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500 POUND JERK, THE (TV) (1973 USA)

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Directed by William Kronick
Starring: James Franciscus, Alex Karras, Hope Lange
Genres: Comedy, Sports
74 minutes | Full screen | Color | English

Alex Karras stars as a naive backwoods strong-man, whose acute ability to lift weights brings him to the attention of a slick sports promoter (James Franciscus). Karras is carefully groomed to compete in the 1972 Olympics; Franciscus gives him explicit instructions to flex his muscles, tote his weights, and to steer clear of trouble. But the bucolic muscle-man upsets the apple-cart by falling in love with a beautiful Russian gymnast (Claudia Butenuth). Karras innocently enmeshes the American team in a hot-potato International incident. Telecast some three months after the actual Olympics (allowing for plenty of stock footage of the real games), 500 Pound Jerk has become a perennial local-station entry, suitable for weekend showings whenever a sports event is suddenly cancelled.

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