The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969)

Some college students manage to persuade the town’s big businessman, A. J. Arno, to donate a computer to their college. When the problem- student, Dexter Riley, tries to fix the computer, he gets an electric shock and his brain turns to a computer; now he remembers everything he reads. Unfortunately, he also remembers information which was in the computer’s memory, like the illegal business Arno is involved in.

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Enjoyable, watchable for adults as well as young people

1 October 2000 | by agentr63 (Colorado) – See all my reviews

I remember seeing this as a kid in the theatre, and saw it again for the first time in many years on cable recently. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it after all this time. Russell’s performance is quite believable, despite the fantastic story line. Really good entertainment, and blows away much of the modern Disney entertainment provided these days, which is pretty nauseating.

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Another wonderful movie from Disney

10/10
Author: Andrew Towne from United States
28 August 2008
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Add this to the list of great non-animated Disney movies and TV shows of the fifties and sixties (some others are “Darbie O’Gill and the Little People,” “Follow Me, Boys,” “Spin and Marty,” and “The Hardy Boys.”) This is wholesome, fun, family entertainment. But it’s also witty, well-written and not overly sentimental. A nice slice of Americana at its best.

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Kurt Russell, so appealing as a child actor in “Follow Me, Boys,” returns to the screen as a nineteen-year-old (approximately) college student. His acting range is excellent, and he is accompanied by an able crew of supporting actors. Joe Flynn (who many will remember as the perpetually flustered captain in “McHale’s Navy”) is perfect as the dean of a private college that ranks low academically and in terms of financial resources in comparison to other colleges in the state — especially the state university. Flynn — in a sign of his college’s limited resources — drives what appears to be a Volkswagen Karman Ghia convertible. The driver’s-side interior door latch is broken, so he simply uses a rope to keep it closed.

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He complains that the state university is rolling in taxpayer money that his private college can’t lay its hands on, and rants and raves in a meeting of the college board of directors about the unfairness of that and about how the president of the state university is “greedy.” The students overhear all of this through a bug they’ve planted in the dean’s office. The dean, having declared that the school can’t afford a computer that one of the professors wants, goes on to mention the names of some of the students he thinks should be put on academic probation.

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Hearing all of this, the students decide to try to get the computer themselves. What follows is a comedy of mishaps, misunderstandings and odd coincidences that is very entertaining. The overall theme — that friendship is more important than money, fame and prestige — is well supported by the plotting and character development in the movie.

This movie, in my opinion, is worth watching more than once. Part of its charm is that the conception of what a computer was and could do was so different in 1969 than it is today.

All in all, I highly recommend “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes.”

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The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes

Author: thekyrose from United States
21 June 2008

When compared with modern movies, yes, it *does* fall short. However, it must be viewed with the genre and era it was made in. It’s simply another of those “60’s feel good movies” types. In a time when the country was in a turmoil and college campuses were a hotbed of controversy, this movie (and it’s 2 sequels) chose to portray the college scene somewhat rosier than reality. So what? Disney did that a lot with his movies.Disney movie versions of many classic stories always were white-washed,sanitized versions of themselves. Remember the Jungle Book? It was a far cry from the original Kipling tale. This came out at, or near the time of the “Kent State” mess. Dates about it vary from placing it in 1969 or 1970. Whenever it actually played, it came at the end of a very turbulent time in America’s history. I feel that audiences were looking forward to seeing a nice, quiet view of college life, however naive.

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A Disney Date for Kurt Russell, Frank Webb and Jon Provost

6/10
Author: wes-connors from Los Angeles
18 April 2010

Squeaky-clean cut collegiate Kurt Russell (as Dexter Reilly) downloads data from his campus computer, and becomes a “cause celebre” by demonstrating his improved mental gymnastics. “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes” continues the Disney studio’s successful run of comedies featuring good-looking youngsters, great character actors, and a plot providing its star with a super-human strength. The first follow-up film had Mr. Russell discovering how to become invisible. Since it’s a Disney film, the characters aren’t too quick with the obvious (like the invisible hanging out in the girls’ locker room), but everything is certainly likable.

