Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Freeze Frame: Medfield College = The Disney Studios

It is often noted that Walt Disney wanted the Burbank studios to resemble a college campus in design and spirit.  In the 1969 movie The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, the studio played the role more directly, becoming the campus of the fictional Medfield College.
When Dean Higgins (played by Joe Flynn) stares out his meeting room window, he is looking at a panoramic backdrop of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank.  It is the same backdrop that was often used when Walt Disney filmed introductions to the Disney television program on an office set on a studio soundstage.  When Dexter Riley (Kurt Russell) and his friends gather outside the college's administration building, they are in fact on an outdoor patio not far from the southern end of what was then the Animation Building.  Set designers placed a sign over an entrance to the building, identifying it as SCIENCE BUILDING.
Medfield College was originally the setting for two prior Walt Disney films, The Absent-Minded Professor, released in 1961, and its 1963 sequel, Son of Flubber.  But both those films used Pomona College in Claremont, California to stand in for the fictional Medfield campus.  The two subsequent Dexter Riley sequels, Now You See Him, Now You Don't and The Strongest Man in the World, continued to use the Burbank studio to portray the Medfield College campus.


Prof Lufkin said...

Also in the Barefoot Detective (1971) Kurt Russell is seen coming and going through the Buena Vista gate at the studio, lightly dressed as the"UBC" broadcast centre.

And I also recently noticed that the speeding dune buggy shot (1:11:52) in "Now you see him" was taken from the roof of the main Imagineering building on Flower Street in Glendale.

Anonymous said...

The studio's "campus style" buildings are also used to portray a college during an early sequence in Disney's 1980 comedy, "Midnight Madness."