Years before Toy Story would bring countless toys to life on the big screen, another endearing film managed to animate a few playthings of its own, much to the bewilderment and delight of their young owner, in the 1995 fantasy, The Indian and the Cupboard.
Based on the best-selling children’s book from Author Lynne Reid, The Indian and the Cupboard told the story of a boy named Omri, who receives some magical gifts for his ninth birthday. His best friend, Patrick, gives him a small Indian figure and his older brother bestows upon him an antique cupboard (Gee, thanks bro). Omri proceeds to lock his new Native American action figure inside the cupboard, only to be awakened in the night by a series of scratching sounds. When he unlocks the wooden cupboard, he is shocked to find a real live, albeit diminutive, Onandaga scout by the name of Little Bear.
At first, Little Bear assumes that the towering little boy is a great god, but when that proves incorrect, the pair form a friendship. Now it is time to see what else this magic cupboard can do, and soon enough Robocop and Darth Vader are brought to life, although they seem to be a bit more mischievous. All of this is too much for young Omri to keep to himself, so he shares his secret with his pal, Patrick. Unfortunately, Patrick wants in on the animating action and proceeds to inject a little life into a cowboy named Boone. All of this leads to plenty of suspicion and animosity, and forces the kids to learn a lesson or two about responsibility.
With the directing talents of legendary Muppet-man, Frank Oz, and a script written by the same mind that brought the world E.T. (Melissa Matheson,) The Indian and the Cupboard was a magical little film that pleasantly surprised young audiences, while teaching them a thing or two when they least expected it. Woody and Buzz would have been proud.
If you have fond memories of watching The Indian in the Cupboard, or even if you count the book it was based on among your favorites, we’d love to hear your thoughts in our comments section, as we tip our hats to this enchanting tale.