Having a connected universe in a series of movies has almost become a cottage industry in Hollywood these days, the best current example of this being the Marvel Cinematic Universe which has raked in billions of dollars so far, but the idea is certainly nothing new. Back in the 40s and 50s Universal Studios had their classic monsters, who occasionally wandered over into each other’s movies – something Universal tried to jump-start again with The Mummy in their already floundering Dark Universe – but there is another shared universe in the movies that many are not aware, one of which came from the Disney Studios that dealt the mythical Medfield College. There is no real hard continuity between the early films such, as The Absent-Minded Professor and the later Dexter Riley Trilogy, but they are loosely connected through this one fictional school.
Medfield College was named after the town of Medfield, Massachusetts, which happened to be the home to some of Walt’s friends who he would often visit and he even had a private airstrip there. The local high school even has a cornerstone that contains a quote from Walt Disney, “Our greatest natural resource is in the minds of our children,” and though the Medfield College movies are mostly zany comedies that sentiment can be felt throughout the series, below you can find links to my reviews to those movies and learn all about this classic Alma Mater.
The first of the Medfield College movies introduced us to not only this illustrious college but also the affable and lovable Professor Ned Brainard (Fred MacMurray) who developed a fantastic flying rubber (aka Flubber) that allows him to take flight in his Model T as well as defeat the school’s rival basketball team.
In this sequel, we find Medfield College in dire financial straits, and through the invention of Flubber will someday bring in much-needed revenue the villainous Alonzo Hawk (Keenan Wynn) wasn’t going to wait. Professor Brainard’s new Flubber gas is the only chance they have to save the school, and of course, it will also help them win the big football game against the school’s hated rivals.
In this movie professional student and all-around fun-loving guy, Dexter Riley (Kurt Russell), leads the charge in saving Medfield from more financial ruin, while also trying to stay out of the clutches of local crime boss A.J. Arno (Cesar Romero), after Dexter accidentally gets turned into a living computer.
Dexter Riley and his gang once again must deal with the continuing precarious finances of their school; this time out they accidentally create an invisibility formula that could win them the Forsythe Science Contest, whose prize money could save the school, that is if they can stay one step ahead of A.J. Arno and his goons.
In this last installment of the Dexter Riley Trilogy, our gang of college misfits will accidentally develop a strength formula that could lead to corporate sponsorship from a breakfast cereal company, that once again could save the school from bankruptcy. A rival cereal company hires A.J. Arno to get that formula at all costs.
Medfield College made one final filmic appearance in the 1997 movie Flubber starring Robin Williams, which was a rather poor remake of The Absent-Minded Professor, but one can only hope that someday the doors will open again for this once illustrious college. I’ve already set aside my tuition money.