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.
|Studio album and soundtrack by|
|The Essential Rock Discography||7/10|
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.' "
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.
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 November 19, 2002 by Sony Legacy.
All tracks are written by Harry Nilsson.
|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|
|6.||"The Trial and Banishment" (Narration)||2:11|
|7.||"Think About Your Troubles"||2:49|
|8.||"The Pointed Man" (Narration)||2:42|
|10.||"The Birds" (Narration)||1:58|
|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|
|15.||"Think About Your Troubles (demo)"|
|16.||"Life Line (demo)"|
|17.||"Down To The Valley"|
|Written by||Harry Nilsson (story)|
Carole Beers (story)
Harry Nilsson (original fable)
Norm Lenzer (screenplay)
Fred Wolf (additional story development)
|Directed by||Fred Wolf|
William E. Martin
|Narrated by||Dustin Hoffman (1st telecast)|
Ringo Starr (home video release)
Alan Barzman (2nd telecast)
Alan Thicke (3rd telecast)
|Theme music composer||Harry Nilsson|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Producer(s)||Jerry D. Good|
Jimmy T. Murakami
|Running time||74 min.|
|Production company(s)||Murakami-Wolf Productions|
|Original release||February 2, 1971|
The film version of The Point! first aired February 2, 1971, and was the first animated special ever to air in prime time on US television; it appeared on the ABC television network as an ABC Movie of the Week. 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. 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.
- Dustin Hoffman as Narrator/Father (first telecast)
- Alan Barzman as Narrator/Father (second telecast)
- Alan Thicke as Narrator/Father (third telecast)
- Ringo Starr as Narrator/Father (home video/DVD release)
- Paul Frees as Oblio's Father/Pointed Man's Right Head/King/Leaf Man/Villagers
- Unknown as Pointed Man's Middle Head
- Unknown as Pointed Man's Left Head
- Lennie Weinrib as Count
- William E. Martin as Rock Man
- Buddy Foster as Count's Son
- Joan Gerber as Oblio's Mother
- Mike Lookinland as Oblio
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 https://www.trinityrep.com/ in Providence. In 1991, Nilsson gave Jauchem permission to present his adaptation of The Point! at the Chapel Court Theatre in Hollywood, run by Richard and Tamara Merson. Richard Merson had been involved in the Mermaid Theatre production in London as well, which had starred Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz of The Monkees fame.
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 has been released by Varese Sarabande on July 1, 2016 under license from Geffen, which controls the MCA Records catalogue via Universal Music.
- Davy Jones as Oblio
- Micky Dolenz as Count's Kid and The Leafman
- Colin Bennett as The Count
- David Claridge as Arrow
- Veronica Clifford as Oblio's Mum, Balloon Lady
- Noel Howlett as The King
- Julia Lewis as Oblio's Girlfriend
- Clovissa Newcombe as Count's Lady, The Pointed Man
- Mark Penfold as The Pointed Man
- Felix Rice as The Rockman
- Chrissy Roberts as Balloon Lady
- Denny Ryder as The Pointed Man
- Roy Sampson as Oblio's Dad
- Gary Taylor as Balloon Man, New Bird
Backing vocals were provided by Anna Macleod, Richard Barnes, and Jean Gilbert.
Track listing, original cast recording
All titles were written by Harry Nilsson, except "Thursday" (Nilsson, Danny Kortchmar).
- Overture – Orchestra
- "Everything's Got 'Em" – Company
- "Me and My Arrow" – Davy Jones
- "Poli High" – Company
- "Remember" – Veronica Clifford
- "To Be a King" – Noel Howlett and Company
- "He's Leaving Here This Morning (Bath)" – Micky Dolenz, Colin Bennett, Clovissa Newcombe
- "Think About Your Troubles" – Davy Jones and Company
- "Blanket For a Sail" – Davy Jones
- "Life Line" – Davy Jones'
- "Thursday (Here's Why I Did Not Go to Work Today)" – Felix Rice
- "It's a Jungle Out There" – Micky Dolenz
- "P.O.V. Waltz" – Davy Jones and Company
- "Are You Sleeping? (Song Title)" – Davy Jones and Company
- "Gotta Get Up" – Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz
- Reprise Overture – Orchestra
- AllMusic review
- Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh, UK: Canongate. p. 758. ISBN 978-1-84195-827-9.
- 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.
- Jacobson, Alan (May 2004). "What's The Point? The Legendary 1971 Animated Feature on DVD". Bright Lights Film Journal (44). ISSN 0147-4049.
- Slide, Anthony (1991). The Television Industry: A Historical Dictionary. Greenwood Press. p. 181. ISBN 0-313-25634-9. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
- 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/
- Harry Nilsson "The Point!" 50th Anniversary; Rolling Stone