The Million Dollar Duck (1971)

Dean Jones somehow ended his career appearing in St. John in Exile, a wacky stage play of Jesus’ last surviving disciple breaking the fourth wall and yucking it up with a largely religious audience. Up until then, I only thought of Dean Jones as the perptually angry young man of many a Disney movie. Seriously, his entire character is milquetoast white man with a way too attractive wife who has been driven to seething red rage usually because of some intelligent animal or anthromorphic automobile.

This time around, enraged Dean Jones is Albert Dooley, a scientist who is struggling with money woes. Things are so bad that his wife Katie (Sandy Duncan) packs him an entire lunch of just screwed up applesauce, but Albert the duck eats that, gets irradiated and starts laying golden eggs. And oh yeah — Albert’s son Jimmy had wanted a pet, so why not just him a duck that wil soon either die of cancer or gain superpowers? Lee Montgomery never got a few animals and nearly killed a whole bunch of folks, right?

It gets to the point where the golden eggs make Albert rich, so he just cuts his son out of his busy life just in time for Richard Nixon to decide that the duck must be captured to save America.

Gene Siskel only walked out on three movies. One was Maniac, another was Black Sheep and this was the third. Roger Ebert said that it was “one of the most profoundly stupid movies I’ve ever seen.”

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