Charlotte’s Web (1973) – reviewed by George

This animated cartoon version of E.B.White’s book is really fun. It was directed by Charles Nichols and Iwao Takamoto, and it tells the tale of a spring pig destined to become bacon come wintertime. But Wilbur (voice by Henry Gibson) is a sweet, kind pig and is so well-liked by the other animals at the farm of Howard Zuckerman (voice by Robert Holt), that Charlotte (voice by Debbie Reynolds), the gray spider who lives in the doorway from Wilbur’s pen to his section of the barn, comes up with a scheme to make Wilbur so valuable to Zuckerman that he won’t butcher poor Wilbur when the weather turns.
Charlotte weaves a new web right over Wilbur’s head with the words “Some Pig” written into it. This works like gangbusters, but attention spans are short, so Charlotte uses the barn’s rat Templeton (voice of Paul Lynde) to find new words on various pieces of trash, so that she can keep refreshing everyone’s memory on how special Wilbur really is.
The movie also uses the talents of Agnes Moorehead as the goose, and Pamelyn Ferdin and Danny Bonaduce as Zuckerman’s niece and nephew.
This is definitely one for the whole family, but be sure to watch with the children. Remember that Wilbur’s friends are trying to keep him from getting killed.
And I love this quote, directly from E.B. White, which describes Charlotte, but possibly, with tongue-in-cheek, White himself: “It’s not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.”

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