Elefriend is a 1974 American animated fantasy musical buddy film produced and distributed by DreamWorks Pictures. It was directed by Rick Reinert, produced by Dora Elysian Wilson and Rick Reinert, and written by Dora Elysian Wilson and Hollywood Golden Age writer Seton I. Miller, who wrote the unpublished story Pete’s Dragon which would later produced by Walt Disney Productions in 1977. It featured the voices of Pamelyn Ferdin, Alan Oppenheimer, Billy De Wolfe, and Jack Albertson.
It follows the story about Alma, a lonely orphaned 12 year old little girl who befriends a magical elephant known as Elefriend.
It was the last animated film that Billy De Wolfe ever performed the voice before his death, eight months before the film's release. His dialogue was fully recorded throughout 1973.
Also the film was dedicated to Seton I. Miller, who also passed away in the same year and nine months before the film. He along with Dora Wilson teamed each other to completely write the film’s story during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In the fictional town of Heartville, Alma is a young girl who's spent her whole life in Flasher's Children's Orphanage, the town's local for orphaned and abandoned children under 12 run by the short-tempered caregiver Mr. Bunyan Richard Flasher. One morning, it is Alma's 12th birthday and her last day at the orphanage. However, Mr. Flasher's assistant, a cruel and abusive orphan-hating woman named Lady Xavier is planning to adopt Alma if she is not being chosen by anyone during the Adoption Day so she can force her to be her slave and never let her to make friends under her rules.
Alma goes out for a little walk after being told by Mr. Flasher to return before 12:00 p.m. at lunchtime. While walking and sadly watching other children playing each other, during which she makes a wish to have her own friend, she then locates the basketball courtyard where she watches a group of boys compete against each other by playing basketball. She joins in to help the group, who are the blue team, to win in order for defeating their rivals, who are the green team, while all boys keeps telling her that she's not allow to be in the game, since it's for boys only, but Alma accidentally throws a basketball far up and away to the forest as she was about to throw it up through the hoop. The boys glare at Alma, as she apologizes and promises them to get it back for them before heading off towards the woods.
While walking through the forest to find the boys' basketball, a pack of wolves spots her and launches to attack, but Alma runs for it while the wolves chases after her. Alma then halts as shocks to see that she almost trips over the cliff down to the river rapids below; she is trapped. Thinking quickly on how to get across, she spots a fallen tree, which looked like bridge, and carefully and quickly crosses over the rapids. but accidentally trips and tumble down to the rapids where she swept away, just before the wolves shows up and wondering in their confusion over Alma's disappearance.
Alma then got rescued from the rapids by a large friendly talking yellow elephant named Elefriend, who reunites the boys' basketball to her. After being introduced to each other, Alma and Elefriend become fast friends, especially when Elefriend saved her, but Alma then realizes that she's late for lunchtime at the orphanage, so she tells Elefriend good bye and she will be back to him either later or tomorrow, but Alma has to be quick to return the basketball to the boys she met earlier while Elefriend follows her along.
However, Alma can't let the elephant tag along with her back to the orphanage, so, to leave him behind, she grabs and throws her bag of peanuts, which she saved it, which causes Elefriend to go and get it, since he loves peanuts, just before Alma have her chance to run away from him to return the same basketball court. As she made it, she then discovers the boys already left before her, but Elefriend shows up to her as he thanks her for the peanuts and asks that he could join her. Of course, Alma tries to explain him why he can't join her, until the furious Mr. Flasher appears and takes her back to his orphanage, after Elefriend hides.
WARNING: Spoilers since this page is in the works.
- Alma, an orphaned 12-year-old girl.
- Elefriend, a magical, good-nature, clumsy happy-go-lucky and fun-loving talking yellow elephant, who befriends with Alma.
- Mr. Flasher, a short-tempered but well-meaning caregiver and the owner of Flasher's Children's Orphanage.
- The Wizards - a wizard trio who are Elefriend's owners and creators. The Wizards are Caster, the tall bossy wizard, Spella, the only witch of The Wizards, and Dingpot, the shortest wizard.
- Timmy, a boy who is Alma's love interest.
- Mr. Fustier, Alma's adoptive father.
- Mrs. Fustier, Alma's adoptive mother.
- The Poacher, the main antagonist, who is a poacher who tries to hunt Elefriend due to his fur's prize. He is arrested along with Lady Xavier and Red after their defeat.
