Robert Altman's Lost 1951 Short About Football, Eating a Bunch of Wheaties

March 13, 2012


Back before he did M*A*S*H, long before he realized the pure, jarring vision of a singing Popeye, Robert Altman made a living off the kind of hokey industrial and educational shorts you see frequently mocked in '50s parodies and Simpsons episodes. Most of these old films are lost or forgotten, long since covered in layer upon layer of naturalistic overlapping dialogue, but it seems at least one has survived: Modern Football, a 26-minute film from 1951 that teaches us the rules of then-modern football and reminds us to eat a huge-ass breakfast of Wheaties. A filmmaker named Gary Huggins recently found a 16mm print of the film in a flea market in Altman's hometown of Kansas City, and he's uploaded it to internet for us to see the early work. This is the seed from which grew Dr. T and all of his Women (also all those other, more memorable things Robert Altman made):


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