[The interview starts with a discussion of the movie Swiss Family Robison (1960).]
BILL ANDERSON: The family was abandoned in a cabin. What always bothered me when I first read the book was why in the hell didn’t we ever meet the pirates? So what I wanted to do was bring the pirates back and let them be the confrontation, because there’s no conflict in the damn book.
BOB THOMAS: Right.
BA: In the original picture they had the little boy about to die because he was bitten by a scorpion or something, which is about all the drama there was. As soon as I had these five pages, I called Walt and said “I have a little line out here and I want to bring in a young girl and so forth,” and have a conflict where the family had to fight and bring in the troops at the end to help save it. It was just basically the outline. As soon as Walt read it he just got up, took his coat off, and he said, “Let’s go to work.”
[Break in tape.]
BA: But Walt, when I brought it back, saw the cut and said, “It’s pretty close to what we planned to make.” But anyway I said, “I’m very sorry.” He said “Maybe you’ve learned something, but we won’t judge you on this yet. Let’s just see how the picture turns out. Then you and I will have a chat.” We never had a chat, because the picture domestically did very well.