I was just a kid when I sat in a dark theatre to watch the 1957 film Old Yeller. I didn’t have a dog but I could feel the love between Travis and the yellow retriever. Old Yeller was a stray who ended up saving the family from an angry mother bear, a cow, a hog and a wolf (not at the same time!) The wolf bites Old Yeller on the neck, and the beloved dog contracts rabies.
To protect the family and other folks, mom brings a rifle out to Travis and Old Yeller. Travis kills his own dog.
I would have been around ten when I saw the film. I don’t remember being devastated about the ending … but clearly many people were.
Disney Plus shows Old Yeller, and a post on the Facebook fan page has brought lots of response. My take about many of the posters is they think crying is bad, dangerous, to be avoided at all costs:
Never want to see it again because of the ending
Umm … no thank you. Once as a child was enough for a few lifetimes.
I refuse to watch it again because the ending made me cry so much.
I can’t watch this while I’m pregnant. I cry too much.
My heart is still scarred from the book. Jesus, not a chance. That movie messed me up when I first saw it when I was like 6. Never again.
We were shown it at school when I was a kid. Imagine a whole gym full of 6th and 5th grade kids and teachers crying.
I don’t wanna cry …
So here we are as human beings
Some of us feel so much
Some of us shut it down
Tears show weakness
Tears are a blessing
There’s no right or wrong about this
Just people in their infinite variety