“A Word to the Wives…” is a 1955 sponsored short, the kind that MST3K and Rifftrax love tearing into. Rifftrax is actually how I discovered it; the short was part of the MST3K Reunion live show, riffed by Bridget Nelson and Mary Jo Pehl.
The film, now in the public domain, was sponsored by the American Gas Association, the National Association of Home Builders, and Woman’s Home Companion magazine, and features products by Caloric, Whirlpool Corporation, Formica Corporation, Republic Steel Kitchens, and Ruud.
Housewife Jane Peters is envious of her friend Alice’s new ranch house. At Alice’s suggestion, she decides to trick her husband, George, into buying a new kitchen. Jane leaves her husband and son alone while she visits her mother in Cleveland. George is completely incompetent when trying to cook for himself and his son in their aging kitchen. After Jane returns, the Peters visit Alice and her husband and find out more about the modern conveniences in their new home.
I wanted to highlight this short for two reasons:
One, the director is Norman Lloyd. Lloyd passed away last month at the age of 106, and left an astounding body of work behind that started on stage in the 1930s, ended with an appearance in “Trainwreck” at the age of 99, and included more shows, plays and movies than I could possibly list in this header.
Two, the husband George is played by none other than Darren McGavin. McGavin, like Lloyd, had a very long career but he’s perhaps best known as Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Old Man in A Christmas Story.
While I strongly recommend the Rifftrax version which is free with ads via IMDB TV and Tubi (it’s the second short of the show; go to the 24:30 timestamp), the short is still enjoyable in its original form mostly thanks to McGavin’s comedic talents.
Have fun posting!