Treasures from the Disney Vault - 12/18
TCM is honored to present a new edition in the ongoing Treasures from the Disney Vault series, a showcase of classics from the Disney Library encompassing live-action films, animated shorts and features, documentaries and TV movies. Again, our host is Disney enthusiast/expert Leonard Maltin. All of this month's Treasures revolve around the subject of sports.
Three cartoon shorts starring Goofy are TCM premieres. The Olympic Champ (1942) has Goofy illustrating the Olympic torch tradition and such track-and-field events as pole vaulting, relay race and shot put. How to Play Football (1944) is a mock "how-to" short in which Goofy explains the sport. This one was Oscar®-nominated as Best Animated Short Subject. Double Dribble (1946) spoofs the sport of basketball, with two teams of Goofy-look-alikes competing against each other.
The Absent-Minded Professor (1961) is Disney's superhit comedy about a college professor (Fred MacMurray) who invents "flubber" ("flying rubber"), a substance that gains energy when it strikes a hard surface and gives basketball players extraordinary jumping abilities when applied to the bottom of their shoes. Directed by Robert Stevenson, the movie also stars Nancy Olson, Keenan Wynn and Tommy Kirk. The movie earned Oscar® nominations for its art direction, cinematography and special effects. Son of Flubber (1963), a sequel to The Absent-Minded Professor, again directed by Stevenson, features returning cast members including MacMurray, Olson, Wynn and Kirk.
The World's Greatest Athlete (1973), another live-action feature, revolves around a Tarzan-like young man (Jan-Michael Vincent) of amazing capabilities who is recruited by coaches (John Amos and Tim Conway) at a school that routinely loses in every athletic competition. The film, directed by Robert Scheerer, is one of the few Hollywood productions to focus on the sport of track and field.
The Strongest Man in the World (1975) is a sci-fi comedy in which a college student (Kurt Russell) and his friends accidentally discover a chemical that temporarily gives anyone who uses it superhuman strength. The chemical is ultimately put to use in a weight-lifting contest. Vincent McEveety directs the movie, which features a Grade A supporting cast that includes Eve Arden, Phil Silvers, Cesar Romero and Dick Van Patten.
Gus (1976), another TCM premiere, is a live-action comedy feature about a football-playing mule. Also directed by McEveety, the movie stars Ed Asner as the owner and Don Knotts as the incompetent coach of a football team that recruits a kicking mule from Yugoslavia to score field goals. Tim Conway and Gary Grimes are also featured.
by Roger Fristoe