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The film is chock full of familiar favorites, like veteran Cesar Romero (as A.J. Arno), Joe Flynn (from “McHale’s Navy”), and William Schallert (from “The Patty Duke Show”). Getting to play in roommate Russell’s top bunk is handsome blond Frank Webb (as Pete Oaks), who also joined Russell and Medfield College co-star Jon Provost (as Bradley) in the pages of “16” and “Tiger Beat”. The teen magazines duly noted the presence of three of their own in one film. Mr. Provost had background fame as the second kid to own TV’s “Lassie” and Mr. Webb ended his career tragically. Both feature prominently in the film’s relatively fun conclusion.

****** The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (12/31/69) Robert Butler ~ Kurt Russell, Frank Webb, Cesar Romero, Jon Provost.

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Great fun in an era when Disney actually made family films that families could view

Author: HobbitHole from Czech Republic
25 June 2008

People who are putting down this film as not good enough to ‘show it’s face in the theater’ are showing their extreme ignorance.

These movies were made for family audiences and rebroadcast on Walt Disney’s television program which highlighted family oriented movies with cast members that even signed morals clauses that they wouldn’t act up (see Lindsey Lohan, etc. in these days) and trash the Disney image as being a family movie business.

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Early on Disney had just made shorts and TV shows. In the late fifties they started making full-length films like ‘The Shaggy Dog’ with Fred MacMurray. It was so successful, it started something. Fred MacMurray was asked to do more films.

The Absent-Minded Professor (remade later with Robin Williams in the lead role in ‘Flubber’) was one of the successful movies made by Disney that was then edited for their TV audience.

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It not only spawned a sequel, “Son of Flubber”, but many more family films and comedies that were designed to help people forget their problems, while at the same time the commercials advertised Disneyland.

Disney was ahead of his time in providing programming in what were essentially well-made advertisements for families to enjoy and be reminded about visiting Disneyland, his ‘family fun park’.

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This light-hearted, fun comedy featured Kurt Russell in the early days of computers (pre-internet)getting the computer’s full knowledge into his head.

In the remake (with Kirk Cameron) they updated it to the Internet infiltrating the student’s mind and a ‘super-hacker’ from the opposing school (who’s dean ironically is past Disney star Dean Jones) who seeks to hack Cameron’s brain and stop his ‘brilliance’.

The first of the three films that revolve around Dexter Riley (Russell), the dean (Joe E. Flynn), and friends is also the best done, though the others are enjoyable too. (‘Now You See Him, Now You Don’t’ and ‘Strongest Man In the World’ are part of this three movie series)

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It also teaches the value of humility. Riley did nothing to gain his knowledge, yet he became proud of how smart he was. He had to learn humility and how to treat his friends if he wanted to keep them. Good lessons to learn.

The Disney television films were made for families and are much better than the stuff made today for ‘families’ including politically correct films, sexually explicit, nasty language and all the other things that supposedly makes them more ‘modern’.

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Disney TV temporarily stopped around 1975. They have made some films since then that were still family oriented, though people that followed Walt and then Roy Disney didn’t have the same ideas about films and the value of good stories.

Enter the Michael Eisner era…remaking classics and making part 2 stories of classics that have no basis in classic books and WERE released direct to video or DVD. Even marginal animated hits got sequels made. Actual hits like Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, got several (part 2 of Aladdin was a real turkey).

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Several of the older Disney films were remade for a ‘revived’ TV program. The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes was one of the better attempts. I would say only a handful were watchable in their ‘updated’ form. They made kids have to act like adults while the adults act like kids (this might be a clever plot line in ‘Freaky Friday’, but when it enters into other stories, it’s hard to make out who is supposed to be adult and who are kids.

No wonder kids today are forced to face problems beyond their years. They can’t even escape it in the so-called ‘escape films’ on TV or in the movies these days (with rare exceptions).

It takes exceptions like Pirates of the Caribbean or The Chronicles of Narnia to remind Disney that people still like well-made escape films that are wholesome and uplifting for the whole family.

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