The Point! is a fable and the sixth album by American songwriter and musician Harry Nilsson about a boy named Oblio, the only round-headed person in the Pointed Village, where by law everyone and everything had to have a point.
There have been at least three iterations of The Point!, each featuring songs written by Nilsson to accompany the story: an animated film, an album, and a musical play.
The round-headed Oblio has had to wear a pointed hat since birth to conceal his "pointless" condition from his pointy-headed peers. However, Oblio is accepted in the town despite his nonconformity until one day when the son of an evil count is unwittingly dishonored by Oblio. The count's son challenges Oblio to a one-on-one game of Triangle Toss where participants catch triangles on their heads. Oblio wins with the help of his dog Arrow. In a fit of rage the count, who wants his son to rule the land one day, confronts the good-hearted but timid king to reaffirm the law of the land, which states that those who are pointless must be banished from the kingdom and into the Pointless Forest. A jury reluctantly convicts both Oblio and Arrow leaving the king no choice but to send the pair away.
Oblio and Arrow are sent to the Pointless Forest, but soon discover that even the Pointless Forest has a point. They meet curious creatures like giant bees, a "pointed man" pointing in all directions who proclaims "A point in every direction is the same as no point at all", a man made of rock, three dancing fat sisters, and the man made out of leaves who helps Oblio see that everyone has a point, though it might not be readily displayed.
Oblio and Arrow spend the night in the Pointless Forest, then awaken to a large stone hand with the finger pointing to their "destination". They take the road indicated by the hand and make their way back to the Land of Point, where they receive a hero's welcome from the land's citizens, and the king. Oblio begins to tell his story but is interrupted by the furious count, who is then silenced by the king.
Oblio tells the king and the people of the land that everything has a point, including the Pointless Forest, and himself. Angered, the count pulls off Oblio's pointed hat but is taken aback when he sees a point on top of Oblio's bare head.
Upon this revelation the points of everyone else in the land disappear and pointed buildings become round.
Harry Nilsson said of his inspiration for The Point, "I was on acid and I looked at the trees and I realized that they all came to points, and the little branches came to points, and the houses came to point. I thought, "Oh! Everything has a point, and if it doesn't, then there's a point to it."
The film version of The Point! first aired February 2, 1971, on the ABC television network as an ABC Movie of the Week. The film was directed by Fred Wolf and produced by Murakami-Wolf Films in association with Nilsson House Music. In this version, there is a framing device of a father telling his son the fable as a bedtime story. In its initial airing, the voice of the father was provided by Dustin Hoffman, but for contractual reasons later airings of the film could not use Hoffman's voice and it had to be re-recorded.
Dustin Hoffman as Narrator/Father (first telecast),
Alan Barzman as Narrator/Father (second telecast),
Alan Thicke as Narrator/Father (third telecast),
Ringo Starr as Narrator/Father (home video release),
Paul Frees as Oblio's Father/Pointed Man's Right Head/King/Leaf Man/Villagers,
Lennie Weinrib as Count,
William E. Martin as Rock Man,
Buddy Foster as Count's Son,
Joan Gerber as Oblio's Mother,
Mike Lookinland as Oblio,
The Nilsson album called The Point! features the same songs as the film, and the same basic fable. However, the framing device of the father and son is discarded, and Nilsson himself tells the story directly to the listener, providing all the characters' voices as well as the narration.
A comic storyboard was included with the vinyl record when it was first released.
All songs written and composed by Harry Nilsson.
"Everything's Got 'Em"
"The Town" (Narration)
"Me and My Arrow"
"The Game" (Narration)
"The Trial and Banishment" (Narration)
"Think About Your Troubles"
"The Pointed Man" (Narration)
"The Birds" (Narration)
"The Clearing in the Woods" (Narration)
"Are You Sleeping?"
"Oblio's Return" (Narration)
In the mid-1970s, Esquire Jauchem, artistic director of the Boston Repertory Theater, adapted and directed a stage musical version that starred 18-year-old David Morse as Oblio. The production later toured to the Trinity Square Repertory Company in Providence. In 1991, Nilsson gave Jauchem permission to present his adaptation of The Point! in a Hollywood workshop.
In 1977, a stage adaptation of The Point! was presented at the Mermaid Theatre in London. Featured in the cast were Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz, both former members of the band The Monkees and long-time friends of Nilsson. In order to accommodate the expansion of The Point! to a full-length musical, other Nilsson songs from various points in his career were incorporated. An original cast album was released in the United Kingdom by MCA.
Davy Jones as Oblio,
Micky Dolenz as Count's Kid and The Leafman,
Colin Bennett as The Count,
David Claridge as Arrow,
Veronica Clifford as Oblio's Mum, Balloon Lady,
Noel Howlett as The King,
Julia Lewis as Oblio's Girlfriend,
Clovissa Newcombe as Count's Lady, The Pointed Man,
Mark Penfold as The Pointed Man,
Felix Rice as The Rockman,
Chrissy Roberts as Balloon Lady,
Denny Ryder as The Pointed Man,
Roy Sampson as Oblio's Dad,
Gary Taylor as Balloon Man, New Bird,
Backing vocals were provided by Anna Macleod, Richard Barnes, and Jean Gilbert.
Directed by Colin Bennett,
Original adaptation by Ron Pember and Bernard Miles,
Designed by Peter Whiteman,
Lighting by Peter Sutton,
Choreography by Gillian Gregory,
Musical director Mike McNaught,
Track listing, original cast recording:
All titles were written by Harry Nilsson, except "Thursday" (Nilsson, Danny Kortchmar).
Overture - Orchestra,
"Everything's Got 'Em" - Company,
"Me and My Arrow" - Davy Jones,
"Poli High" - Company,
"Remember" - Veronica Clifford,
"To Be a King" - Noel Howlett and Company,
"He's Leaving Here This Morning (Bath)" - Micky Dolenz, Colin Bennett, Clovissa Newcombe,
"Think About Your Troubles" - Davy Jones and Company,
"Blanket For a Sail" - Davy Jones,
"Life Line" - Davy Jones',
"Thursday (Here's Why I Did Not Go to Work Today)" - Felix Rice,
"It's a Jungle Out There" - Micky Dolenz,
"P.O.V. Waltz" - Davy Jones and Company,
"Are You Sleeping? (Song Title)" - Davy Jones and Company,
"Gotta Get Up" - Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz,
Reprise Overture - Orchestra