Follow TV Tropes


Film / The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes

Go To

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 Riley, 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 Riley.

The students of Medfield College, headed by Dexter, coerce wealthy businessman A.J. Arno to donate an old computer to the college, which he secretly used as part of an illegal gambling ring. While installing a replacement computer part during a thunderstorm, Riley is zapped and becomes a human computer. He now has superhuman mathematical talent, can read and remember the contents of an encyclopedia volume in a few minutes, and speak a language fluently after reading one textbook. His new abilities make Riley a worldwide celebrity, and Medfield's best chance to win a televised quiz tournament with a $100,000 prize.


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 in 1975.

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.
  • Bookends: The film begins and ends with Dexter and his friends listening in on a conversation Dean Higgins is having in his office.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: A.J. Arno is pretty upfront about his sliminess behind closed doors.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: In the 1995 remake, Dexter'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.
  • Advertisement:
  • Cool Teacher: Professor Quigley is an encouraging and intelligent mentor figure even before Dexter gets his intelligence.
  • Dean Bitterman: Dean Higgins is a pessimistic guy who doesn't like his students that much.
  • The Dragon: Chillie Walsh to Arno, although he's more of a Mook Lieutenant and advisor than a thug.
  • 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.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Annie and Pete are viewed by some as being more savvy and proactive than Dexter before and after he gets the computer brain.
  • Ignored Expert: Dexter is brought in to consult on a diamond cutting. Even with his computer brain he gets ignored when he makes an odd suggestion, but and sure enough he was right and the diamond breaks due to being cut elsewhere.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: 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.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: When Chillie gets him and Dexter arrested, the cops let Dexter go after seeing all of the bail money his friends raised even though they're just a bit short (with the desk clerk adding in that money himself). Later, when Pete comes to them with Dexter's theories about Arno's gambling ring, they aren't disbelieving or dismissive, but they don't act on that information until they have some additional confirmation.
  • The Rival: Dean Collingsgood to Dean Higgins, who is happy at the idea of using Dexter to beat him in a competition.
  • Trigger Phrase: Saying "Applejack" around Dexter causes him to enter a trance in which he says aloud the data within the files A.J. Arno left inside the computer: the financial records of his illegal businesses.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: