Film: The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes
The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes
was a 1969 comedy film released by Walt Disney Productions. It is the first of a trilogy of films starring Kurt Russell
as Dexter Reilly, a college student at Medfield College, which was seen previously in The Absent-Minded Professor
and its sequel Son Of Flubber
. The film was remade in 1995, with Kirk Cameron as Dexter Reilly.
In the film, the students at Medfield College are faced with a problem; Dean Eugene Higgins, their college dean is adamant about the decision of purchasing a computer for the science class despite the pleas of the science teacher Professor Quigley. However, thanks to a walkie talkie cleverly hidden in the room, the students are able to listen to every detail of Higgins's meeting with the other college deans. When Higgins firmly makes clear that he will not purchase a computer, one of the students, Dexter Reilly, gets the idea that his old boss, A.J. Arno, would be glad to donate a computer to the college. After Mr. Arno gladly accepts the offer to donate the computer, however, it is revealed after the students leave that he is actually the leader of a gambling ring, and the computer that he donates was actually used in all of their operations. After the students bring the computer into the science lab, Dexter offers to replace a part that blew a fuse. However, in the midst of installing the part during a thunderstorm, Dexter receives a shock from the storm that causes the computer's memories to become absorbed into him. As a result, Dexter now literally has the mind of a computer, which allows him to answer questions correctly as well as being able to remember everything from reading a single Encyclopedia. This also results in Dexter competing on a college quiz show for a $100,000 prize. Unfortunately, one answer during the program ("Applejack") causes Dexter to recite the codename "Applejack" along with the information of all of the places that A.J. Arno had gambled, which prompts Arno and his men to kidnap Dexter and kill him off. This prompts all of Dexter's friends from the college to save him, but unfortunately, the trunk in which Dexter is placed in falls out the window and hits the ground, which causes Dexter to suffer a mild concussion that reverts his mind back to the way it was before the incident with the computer. Despite this hindrance, Medfield is able win the college quiz show and A.J. Arno and his flunkies are arrested.
The success of this film spawned two sequels: Now You See Him, Now You Don't
in 1972 and The Strongest Man in the World
This movie contains the following examples of:
- Accidental Misnaming: After Dexter and his friends consult with A.J. Arno about the computer, Arno briefly mispronounces Dexter's name as Lester, prompting Dexter to correct him.
- Card-Carrying Villain: A.J. Arno
- Conspiracy Theorist: In the '90s Disney Channel remake the main character's best friend was a stereotypical college-age radical who, in a parody of Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories, believed that President William McKinley was actually killed by his vice president, Theodore Roosevelt.
- Cool Teacher: Professor Quigley
- Dean Bitterman: Dean Higgins
- The Dragon: Chillie Walsh to Arno.
- Five-Man Band:
- Gilligan Cut: When Professor Quigley is telling Dexter to study for the test, Dexter answers that he'll remember every answer. Cut to Dexter in his car struggling to remember every answer.
- Gone Horribly Right: After receiving the electric shock when replacing a part in the computer during a thunderstorm, Dexter is able to think like a computer, which gives him an advantage in just about every scientific field.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Dean Collingsgood tries to pull this off when Higgins catches him at the restaurant, which causes Collingsgood to tell Higgins that he's at the wrong place and that there's supposed to be a dinner party in his honor. Higgins sees right through him, however.
- The Rival: Dean Collingsgood to Dean Higgins.
- Unintentional Period Piece: Writ large. Obviously, any movie from 1969 about computers is going to suffer hugely from Technology Marches On. There's also some groovy '60s-ness.