Monday, May 28, 2012

Horseathon: Misty of Chincoteague(1961).


Misty of Chincoteague(1961), is a film based on Marguerite Henry's award-winning children's book Misty of Chincoteague, published in 1947.  Cast: Arthur O'Connell, Pam Smith and Hollywood executive David Ladd. One of my favorite childhood memories is when my 4th grade teacher would read from the book "Misty of Chincoteague", after the noon recess. This book sparked my love of horses and I spent a lot of time drawing horses and collecting little horse figurines as a little girl. I'm not into horses as I once was, but.. I still love to watch them run wild in some parts of Arizona.

The movie is set on Virginia's coastal island of Chincoteague on the Delmarva Peninsula, it was mostly filmed on-location, where herds of wild horses make their home on Assateague Island. These small sturdy, horses who have adapted to their environment over the years by eating dune and marsh grasses and drinking fresh water from ponds. The story is based on "The Pony Swim", which is an annual event that involves rounding up some of the wild ponies who live on nearby Assateague Island for auction as a benefit for the local Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department.

The movie also tells the story about a young brother and sister, who tame a high spirited, chestnut mare, nicknamed The Phantom. The two children are thrilled to learn that she has a filly, a palomino pinto named Misty.

Will the kids have earned enough money to buy both of them at auction? You will also meet the beautiful, Pied Piper and a brown-and-blue-eyed pony named Watch-Eye. The cinematography is especially beautiful, with it's sandy beaches, sand dunes, coastal pine forest, and open fields with horses running free. You will step back in time with the clothes and hair styles and the small town feeling with everybody knowing everybody.

At the premier of the movie on Chincoteague, the real Misty was led down Main Street and put her front hoof prints in the cement in front of the Roxy Theater.

Video: First of 10.


Each year, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, purchase a grazing permit from the National Fish and Wildlife Service. This permit, allows the Fire Department, to maintain a herd of approximately 150 adult ponies on Assateague Island. The Fire Company, controls the herd size with a pony auction on the last Thursday in July.

Also, each year spectators, come to watch the pony herd be taken from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island. Many believe that they are the descendants of the survivors of a Spanish galleon which wrecked off the coast of Assateague.

I hope that everyone will all check out the other Horseathon articles which can be found by clicking the Horseathon banner on the sidebar. Thank you for stopping by.


  1. Dawn - I loved this book and movie so much!!! The story of Misty and the ponies is one I will never forget. In fact, I just returned from the outer banks in NC where I saw the wild horses and when I passed the exit for Chincoteague, I longed to go there. Watching the ponies swim is on my bucket list. I will get there one July! Thanks for the memories and a lovely post.

  2. Being an entirely horse-crazy little girl, I grew up on Marguerite Henry's books—I think Misty of Chincoteague was one of the first I read. I didn't get to see the movie until a few years ago. Though it doesn't have quite the same magic as the book, it's lovely to see the ponies in the actual Chincoteague setting. I thought Pam Smith was sweet as Maureen, too—wish she'd been in a few more movies.

  3. Dawn,
    The photo's that you provided here are breathtaking. I love the one of the horses in the water. How unique is Watch Eye? I don't know anyone who doesn't find horses beautiful creatures. Mysty certainly sounds like another film that all ages will enjoy.

    Such an interesting review and when I read that the horses could be the descendants of a Spanish galleon makes the film even more appealing for me.

    I certainly would have understood if you weren't able to participate in the Horseathon and I'm just thrilled that you not only felt up to participating but you contributed such a nice review for those of us who have missed your presence, articles.

  4. Dawn, I'm sure I speak for all of us bloggers when I say we're not only overjoyed that you were able to participate in the Horseathon despite your medical issues, but that you had wrote such a beautiful post! I especially loved the photos of the ponies swimming. I was intrigued with the backstory about the ponies' origins, too. What a lovely post!

  5. Dawn, splendid background info one of the most famous horse movies. I also remember the book well. Arthur O'Connell enhanced every film he was in.

  6. I so wanted to share Marguerite Henry's books with my daughter when she was young, but she had no interest.

    David Ladd was a very interesting child performer and the movie really did well by the book.

  7. Dawn ~ this film is a great choice for a blogathon with horses as the focus. I grew up reading the “Misty of Chincoteaque” book and begged my parents to take me to see the horses (we lived in Northern Virginia at the time). The background information is especially fascinating, as I never knew the reason for the "Pony Swim" was to benefit the local fire department (or did I simply forget?). Thank you for reintroducing me to a bit of my childhood, now I’m on the hunt to find a copy of this film.

  8. Dawn:

    That original book cover of Misty is great...I love those old covers, they're so evocative. I really enjoyed your post of yet another movie that I've never heard of. It sounds interesting, and as I like Arthur O'Connell a lot, I wouldn't mind tracking it down someday. Is it available on DVD or on You Tube?

    Nice job on all the real-life background. I had no idea about this particular breed of horse living wild on their little island. Thanks for sharing!

  9. FlickChick, Thank you. I have always wanted to see the pony auction and watch the pony's swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island... What a lucky girl, you are to see the wild horses in person!! Maybe, someday.. I will see you there.

    Elisabeth Grace Foley, I agree.. The movie did not have the same magic as the book, maybe.. my childhood memories stood in the way. I also, thought the children' s performances were quite good.

    Page, I want to thank you for holding the horse blogathon. I never thought I had the time to put one together.. So, I appreciate all the hard work you put into it.

    I'm doing remarkably well. I surprising everyone, how quickly I'm bouncing back.. It won't be long before "this" is all behind me.

    I have started to get back to blogging. Maybe, not to the level I was.. but, I will get there.

    DorianTB, Thank you. I can not tell you how heartwarming it is, to know that I have so many people sending me, their well wishes. The Horse blogathon was a nice diversion.

    Rick29, Thank you.. I also enjoyed Arthur O'Connell performance. He seems like such a kind man.

    Caftan Woman, I know what you mean.. my son also, did not have any interest in the story growing up.

    whistlingypsy, Thank you. I bet you just forgot that the "Pony Swim" was to benefit the local fire department. I posted up the first video from you tube. It is also out on DVD.

    Jeff Flugel, Thank you. Yes, the movie is on you tube(I posted up the first video to get you started) and DVD. You sound like a horse fan. I hope that you enjoyed this wonderful, classic, family film as much as I did. I hope that you come back to let me know your thoughts.

  10. Dawn, it's great to read your stuff again. I ope you're fine!
    I loved your story about horse love!
    Have I mentioned that I'm a huge Betty Boop fan? :)

  11. Yeah, I'm a little late to the party but I second all the emotions about how super it was that you were able to participate, Dawn. I haven't seen this one (kind of familiar with the book) but I'll be on the lookout for it and give it the once-over. Enjoyed your review!

  12. Le, I'm doing great!! I love all Betty Boop fans :)

    Ivan G. Shreve, Jr., Thank you. I'm still healing, but.. the worst is over. If you get the time you can click on the video in my post to watch the film..


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