Gone Are the Dayes, the second Disney Channel Premiere Film ever made, was directed by Gabrielle Beaumont and written by William Bleich and Jim Brecher. The title is a pun, as the central family’s last name is Daye, and they are gone.
We find out in the first few minutes of the movie that the Dayes (mom, dad, two kids) are going to be gone because they witness a shooting while eating out. Awaiting trial, the family must enter the witness protection program to avoid the mob. With the direction of relocation agent Charlie Mitchell (Harvey Korman), the Dayes depart New York for Missouri. Just when they’re settling into their new lives, Mrs. Daye has a “no nukes” rally and blows their cover. This pattern continues, with someone in the family inadvertently giving them away in Colorado, Texas, and even on a Caribbean cruise. The Dayes finally settle in with relatives in Montebello, California.
The crime bosses track them down in Cali, too, kidnapping the Dayes’ son and holding him for ransom. I have to say, I’m not a fan of the kidnapping storylines I’ve seen in some of these ’80s and ’90s films. Thankfully, the authorities show up to apprehend the mobsters and return the boy to his parents.
The movie ends with the Dayes on a government-funded vacation, but they witness another crime, opening the door for a sequel film that didn’t ever happen. If you’ve ever seen Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen as Maddie and Abby Parker in Our Lips Are Sealed, then Gone Are the Dayes might sound familiar. In the Olsen project, the twins and their family are in the witness protection program and keep blowing their cover. The last available place for them to hide is Australia, where they still can’t outrun a jewel thief and his henchmen. I can’t help but wonder if the writers of Our Lips Are Sealed were Disney Channel subscribers in the ’80s who subconsciously were inspired by Gone Are the Dayes. Probably not, but you never know.
Gone Are the Dayes is not on Disney+, but you can find a grainy copy online if you’re curious about this piece of 1984 Disney Channel history.