The Point!

The Point! is the sixth studio album by American songwriter and musician Harry Nilsson, released in late 1970. It was accompanied by an animated film adaptation directed by Fred Wolf, which aired a few weeks after the album's release in early February 1971 on the ABC-TV network. Its lead single, "Me and My Arrow", peaked at number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Point!
Harry Nilsson The Point.jpg
Studio album and soundtrack by
ReleasedDecember 1970
Recorded1970
GenrePop rock
Length32:01
LabelRCA Victor
ProducerHarry Nilsson
Nilsson chronology
Nilsson Sings Newman
(1970)
The Point!
(1970)
Aerial Pandemonium Ballet
(1971)
Singles from The Point!
  1. "Me and My Arrow" / "Are You Sleeping?"
    Released: February 27, 1971
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
The Essential Rock Discography7/10[2]
MusicHound3/5[3]

The Point! is a fable that tells the story of a boy named Oblio, the only round-headed person in the Pointed Village, where by law everyone and everything must have a point. Nilsson explained his inspiration for The Point!: "I was on acid and I looked at the trees and I realized that they all came to points, and the little branches came to points, and the houses came to point. I thought, 'Oh! Everything has a point, and if it doesn't, then there's no point to it.' "[4]

StoryEdit

The round-headed Oblio has had to wear a pointed hat since birth to conceal his "pointless" condition from his pointy-headed peers. However, Oblio is accepted in the town despite his nonconformity, until one day, when the son of an evil count is unwittingly dishonored by Oblio. The count's son challenges Oblio to a one-on-one game of Triangle Toss, where participants catch triangles on their heads. Oblio wins with the help of his dog Arrow. In a fit of rage, the count, who wants his son to rule the land one day, confronts the good-hearted but timid king to reaffirm the law of the land, which states that those who are pointless must be banished from the kingdom and into the Pointless Forest. A jury reluctantly convicts both Oblio and Arrow, leaving the king with no choice but to send the pair away.

Oblio and Arrow are sent to the Pointless Forest, but soon discover that even the Pointless Forest has a point. They meet curious creatures like giant bees, a "pointed man" pointing in all directions who proclaims "A point in every direction is the same as no point at all", a man made of rocks, three dancing fat sisters, and a walking, talking tree who helps Oblio see that everyone has a point, though it might not be readily displayed.

Oblio and Arrow spend the night in the Pointless Forest, then awaken to a large stone hand with the finger pointing to their "destination point". They take the road indicated by the hand and make their way back to the Land of Point, where they receive a hero's welcome from the land's citizens, and the king. Oblio begins to tell his story but is interrupted by the furious count, who is then silenced by the king.

Oblio tells the king and the people of the land that everything has a point, including the Pointless Forest, and himself. Angered, the count pulls off Oblio's pointed hat, but is taken aback when he sees a point on top of Oblio's bare head.

Upon this revelation the points of everyone else in the land disappear and pointed buildings become round.

AlbumEdit

The Point! album, unlike the later film, features Nilsson himself telling the story directly to the listener, providing all the characters' voices as well as the narration.

A comic storyboard, illustrated by Gary Lund, was included with the vinyl record when it was first released.

A Deluxe CD of the album was released with demos and a bonus track on November 19, 2002, by BMG Heritage.

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Harry Nilsson.

Side one
No.TitleLength
1."Everything's Got 'Em"2:25
2."The Town" (Narration)1:31
3."Me and My Arrow"2:04
4."The Game" (Narration)1:49
5."Poli High"2:41
6."The Trial and Banishment" (Narration)2:11
7."Think About Your Troubles"2:49
Side two
No.TitleLength
8."The Pointed Man" (Narration)2:42
9."Life Line"2:21
10."The Birds" (Narration)1:58
11."P.O.V. Waltz"2:12
12."The Clearing in the Woods" (Narration)1:53
13."Are You Sleeping?"2:17
14."Oblio's Return" (Narration)3:08
Deluxe 2002 CD bonus tracks
No.TitleLength
15."Think About Your Troubles (demo)" 
16."Life Line (demo)" 
17."Down to the Valley" 

In popular cultureEdit

"The Town (Narration)" and "Me and My Arrow" are featured in the 2015 compilation album This Record Belongs To....

