The Info List - The Absent-Minded Professor

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The Absent-Minded Professor
The Absent-Minded Professor
is a 1961 American comic science fiction family film produced by Walt Disney Productions based on the short story "A Situation of Gravity" by Samuel W. Taylor. The title character was based in part on Hubert Alyea, a professor emeritus of chemistry at Princeton University, who was known as "Dr. Boom" for his explosive demonstrations. The film stars Fred MacMurray
Fred MacMurray
as Professor Ned Brainard. The film was a huge success at the box-office, and two years later became the first Disney film to have a sequel, 1963's Son of Flubber. The original 1961 film was one of the first Disney films to be colorized (for the 1986 video release), and, along with 1959's The Shaggy Dog and 1963's Son of Flubber, it is one of Disney's few black-and-white films to be produced after 1941.


1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Production notes 4 Awards 5 Releases 6 Comic book adaption 7 Legacy

7.1 Sequel 7.2 Remakes 7.3 Chemistry

8 See also 9 References 10 External links

Plot[edit] Professor Brainard (Fred MacMurray) (pronounced BRAY-nard) is an absent-minded professor of physical chemistry at Medfield College who invents a substance that gains energy when it strikes a hard surface. This discovery follows some blackboard scribbling in which he reverses a sign in the equation for enthalpy to energy plus pressure times volume. Brainard names his discovery Flubber, which is a portmanteau of "flying rubber." In the excitement of his discovery, he misses his own wedding to Betsy Carlisle (Nancy Olson), not for the first time, but his third. Subplots include another professor wooing the disappointed Miss Carlisle, Biff Hawk's (Tommy Kirk) ineligibility for basketball due to failing Brainard's class, Alonzo Hawk's (Keenan Wynn) schemes to gain wealth by means of Flubber, the school's financial difficulties and debt to Mr. Hawk, and Brainard's attempts to interest the government and military in uses for Flubber. Shelby Ashton (Elliott Reid), who was interested in Betsy, is given his revenge by the Professor, who keeps on jumping on the top of Shelby's car, until it crashes into a police car, where he is given a field sobriety test. Looking for backers, he bounces his Flubber ball for an audience, but his investment pitch proves so long-winded that most of the crowd has left before they notice that the ball bounced higher on its second bounce than on its first. For a more successful demonstration, he makes his Model T fly by bombarding Flubber with radioactive particles. Other adventures and misadventures result as Flubber is used on the bottoms of basketball players' shoes (in a crucial game) giving them tremendous jumping ability; Brainard (at a school dance) making him an accomplished dancer, and the scheming businessman Alonzo Hawk, who switches cars on the professor, with a car containing a squirrel and pigeons. Hawk then must be tackled by a full football team to bring him down after Brainard tricks him into testing Flubber on the bottom of his shoes. The Professor retrieves the old Model T from the warehouse, and Hawk is arrested for having a gun in his possession, when the car crashes into a police car. Eventually, Brainard shows his discovery to the government, after being scared by a missile in flight, and also wins back Miss Carlisle, culminating in a wedding at last. Cast[edit]

Actor Role

Fred MacMurray Professor Ned Brainard

Nancy Olson Betsy Carlisle

Keenan Wynn Alonzo P. Hawk

Tommy Kirk Biff Hawk

Leon Ames President Jeffrey Daggett

Elliott Reid Professor Shelby Ashton

Edward Andrews Defense Secretary

David Lewis General Singer

Jack Mullaney Air Force Captain

Belle Montrose Mrs. Chatsworth

Wally Brown Coach Elkins

Wally Boag TV Newsman

Don Ross Lenny

Forrest Lewis Officer Kelley

James Westerfield Officer Hanson

Gage Clarke Reverend Bosworth

Alan Hewitt General Hotchkiss

Raymond Bailey Admirial Olmstead

Ed Wynn Fire Chief

Production notes[edit] The aforementioned Prof. Alyea (1903–1996), professor of chemistry at Princeton University, earned the nickname "Dr. Boom" from Russian observers of his demonstrations at the International Science Pavilion of the Brussels World's Fair in the 1950s, which had Walt Disney in attendance. Disney told Alyea that he had given him an idea for a movie, and invited Alyea to California to give a demonstration for actor Fred MacMurray, who later mimicked Alyea's mannerisms for the film. MacMurray would later state that he had never understood chemistry until his meeting with Alyea.[2] The special effects were created by Robert A. Mattey and Eustace Lycett, who were nominated for an Academy Award, and included the sodium screen matte process, as well as miniatures and wire-supported mockups. The film's "Medfield Fight Song" was written by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman, their first song for a Disney feature. Keenan Wynn
Keenan Wynn
and his father Ed Wynn
Ed Wynn
appear together in this film. Keenan also played Alonzo Hawk in Son of Flubber
Son of Flubber
(1963) and again in Herbie Rides Again
Herbie Rides Again
(1974). Keenan's son Ned also appears uncredited in a bit part. Ed Wynn
Ed Wynn
also appeared in Son of Flubber. Medfield College of Technology was used again as the setting for the sequel, Son of Flubber, as well as a later trilogy of Disney "Dexter Riley" films: The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes
The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes
(1969), Now You See Him, Now You Don't (1972), and The Strongest Man in the World
The Strongest Man in the World
(1975), each starring Kurt Russell
Kurt Russell
and Cesar Romero. Awards[edit] The film was nominated for three Academy Awards:[3]

