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Americathon (1979)

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.

Director:

Neal Israel

Writers:

Phil Proctor (play) (as Phillip Proctor), Peter Bergman (play) | 5 more credits »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Harvey Korman ... Monty Rushmore
Fred Willard ... Vincent Vanderhoff
Peter Riegert ... Eric McMerkin
Zane Buzby ... Mouling Jackson
Nancy Morgan ... Lucy Beth
John Ritter ... President Chet Roosevelt
Richard Schaal ... Jerry
Allan Arbus ... Moishe Weitzman
Elvis Costello ... Earl Manchester
Chief Dan George ... Sam Birdwater
Tommy Lasorda ... Jimmy Dunphy
Jay Leno ... Larry Miller (Poopy Butt)
Peter Marshall ... Peter Marshall
David Opatoshu ... Abdul Muhammad
Meat Loaf ... Oklahoma Roy Budnitz
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Storyline

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 <mycroft@reactiveware.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The ultimate spectacle is now a movie.

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

West Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 August 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

1998 - Die vier Milliarden Dollar Show See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$6,171,763
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Sam Birdwater: [in a press conference] God knows I am a patriot. I loaned the country 400 Billion. And I want my 400 Billion back. Does that make me a bad guy? I've got to eat too, you know! So I'm giving the President until the end of September this year to pay me back, or I'll be forced to foreclose. What can I do? I've got to eat too, you know! Does that make me a bad guy?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Dorothy Stratten: The Untold Story (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Get A Move On
Written by Eddie Money, Paul Collins and Lloyd Chiate
Performed by Eddie Money
Produced by Bruce Botnick and Eddie Money
See more »

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User Reviews

What if Jerry Brown had become President and Linda Ronstadt "First Girlfriend?"
19 April 2001 | by sandiego-4See 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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