Last night, I was re-watching the first of Disney’s Dexter Riley trilogy, 1969’s “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes.” If you haven’t seen it – or even if you have – Kurt Russell plays Dexter, a college kid who accidentally gets a punch-card mainframe shocked into his brain and uses all that new mental ability to … win a college game show. Dexter had accidents two more times in later movies – becoming invisible in 1972’s “Now You See Him, Now You Don’t” and eating super-vitamin cereal in 1975’s “The Strongest Man in the World.”
In the middle of “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes,” I spotted a familiar face and heard a familiar voice. Olan Soule was playing a reporter, but you might know him as John Masters, choir director on “The Andy Griffith Show” – or as the timid professor or bank teller or clerk in a million shows. Here he is, using that face to sell the sexiest of products, prune juice.
That memorable face pigeonholed Olan Soule, but on the radio or in animation, he could be anyone. Even Batman on “Super Friends.” Yep, that’s also Casey Kasem as Robin.