- “Look, if you're afraid of something, you've got to stand and face it. Now run on son.”
- —Sam to Alan
Although Sam was a strict and firm man, due to his living class and years at Cliffside's school, he was nevertheless a wise father to Alan, loving him more than anyone else. Yet their relationship was strained because of Alan's inability to stand up to face his fears and his lack of interest in continuing family tradition by entering Cliffside, resulting in a falling out between them on the night Alan went missing.
In the alternate timeline, it was shown that Sam's love for his son was so great that he was willing to abandon everything in hopes of finding him. Alan's reaction to this news showed that he had no idea Sam loved him so much. After returning to 1969, when Alan reconciled with him, Sam took on a noticeably softer tone than he previously had in the movie and appeared to enjoy the idea of talking with Alan "father to son" rather than "man to man."
Sam enjoyed smoking a pipe, especially at work in the factory.
When not living in the finest mansion in the neighborhood, Sam was frequently at work managing Parrish Shoes Factory in Brantford, making the best shoes in New England. Following a run-in with Billy's gang, Sam sent Alan out of the factory before firing Carl Bentley for his prototype shoe damaging the factory machine (unaware it was actually that Alan placed the shoe on the conveyor). That night, Sam attended a party with Carol celebrating Brantford's growing economy as the guest of honor, leaving Alan at home.
Due to Alan's imprisonment within Jumanji's dimension, Sam and Carol were devastated at his disappearance, opening their time and money searching unsuccessfully for him and Sam even ended up losing his faith by having abandoned Parrish Shoes resulting in Brantford's economy collapsing. Sam eventually died and was buried with Carol a few years before Alan returned to the real world thanks to Judy Shepherd and Peter Shepherd playing Jumanji.
Due to the uncertainty of Alan's fate, rumours began to spread that the boy was murdered by his own parents and his remains hidden in the mansion, especially Sam. Even the only witness Sarah Whittle accepted this to be Alan's fate, but he refused to believe the ridiculous stories citing Sam was never the kind of man to do that.
When Alan and Sarah were transported back to 1969, the events were undone and picked up where they left off by Sam returning to the mansions to pick up his speech notes. Sam was alarmed that Alan immediately reconciled with him (unaware of the previous dramatic alternative lifestyle), but was nevertheless happy that their relationship had been healed and promised they would discuss their situation tomorrow. Before Sam left, Alan told him that he put the shoe on the conveyor belt, not Carl Bentley. Sam reacted calmly and said that he’s glad He took responsibility, then leaves.
As time flew by, Sam eventually retired and lived with Carol in Florida, while Alan and Sarah married and lived in the Parrish mansion while expecting their first child. Alan even took up Sam's mantle as CEO of Parrish Shoes. During the Christmas party of 1995, Alan had a phone conversation with his father about the success of their new hiking boot line but had to leave the call by reminding Sam that he would collect them from the airport before Christmas Day.
Sam is unseen in the Jumanji animated series, but he is referred to. When Alan first arrived in Jumanji 23 years before Judy and Peter found the game, Alan referred to his dad owing the (now closed) Parrish Shoe Company and later paid Trader Slick a large sum of dollars for a boat, which he knew he would have to explain to his dad somehow. He also refers to his dad as taking part in duck hunting season, referencing the Sam Parrish and Van Pelt dual role speculation.
Van Pelt's role in the 1995 film is believed to serve as an allegory for Sam Parrish's lesson about standing to face fears.
- The most obvious clue being the fact that both Van Pelt and Sam Parrish are played by Jonathan Hyde in the film.
- The other clues being when the hunter tells Sarah that he did not shoot her because he is hunting down Alan because Alan released him from the game (as part of the rules).
- It can also be noted that the clue that released the hunter related to the victim feeling like a child; part of the reason why Van Pelt is hunting him down because Alan is not man enough to face him, since Alan is always running away from him like a coward, akin to Sam Parrish inciting his son to follow his meaningful lesson about standing to face his fears.
- At the climax, Alan refuses to run off this time, admitting that even though he's still scared, he no longer finds in his heart to run away from what's he afraid of and instead face it to get it over with. Amazed, Van Pelt acknowledges Alan of finally acting like a real man, followed by Alan returning to 1969 and reconciling with his father to have a man to man talk later.
|Jumanji 1995 Film|
|Brantford Characters||Alan Parrish • Sarah Whittle • Judy Shepherd • Peter Shepherd • Sam Parrish • Carol Parrish • Carl Bentley • Nora Shepherd • Martha Shepherd • Jim Shepherd • General Angus Parrish • Caleb Sproul • Benjamin Sproul • Mrs. Thomas • Billy Jessup • Ralph Smigel|
|Animals||Rhinoceros • Elephant • Monkey • Crocodile • Lion • Bat • Mosquito • Spider • Pelican • Zebra|
|Vegetation||Pod • Purple Flower|
|Weather||Monsoon • Earthquake • Quicksand • Tornado • Thunderstorm|
|Objects||Jumanji (board game)|
|Locations||Jumanji Realm • Brantford • Parrish Mansion • Parrish Shoe Company • Sir Sav-A-Lot • Brantford Pawnshop|