Newsday: 2/8/86 - "Soaring into the Past on
It starts in the clouds and never quite comes down to Earth, which is just the way a
cotton-candy fantasy should be. But watch out if you're on a sugar-free diet. Time
Flyer is uncommonly sweet. But, then, what viewer wouldn't be disappointed if the
Disney Sunday movie didn't perform its expected task of resurrecting lost innocence - even
maybe tossing in a little that was never even there. The show wants to inspire as it
entertains, not a bad idea for umpteen million wide-eyed youngsters about to head for
The tale is about 11-year-old Jonathan Knicks (Huckleberry Fox) and his trip
back to the year 1927 and the hero grandfather he never knew. As inventions go, his time
machine isn't as cute as the flying car in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It's just
a bunch of gears and wires that spin him around like wet wash in a dryer. Then, presto,
it's 59 years ago, and there's Gramps - young, enthusiastic and ready to fly the Atlantic
in his home-built biplane. He's going to beat Lindbergh...
The best of the movie is visual, beautifully indulging everyone's fantasy to fly high,
wide and handsome in a cockpit biplane, goggles snug over the eyes Snoopy-style, white
silk scarf snapping smartly in the wind. Jonathan gets to do this with his great old
The acting is everything the story requires. Carney, in a small role, is full of his
usual, skewed good cheer. As child actors go, Fox is genuine in what amounts mainly to a
look/sound cute role. In fact, for his '20s incarnation, he's turned into a little Jackie
Coogan (child star of the '20s) complete with oversized, turned-around peaked cap. Coyote
is excellent as young Grandpa Max, investing his strong, ingenuous persona with a Henry
Fonda twang. They're all almost good enough to make you believe it when this tall,
sentimental airplane story tries to tell us it's about following your dreams.
Did you know?
On February 9, 1986 The Blue Yonder was shown on ABC renamed as Time
Flyer on the Disney Sunday Movie.
There was also an exclusive special called The Making of The Blue Yonder, which
featured the stars at work, craftsmen recreating a 1920s town and stunt pilots' daring
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