy, the film was also the biggest box-office hit for the Disney studio at the time, raking in a whopping $8 million in its initial release.
Suggested by the 1923 novel "The Hound of Florence" by "Bambi" author Felix Salten, the original "Shaggy Dog" revolved around a typical teen, Wilby Daniels (Tommy Kirk of "The Hardy Boys"), who falls under an ancient spell that turns him into an Old English sheepdog. Also starring were Fred MacMurray and Annette Funicello, in her big-screen debut.
In 1976, Disney stalwart Dean Jones played a grown-up Wilby in another remake of sorts, "The Shaggy D.A." This time, Wilby is a successful lawyer running for district attorney. The problem is, he keeps turning into a sheepdog during the campaign and must outwit the local dogcatcher.
The "Shaggy Dog" tale then went to the small screen in two ABC/Disney TV movies, 1987's "Return of the Shaggy Dog," starring stand-up comic Gary Kroeger, and 1994's "The Shaggy Dog" with Scott Weinger as the perplexed teen.
But don't expect Wilby Daniels to pop up in the new version.
Allen's character is Dave Douglas, a workaholic deputy district attorney whose life gets more than a little "hairy" when he's accidentally infected with a genetic mutation serum after the family's new dog bites him. The infection transforms him into the dog, while the family pooch takes on human characteristics.
Wilby Daniels isn't the only one to go into retirement. This time around, the pooch is played not by an English sheepdog, but a bearded collie named Cole.