Americathon (1979)

PG  |   |  Comedy  |  10 August 1979 (USA)
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Reviews: 15 user | 9 critic

In a story told in narrative flashbacks, a young TV consultant is hired by the President of a bankrupt USA to organize a telethon in order to prevent the country from being repossessed by wealthy Native Americans.



(play) (as Phillip Proctor) , (play), 5 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
President Chet Roosevelt
Monty Rushmore
Vincent Vanderhoff
Sam Birdwater
Richard Schaal ...
Eric McMerkin
Lucy Beth
Mouling Jackson
Oklahoma Daredevil, Roy Budnitz
The Earl of Manchester
Danny Olson (as Terry McGovern)
Jimmy Dunphy
Kip Margolis
Larry Miller (Poopy Butt)


In the not too distant future, the United States government is virtually bankrupt and in danger of being foreclosed on by a group of Native Americans, now owners of the massive Nike Corporation. A desperate President decides to make a last-ditch effort to save the country... by raising money with a telethon! Written by <>

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The ultimate spectacle is now a movie.




PG | See all certifications »





Release Date:

10 August 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

1998 - Die vier Milliarden Dollar Show  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


As part of the promotion for this film's release in 1979, Ted Coombs traveled on roller-skates across the USA for a total of 5,193 miles, setting a world record. He is now a technology author, futurist, artist, and scientist. See more »


The movie mentions that people all over the country were watching the telethon, including people from the first gay state, North Dakota. We then see a picture of Mount Rushmore which is in South Dakota See more »


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User Reviews

What if Jerry Brown had become President and Linda Ronstadt "First Girlfriend?"
19 April 2001 | by (San Diego, California, U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Time capsule of 1970's California life-style...or where it seemed to be headed in the next decade. In the opening we see the residents of California living in permanently parked cars and commuting to work via various bicycles, skateboards, and people-powered scooters. John Ritter plays President Chet Roosevelt, a thinly veiled spoof of then California governor and presidential hopeful Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown (he dated roller skating rock star Linda Ronstadt and slept on a futon). This movie asks the question, what if Jerry became president and Linda the "First Girlfriend?" John Ritter's real life wife Nancy Morgan plays Lucy Beth, President Chet's roller-skating girlfriend. In the eighties the United States is broke and the President decides to throw a telethon on television to raise money. At the time this film was made, most television markets had no more than a few stations and watching Jerry Lewis struggle to keep awake during the MDA telethon was an interesting phenomena. Here Harvey Korman hosts an endless list of bad acts that foreshadows the humor of SCTV. Most of the humor here would be lost on anyone too young to remember the 70's or for those who don't really want to remember. Though the film takes place in the "future" eighties, for campy fun Americathon is an interesting time-capsule of the issues ripe for spoofing at the time.

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