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The Boy in the Plastic Bubble

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Boy in the Plastic Bubble
The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.jpg
GenreBiography
Drama
Romance
Written byDouglas Day Stewart
Story byJoe Morgenstern
Douglas Day Stewart
Directed byRandal Kleiser
StarringJohn Travolta
Diana Hyland
Robert Reed
Ralph Bellamy
Glynnis O'Connor
Music byMark Snow
Paul Williams
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Production
Executive producer(s)Aaron Spelling
Leonard Goldberg
Producer(s)Joel Thurm
Cindy Dunne
Production location(s)Malibu Lake, California
20th Century Fox Studios - 10201 Pico Blvd., Century City, Los Angeles, California
CinematographyArch Dalzell
Editor(s)John F. McSweeney
Running time97 minutes
Production company(s)Spelling-Goldberg Productions
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Release
Original networkABC
Original release
  • November 12, 1976 (1976-11-12)

The Boy in the Plastic Bubble is a 1976 American made-for-television drama film inspired by the lives of David Vetter and Ted DeVita, who lacked effective immune systems. It stars John Travolta, Glynnis O'Connor, Diana Hyland, Robert Reed, Ralph Bellamy & P.J. Soles. It was written by Douglas Day Stewart, executive produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg (who, at the time, produced Starsky and Hutch and Charlie's Angels), and directed by Randal Kleiser, who would work with Travolta again in Grease shortly after. The original music score was composed by Mark Snow. The theme song "What Would They Say" was written and sung by Paul Williams. William Howard Taft High School in Woodland Hills was used for filming.[citation needed]

The movie first aired November 12, 1976, on the ABC television network.

Plot summary

John and Mickey Lubitch conceive a child. After multiple previous miscarriages and the death of their first son (who was born without a functioning immune system), Mickey fears the likelihood that something gravely wrong could happen to their child. John assures her that the odds of their next child being born with the same condition are low.

The pregnancy results in the birth of a live baby boy, whom they name Tod. Tod's immune system also does not function properly, meaning that contact with unfiltered air may kill him. John and Mickey are told he may have to live out his entire life in incubator-like conditions. After a strenuous four years of Tod living in the hospital, Mickey convinces John to find a way to bring Tod home. He lives with his parents in Houston, Texas. He is restricted to staying in his room all his life where he eats, learns, reads, and exercises, while being protected from the outside world by various coverings.

As Tod grows, he wishes to see more of the outside world and meet regular people his age. He is enrolled at the local school after being equipped with suitable protective clothing, similar in style to a space suit. He falls in love with his next door neighbor, Gina Biggs, and he must decide between following his heart and facing near-certain death, or remaining in his protective bubble forever. In the end, after having a discussion with his doctor who tells him he has built up some immunities which may possibly be enough to survive the real world, he steps outside his house, unprotected, and he and Gina ride off on her horse.

Main cast

Reception

The "Bubble Boy" who inspired this film, David Vetter, questioned the film's depiction of how sterile Tod's use of the spacesuit was. Vetter scoffed at the idea that Travolta's character could simply wear the space suit back into the isolator without contaminating the bubble.[1]

The film was nominated for four Emmy Awards, winning one posthumously for Hyland.

Travolta's positive experiences on the film led him to request Kleiser as director when he was cast as the lead in the 1978 film Grease; Kelly Ward also appeared in that film.[2]

Impact

Days after Bill Clinton was inaugurated as U.S. President, William Safire reported on the phrase "in the bubble" as used in reference to living in the White House.[3] Safire traced that usage in U.S. presidential politics to a passage in the 1990 political memoir What I Saw at the Revolution by Peggy Noonan, where she used it to characterize Ronald Reagan's "wistfulness about connection"; Richard Ben Cramer used the phrase two years later in What It Takes: The Way to the White House with reference to George H. W. Bush and how he had been "cosseted and cocooned in comfort by 400 people devoted to his security" and "never s[aw] one person who was not a friend or someone whose sole purpose it was to serve or protect him."[3] Noonan's use was a reference to The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.[3]

The film inspired the first song on the 1986 Paul Simon album Graceland.[4] In 1992, the film's premise was satirized in the seventh episode of the fourth season of Seinfeld. It was also the subject of the 2001 comedy film Bubble Boy and the 2007 musical In the Bubble produced by American Music Theatre Project and featuring a book by Rinne Groff, music by Michael Friedman and Joe Popp and lyrics by Friedman, Groff and Popp.[4]

The film was mentioned several times on the series That '70s Show, in the episodes of NCIS "SWAK" and "Thirst", on the Family Guy episode "The Father, The Son and The Holy Fonz" and in the film Superstar. In "Thirst" "Very Special Agent" Tony DiNozzo mentions it to partner Tim McGee, who asks if it was "pre or post Barbarino" to which Tony says that he thinks it was post, suggesting that Tim watch it on Netflix. It was actually during Welcome Back, Kotter, which began in 1975. In 2010 it was voice-overed on the comedic film commentary Rifftrax.[5]

The film had a personal impact on Travolta and Hyland, who began a six-month romantic relationship until her death, after the film ended principal photography.[6]

On Dance Moms Series 6 Abby Lee Miller said the girls are doing a dance which is inspired by the movie.

Season 10 of The Simpsons has an episode that mocks Ned Flanders for never living a day in his life, when Carl says "Even the boy in the bubble had a deck of cards."

See also

References

  1. ^ McVicker, Steve. "Bursting the Bubble." Houston Press, April 10, 1997.
  2. ^ Travolta, John. "Inside the Actor's Studio".
  3. ^ a b c William Safire (January 24, 1993). "The Man in the Big White Jail". On Language. The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-18.
  4. ^ a b "World Premiere 'In the Bubble' Fourth New Musical for AMTP". Northwestern University. 2007-05-22. Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2009-05-18. AMTP's newest musical was inspired by multiple "bubble boy" sources in pop culture, including the 1976 Emmy-nominated made-for-television movie "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble," starring John Travolta; the 1987 Paul Simon song "The Boy in the Bubble"; a 1992 "Seinfeld" television episode; and Bandeira Entertainment's 2001 screen comedy "Bubble Boy," starring Jake Gyllenhaal, (and more potently, the protests surrounding the Gyllenhaal film).
  5. ^ https://www.rifftrax.com/the-boy-in-the-plastic-bubble Accessed Nov. 2019
  6. ^ "High Steppin' to stardom". Time. April 3, 1978. Retrieved 2009-05-18. At the cast party, Travolta remembers, 'we admitted not only a friendly attraction but a sexual one. The intensity of it was new to both of us.'...She [later] told him that their six months together were the happiest time of her life.... Says Travolta, 'I would have married her.'

External links

This page was last edited on 14 September 2020, at 21:52
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