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The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit facts for kids

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The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit
Poster of the movie The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit.jpg
Film poster by Paul Wenzel
Directed by Norman Tokar
Produced by Winston Hibler
Written by Eric Hatch (book)
Louis Pelletier
Starring Dean Jones
Diane Baker
Lloyd Bochner
Fred Clark
Morey Amsterdam
Kurt Russell
Ellen Janov
Music by George Bruns
Cinematography William E. Snyder
Editing by Robert Stafford
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution Co., Inc.
Release date(s) December 20, 1968 (1968-12-20)
Running time 113 mins.
Country United States
Language English
Money made $3.3 million (US/ Canada rentals)

The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit is a 1968 American comedy film directed by Norman Tokar, with a screenplay by Louis Pelletier, based on the 1955 book, The Year of the Horse by Eric Hatch. The film stars Dean Jones, Diane Baker, Ellen Janov, Kurt Russell and Lurene Tuttle in the principal roles. The film's title is a riff on the titular horse's dapple gray color and the title of the 1955 Sloan Wilson novel about the American search for purpose in a world dominated by business, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.

The film, which was paired with Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day in its original theatrical release, received mostly negative reviews, due to the predictable script. It failed at the box office.

This was the final movie appearance for actor Fred Clark. Released after Clark's death, the film was dedicated to his memory.


Madison Avenue advertising executive Fred Bolton, a Lakeville, Connecticut widower living beyond his means, is beset by two major problems. First, his boss at Tomes Advertising Agency has instructed him to come up with an original campaign—in 24 hours—to promote star client Allied Drug & Food's over-the-counter indigestion medication, Aspercel. Allied's Chairman of the Board, Tom Dugan, wants a "jet set" appeal campaign that will "give sour stomachs class and dignity."

The second problem is Helen, Fred's teenage daughter. She loves horses, takes riding classes and has already had decent success in some competitions. Her biggest wish is to have her own horse, which her riding instructor Suzie Clemens feels will give the girl much-needed confidence, both as a young girl and as an equestrian. However, it is a dream that Fred, Helen, and even Helen's Aunt Martha, know they cannot actually afford, in addition to the fact that Fred is allergic to horses.

After a frustrated night brainstorming, Fred gets the idea to solve both problems at once: acquire a good horse, name him Aspercel and—with Helen riding him—bring the name of the client's product into the press, all the while fulfilling his daughter's dream. In order to accomplish this, Helen and "Aspy" have to win a few prizes and make the horse a celebrated figure. Fred enlists the aid of Helen's riding instructor, Suzie, and is assisted by teenager Ronny Gardner—who quickly develops eyes for Helen.

Helen does begin to win ribbons, but the resulting publicity is below Dugan's expectations. When Helen learns that her father's job is at stake, she falters under pressure and fails to win an important show. Suzie, however, realizes Aspercel's potential when the animal carries Fred over a 7-foot (2.1 m) wall—then outruns a police car. Suzie volunteers to ride Aspercel in the International Horse Show in Washington, D.C. and suggests that her good friend, the wealthy Archer Madison—who once rode on the U.S. Equestrian Team—be brought in as trainer. Suppressing his jealousy of Archer, Fred reluctantly agrees. After a hard fight against reigning champion Lt. Mario Lorento and his horse Rascala, Suzie and Aspercel win the championship. All ends happily as Fred is rewarded with a promotion, a happy daughter, and Suzie's love.


  • Dean Jones as Frederick "Fred" Bolton
  • Diane Baker as Suzie "S.J." Clemens
  • Lloyd Bochner as Archer Madison
  • Fred Clark as Tom Dugan
  • Ellen Janov as Helen Bolton
  • Morey Amsterdam as Charlie Blake
  • Kurt Russell as Ronnie Gardner
  • Lurene Tuttle as Aunt Martha
  • Alan Hewitt as Harry Tomes
  • Frederico Piñero as Lorendo
  • Florence MacMichael as Catherine
  • Joan Marshall as Mimsey
  • Robin Eccles as Judy Gardner
  • Adam Williams as Sergeant Roberts
  • Norman Grabowski as Truck Driver
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