The Boy in the Plastic Bubble
is a 1976 in film Television movie inspired by the lives of David Vetter and Ted DeVita, who lacked effective immune systems. It stars John Travolta, Glynnis O'Connor, Diana Hyland, Robert Reed, and P.J. Soles. It was written by Douglas Day Stewart, executive produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg (who, at the time, produced Starsky and Hutch
and Charlie's Angels
), and directed by Randal Kleiser, who would work with Travolta again in Grease (film)
shortly after. The original music score was composed by Mark Snow. William Howard Taft High School in Woodland Hills was used for filming.
The movie first aired on November 1, 1976, on the American Broadcasting Company television network.
The film centers on the life of Tod Lubitch, who was born with an improperly functioning immune system. This means that contact with unfiltered air may kill him, so he must live out his life in Neonatal intensive-care unit. He lives with his parents, since they decided to move him from Texas Children's Hospital where he was being kept as a boy. He is constricted to staying in his room all his life, where he eats, learns, reads, and exercises, while being protected from the outside world by various coverings.
As Tod grows up, he wishes to see more of the outside world and meet regular people his age. He is enrolled at the local school after being equipped with suitable protective clothing, similar in style to a space suit. He falls in love with his next door neighbor, Gina Biggs, and he must decide between following his heart and facing near-certain death, or remaining in his protective bubble forever. In the end, after having a discussion with his doctor who tells him he has built up some immunities which may possibly be enough to survive the real world, he steps outside his house, unprotected, and he and Gina ride off on her horse.
- John Travolta as Tod Lubitch
- Glynnis O'Connor as Gina Biggs
- Robert Reed as Johnny Lubitch
- Diana Hyland as Mickey Lubitch
- Ralph Bellamy
- P.J. Soles
- Kelly Ward
- Vernee Watson-Johnson (as Vernee Watson)
The "Bubble Boy" who inspired this film, David Vetter, questioned the film's depiction of how sterile Tod's use of the spacesuit was. Vetter scoffed at the idea that Travolta's character could simply wear the space suit back into the isolator without contaminating the bubble.
The film was nominated for four Emmy Awards, 29th Primetime Emmy Awards for Hyland.
Days after Presidency of Bill Clinton, William Safire reported on the phrase "boy in the bubble" as used in erence to living in the White House.< name="safire"></> Safire traced that usage in U.S. presidential politics to a passage in the 1990 political memoir What I Saw at the Revolution
by Peggy Noonan, where she used it to characterize Ronald Reagan's "wistfulness about connection"; Richard Ben Cramer used the phrase two years later in What It Takes: The Way to the White House
with erence to George H. W. Bush and how he had been "cosseted and cocooned in comfort by 400 people devoted to his security" and "never s[aw] one person who was not a friend or someone whose sole purpose it was to serve or protect him."< name="safire"/> Noonan's use was a erence to The Boy in the Plastic Bubble
The film inspired the first song on the 1986 Paul Simon album Graceland (album)
.< name="AMTP"></> In 1992, the film's premise was satirized in the The Bubble Boy (Seinfeld episode) of Seinfeld
. It was also the subject of the 2001 comedic remake Bubble Boy (film)
and the 2007 musical In the Bubble
produced by American Music Theatre Project and featuring a book (musical theatre) by Rinne Groff, music by Michael Friedman (composer) and Joe Popp and lyrics by Friedman, Groff and Popp.</>
- Bubble boy (disambiguation)
- List of television films produced for American Broadcasting Company
Category:1976 television films
Category:1970s romantic drama films
Category:American television films
Category:American romantic drama films
Category:Films directed by Randal Kleiser