|The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes|
1969 film poster
|Directed by||Robert Butler|
|Produced by||Bill Anderson|
|Written by||Joseph L. McEveety|
|Music by||Robert F. Brunner|
|Cinematography||Frank V. Phillips|
|Edited by||Cotton Warburton|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
|Box office||$5.5 million (US/ Canada rentals)|
The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes is a 1969 American comedy film starring Kurt Russell, Cesar Romero, Joe Flynn and William Schallert. It was produced by Walt Disney Productions and distributed by Buena Vista Distribution Company as part of "The Last Laughs of the 1960s"[clarification needed].
It was one of several films made by Disney using the setting of Medfield College, first used in the 1961 Disney film The Absent-Minded Professor and its sequel Son of Flubber. Now You See Him Now You Don't and The Strongest Man in the World, both sequels to The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, were also set at Medfield.
Dexter Riley (Kurt Russell) and his friends attend small, private Medfield College, which cannot afford to buy a computer. The students persuade wealthy businessman A.J. Arno (Cesar Romero) to donate an old computer to the college. Arno is the secret head of a large illegal gambling ring, which used the computer for its operations.
While installing a replacement part during a thunderstorm, Riley receives an electric shock 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 can 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.
Riley single-handedly leads Medfield's team in victories against other colleges. During the tournament, a trigger word causes Riley to unknowingly recite on television details of Arno's gambling ring. Arno's henchmen kidnap Riley and plan to kill him, but his friends help him escape. Arno's home is being painted, and in the rescue effort, Riley's friends put paint in the gas tanks of the henchmen's cars, causing them not to start, and following a brief chase in his own car, Arno ends up in a pile of hay.
During the escape, Riley suffers a concussion which, during the tournament final against rival Springfield State, gradually returns his mental abilities to normal; one of his friends, however, is able to answer the final question ("What is the geographic center of the contiguous United States?"). Medfield wins the $100,000 prize. Arno and his henchmen are arrested when they attempt to escape the TV studio and crash head-on into a police car.
* Not credited on-screen.
Other Disney Channel films carrying similar plot elements were the Not Quite Human film series, which aired in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The films were based on the series of novels with the same name.
The animated title sequence, by future Academy Award-winning British visual effects artist Alan Maley, reproduced the look of contemporary computer graphics using stop-motion photography of paper cutouts. It has been cited as an early example of "computational kitsch."