- Lady Xavier - the secondary antagonist who is an assistant of Mr. Flasher. She's a hypocritical orphan-hating woman who attempts to adopt Alma (if she's not picked during the Adoption Day at Flasher's Children's Orphanage) to force her to be her slave, without fun and friends, and attempts to catch Elefriend to sale him to Palmer's Animal Circus for money, but failing but later receiving punishment from the Wizards and arrested for her crimes near the end of the film.
- Red Xavier, Lady Xavier's daughter, which is the same age as Alma, but she is mean-spirited to her, and gets arrested along with her mom.
- Palmer J. Cole, the owner of Palmer's Animal Circus who is tricked by Red into wanting to have Elefriend. He reforms near the end of the film.
- Pamelyn Ferdin as Alma
- Alan Oppenheimer as Elefriend
- Ron McLarty as Elefriend's singing voice
- Jack Albertson as Mr. Flasher
- Stephen Shea as Timmy
- Pat Buttram as The Poacher
- Hermione Baddeley as Lady Xavier
- Louise English as Red
- Billy De Wolfe as Palmer J. Cole
- Lennie Weinrib as Caster
- Will Ryan as Dingpot
- Carol Channing as Spella
- Bob Dorough as Mr. Fustier
- Debbie Reynolds as Mrs. Fuster
- June Foray as an old lady and a child
- Richie Sanders, TBD, TBD, TBD, Colin Duffy, Christine Winter, TBD as the children (all uncredited)
- Is There Anyone Friendly to Me? (sung by Alma, voiced by Pamelyn Ferdin)
- They Called Me Elefriend (sung by Elefriend, voiced by Ron McLarty)
- We Can Be Friends (sung by Alma and Elefriend, voiced by Pamelyn Ferdin and Ron McLarty)
Characters and animation
To give the film and its characters can look as an illustrated children’s book, children's author and former Disney artist Bill Peet was hired to design the characters and as well as the all the backgrounds, and he was also one of the film’s storyboard artists.
After the film's release, Elefriend later spawned two television specials TBD. It would later gained a cult following as Alma and Elefriend made various cameos to other DreamWorks media such as TBD; TBD; in Shrek (2001) as two of the exiled fairy tale characters; TBD
In 1975, Disneyland Records licensed the film to adapt it into an audio book as part of its Read-Along series.
- Not just an elephant he is, he is Elefriend
- Lady Xavier: Mr. Flasher, sir, mind of we have a word?
- Mr. Flasher: Certainly, but what word are we referring to?
- Lady Xavier: Alma of course. You do realize her day has finally commenced as her final day staying in your facility and her perfect time for her chance to be adopted, correct?
- Mr. Flasher: Yes, but that's not until March, occurring the yearly Adoption Day, where any child can be picked and adopted for their new home, new family and new life. Even for this time, Alma will be in her good luck to be chosen, that's for her last chance since 12 years this had been once how desperate she always is. (while unbeknownst to them, Alma, still on blindfold finding any spot to pin a donkey's tail, until she pins it onto Mr. Flasher's bottom, unseen as a camera cuts back to TBD) OUCH! (looks back to see a tail sticks on him, much to Alma's shock and hesitance after taking off her blindfold. He yanks out the tail and hands it back to her) Alma, I know how you much fun you have for your birthday, but next time, please pay attention better while you do.
- Alma: Yes and sorry. Thanks for setting up the birthday party in the backyard for me, you notice how much means to me to be enjoyable with this celebration.
- Mr. Flasher: You are so welcome, my little lady. You go and keep having fun. (Alma turns back to the games) Now, were you saying, Mrs. Xavier? What's on your mind discussing me about Alma?
- Lady Xavier: (thinking) All in my mind I have last night was if Alma would be very nice for me to have as my new daughter, if all her hopes failed to be chosen during that upcoming event.
- Mr. Flasher: Oh, that's--- Beg your pardon?!
- Lady Xavier: I'm saying that Alma would be my new child once the Adoption Day expired for a year, based on my decision exactly. Besides, I have my daughter who is desperate to have her new sister and playmate.
- Mr. Flasher: Mam'm, I'm afraid I simply can't do that to you for your request.
- Lady Xavier: And what makes you refuse?
- Mr. Flasher: It's part of the rules we have been through; no employees should adopt children, even after the Adoption Day.
- Lady Xavier: Alright. Then give me your explanation on where else that the little girl would go after the Adoption Day?
- Mr. Flasher: She'll be shifted to the different foster home, appropriate for her age.
- Lady Xavier: But what if no other foster home want her? She'd be stuck alone living her miserable life on the street, where food and safe shelter would be precise complex to find. TBD