Cheating is a 1952 short produced by the Centron Corporation as part of their "Young American Discussion Problems in Group Living" series of educational shorts.



High school student John Taylor receives a phone call with bad news. Word quickly spreads through his school that John has been expelled from the student council because of cheating.

In a flashback, John studies for an algebra test with his friend Mary Matthews. John is clearly struggling with the material and he cannot understand Mary's explanations. He then suggests that he could copy Mary's answers during the test. This perturbs Mary, so John dismisses his comment as a joke.

The next day, John is flummoxed by the test problems. In desperation, he asks Mary to let him copy her answers and she complies. While they appear to escape the notice of their teacher Miss Gramby, John believes that she may be suspicious of his sudden improvement.

A position on the student council becomes available and John's improved algebra grades allow him to claim it. Being on the student council has always been one of his ambitions, and he finds himself increasingly relying on Mary to keep his grades up.

One day Miss Gramby catches Mary handing John answers during a test. John is humiliated in class and ostracized by the other students. A student council meeting is held without John to determine whether or not he'll remain a member. The vote to expel him is near unanimous.

The narrator asked the viewers to consider several questions: How much should Mary's complicity be taken into account? Were the students overly judgmental in their behavior towards John? Was the student council too reactionary in their vote?

Known Cast[]

  • Arden Booth as the narrator


  • In the copy screened on MST3K, a sequence of frames are missing from the point where John picks up the phone. The sound is briefly out of sync with the picture, giving the impression that the phone continues to ring after the receiver was picked up. In an undamaged copy available on YouTube, it shows John briefly hesitating before picking up the receiver, at which point the ringing stops.
  • A scene cut from the MST3K version shows that John's involvement with the student council is causing him to fall behind in his studies. In this scene, the narrator remarks on how Mary is becoming increasingly resentful over the way John takes her help for granted.

MST3K Connections[]

  • Director Herk Harvey was director for What About Juvenile Delinquency? and Why Study Industrial Arts?, as well as portraying the American flag speechmaker in Speech: Using Your Voice and the good speechmaker in Speech: Platform Posture and Appearance.
  • Writer Margaret Travis was also writer for Speech: Using Your Voice, What About Juvenile Delinquency? (in which she was also script supervisor), Why Study Industrial Arts?, and Speech: Platform Posture and Appearance (in which she was also set designer).
  • Producer Arthur H. Wolf was also director and producer for Speech: Using Your Voice and Speech: Platform Posture and Appearance, as well as producer for What About Juvenile Delinquency? (in which he also portrayed Mr. McPherson) and Why Study Industrial Arts?.
  • Editor and sound technician Chuck Lacey was also editor and sound technician for Speech: Using Your Voice, Cheating, What About Juvenile Delinquency?, Why Study Industrial Arts? (in which he also portrayed the coach), and Speech: Platform Posture and Appearance (in which he was also an audience member).


Shorts edit
Season 1 Radar Men from the Moon, Chapter 123456789
Season 2 The Phantom Creeps, Chapter 123X Marks the Spot
Season 3 Alphabet AnticsSnow ThrillsSpeech: Using Your VoiceAquatic WizardsCatching TroubleThe Home Economics StoryMr. B NaturalPosture PalsAppreciating Our Parents
Season 4 Undersea Kingdom, Chapter 1Junior Rodea DaredevilsUndersea Kingdom, Chapter 2General Hospital, #1#2#3Johnny at the FairCircus on IceHere Comes the CircusHired!, Part 12
Season 5 What to Do on a DateThe Truck FarmerBody Care and GroomingIs This Love?CheatingWhat About Juvenile Delinquency?Last Clear ChanceDesign for Dreaming
Season 6 A Date with Your FamilyThe Selling WizardUncle Jim's Dairy FarmA Day at the FairWhy Study Industrial ArtsYoung Man's FancyKeeping Neat and CleanAre You Ready for Marriage?Out of this WorldSpeech: Platform Posture and AppearanceMoney Talks!Progress Island U.S.A.The Days of our Years
Season 7 Once Upon a HoneymoonThe Chicken of Tomorrow
Season 9 Century 21 CallingRobot Rumpus
Season 10 A Case of Spring Fever
Season 13 Pipeline to the CloudsLet's Make a Meal in 20 MinutesCourt CaseSleep for HealthThe Wonder of ReproductionCavalcadeBalance Beam for GirlsBicylcing Visual SkillsThe Bicycle DriverLet's Keep Food Safe to EatMr. B NaturalBetter Breakfasts, U.S.A.Doing Things for Ourselves in School
Additional Assignment: VenezualaWhat's It to You?Circus DayA Busy Day at the County FairBehind the Scenes at the SupermarketSafety in Offices
Compilations Shorts, Volume 1Shorts, Volume 2Shorts, Volume 3Mr. B's Lost Shorts??!!Assignment: Venezuela and Other ShortsThe MST3K Festival of Shorts