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Film / A Case of Spring Fever

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A Case of Spring Fever (1940) is an educational short produced by The Jam Handy Organization intended to teach high school students a physics lesson in Hooke's Law.

This short is public domain and viewable at the Internet Archive.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page. This was the only short from the tenth season and the final short ever done on Mystery Science Theater 3000... and let it be said that they went out on a high note. And then riffed it again as the short before RiffTrax Live: Sharknado; it was later released as a VOD on the official site.


A Case of Spring Fever contains examples of:

  • Character Filibuster: Gilbert gushing about springs.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Coily removes all springs from the world just because Gilbert verbally expressed some frustration while trying to fix the springs in the couch.
  • Driven to Madness: Gilbert giving sermons about springs seems to give this vibe.
  • Easily Forgiven: Coily reversing Gilbert's wish just as quickly as he made it.
  • Easy Evangelism: Conspicuously averted. Gilbert's spring-centric proselytizing does nothing more than annoy his golf buddies, who obviously couldn't give a rat's ass about the thousands and thousands of everyday uses for springs.
  • Hair-Trigger Sound Effect: Every time Coily vanishes and says "No springs!", it's accompanied by a strange springy whistle.
  • Ironic Hell: According to Coily, only Gilbert would experience a world without springs.
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  • It's a Wonderful Plot: The first half pretty much consists of Gilbert seeing what the world would be like without springs.
  • Odd Job Gods: Coily is a "spring sprite".
  • Otaku: Gilbert learns to love springs so much that he will go on and ON about them, to the absolute detriment of conversation.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Strauss' "Perpetuum Mobile, Op. 257" plays as Gilbert, with childlike wonder, finally appreciates the joys that a world of springs has to offer.
  • Reality Warper: Coily has the ability to miraculously remove all springs from the world in seconds flat. He also appears able to be able to rewind time in order to restore the world to its previous state. That is, assuming the whole thing isn't an elaborate Mind Rape for Gilbert.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Coily is animated, while everything else is live-action. Like most older examples done on the cheap, the majority of Coily's shots are cel animation laid over static photographs; only two shots feature Coily and Gilbert in the frame together, and there's no physical interaction beyond Gilbert staring at the little guy.
  • Stealth Parody: Considering that most educational shorts don't feature people becoming incredibly bored and resentful of the information therein, this may be one.
    • Not necessarily a parody— it does convey all the information expected of it. It was just really well-written, by the standards of a Jam Handy educational short.
    • It's also part of the short's Show, Don't Tell strategy: the golf buddies can fall asleep in the car because of the many levels of springs cushioning their ride.


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