The Full Wiki

The Misadventures of Merlin Jones: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Misadventures of Merlin Jones
Directed by Robert Stevenson
Produced by Walt Disney
Ron Miller
Written by Story:
Bill Walsh
Alfred Lewis Levitt
Helen Levitt
Starring Tommy Kirk
Annette Funicello
Leon Ames
Music by Buddy Baker
Cinematography Edward Coleman
Editing by Cotton Warburton
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution Company
Release date(s) March 25, 1964 (1964-03-25)
Running time 91 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Followed by The Monkey's Uncle

The Misadventures of Merlin Jones is a 1964 Walt Disney production starring Tommy Kirk and Annette Funicello. Kirk plays a college student who experiments with mind-reading and hypnotism, leading to run-ins with a local judge. Annette plays his girlfriend and sings the film's title song written by brothers Robert and Richard Sherman.

This film led to a 1965 sequel called The Monkey's Uncle.



Midvale College student Merlin Jones (Tommy Kirk), who is always involved with mind experiments, designs a helmet that connects to an electroencephalographic tape that records mental activity. He is brought before Judge Holmby (Leon Ames) for wearing the helmet while driving and his license is suspended. Merlin returns to the lab and discovers accidentally that his new invention enables him to read minds. Judge Holmby visits the diner where Merlin works part-time, and Merlin, through his newly-found powers, learns that the judge is planning a crime. After informing the police, he is disregarded as a crackpot. Merlin and Jennifer (Annette Funicello), his girlfriend, break into Judge Holmby’s house looking for something to prove Holmby’s criminal intent but are arrested by the police. Holmby then confesses that he is the crime book author, “Lex Fortis,” and asks that this identity be kept confidential. Merlin's next experiment uses hypnotism. After hypnotizing Stanley, Midvale’s lab chimp, into standing up for himself against Norman (Norm Grabowski) - the bully student in charge of caring for Stanley, Merlin gets into a fight with Norman, and is brought before Judge Holmby again. Intrigued by Merlin’s experiments, the judge asks for Merlin's help in constructing a mystery plot for his next book. Working on the premise that no honest person can be made to do anything they wouldn’t do otherwise – especially commit a crime – Merlin hypnotizes Holmby and instructs him to kidnap Stanley. Shocked when the judge actually commits the crime, Merlin and Jennifer return the chimp, but are charged for the theft themselves. The judge sentences Merlin to jail, completely unaware of his own role in the crime. Livid at the injustice, Jennifer persuades Holmby of his own guilt, and the good judge admits that there might be a little dishonesty in everybody.

Production notes

The screen credit for writing reads, "Screenplay by Tom and Helen August," which were the pseudonyms for Alfred Lewis Levitt & Helen Levitt, two writers who were blacklisted.[1]

To date Disney has not offically stated whether or not this film was actually two episodes of a planned television series, however, this has long beeen suspected to be the case,[2] with at least one critic, Eugene Archer, of The New York Times, writing upon its release:

"Movies made for television are commonplace these days, but the idea of screening television shows in movie theaters is still farfetched. Who is expected to spend the $2? Strange as it sounds, this seems to be the explanation behind Walt Disney's latest miss, "The Misadventures of Merlin Jones." It is a pastiche of two separate stories with the same set of characters, each running less than an hour (leaving time for commercials), abruptly and pointlessly stitched together in the middle and deposited yesterday in neighborhood theaters." [3]


Although critics were not impressed (see Eugene Archer's comment in Production notes, above), audiences seemed to like it, as the film made enough money to encourage a sequel.


  1. ^ Variety, April 3, 1997.
  2. ^
  3. ^ The New York Times, March 26, 1964

External links



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address