Best Art Direction (Carroll Clark, Emile Kuri, Hal Gausman). Best Cinematography (Edward Colman) Best Effects, Special

Releases[edit] The film was reissued to theaters in 1967 and 1975, and released to video in 1981, 1986, and 1993. It was released as a pan and scan print on VHS in black and white in 1981 and 1993, and in a colorized version in 1986, after successful airings on the Disney Channel in March of that year. In 2003, the film finally got a widescreen treatment: The Walt Disney laserdisc #028AS is letterboxed to produce a 1.85:1 aspect ratio format. In 2008 the film was released in the United States as part of a two-disc set with its sequel, Son of Flubber. Comic book adaption[edit]

Dell Four Color
Four Color
#1199 (April 1961)[4][5]

Legacy[edit] Sequel[edit] This film was followed by a sequel Son of Flubber, released less than two years later in 1963 also featuring MacMurray, Olson, Reid, and Kirk reprising their roles. Hewitt also returns (now as District Attorney), as well as the two Wynns (Keenan reprising his Alonzo Hawk role). Remakes[edit] The Absent-Minded Professor
The Absent-Minded Professor
has been remade twice, once as a 1988 television version with Harry Anderson
Harry Anderson
and Mary Page Keller as the renamed characters Prof. Henry Crawford and Ellen Whitley; and once more as a 1997 theatrical film titled, Flubber, with Robin Williams
Robin Williams
as the renamed Prof. Philip Brainard, with Marcia Gay Harden
Marcia Gay Harden
as his love interest, Dr. Sara Jean Reynolds ( Nancy Olson
Nancy Olson
appears in a cameo). Neither remake was as successful or is as highly regarded as the original, but the Robin Williams
Robin Williams
version was still a considerable success. Both remakes were made in color. Chemistry[edit] Several rubbery chemical compounds are named Flubber in honor of the Absent-Minded Professor's substance.[6] See also[edit]

List of American films of 1961


^ "Absent-Minded Professor, The (film)". Disney A to Z. Retrieved September 8, 2016.  ^ Official Princeton Obituary: Hubert Alyea, Innovator in Science Teaching, Dies at 93 ^ "NY Times: The Absent-Minded Professor". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-24.  ^ "Dell Four Color
Four Color
#1199". Grand Comics Database.  ^ Dell Four Color
Four Color
#1199 at the Comic Book DB ^ Parratore, Phil. Wacky Science: A Cookbook for Elementary Teachers. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall Hunt. p. 26. ISBN 0-7872-2741-2. 

Wingrove, David. Science Fiction Film Source Book (Longman Group Limited, 1985) UltimateDisney.com DVD Review TVGuide.com Movies page

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: The Absent-Minded Professor

Official website The Absent-Minded Professor
The Absent-Minded Professor
on IMDb The Absent-Minded Professor
The Absent-Minded Professor
at the TCM Movie Database The Absent-Minded Professor
The Absent-Minded Professor
at AllMovie The Absent-Minded Professor
The Absent-Minded Professor
at the American Film Institute Catalog

v t e

The Absent-Minded Professor

Theatrical films

The Absent-Minded Professor
The Absent-Minded Professor
(1961) Son of Flubber
Son of Flubber
(1963) Flubber (1998)

TV films

The Absent-Mindded Professor (1988) The Absent-Minded Professor: Trading Places (1989)

v t e

Films directed by Robert Stevenson

Happy Ever After (1932) Falling for You (1933) Tudor Rose (1936) The Man Who Changed His Mind
The Man Who Changed His Mind
(1936) Jack of All Trades (1936) King Solomon's Mines (1937) Non-Stop New York
Non-Stop New York
(1937) Owd Bob (1938) The Ware Case (1938) Young Man's Fancy (1939) Return to Yesterday
Return to Yesterday
(1940) Tom Brown's School Days (1940) Back Street (1941) Joan of Paris
Joan of Paris
(1942) Forever and a Day (1943) Jane Eyre (1943) Dishonored Lady
Dishonored Lady
(1947) To the Ends of the Earth (1948) I Married a Communist (1949) Walk Softly, Stranger
Walk Softly, Stranger
(1950) My Forbidden Past
My Forbidden Past
(1951) The Las Vegas Story (1952) Johnny Tremain (1957) Old Yeller (1957) Darby O'Gill and the Little People
Darby O'Gill and the Little People
(1959) Kidnapped (1960) The Absent-Minded Professor
The Absent-Minded Professor
(1961) In Search of the Castaways (1962) Son of Flubber
Son of Flubber
(1963) The Misadventures of Merlin Jones
The Misadventures of Merlin Jones
(1964) Mary Poppins (1964) The Monkey's Uncle (1965) That Darn Cat!
That Darn Cat!
(1965) The Gnome-Mobile
The Gnome-Mobile
(1967) Blackbeard's Ghost
Blackbeard's Ghost
(1968) The Love Bug
The Love Bug
(1968) Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
(1971) Herbie Rides Again
Herbie Rides Again
(1974) The Island at the Top of the World
The Island at the Top of the World
(1974) One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing
One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing
(1975) The Shaggy