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Happy Mother's Day, Love George (1973)

PG | | Mystery | 17 August 1973 (USA)
A teenage drifter becomes embroiled in the lives and mysteries of the residents in a small coastal fishing village while searching for his family roots.


Darren McGavin


Robert Clouse


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Cast overview:
Patricia Neal ... Cara Perry
Cloris Leachman ... Ronda Carlson
Bobby Darin ... Eddie Martin
Tessa Dahl ... Celia Perry
Ron Howard ... Johnny Hanson
Kathie Browne ... Crystal
Joseph Mascolo ... Piccolo (as Joe Mascolo)
Simon Oakland ... Sheriff Roy
Thayer David ... Minister Pollard
Gale Garnett ... Yolanda Perry
Ron Applegate Ron Applegate ... Porgie Perry
Jan Rooney Jan Rooney ... Florence (as Jan Chamberlain)
Gerald E. Forbes Gerald E. Forbes ... Bomber
Orest Ulan Orest Ulan ... Preacher
Clarence Greene Jeans Clarence Greene Jeans ... Mr. Mears


A teenage drifter becomes embroiled in the lives and mysteries of the residents in a small coastal fishing village while searching for his family roots.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

17 August 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Run Stranger Run See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Taurean See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Producer/director Darren McGavin actually does make an (uncredited) appearance in this film, wearing a mustache in photographs depicting the long dead title character. See more »

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User Reviews

Impressive effort from director Darren McGavin
13 February 2016 | by kevinolzakSee all my reviews

Darren McGavin enjoyed a lengthy career as one of Hollywood's most likable and dependable performers, best remembered as intrepid reporter Carl Kolchak in the film and TV series of THE NIGHT STALKER. It may be a surprise to learn that he, like Larry Hagman, directed a single horror film in his heyday, and never did a second (in Hagman's case it was "Son of Blob"). 1973's "Happy Mother's Day, Love George" was of course a torturous title, soon reissued as "Run Stranger Run," under which it was seen far more often. McGavin proves to have a fine visual sense, and allows his powerhouse cast to bring their characters to vivid life, from a script by Robert Clouse, who had previously written McGavin's 1972 Steven Spielberg telefeature "Something Evil," soon to graduate to director himself with Bruce Lee's final film "Enter the Dragon." Fifth billed Ron Howard, after "American Graffiti" but before HAPPY DAYS (his name now shortened from 'Ronny'), actually stars as drifter Johnny Hanson, journeying from Los Angeles to the New England town of Malone Bay (filming in Nova Scotia) to discover the truth about his parents, who gave him up for adoption right after he was born. Cloris Leachman's café owner, Ronda Carlson, recognizes the young man as her son the moment he walks in, driving her cook, Eddie Malone (Bobby Darin), into fits of jealousy. From there, Johnny locates the home of Ronda's estranged sister, Cara Perry (Patricia Neal), and especially Cara's nubile teenage daughter Celia (played by Neal's real life daughter Tessa Dahl), who admits to her cousin her instant attraction and unbearable loneliness. The film moves at a leisurely pace, McGavin happy to indulge his cast in maintaining intrigue despite the more familiar elements. As things escalate into full on horror during the final half hour, only the final encounter between Johnny and the killer rings false, the director seemingly losing interest in a clear denouement. Still, the atmosphere, the banjo-led folksy music score, and the believable performances make up for any shortcomings in the script. Simon Oakland, soon to join McGavin in the KOLCHAK series, makes his final screen appearance as the sheriff, who seems to know everything about everyone, even the identity of Johnny's father, while Bobby Darin would pass away only months after the picture's sparse release. The director's comely wife, Kathie Browne, shows up briefly to become a murder victim, while Gale Garnett, nearly 10 years after her big hit "We'll Sing in the Sunshine," also comes to a bad end by pushing the desperate culprit into a corner (she had another horror film still ahead, 1980's "The Children"). The greatest impression is left by the lovely Tessa Dahl, only 16 at the time, making it a shame that she forsook her mother's profession of acting to follow that of her father, author Roald Dahl (her daughter is gorgeous model Sophie Dahl). After 30 years of performing in Hollywood, Darren McGavin had what it took to be a director of great promise, but like so many before him left audiences wondering what kind of impact he might have had behind the camera had this initial film found proper distribution, admittedly a tough film to market. Lastly, he does make an uncredited appearance on screen, unrecognizable wearing a mustache in photographs depicting the title character of George Perry, Cara's long dead husband.

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