Flying Car

The Absent-Minded Professor is the original Flubber extravaganza. The original movie is good clean fun with a lot of bounce and pep for a live-action Disney movie. As a 90’s kid, I of course grew up with flying rubber. I wasn’t aware of The Absent-Minded Professor since the title is different from the remake. It’s notable for being an extremely rare Disney movie filmed in black & white. Rare, because Walt Disney always prefered technicolor. I think the impressive 1961 special effects are the reason for the colorless choice.

Ned Brainard is an absent-minded professor who teaches at Medfield College. It’s a simple story, so Brainard only has his dog Charlie and housekeeper to keep his head straight. Brainard strives to unlock the mysteries of science, but what he can’t figure out are the mysteries of women. Which is why he’s missed his own wedding three times. Betsy is Brainard’s mostly patient sweetheart. Fred MacMurray and Nancy Olson’s chemistry adds a nice romantic element to the wacky events.

Flubber is a simple perpetually moving super ball that can make people bounce and even power a flying car. The bouncing is used in a funny basketball sequence. While the flying car is really the main focus as Brainard flies around in his Model T. He just faces romantic competition from Shelby. As well as the conniving businessman Mr. Hawk and his son Biff attempting to steal the Flubber powered car. Only the people of Washington can appreciate his breakthrough. The bouncing and flying aren’t always flawless, but that doesn’t take away my enjoyment. The Absent-Minded Professor won’t soon be forgotten.

The Absent-Minded Professor

Professor Brainard flies his Model T with Charlie

Followed by: Son of Flubber

6 thoughts on “Flying Car

  1. The Absent-Minded Professor is one of my all-time favourite Fred MacMurray performances. For a film thatโ€™s 60 years old, this one holds up beautifully, with the majority of the special effects still being special.

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  2. The film did revitalize Fred MacMurray’s career in a sense that he continued to work for the remainder of his life, but it sadly also killed any future opportunities to play characters in the vein of Walter Neff in Double Indemnity and Jeff D. Sheldrake in The Apartment again, as Disney fans can be critical of what actors have done outside of Disney. The Absentminded Professor is still fun and enjoyable, I just have mixed feelings on how it affected MacMurray’s career.

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  3. Loved that movie. So much fun. What a horrible thought, though, getting locked into Disney with no way out! Like being trapped in a jelly doughnut or something: must seem so harmless and sweet at first but then turn into a frustrating saccharine prison. Oh, well. At least he was still working, as said above.

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