The Absent-Minded Professor (1961)
Disney was still trying to save money when they filmed this otherwise entertaining fantasy in black and white. Fred MacMurray stars as the professor, who discovers an anti-gravity rubbery substance while experimenting in his garage. He decides to call the flying rubber "flubber" but no one believes him except bad guy Keenan Wynn, who wants to steal it and sell it to get rich. So Fred puts the stuff in his old model Ford and flies it to Washington, where he's almost shot down as an unidentified flying object. This was Fred's second of five movies for Disney. Kids may prefer the colorized version.
Tommy Kirk, Ed Wynn, Leon Ames, Nancy Olson, Edward Andrews. 97 minutes
Recently scheduled on TCM (Turner Classic Movies)
Son Of Flubber (1963)
Forget about the silly new inventions of dry rain and flubbergas, just enjoy the cast including MacMurray, Olson, Keenan Wynn, Tommy Kirk, Leon Ames, Ed Wynn, Charles Ruggles, Jack Albertson, and Paul Lynde as a smug sportscaster who can't believe what he's seeing. This was Disney's first-ever sequel to any of their movies.
Directed by Robert Stevenson.
100 minutes, black and white
Disappointing remake starring Robin Williams, who seems to have less energy than his green-goo invention. One of many Disney remakes in the 1980s & 1990s, few of which went anywhere. Music by Danny Elfman (Beetlejuice). 100 minutes, rated PG
The Nutty Professor (1963)
Not a Disney movie, though Jerry Lewis fans consider it one of his greatest comedies. Professor Kelp (Jerry) invents a formula that turns him into suave, debonair lady's man Buddy Love in a spoof of Jekyll & Hyde. Best unrelated bit in the film is the Alaskan Polar Bear Heater routine with Buddy Lester.
Howard Morris, Henry Gibson, Stella Stevens. 107 minutes, color.
1996 remake starring Eddie Murphy (Haunted Mansion) led to sequel Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps (2000) with plenty of crude humor. By the way, if slick, self-centered Buddy Love seems based on ex-partner Dean Martin (Matt Helm), that's just your opinion--Jerry has denied it repeatedly.
The Love Bug (1968)
A race car driver (Dean Jones) is followed home by Herbie, a white VW bug with a mind of its own. It communicates by beeping the horn, headlights, windshield wipers, etc. Eventually, Dean Jones and Herbie become friends and the little car tries its best to win the big race against real racecars.
Michele Lee, Hope Lang (Ghost & Mrs. Muir), Robert Reed (The Brady Bunch), Bert Convy, Joe Flynn, Benson Fong, and of course David Tomlinson (Bedknobs & Broomsticks) as the villain. 110 minutes, color. TV-movie remake in 1997 starred Bruce Campbell, Dean Jones, Harold Gould, Clarence Williams III, and Mickey Dolenz (who starred in the Monkees movie "Head" the same year the original Love Bug came out).
Recently scheduled on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) followed by three Herbie sequels.
The Shaggy Dog (1959)
Fred MacMurray plays the dog-hating father of Wilby Daniels, who then turns into one after reading the inscription aloud on an ancient ring. One of Disney's best black and white movies, it led to a sequel and a TV-movie remake in 1994, then a big-budget remake in 2006 starring Tim Allen as the dad. Disney's first non-animated movie.
Tommy Kirk, Annette Funicello. Annette would go on to make numerous Beach movies while still under contract with Disney--Walt's only stipulation was that the former Mouseketeer (look it up on Wikipedia) wear a one-piece bathing suit so her belly-button wouldn't show. 101 minutes rated G.
The Shaggy D.A. (1976)
Dean Jones stars as the grown-up Wilby, now running for District Attorney but never knowing when he might suddenly turn into a shaggy dog.
Tim Conway, Jo Anne Worley, Keenan Wynn and Suzanne Pleshette join in the fun. 90 minutes, color. Followed by 1987 TV-movie "Return Of The Shaggy Dog"
© Bill Laidlaw. All Rights Reserved. That's my 2½¢ worth