In Disney’s The Barefoot Executive, a chimpanzee becomes head of programming at a TV station (insert your own joke here). A young Kurt Russell, already a golden boy for the studio by way of The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit and The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, starred as the monkey’s human helper.
Teenager Steven Post (Russell) works as a page at a struggling TV network. When girlfriend Jennifer leaves him in charge of her pet chimp, Steven discovers the little simian has a knack for picking primetime winners.
The executives, thinking Steven is the real prodigy, appoint him as VP in charge of programming.
Things really get nutty when studio exec Francis X. Wilbanks and Steven’s jealous rival Roger discover the truth about the chimp’s gift, sparking a madcap battle for control of the chimp and the studio.
The movie continued Russell’s streak of Disney hits, as well as the grand movie tradition of chimp comedies.
The film was remade in 1995 as a TV movie starring Chris Elliot, Jay Mohr, Brian Evans and Jason London.
Francis X. Wilbanks
E. J. Crampton