Cast & Crew
Robert O. Cook
Mala, a female raccoon, lives with her cubs inside an old tree in the South. During a flood caused by an intense storm, the tree collapses and Mala is able to save only one of her cubs, Weecha. Nearby, Jeff Emory, a backwoods "Mr. Fix It," owns a pack of coonhounds, and recently Lulubelle, his prime female, has had a litter of pups. "Nubbin" is the most active pup and frequently explores the farmyard. One day his curiosity leads him inside a butter churn that Jeff is about to return to a neighbor, and Jeff loads the churn onto his old truck and drives off with Nubbin still inside. During the trip, the churn falls off the truck, rolls down the road, over an embankment and breaks up against a tree. Nubbin emerges from the wreckage dizzy and lost, but eventually finds the hollow tree where Mala is nursing Weecha. Although hounds and raccoons are natural enemies, Mala nurses Nubbin and mothers him. Two weeks pass and as Nubbin explores the area, he encounters Old Grouch, Weecha's father, who attacks him. Mala intervenes and fights her mate, who later leaves the area. By the time summer rolls arrives, Nubbin and Weecha are firm friends and have several adventures together. One day while chasing a rabbit, Nubbin is threatened by a bobcat, but Mala lures the bobcat away from him and gives her life to save the dog. Now alone, Weecha and Nubbin search for food and when they come upon Jeff fishing, steal his fish. Jeff realizes that Nubbin is Lulubelle's missing pup and captures both of them, putting Weecha in an unused rabbit hutch. Jeff is surprised when Nubbin refuses to abandon his friend, and later, Weecha manipulates the latch on his cage and escapes for a nighttime romp with Nubbin, during which he wrecks Jeff's workshop. When an iron rod falls against a grinding wheel Weecha has accidentally started, sparks fly and start a fire, but Weecha races back to his cage. After Jeff is awakened by his hounds' barking and extinguishes the fire, he discovers Weecha and Nubbin sleeping innocently. Three weeks later, Jeff begins to train Nubbin and his other young hounds to locate raccoons by following their scent. At first Jeff uses a raccoon skin as bait, but when he switches to Weecha, Nubbin refuses to work and fights off all the other dogs. Several months later, Jeff is invited on a coon hunt in a neighboring valley and leaves with his favorite hound, Rounder. Nubbin and Weecha are now full grown although Weecha is still a captive in the rabbit hutch. However, the hound helps his friend to escape and Weecha, having learned how to manipulate the latches on the hutches, releases all of Jeff's rabbits. Unfortunately, he steps on the trigger of a shotgun and the shot alerts the hounds, who break out of their enclosure to chase the rabbits. Weecha hides inside a barrel, which the dogs roll over just as Jeff returns with Rounder. Weecha manages to escape but is pursued by Rounder. While fighting in a pond, Weecha grabs Rounder by the neck and almost drowns him, then escapes. By autumn, Weecha has completely reverted to the wild and survives by stealing duck eggs, as well as nuts and berries from pine squirrel nests. In the spring, as Jeff and his friends begin a new hunting season with plans for a kill, Weecha finds and courts a mate, Waheena. When Weecha hears the hounds approaching, he instinctively uses a decoy trick learned from his father to draw the pack away from his mate. Nubbin is the leader of the pack, and when he corners Weecha, he recognizes his old friend and barks happily. Unfortunately, Nubbin's barking attracts the other dogs and he finds himself fighting his own kind in order to protect his friend. After Jeff arrives and sizes up the situation, he asks the other hunters to call off their dogs. As Weecha runs off, followed by Nubbin, Jeff explains their history. When Nubbin finds Weecha with his mate, Weecha chases him away, and Nubbin, realizing that their friendship can no longer continue, vows never to hunt Weecha again and returns to Jeff, his friend and master.
Robert O. Cook
The Hound That Thought He Was a Raccoon
The story of The Hound that thought He was a Raccoon is about as kid-friendly as possible: a bloodhound puppy, Nubbin, is raised by a raccoon, Mala, and befriends his raccoon brother, Weecha. Yes, raccoons name their young. It's common knowledge. Of course, how they get to this point isn't as kid-friendly as one might think. Like many movies made in the sixties and before, "no animals were hurt during this production" wasn't exactly a top priority. In fact, it's a little hard to believe that all of the animal excursions presented for the pleasure of the viewing audience didn't result in at least some form of injury to the animals. When two raccoons get into what appears by all indications to be a vicious fight, it's a little difficult to imagine they're just acting. Are raccoons that good?
The dogs don't fare much better. They run and tumble and get into scraps themselves but don't have nearly the fighting viciousness as the raccoons do. Still, they get off easier than they did in Disney's other adventure, Nikki, Wild Dog of the North, in which the animal cast found themselves strangled, tossed, and thrown into dog fights that looked a little too real.
Also familiar to anyone who knows Disney is the tendency that his movies have to kill off characters with a remarkable lack of subtlety. Most kids first experience with death probably came at the hands of a Disney movie and, more often than not, it's a parent. Spoiler alert, it's a parent here, too. As well as some of the raccoon kids. Say what you will about Disney, the man didn't pull any punches.
Rex Allen narrated the tale and no one was better suited than he. Allen was a cowboy star in the forties and fifties, singing his way through one adventure after another. Many times, he teamed up with Slim Pickens. Later, in the early sixties, he had a hit with one of the most bizarre songs ever recorded, Don't Go Near the Indians, in which the narrator falls in love with an Indian girl only to learn that his father's real son was kidnapped by Indians so his father kidnapped him from the Indians to raise him as his own and the girl he's having a relationship with is his sister. No, really, that's the song.
Allen would narrate dozens upon dozens of these short subjects for Disney and his countrified, homespun voice was comforting and engaging all at once. His voice would become familiar to an entire generation raised on Disney. When Disney first opened up Disneyland, he even had Allen narrate some of the attractions, including the Hall of Presidents.
The Hound that Thought He was a Raccoon is one of the forerunners of the live action animal tale and Disney Studios were pioneering in their efforts. While these short adventure tales are lesser known than later hits like Milo and Otis or the Benji films, they pack a hell of a lot more punch. Yes, the scenes can be hard to watch at times but Disney understood kids and got that they could take rougher lessons than most people thought they could. The Hound that Thought He was a Raccoon is a movie that is definitely for kids but still doesn't hold back from showing the darker side. In other words, it's a Disney movie, and a pretty good one at that.
Direction: Tom McGowan
Screenplay: Albert Aley, Rutherford Montgomery
Music: Buddy Baker, William Lava
Producer: Winston Hibler
Editing: George Gale
Sound: Robert O. Cook
Cast: Rex Allen (Narrator), Oscar Busch (Jeff Emery), Mala (Herself), Weecha (Himself), Nubbin (Himself).
By Greg Ferrara
The Hound That Thought He Was a Raccoon
In the onscreen credits, the names of photographer Robert Brooker and technical adviser Gil Mojica are preceded by the written statement "For Tom McGowan Productions." Throughout this live-action story Rex Allen provides off-screen narration in a format much like the 1957 Disney feature Perri ( for more details.)