August 01, 1994 12:00 PM

(Disney, Sun., July 31, 7 p.m. ET)


The title of this movie may imply something more apt for the Playboy Channel, but it’s a charming children’s film, ideal for baby-sitting purposes. Based on a novella by Sid Fleischman, it is the tale of an 18th-century urchin (Truan Munro) who gets caught up in misadventure when a bratty young prince (Nic Knight) forces him to be his whipping boy (the one who takes a disciplinary beating for the prince). Munro escapes with the prince in tow, encountering such characters as Blind George (George C. Scott) and evil highwaymen (Vince Schiavelli, Kevin Conway) and teaching his royal companion a few lessons in life.

This is the kind of sweet, predictable story with lots of exaggerated acting that adults may find tedious but young kids will probably find engaging. It’s lively, colorful and never overly preachy. For parents too tired to read a bedtime story, The Whipping Boy could make a nice substitute.

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