Norman Tokar


As a child actor, New Jersey-born Norman Tokar was active on stage and in radio in the '30s and '40s. He understudied Ezra Stone in the radio role of Henry Aldrich, taking over the part in June of 1942 -- only to vacate the series a month later when called to active duty with the Signal Corps. After the war, Tokar turned to directing, signing with the Walt Disney talent pool. He helmed several episodes of such Disney TV projects as The Mickey Mouse Club and Zorro before being given a feature-film opportunity with Big Red (1962). This assignment established Tokar as an "outdoors" director, a handy talent for a Disney employee; subsequent Tokar-directed projects included Savage Sam (1962), A Tiger Walks (1963) and Follow Me Boys (1966). With the made-for-TV Sammy the Way Out Seal (1962), Tokar displayed his talent for slapstick and family farce, which served him well with such Disney comedies as The Ugly Dachshund (1967). Tokar directed the last film personally supervised by Walt Disney, The Happiest Millionaire (1967). He remaining on the lot long after Disney's death. Most of his output of the '70s was mired in the cut-and-dried comic techniques he'd perfected in the '60s, but Norman Tokar still brought in box-office gold with such Disney Studio efforts as The Boatniks (1970) and Candleshoe (1978), his final film.