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The Info List - The Misadventures Of Merlin Jones


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The Misadventures of Merlin Jones is a 1964 Walt Disney production starring Tommy Kirk and Annette Funicello. Kirk plays a college student who experiments with mind-reading and hypnotism, leading to run-ins with a local judge. Funicello plays his girlfriend (and sings the film's title song, accompanied by Disneyland's very own harmony quartet, The Yachtsmen, written by brothers Robert and Richard Sherman). This film led to a 1965 sequel called The Monkey's Uncle.

Contents

1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Production notes 4 Reception

4.1 Critical 4.2 Box office

5 References 6 External links

Plot[edit] Midvale College student Merlin Jones (Tommy Kirk), who is always involved with mind experiments, designs a helmet that connects to an electroencephalographic tape that records mental activity. He is brought before Judge Holmsby (Leon Ames) for wearing the helmet while driving and his license is suspended. Merlin returns to the lab and discovers accidentally that his new invention enables him to read minds. Judge Holmsby visits the diner where Merlin works part-time, and Merlin, through his newly found powers, learns that the judge is planning a crime. After informing the police, he is disregarded as a crackpot. Merlin and Jennifer (Annette Funicello), his girlfriend, break into Judge Holmsby's house looking for something to prove Holmsby's criminal intent but are arrested by the police. Holmsby then confesses that he is the crime book author, "Lex Fortis," and asks that this identity be kept confidential. Merlin's next experiment uses hypnotism. After hypnotizing Stanley, Midvale's lab chimp, into standing up for himself against Norman (Norm Grabowski) - the bully student in charge of caring for Stanley, Merlin gets into a fight with Norman, and is brought before Judge Holmsby again. Intrigued by Merlin's experiments, the judge asks for Merlin's help in constructing a mystery plot for his next book. Working on the premise that no honest person can be made to do anything they wouldn’t do otherwise – especially commit a crime – Merlin hypnotizes Holmsby and instructs him to kidnap Stanley. Shocked when the judge actually commits the crime, Merlin and Jennifer return the chimp, but are charged for the theft themselves. The judge sentences Merlin to jail, completely unaware of his own role in the crime. Livid at the injustice, Jennifer persuades Holmsby of his own guilt, and the good judge admits that there might be a little dishonesty in everybody. Cast[edit]

Tommy Kirk as Merlin Jones Annette Funicello as Jennifer Leon Ames as Judge Holmsby/Lex Fortas Stuart Erwin as Police Captain Loomis Alan Hewitt as Professor Shattuck Connie Gilchrist as Mrs. Gossett Dallas McKennon as Detective Hutchins Norm Grabowski as Norman

Production notes[edit] The screen credit for writing reads, "Screenplay by Tom and Helen August", which were the pseudonyms for Alfred Lewis Levitt and Helen Levitt, two writers who were blacklisted.[2] To date Disney has not officially stated whether or not this film was actually two episodes of a planned television series, however, this has long been suspected to be the case,[3] with at least one critic, Eugene Archer, of The New York Times, writing upon its release:

"Movies made for television are commonplace these days, but the idea of screening television shows in movie theaters is still farfetched. Who is expected to spend the $2? Strange as it sounds, this seems to be the explanation behind Walt Disney's latest hit, "The Misadventures of Merlin Jones." It is a pastiche of two separate stories with the same set of characters, each running less than an hour (leaving time for commercials), stitched together in the middle and released yesterday in neighborhood theaters." [4]

Filming took place in early 1963.[5] In March of that year it was reported NBC were so pleased with the results they wanted more Merlin Jones adventures.[6] It appears that Disney then decided to release the movie theatrically. Reception[edit] Critical[edit] The Chicago Tribune called it "a kooky comedy of the type young people will enjoy thoroughly... good natured nonsense."[7] Box office[edit] Although critics were not impressed, audiences seemed to love it, as the film grossed over $4 million in North America, surprising even Disney.[8] It made enough money to encourage a sequel in 1965.[9] References[edit]

