Mar 31, 2013
The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes
Kurt Russell played a hunky, fresh-faced teenager in eight Disney movies, from The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit (1968) to The Strongest Man in the World (1975). Only The Secret of Boyne Castle (1968) was an adventure, designed to demonstrate the masculinity of American youth during the Cold War.
The others were comedies with a far different goal, to mollify adult fears of hippies during the era of Woodstock and Kent State by presenting a harmless, good-natured youth rebellion (and one limited to white, middle class, hetero kids).
So there are plenty of muscular male actors, but no beefcake shots, and lots of buddies, but not a lot of gay subtexts.
Tommy Kirk played as "scrambled egghead" Merlin Jones a few years before. Tommy, recently out and outed, was obviously miserable and struggling, and his co-stars hysterically overacted to keep him in line. Kurt and his costars are relaxed and confident, having fun with the goofy plot (something about Dexter being struck by lightning, turning into a human computer, and thus helping his friends win an all-important academic competition).
Gay actor Caesar Romero played the mob boss who kidnaps Dexter so his friends can mount a daring rescue.