RVOD084 American Thrift, Part 1

(1962, Educational/Short, color)


Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy and Veronica Belmont

I think I can get another day out of this corn dog.

Rating: ***

In a Nutshell:

Women are penny-pinching killjoys.


The Fast and The Furious: American ThdriftWe begin with a statue of Abraham Lincoln solemnly regarding a crowd of tourists. The tourists solemnly regard him back. No attempt is made by anyone to connect this scene with the subsequent short.

Now the narrator announces a “Tribute to the American Woman”, going on to state that the woman of the house is the one who wields final and absolute authority over domestic finances. To this end, she divides money into envelopes, buys the cheapest food she can find, and generally refuses all requests for frivolous expenditures. You know, for such non-essentials as recreational activities, domesticated animals, canned octopus and pants.


Pantlessness ensues.She also refuses to speak, though she moves her lips a great deal. This is true of all family members, including Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Other Brother, Other Other Brother, Other Other Other Brother, Other Other Other Other Brother and Other (x5) Brother, otherwise known as the Pantless Little Ball of Rage. It can’t properly be called pantomime because the characters don’t do much besides mouth a script we can’t hear. Did they lose the original soundtrack? Was it horrible to listen to, and thus removed as an act of mercy? Did someone knock it into a lake, a la the soundtrack of its spiritual predecessor The Creeping Terror? Or is it merely a stylistic choice? A strange and inexplicable stylistic choice.

Of course, this is a perfect opportunity for the riffers to provide the dialog themselves. Bill gives the small girl an obsession with root vegetables, while Mike thinks she’s actually excited about an explosive badger. Guest riffer Veronica Belmont thinks she got a job to support the family, and gives the mother a dead-on mid-century accent while the riffers toy with this idea. Other good riffs include Kevin’s Jimi Hendrix impression, “American Thrift / Stay away from me!” Veronica responds to the narrator’s opening statements with, “As the American Woman, I welcome your tribute.” When the family leaves the pet shop to go to the pound, Mike says, “Evil-Looking Guy with Long Net, Proprietor.” When we first meet the goofy-looking smallest brother, Bill puts words in his mouth—“I cut my hair with a stapler.” Rifftrax don’t get female riffers very often, so it’s always a little jarring to hear a higher-pitched voice on the commentary, but Veronica acquits herself well among the guys. It’s a solidly funny little short.