The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes
Synopsis of Movie
If you’re looking for higher education with a liberal dose of wacky shenanigans, consider Medfield College. The 1960’s brought this fictional Disney campus two outrageous bouts with super-bouncy flubber, but even the departure of a certain absent-minded professor did nothing to change Medfield’s reputation.
1970 ushered in the era of Dexter Riley at Medfield. As played by a young Kurt Russell, Dexter wasn’t a bad kid. He just had a knack for the odder branches of science, as well as the unfortunate habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (the first of three Dexter Riley films), Dexter and his fellow students overhear short-tempered Dean Higgins chewing out Professor Quigley when the kindly professor requests a computer. The kids pool their ample brainpower and come up with a keen solution: Instead of asking for money, what if the school asked rich local businessman A.J. Arno to donate a computer? Arno is more than willing, and the science department gets its coveted piece of hardware, but then the inevitable Medfield Shenanigan Effect kicks in.
As Dexter attempts to repair the giant computer, a bolt of lightning strikes the machine, and Dexter’s brain is suddenly filled with the contents of the computer’s hard drive. Dean Higgins sees a profit potential in Dexter’s newfound abilities, and the brainy college student is soon signed up for a big-money quiz show.
Unfortunately, the computer also held the secrets of Arno’s illegal operations, and every time Dexter hears the word “applejack” (which happens surprisingly often during the show), the kid is forced to spill his memory banks. Naturally, this doesn’t sit well with Arno, and the crooked tycoon will stop at nothing to silence Dexter…
Like its Medfield College predecessors, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes was a light-hearted romp that was heavy on slapstick. The formula still held up, and the movie became a modest hit for Disney. Dexter’s unorthodox science experiments continued in 1971’s Now You See Him, Now You Don’t and 1975’s The Strongest Man in the World, helping launch the early career of future action hero Kurt Russell (and helping sink the academic reputation of poor Medfield).
The original film was remade as a 1995 TV movie, with former Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron filling in Dexter’s tennis shoes.
Movie Release History1970 - The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes
1972 - Now You See Him, Now You Don't
1975 - The Strongest Man in the World
Movie Sub Categorieslive-action
CastA.J. Arno Cesar Romero
Dexter Riley Kurt Russell
Dean Higgins Joe Flynn
Professor Quigley William Schallert
Dean Collingswood Alan Hewitt
Chillie Walsh Richard Bakalyan
Annie Debbie Paine
Pete Frank Webb
Schuyler Michael McGreevey
Bradley Jon Provost
Henry (voice) Frank Welker
Kyles Alexander Clarke
Angelo Bing Russell
Moderator Pat Harrington Jr.
Little Mac Fabian Dean
Sigmund Van Dyke Fritz Feld
Lt. Hannah Pete Rendoudet
J. Reedy Hillyard Anderson
Moderator Howard Culver
Man with Umbrella Bruce Rhodewalt