A Walt Disney production that was a cross between a kid’s film with a dash of adult comedy, The Barefoot Executive starred a chimpanzee who was deciding the fate of television series.
A satire of television networks, this film starred a young Kurt Russell as Steven Post, a mailroom clerk for fictional network UBC, discovers his girlfriend Jennifer’s pet chimpanzee Raffles can predict whether a tv series will be popular or not.
Post smuggles Raffles into UBC and has him see the series and offer his predictions – clapping for success or blowing a raspberry for failure. Passing off Raffles’ comments as his own, at first, no one wants to listen.
But soon Post proves Raffles is right, and he rises through the ranks based on the chimpanzee’s reactions to previews. To get back at Post, his enemies decide to steal Raffles and make him disappear back into the jungle.
This film was one created by Walt Disney to bridge the gap of ages – funny enough for both kids and adults and starring many of the regular Disney players, such as Kurt Russell.
Released in March 1971, this kooky film was screened via the The Wonderful World of Disney, and like many of Disney’s creations, it did well, for its silliness and satirical look at television being controlled by Raffles the chimpanzee.
Slapstick humour, silly dialogue and of course, a chase scene was all included in this movie, and its an idyllic example of early ’70s humour for mass consumption.