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Merlin Jones, an eccentric young inventor, receives permission from Judge Holmsby to legally adopt Stanley, a chimpanzee. He then embarks on his follow-up plan--to enroll Stanley as a student at Midvale College. Merlin attaches a phonograph to some electric curlers, puts the contraption on Stanley's head, and lulls the chimp to sleep with a recording that gives instructions on how to be a civilized human being. Meanwhile, the board of regents at Midvale is debating whether to allow football players with poor academic records to play on the team, but Judge Holmsby persuades Merlin to use his invention on two particularly stupid athletes, Norman and Leon. With the help of Jennifer, his girl friend, Merlin succeeds in getting them through their exams. Soon afterward, the president of Midvale is informed by wealthy Mr. Astorbilt that the college will receive $1 million from him if it will abandon football; however, Darius Green III, another millionaire, promises to donate 10 times that amount if someone at Midvale can prove the validity of a claim by one of Green's ancestors that man-powered flight is possible. Merlin is able to fulfill the conditions of the gift by inventing such a machine. As the school prepares to accept its $10 million, three men with a straitjacket appear to pick up Green, who is revealed to be Mr. Astorbilt, an escaped lunatic whose check is worthless.