Making the Grades
What film features a lab accident gone right, and basketball stars that owe everything to their super-powered shoes? If you're thinking it must be a cross between The Powerpuff Girls, and Like Mike, then you are not looking back far enough.
In a 1961 movie, an Absent-minded Professor (Fred McMurray) is so intent on his physical science experiment that he misses his own wedding -- three times! While his disappointed fiancee Betsy Carlisle (Nancy Olsen) declares he has struck out, the befuddled Brainard believes "third time is the charm." Thanks to an explosive development in his garage-turned-laboratory, the academic discovers Flubber: a flying rubber like substance.
Unfortunately, the lovely Miss Carlisle neither appreciates the brilliance of his invention, nor the idea of being the second love of his life. To make her point perfectly clear, the woman scored rebounds into the arms of a former suitor. Suddenly sensing the green-eyed monster, the jealous Brainard decides Flubber is the best way to win back her affection.
A little of the gravity-defying substance applied to the basketball teams' sneakers soon has the game bouncing off the walls. Some clever alterations to an old Model-T adds a new spin to the phrase, "Can I give you a lift?" But instead of causing the woman of his dreams to swoon, the stunts attract the interest of an unscrupulous businessman and the US military.
Typical of the Disney fare of this era, The Absent-minded Professor sports a familiar cast playing the usual characters, including bumbling police officers, a scholastically under-achieving basketball jock, and a wealthy citizen who is really a sleazy hustler. Although they are played innocently enough, the portrayal of a dishonest father (with a taste for gambling) encouraging his son to follow his example, the hero resorting to revengeful tactics, over-reactive security personnel, and a group of thugs with a gun, may be of concern to some parents.
Yet the slapstick antics and the predictable plot provide the catchy chemistry that became a mouse house trademark. And if something works once, it's worth trying again... which may be why movie history repeats itself.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Absent-minded Professor.
What uses could you think of for a substance like Flubber? Who would you try to sell it to? What common place inventions do we live with today that would have seemed incredible in 1961, when this movie was made? Do you think we will ever have a car that flies?
The Absent-minded Professor was originally shot in black and white, but the film was later colorized. What do you think of the amazing modern technology that makes this process possible? If nothing else, this fad promoted by broadcast mogul Ted Turner in the late 1980’s led to a high amount of controversy. To read more check this link: