Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt

Synopsis of Movie

“They killed Montclair!”

Whatever happened to the wacky all-star comedy, the kind of film where a dozen or so famous comics ran wild for about two hours, and nobody really cared about the plot? Everybody remembers It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, but try to name five films like it since then. We’ll give you a freebie to start with: Scavenger Hunt.

Released in 1979, Scavenger Hunt was one of the last of its kind, and it clearly fit the “all-star” bill. They may not all have been the biggest box-office draws of the day (sorry, no John Travolta or Burt Reynolds), but they’re all names and faces you know: Richard Benjamin, Cloris Leachman, James Coco, Scatman Crothers, Richard Mulligan, Roddy McDowall, Tony Randall, Willie Ames, Cleavon Little, Dirk Benedict… even Vincent Price, Meat Loaf and a pre-Conan Arnold Schwarzenegger in cameo roles. And, if anyone cared, there was a plot:

When elderly game inventor Milton Parker dies, his relatives, friends and servants are called together for the reading of his will. Parker’s vast fortune (about $200 million) will go to whoever wins his final game: an enormous scavenger hunt. Dizzy with dreams of greed, the would-be heirs split up into groups and hit the road.

That’s the story, but that’s not what the movie was really about. The essence of Scavenger Hunt lies in what comes next: slimy Stuart Selson, Mildred Carruthers and Georgie Carruthers try to swipe a safe from a high-rise building while servants Henri, Jackson, Jenkins and Babette get swamped by suds in a nearby lab. Family man Henry Motley tries to get a medicine ball from a certain musclebound Austrian fitness instructor while cool teens Jeff and Kenny Stevens unscrew the head from a Jack in the Box drive-thru. Cabbie Marvin Dummitz dresses up like a mummy to steal a suit of armor while, one by one, the zoo keeps losing its ostriches. And so it goes, from one zany vignette to another (we’ve barely scratched the surface) as the gang races to the finish line.

With so many comic actors in the cast, Scavenger Hunt didn’t have time to stop for a breather. The gags flew fast and furious, as did the friendly rivalries and unfriendly sabotage. If one joke didn’t tickle your fancy, you could rest assured that five more would rise to take its place within the next few minutes.

It was comedy gold for the kids who saw it, but unfortunately, not enough did. The wacky all-star comedy managed to stage a temporary comeback in 1981’s The Cannonball Run (which did have Burt Reynolds), but Scavenger Hunt remains a forgotten classic in this neglected genre.

Movie Release History

1979 - Scavenger Hunt

Movie Sub Categories


Movie Studio

20th Century Fox


Stuart Selsome  Richard Benjamin
Henri  James Coco
Sam   Scatman Crothers
Arvilla Droll  Ruth Gordon
Mildred Carruthers  Cloris Leachman
Jackson  Cleavon Little
Jenkins  Roddy McDowall
Robert Morley  Charles Bernstein
Marvin Dummitz  Richard Mulligan
Henry Motley  Tony Randall
Jeff Stevens   Dirk Benedict
Kenny Stevens  Willie Aames
Babbette  Stephanie Faracy
Merle  Stephen Furst
Georgie Carruthers  Richard Masur
Scum  Meat Loaf
Carnival Barker  Pat McCormick
Milton Parker  Vincent Price
Zoo Keeper  Avery Schreiber
Lars  Arnold Schwarzenegger
Lady Zero  Liz Torres
Nurse  Carol Wayne
Duane  Stuart Pankin
Lisa  Maureen Teefy
Jennifer Motley  Missy Francis
Michelle Motley  Julie Anne Haddock
Jason Motley  David Hollander
Scott Motley  Shane Sinutko
Naked Policeman  Henry Polic II
Cornfield  Hal Landon Jr.
Kay  Marji Martin
Indian  Jerado Decordovier
Hotel Manager  Emory Bass
Restroom Attendant  Byron Webster
Policeman #2  Adam Anderson
Drunk  Wally K. Berns
Boy #1  Patrick Brennan
Victim  Fred Cooke
Sakamato  Jerry Fujikawa
Elevator Repairman  Sid Gould
Docent  Dale Kalberg
Nun  Peggy Kaye
Lady in Rolls  Susan La Porte
Zoo Director  Art K. Koustik
Policeman #3  David Morgan
Boy in Museum  Bobby Rolofson
Clerk  Alan Scharf
Janitor  John Sorrentino
Boy with Skateboard  Andy Stone
Driver  Marian Streckler
Policeman #1 Duane Tucker

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