"I was on acid and I looked at the trees and I realized that they all came to points, and the little branches came to points, and the houses came to point. I thought, 'Oh! Everything has a point, and if it doesn't, then there's a point to it.'" -- Harry Nilsson
There have been, so far, at least three different renditions of The Point!, each featuring songs written by Nilsson to accompany the story. There has been an animated film, an album, and a musical play.
The film version of The Point! first aired February 2, 1971, at 7:30pm on the ABC television network as a "movie of the week." The film was directed by Fred Wolf and produced by Murakami-Wolf Films in association with Nilsson House Music. In this version, there is a framing device of a father telling his son the fable as a bedtime story. In its initial airing, the voice of the father was provided by Dustin Hoffman, but for contractual reasons later airings of the film could not use Hoffman's voice and it had to be re-recorded. The initial re-recording was done by actor Alan Barzman. The VHS and DVD releases feature Ringo Starr as the father. Another version, seen on cable television in the 80s and 90s, featured narration by Alan Thicke. The voice of the son, and of Oblio, was provided by Mike Lookinland, an actor best known as young Bobby Brady on the television series The Brady Bunch.
A comic storyboard was included with the vinyl album when it was first released, enabling the listener to be more engaged in the story. Though Oblio has had to wear a cap to conceal his "pointless" condition, towards the end of the storyboard, his cap is removed, revealing a point on top of his head, and that the points of others in The Land of Point disappeared, implying that those who shunned Oblio are now pointless.
The production was extremely successful with the press and the Boston audience. Harry Nilsson, along with his wife Una, attended the opening and wore a sign to the party following the performance which read "I loved it!". The show also received positive reviews from critics:
"Extraordinarily attractive...joyous and imaginative songs" -Eliot Norton, Boston Herald-American
"Fantasy comes to life ....and it's a very different production, using techniques and devices you don't see on stage every day" - Associated Press
The same production later toured to the Trinity Square Repertory Company in Providence where it was again extremely well received by audiences and the critics.
In 1977, a stage adaptation of The Point! was presented at the Mermaid Theatre in London. Featured in the cast were Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz, both former members of the band The Monkees and long-time friends of Nilsson. In order to accommodate the expansion of The Point! to a full-length musical, other Nilsson songs from various points in his career were incorporated. An original cast album was released in the United Kingdom by MCA.
In 1991, Nilsson gave Esquire Jauchem permission to present his adaptation of The Point! in a Hollywood workshop. It was nominated as musical of the year and once again it received very good reviews:
"A well rounded POINT....the multilayered odyssey, with its jazz riffs and dreamy musical segues, satiric references to censorship, lawyers and politics, succeeds as an allegory....Nilsson's fabulous, quirkly songs" - L.A. Times
All titles written by Harry Nilsson, except "Thursday" (Nilsson, Danny Kortchmar)