- Bing Crosby produced the 1971 movie Willard:
- Willard spawned a sequel, Ben:
- Ben, the theme song of the movie, became the first number one solo hit for Michael Jackson.
Willard is a social misfit with a strange affinity for rats. He lives in a large mansion, accompanied only by his cranky and decrepit mother. His best companion is a white rat he finds and later names Socrates for his wisdom; numerous other rats come to him, one of which is a giant specimen he names Ben. Willard's talking to his rats, however, leads to his mother's death and further pressure from the banks to give up the house. When his boss bludgeons Socrates to death, he trains his rats to follow his commands and kills the man. Ben, however, jealous of his favoritism towards Socrates, eventually turns on Willard.
A lonely boy befriends the rat that leads the swarm of trained/telepathic rats found in Willard. This rat, whom the boy names Ben, becomes the boy's best friend and keeps his spirits up in the face of bullying. However, the balance of power between the human and rat begins to shift, with Ben beginning to control the boy and the swarm becoming increasingly irrational and violent. Eventually, the police destroy many members of the rat colony, while others are sent to testing labs; Ben, however, survives.