Ultimate Challenge! Strange 70’s-80’s Children’s Movie

Thanks for taking a look at this. I’ve spent decades trying to figure out this film but no one at all anywhere seems to have ever seen or heard anything about it!
Era: 70’s-early 80’s
Country of Origin: Unsure. STRONG likelihood it is European.
Visual Medium: Color
Similar to: 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, Wizard of Oz
Where/When seen:
Family Film Festival. A southern California show, hosted by Tom Hatten, that aired movies on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from the late 70’s through to the early 90’s. It’s fare was supposedly determined/provided by Reader’s Digest. I lived in Los Angeles and saw it on that show. It only aired once as far as I ever saw.
What I remember:
Much like the Wizard of Oz, the film centers around a young protagonist who finds him or herself transported to another world, embarks upon an adventure to free themselves and does so, freeing others from the subjugation of a main bad guy and his henchpeople.
The hero in our story is a young boy with sandy blonde hair. He lives in the “modern” world, which appears to be set in the 70’s or maybe, just maybe the early 80’s.
It is very hard to put a finger on the country of origin because it has been so long since I’ve seen this movie. It could be American but I got the distinct impression that it was from somewhere in Europe. Scandinavian? British? Eastern European? I’m really not sure.
The boy is having an OK to not-so-great day. It might even be his birthday? He gets sent on an errand to pick up something from the store. I do believe it was ice cream.
For some reason he stops for a rest on his way back. He falls asleep. He awakes in another world. The world is somewhat darker and a bit post-medieval, post-Renaissance looking. Think perhaps of a messed Oliver Twist. There’s a big castle involved. The bad guy lives there with his henchmen.
The bad guy has somehow come to imprison or enslave a bunch of children. Whether they are the kids from that world or are from Earth I cannot recall.
Anyhow, the kid escapes or evades this bad guy.
Our hero figures out how to turn the tables on the bad guy. I think it involved somehow winning the help of some monstrous person who might have had a bit of a pig-face going on as well. He wore some kind of large dark blue pea coat. That monster person had some association with the bad guy. Maybe his son or key servant?
Anyhow, somehow or other the kid gets the bad guy beaten, all the imprisoned kids are freed and people celebrate in general.
The boy wakes up from this dream adventure and hurries to get home with the ice cream he was sent to fetch before it melts (though it may already have at that point).
It was a reasonable little movie and I’ve wanted to check it out again since it came out, since it was kind of surreal. But after not being able to find it for decades, and having yet to run across one single person who has ever seen or heard of anything like it, it’s become an obsession!
Someone somewhere has to at least remember seeing this, right? Anyone?

17 thoughts on “Ultimate Challenge! Strange 70’s-80’s Children’s Movie

      1. Oh my gosh! Thank you so much! I’ve also been trying to figure out this movie for over 10 years. The only thing I could really remember was him waking up in the pile of leaves at every end. I very vaguely remembered the prison today while watching Little Monsters, which coincidentally was the reason I starting trying to find this movie again. Thank you thank you thank you!!

    1. Bravo, BRAVO!!!! YES!!!! THAT’S IT! Dear god after decades, THAT’S IT!!!
      HAHAHAHA!!! Oh THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!!

    1. Hey Livinghead! Bear in mind that I saw the film once decades ago. I was off on the character’s hair. It was hard to recall so it became sandy-blonde to me. The medieval feel came from the castle environment. The pig-faced man was whoever that guy is with the silver make-up and fish fin ears is (I’ve looked at some still-shots on Google). Clearly time and one viewing can make for a tough time in recall but that’s it! It’s the one! Jacob Two Meets the Hooded Fang!!

      1. I loved growing up watching all that stuff Tom Hatten hosted on channel 5. I so wish there was a comprehensive list. But it was nice to have this reminder of Family Film Festival, Michael. so glad Will found the right one. 🙂

        1. Hey Jenn…

          Go to Facebook and check out the page for the Tom Hatten Appreciation Group. On November 14th, one of our members posted about as complete a list as we’ve gotten so far. He contacted Tom and Tom was willing to go through his stuff and put together a rough list from what he could find. The list is pretty good even though there are still gaps there. Check it out!

          https://www.facebook.com/groups/12576629159/

          In the meantime, I’ve also sent off a request to Reader’s Digest (they determined and supplied the movies used in the FFF), asking whether they have any records of the movies used on FFF and their airing dates. We’ll see whether we can get lucky!

          Cheers,

          Michael

  1. will, you have completed the Ultimate Challenge! Congratulations! Solved. (That Two-Hooded Fang movie gets asked about, and guessed, a lot).

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