ChartsEdit

Chart (1971) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[5] 56

Animated television filmEdit

The Point
Written byHarry Nilsson (story)
Carole Beers (story)
Harry Nilsson (original fable)
Norm Lenzer (screenplay)
Fred Wolf (additional story development)
Directed byFred Wolf
StarringPaul Frees
Lennie Weinrib
William E. Martin
Buddy Foster
Joan Gerber
Mike Lookinland
Narrated byDustin Hoffman (1st telecast)
Ringo Starr (home video release)
Alan Barzman (2nd telecast)
Alan Thicke (3rd telecast)
Theme music composerHarry Nilsson
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Production
Producer(s)Jerry D. Good
Larry Gordon
Harry Nilsson
Fred Wolf
Jimmy T. Murakami
Editor(s)Rich Harrison
Running time74 min.
Production company(s)Murakami-Wolf Productions
Release
Original networkABC[6]
Original releaseFebruary 2, 1971 (1971-02-02)[6]

ProductionEdit

The Point, an animated adaptation of the story, first aired February 2, 1971, and was the first animated feature ever to air in prime time on US television;[6] it appeared on the ABC television network as an ABC Movie of the Week.[7] The film was directed by Fred Wolf and produced by Murakami-Wolf Films in association with Nilsson House Music. In this version, there is a framing device of a father telling his son the fable as a bedtime story. In its initial airing, the voice of the father was provided by a friend of Nilsson's, Dustin Hoffman, who agreed to take $20,000 for his narration to be used on one broadcast, so for later airings of the film, the narration had to be re-recorded.[8] The initial re-recording was done by actor Alan Barzman. The VHS and DVD releases feature another of Nilsson's friends, Ringo Starr, as the father. Another version, seen on cable television in the '80s and '90s, featured narration by Alan Thicke. The voices of Oblio and the narrator's son were provided by Mike Lookinland, best known for playing Bobby Brady on the television series The Brady Bunch.

A 50th anniversary Blu-ray edition of the animated version (with the Ringo Starr narration) was released in February 2020.[9]

Voice castEdit

Musical playEdit

In the mid-1970s, Esquire Jauchem, artistic director of the Boston Repertory Theater, adapted and directed a stage musical version that starred 18-year-old David Morse as Oblio. The production later toured to the Trinity Repertory Company in Providence. In 1991, Nilsson gave Jauchem permission to remount his adaptation of The Point! at the Chapel Court Theatre in Hollywood, run by Richard and Tamara Merson, who had been involved in the Mermaid Theatre production in London as well.

In 1977, a stage adaptation of The Point! was presented at the Mermaid Theatre in London. Featured in the cast were Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz, both former members of the band The Monkees and long-time friends of Nilsson. In order to accommodate the expansion of The Point! to a full-length musical, other Nilsson songs from various points in his career were incorporated. An original cast album was released in the United Kingdom by MCA. A CD version was released by Varèse Sarabande on July 1, 2016, under license from Geffen, which controls the MCA Records catalogue via Universal Music.

London creditsEdit

Cast

Backing vocals were provided by Anna Macleod, Richard Barnes, and Jean Gilbert.

Crew

Track listing, original cast recordingEdit

All titles were written by Harry Nilsson, except "Thursday" (Nilsson, Danny Kortchmar).

  1. Overture – Orchestra
  2. "Everything's Got 'Em" – Company
  3. "Me and My Arrow" – Davy Jones
  4. "Poli High" – Company
  5. "Remember" – Veronica Clifford
  6. "To Be a King" – Noel Howlett and Company
  7. "He's Leaving Here This Morning (Bath)" – Micky Dolenz, Colin Bennett, Clovissa Newcombe
  8. "Think About Your Troubles" – Davy Jones and Company
  9. "Blanket For a Sail" – Davy Jones
  10. "Life Line" – Davy Jones'
  11. "Thursday (Here's Why I Did Not Go to Work Today)" – Felix Rice
  12. "It's a Jungle Out There" – Micky Dolenz
  13. "P.O.V. Waltz" – Davy Jones and Company
  14. "Are You Sleeping? (Song Title)" – Davy Jones and Company
  15. "Gotta Get Up" – Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz
  16. Reprise Overture – Orchestra

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ AllMusic review
  2. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh, UK: Canongate. p. 758. ISBN 978-1-84195-827-9.
  3. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 815. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.
  4. ^ Jacobson, Alan (May 2004). "What's The Point? The Legendary 1971 Animated Feature on DVD". Bright Lights Film Journal (44). ISSN 0147-4049.
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 218. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. ^ a b c Slide, Anthony (1991). The Television Industry: A Historical Dictionary. Greenwood Press. p. 181. ISBN 0-313-25634-9. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  7. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. p. 309. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  8. ^ Brian Thomas (2016)"The Point!," Harry Nilsson’s fable about overcoming intolerance and bigotry, began with an acid trip in Laurel Canyon, http://nightflight.com/the-point-harry-nilssons-fable-about-overcoming-intolerance-and-bigotry-began-with-an-acid-trip-in-laurel-canyon/
  9. ^ Harry Nilsson "The Point!" 50th Anniversary; Rolling Stone

External linksEdit