Monday, September 15, 2014

Meher Baba in Harry and Tonto

In the photo below, in the background, is the Don't Worry Be Happy Baba poster that appeared in the 1974 Academy Award winning film Harry and Tonto.

Art Carney and Josh Mostel in Paul Mazursky's 1974 Harry and Tonto
A few items of worthwhile trivia.

Art Carney won an Academy Award for his role as the aging uprooted retiree Harry Coombes, who finds himself on a spiritual journey across America. He passed away in 2003.

Josh Mostel (also seen above), still acting, more famously played King Herod in the film Jesus Christ Superstar the previous year.

Larry Hagman, who plays Harry's son in the film, passed away in 2012. He lived the last decades of his life right next to Meher Mount, where Baba visited, in Ojai, California.

Director Paul Mazursky explains in the features of the extended DVD the reason he put the poster of Baba in the shot. He said someone had handed him a Don't Worry Be Happy card in the 1960s and he had carried it in his wallet all his life, often taking it out and reading it for inspiration. When he made the film he went and bought the poster of the same image personally for the scene. John Page of Los Angeles still remembers Mr. Mazursky coming into the bookstore where he was working and purchasing the poster.

Paul Mazursky recently passed away. In the Hollywood Reporter article Paul Mazursky Remembered by Mel Brooks and Richard Dreyfuss, they mention that a poster of Meher Baba was on the stage on an easel at his funeral service and no one knew why. It was undoubtedly the same one used in Harry and Tonto. There were 300 in attendance. Probably his surviving wife Betsy (61) is the only one who knows for certain. Mel Brooks described Mazursky as "the best capturer of human behavior on film."

Harry and Tonto was Kitty Davy's favorite film.


  1. Also of note -the Meher Baba poster was relevant to the story as Josh's character was keeping a vow of silence in these scenes!

  2. one of my favorite flicks......How could it not be?.....I love Meher Baba, cats and Art Carney....