^ "Updated All-time Film Champs", Variety, 9 January 1974 p 60. Please note figure is rentals accruing to distributors. ^ Variety, April 3, 1997 ^ SciFilm.org Archived 2010-12-01 at the Wayback Machine. ^ The New York Times, March 26, 1964 ^ Filmland Events: Miss Pickford, Lloyd Will Receive Honor. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif.] 03 Jan 1963: C7. ^ ABC Planning the Shocker of All Time Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file) [Chicago, Ill.] 16 Mar 1963: d19. ^ "Disney Film Good Fun for Family: "THE MISADVENTURES OF MERLIN JONES" TINEE, MAE. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file) [Chicago, Ill] 14 Feb 1964: b16. ^ Disney: Self-Perpetuating Money Machine: 'Mary Poppins' Works Her Magic for Happy Shareowners VanderVeld, Richard L. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 18 July 1965: h1. ^ Disney Announces Diverse Schedule: Doris Day Winner (Again); Ill Wind a Boon to Actors Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 04 Jan 1965: B7.

External links[edit]

Official website The Misadventures of Merlin Jones on IMDb The Misadventures of Merlin Jones at the TCM Movie Database

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Films directed by Robert Stevenson

Happy Ever After (1932) Falling for You (1933) Tudor Rose (1936) The Man Who Changed His Mind (1936) Jack of All Trades (1936) King Solomon's Mines (1937) Non-Stop New York (1937) Owd Bob (1938) The Ware Case (1938) Young Man's Fancy (1939) Return to Yesterday (1940) Tom Brown's School Days (1940) Back Street (1941) Joan of Paris (1942) Forever and a Day (1943) Jane Eyre (1943) Dishonored Lady (1947) To the Ends of the Earth (1948) I Married a Communist (1949) Walk Softly, Stranger (1950) My Forbidden Past (1951) The Las Vegas Story (1952) Johnny Tremain (1957) Old Yeller (1957) Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959) Kidnapped (1960) The Absent-Minded Professor (1961) In Search of the Castaways (1962) Son of Flubber (1963) The Misadventures of Merlin Jones (1964) Mary Poppins (1964) The Monkey's Uncle (1965) That Darn Cat! (1965) The Gnome-Mobile (1967) Blackbeard's Ghost (1968) The Love Bug (1968) Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) Herbie Rides Again (1974) The Island at the Top of the World (1974) One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing (1975) The Shaggy D.A. (1976)

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The Sherman Brothers

Richard M. Sherman Robert B. Sherman

Motion pictures

The Parent Trap (1961) The Absent-Minded Professor (1961) Greyfriars Bobby (1961) Bon Voyage! (1962) A Symposium on Popular Songs (1962) In Search of the Castaways (1962) Big Red (1962) Moon Pilot (1962) Summer Magic (1963) The Sword in the Stone (1963) The Misadventures of Merlin Jones (1964) The Moon-Spinners (1964) Mary Poppins (1964) Those Calloways (1965) The Monkey's Uncle (1965) That Darn Cat! (1965) Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966) Follow Me Boys (1966) The Happiest Millionaire (1967) The Jungle Book (1967) The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin (1967) The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968) The Aristocats (1970) Goldilocks (1971) Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) Snoopy, Come Home (1972) Charlotte's Web (1973) Tom Sawyer (1973) Huckleberry Finn (1974) Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974) The Slipper and the Rose (1976) The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) The Magic of Lassie (1978) Magic Journeys (1982) Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore (1983) Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1992) The Mighty Kong (1998) Seasons of Giving (1999) The Tigger Movie (2000)

Stage musicals and musical revues

Victory Canteen (1971) Over Here! (1974) Dawgs (1983) The Slipper and the Rose (1984) Busker Alley (1994) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2002) On the Record (2004) Mary Poppins (2004) Merry-Go-Round workshop (2007) A Spoonful of Sherman (2014)

Theme park attractions

Golden Horseshoe Revue (1955) King Arthur Carrousel (1955) Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room (1963) It's a Small World (1966) Adventure Thru Inner Space (1967) Main Street Electrical Parade (1972) America Sings (1974) Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress (1975) America on Parade (1975) CommuniCore (1982) Imagination! (1982) Magic Journeys (1982) The World Showcase March (1982) Japan (Epcot) (1982) Journey into Imagination (1983) Meet the World (1983) Innoventions (1998) Rocket Rods (1998) The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1999) Disneyland Forever (2015)

Books

Walt's Time: from before to beyond (1998) Moose: Chapters From My Life (2013)

Related

The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story (2009) Saving Mr. Banks (2013) The

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