The All-American Boy


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

"We may be through with the past, ...

but the past ain't through with us."

Dr. Bergen Evans,

"The Natural History of Nonsense"

The All-American Boy is one of those personal, character-driven, idiosyncratic stories about working class alienation that were so popular from the late fifties until the early seventies. Think Picnic with a 1970s facelift. A small-town boy (Jon Voight) uses boxing and his good looks to manipulate his way out of small-town life. It is actually an arty drama disguised as a boxing movie, and was almost withheld from distribution altogether by studio bosses who doubted the commercial appeal of this self-consciously intellectual film with a contemptuous view of an America populated by Yabbos who have no genuine values and are incapable of real love. The film sat on the shelves for many months and was finally released in 1973 when Voight's star was shining brightly after Deliverance. It turned out that the studio chiefs had been right all along. The film basically did nothing in its theatrical run, and didn't even have much of an post-theatrical afterlife since it was way too serious for the drive-in market and was a few years early for VHS success. In fact, I don't even remember ever having previously read about this film in my life. If I ever knew it existed, I had long since forgotten it until today.

But it stirred a memory ...

So many years ago that they are best counted in decades, I used to watch an obscure ABC television show called That's Life. The hook of this particular show was that it presented an original musical comedy each and every week. It was not a musical comedy review program, like Carol Burnett, but an actual plot-driven musical comedy, like Oklahoma or How to Succeed in Business ... In fact, it starred the very guy who had been a smash on Broadway in How to Succeed, Robert Morse, and it even featured guest appearances from the giants of musical theater, like Liza Minnelli. Although it was probably best described as a singing sitcom, it was in some other respects more like a soap opera than a sitcom. For example, the characters' lives progressed and developed dramatically. The lead couple started as dating singles, got married, had a baby, and so forth.

The show didn't last long, perhaps because the potential audience just was too small, or maybe because there was just nowhere to go with the concept, or maybe because it's impossible to write an hour's worth of terrific songs week after week, or maybe because ABC made the rather inexplicable decision to slot the show at 10:00 PM on Tuesday night, with a lead-in from Police Story. I suppose the ABC suits thought a Broadway musical was appropriate counter-programming, since the other networks were airing 60 Minutes and the second half of the Movie of the Week. Whatever the reasons, the show didn't catch on. I only watched it once or twice myself, although it hung in there from September until May.

The point of this reminiscence in this particular context is that the female star of That's Life was the same as the female star of the film I'm supposed to be writing about here. Her name was E.J. Peaker; she was cute and really filled out a blouse nicely. You probably don't remember her because her post-1973 career consisted of a game show here, a "Love American Style" there, and an obscure movie every few years. After having disappeared for a while, she made a brief comeback in the early years of this century, with her biggest role having been an impersonation of Natalie Schafer (Mrs. Lovey Howell) in Surviving Gilligan's Island: The Incredibly True Story of the Longest Three Hour Tour in History. I always wondered what E.J. looked like naked, and never realized that she did a fairly long nude scene in The All-American Boy. After all these years, after having forgotten all about her existence, I found myself looking at her fleshy breasts and buns some forty years after I found and lost the urge to see her naked.

We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.

Download INFO

Although this film is not on DVD, if you're genuinely interested in it, you can pick up various legal digital downloads from (info to left).






No English-language reviews online


4.4 IMDB summary (of 10)


No details available.


  • Jon Voight did a long pubic view, a brief wiener shot, and a butt shot as he entered a shower. Although Voight was a major star, this film is so obscure that this youthful nude scene is nearly forgotten.
  • E.J. Peaker shows breasts and buns.


Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


Despite the presence of Voight, the film is a prisoner of its times.

And it wasn't much appreciated even then.