Thursday, March 12, 2009

3/7/09: The Misadventures of Merlin Jones (1964)

This 1964 comedy bridges the gap between two of Disney's mad-scientist series—the two early-’60s Fred MacMurray "Flubber" movies (The Absent-Minded Professor, Son of Flubber) and the three early-’70s Kurt Russell "Dexter Reilly" movies (Now You See Him, Now You Don't). Like the Dexter Reilly movies, Merlin Jones (Tommy Kirk) is a teenaged science buff who gets himself into crazy mishaps by experimenting with science. In this, the first of two Merlin Jones (mis)adventures, the monkey shines arise from mind-reading and hypnosis, literally and respectively. Annette Funicello is the beautiful girlfriend Jennifer; Leon Ames is Judge Holmsby (in whose court Merlin continually finds himself); and there's a cute chimp in a jumpsuit.

I have NO idea how I missed these two movies, as they're exactly the kind of Disney romp I love. Only debit: I made the mistake of reading up on the film before I had finished watching it, so learning that Tommy Kirk was a homosexual pedophile became a little distracting. (Now I know why Disney discontinued Merlin Jones and went with Dexter Reilly!) But the movie is still a lot of fun and I can't wait to watch the sequel tomorrow, even though it's said to be inferior. Rating: 4/5.

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