The Point!

The Point!
The Point!
Studio album by Harry Nilsson
Released 1971
Recorded Unknown
Genre Pop music
Length 35:43
Label RCA Victor
Producer Harry Nilsson
Harry Nilsson chronology
Nilsson Sings Newman
The Point!
Aerial Pandemonium Ballet
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]

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.

"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.'" – Harry Nilsson[2]

There have been, so far, at least three different renditions of The Point!, each featuring songs written by Nilsson to accompany the story. There has been 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 in the land is unwittingly dishonored by Oblio. The Count's son challenges Oblio to a one-on-one game of Triangle Toss (where participants catch the triangle on their heads), which Oblio wins. In a fit of rage, the Count (who wants his son to rule the land one day) confronts the King, who is a good 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 his dog Arrow (who helped him win the Triangle Toss), 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 (as in reason) 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 heroes' 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. Unable to stand hearing what he believes is nonsense any longer, 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 disappeared, and pointed buildings became round. With the exception of Oblio. His cap is removed only to discover that while everyone and everything else is becoming round; he has developed a point.

Animated film

The Point!
Directed by Fred Wolf
Produced by Jerry D. Good
Larry Gordon
Harry Nilsson
Fred Wolf
Jimmy T. Murakami
Written by Harry Nilsson (story)
Carole Beers (story)
Harry Nilsson (original fable)
Norm Lenzer (screenplay)
Fred Wolf (additional story development)
Narrated by Ringo Starr (home video release)
Alan Barzman (2nd telecast)
Dustin Hoffman (1st telecast)
Alan Thicke (3rd telecast)
Starring Ringo Starr (home video release)
Paul Frees
Lennie Weinrib
William E. Martin
Buddy Foster
Joan Gerber
Mike Lookinland
Alan Barzman (2nd telecast)
Dustin Hoffman (1st telecast)
Alan Thicke (3rd telecast)
Music by Harry Nilsson
Editing by Rich Harrison
Production company Murakami-Wolf Productions
Country United States
Language English
Original channel ABC[3]
Release date February 2, 1971[3]
Running time 74 min.


The film version of The Point! first aired February 2, 1971,[3] at 7:30pm on the ABC television network as an ABC Movie of the Week — the first animated special to receive a prime time broadcast in the U.S.[3] 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. The initial re-recording was done by actor Alan Barzman. The VHS and DVD releases feature Ringo Starr as the father. Another version, seen on cable television in the '80s and '90s, featured narration by Alan Thicke. The voice of the son, and of Oblio, was provided by Mike Lookinland, an actor best known as Bobby Brady on the television series The Brady Bunch.

Voice Cast


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, enabling the listener to be more engaged in the story.

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Harry Nilsson

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Everything's Got 'Em"   2:25
2. "The Town" (Narration) 1:31
3. "Me and My Arrow"   2:04
4. "The Game" (Narration) 1:49
5. "Poli High"   2:41
6. "The Trial and Banishment" (Narration) 2:11
7. "Think About Your Troubles"   2:49
Side two
No. Title Length
8. "The Pointed Man" (Narration) 2:42
9. "Life Line"   2:21
10. "The Birds" (Narration) 1:58
11. "P.O.V. Waltz"   2:12
12. "The Clearing in the Woods" (Narration) 1:53
13. "Are You Sleeping?"   2:17
14. "Oblio's Return" (Narration) 3:08

Musical play

In 1975, Esquire Jauchem, Artistic Director of the Boston Repertory Theater, approached Harry Nilsson about creating a stage musical of "The Point!" Although Nilsson said he had been asked many times and had always turned down the request, this time he granted his permission. Esquire Jauchem adapted and directed the production which starred 18-year-old David Morse (who went on to star in St. Elsewhere and many other roles) as Oblio.

The production was extremely successful with the press and the Boston audience. Harry Nilsson, along with his wife Una, attended the opening and wore a sign to the party following the performance which read "I loved it!". The show also received positive reviews from critics:

"Extraordinarily attractive...joyous and imaginative songs" – Eliot Norton, Boston Herald-American

"Fantasy comes to life ....and it's a very different production, using techniques and devices you don't see on stage every day – Associated Press

The same production later toured to the Trinity Square Repertory Company in Providence where it was again extremely well received by audiences and the critics.

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.

In 1991, Nilsson gave Esquire Jauchem permission to present his adaptation of The Point! in a Hollywood workshop. It was nominated as musical of the year and once again it received very good reviews:

"Imaginatively adapted...blends broad acting, balloon characters, Bunraku style puppetry, fog effects, strobe lighting and choreography by former Martha Graham troupe member Janet Eilber" – Time

"A well rounded POINT....the multilayered odyssey, with its jazz riffs and dreamy musical segues, satiric references to censorship, lawyers and politics, succeeds as an allegory....Nilsson's fabulous, quirkly songs" – L.A. Times

London credits

  • 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.


Track listing, original cast recording

All titles were written by Harry Nilsson, except "Thursday" (Nilsson, Danny Kortchmar).

  1. Overture – Orchestra
  2. "Everything's Got 'Em" – Company
  3. "Me and My Arrow" – Davy Jones
  4. "Poli High" – Company
  5. "Remember" – Veronica Clifford
  6. "To Be a King" – Noel Howlett and Company
  7. "He's Leaving Here This Morning (Bath)" – Micky Dolenz, Colin Bennett, Clovissa Newcombe
  8. "Think About Your Troubles" – Davy Jones and Company
  9. "Blanket For a Sail" – Davy Jones
  10. "Life Line" – Davy Jones'
  11. "Thursday (Here's Why I Did Not Go to Work Today)" – Felix Rice
  12. "It's a Jungle Out There" – Micky Dolenz
  13. "P.O.V. Waltz" – Davy Jones and Company
  14. "Are You Sleeping? (Song Title)" – Davy Jones and Company
  15. "Gotta Get Up" – Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz
  16. Reprise Overture – Orchestra


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Jacobson, Alan (May 2004). "What's The Point? The Legendary 1971 Animated Feature on DVD". Bright Lights Film Journal (44). ISSN 0147-4049. 
  3. ^ a b c d Slide, Anthony (1991). The Television Industry: A Historical Dictionary. Greenwood Press. p. 181. ISBN 0-313-25634-9. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 

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