The North Avenue Irregulars was one of many Disney Picture films that hit the big screen and later the small screen as part of Disney's television take over in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The film wasn't a huge box office success but it gained legs at home and became a fan favorite.
The story is based on a novel that Disney Pictures procured the rights to. The story was based on true events surrounding a preacher who in the 1960s battled against the Mafia in New York.
Disney of course made a lot of changes but at the core, the story remained the same. The Mafia was replaced with back street organized crime leaders with a main focus on gambling. The reverand played brilliantly by Edward Hermann begins to get his new church members, mainly the women of the church to start taking their community back.
Stealing the show, and lord if you have not seen this woman act you need to, is Cloris Leachman who plays Claire. The ragtag group of ladies that also includes Barbara Harris and Susan Clark work together and mostly apart as they can't get anything right brings a lot of fun comedic turns that only the early days of Disney films could.
Susan Clark would later star in the coming of age teen comedy Porky's as Cherry Forever while Karen Valentine would play Gigit. Another familar face, Alan Hale, Jr. also stars in the film. You probably remember him more for his role as Skipper Jonas Grumby or just "the Skipper" from Gilligans Island.
In the final scene, Disney spent $115,000 on 14 brand new vehicles that they destroyed in the final part of the film. At the time, it was incredibly new worthy.
If you get the chance to watch classic Disney films, this one is often overlooked but is right up there with films like The Shaggy Dog, Escape to Witch Mountain, and Darby O'Gill and the Little People, all of which have a home on Disney+.