Was Richard Carpenter mean to Karen
10 videos that went viral before the internet
As difficult as it may be to imagine, YouTube has not always existed. In fact, it's almost non-existent as long as people have video cameras pointed at ridiculous things and show their friends the funny results, or hand out some particularly crazy or interesting thing they played on TV last night.
Yes, there were viral videos before YouTube or even the internet - and while they're VHS tapes passed around at work or school, or grainy movies shown at festivals underground, they are totally recognizable as every phenomenon is the same phenomenon that we know love from the online world. Before the Star Wars Kid and the Dramatic Prairie Dog, there was ...10
This legendary “educational film” from 1936 was supposedly produced to warn parents of the dangers of the demon. It toured the country for a few years under many titles (such as Tell Your Children, its original title, and The Dope Addict), taking advantage of the strong anti-marijuana sentiment at the time - the Marihuana Tax Act, the first law to bring about jail for possession enable, was passed in 1937.
The film was rediscovered in 1971 by none other than Keith Stroup, founder of NORML, when it was sniffed through the library of the Congress Archives. Keith bought a print for $ 300, and soon after it appeared at college film festivals in the United States, where it was hailed as a masterpiece of unintentional hilarity. Since this was widespread prior to the videotape spreading, the distribution of the prints was handled by a small specialty film distributor called New Line Cinema who you may have heard that Reiff Madness had enough success with his hand that his own To begin production films of the late 70's.
Since the film is in the public domain (only the colorized version is copyrighted), it found its way to video as soon as the videotape spread. It's easy to find copies on VHS or DVD (or even YouTube) today, but in the pre-Internet era, you had to know someone who owned a tape. He lived in a town with a really strange video store. or go to a really cool college.9 The exploding whale
Here is an article that originated on a November 1970 news broadcast out of Portland, Oregon. Inside is a stranded whale carcass for which the city has a unique map. If you've read the title of the post, you can see where we're going with it.
The Oregon Highway Division decided that the most sensible way to remove the carcass was to vaporize it with a huge amount of dynamite, and the newscast recorded the event. As you can imagine, the plan seemed to have gone very well at first, as the whale carcass disappeared as if by magic; The thousands of rotten parts of the carcass - some tiny, some not that many - were still in the air, however. And they were on their way down now. Predictable, horrific, yet hilarious chaos ensues.
The event became part of Northwestern lore like Bigfoot, except that it was real. For a couple of decades it only survived as an urban legend and a few scattered bootlegs. Somehow, the original video from the 1990 news show ended up on humorist Dave Barry. He immediately wrote a hysterical column about it, and the band's legends rose. The first copies of the Bulletin Board System - a primitive, early Internet - were published in the United States in 1994. Today the legend of the Exploding Whale lives on.8
Heavy metal parking lot
On May 31, 1986, friends Jeff Krulik and John Heyn had just bought a camcorder - an old-fashioned device used to record cheap-looking videos. Anyway, it was pretty cool for the time and as music fans they decided to take it to the local arena in Landover, Maryland, where Judas Priest and Dokken were just now with the rocking of the 80s. They didn't have tickets to the show - they just cruised around the parking lot, chatting to dizzying metal fans, and shooting seventeen minutes of video that is transcendentally weird.
Mullet-headed tank top with lunkheads think about the rules of metal, and everything else sucks, including "that punk shit" and in a timely reference, Madonna ("she's a dick," one man says thoughtfully). Schnapps is everywhere and a man replies "where are you from?" With "I'm on acid". It howls, screams, devilish horns and non-followers abound; In short, it's a perfect time capsule of the mainstream US metal scene of the 1980s.
There was a limited market for short films of this type. The two friends named dozens of VHS copies that they distributed to anyone who wanted them. The copies were showing up in funky video stores across the country, and the tape had achieved legendary status long before it first appeared online in the mid-2000s. Subsequent attempts by the filmmakers to recapture the lightning in a bottle with titles like Yanni Parking Lot and Pro Wrestling Sidewalk somehow missed the original.7 Superstar: The Story of Karen Carpenter
Always an interesting filmmaker, Todd Haynes received Oscar nominations for Far From Heaven and his bizarre Bob Dylan film, I'm Not There. His first project, a forty-three minute film released for film festivals only in 1987, is one of the more bizarre entries on this list.
Superstar: The Karen Carpenter story was a fairly clear, comprehensive account of the rise of the Carpenters, from their discovery in 1966 to the untimely death of Karen Carpenter from anorexia. However, the film was not made with actors; it was made with Barbie dolls. Barbie played Karen, and the doll was literally tied up with a knife as the film progressed to show how Karen wasted her anorexia.
Needless to say, Richard Carpenter learned about the film when he found out about the film for many reasons - not the least of which was that Haynes never got clearance for the music used in it. Carpenter sued and won, and any existing film or videotape copies were to be picked up and destroyed. Of course, we know how the pirated copies were circulated freely until the advent of the Internet, which they have survived on to this day.6
Bambi meets Godzilla
As the head of Rocketship Animation Studios, Marv Newland has worked on the production of many animated spots for many clients, including promo IDs and network IDs for MTV and Nickelodeon that would likely set off nostalgia alarms for many readers. Just like his first and perhaps best-known project, which he drew himself in two days, in a room he happened to rent from an actress who was the voice of Snow White in Disney's classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The film "Bambi Meets Godzilla" was known to play on occasion to fill in time gaps in the early days of cable networks like HBO and Showtime. Less than two minutes, most of the film consists of the opening credits, which are shown over an animation of Bambi grazing in a meadow. Of course, everything is credited to Marv Newland except Newland himself (“Marv Newland Produced By Mr. And Mrs. Newland”). Then Godzilla appears ... or at least his foot.
The Deadpan Short was a joke for years in the late '70s and early' 80s, even though no one could remember where and when they saw them.5 hardware wars
Perhaps the most popular video on this list, Hardware Wars, is a thirteen-minute Star Wars parody from 1978 in which everything is hardware. Well almost everything. It's in the style of an extended teaser trailer for a full-length film that, unfortunately, was never produced.
After launching from a cassette player spaceship in an escape pod (a cassette, of course), the droids 4Q2 and the Arty Deco crash land on the surface of a planet that is clearly a watermelon. After the trio is discovered by Fluke Starbucker (played by future famous music producer Scott Matthews), it encounters Ham Salad and the Wookiee Monster (which suspiciously resembles the brown-painted Cookie Monster). Meanwhile, the evil Darph Nader (a game starring famed consumer attorney Ralph Nader) ends his interrogation of the princess by blowing up her home planet basketball (on her own initiative). The film ends with a squadron bottle opener leading a waffle iron attack, the slogan "May the Farce Be With You" and the claim that the film was shot "on location in space".
Hardware Wars was shown at film festivals (Most Popular Short at the Chicago Film Festival), as a short film in some theaters in front of the attraction, and on cable in the early 1980s. It was even available for rent from some radio operators at video stores of the day despite the short running time. All told, it had made around a million dollars and is still considered the most profitable short film of all time - especially when you consider that it was only $ 8,000 to make.4
In 1988, Winnebago's salesman Jack Rebney was selected to play with the recreational vehicles in a promotional video, likely due to his previous experience as a broadcast journalist. Nobody knows how successful the promo video was, but its outtakes spawned an incredible life from unknown members of the crew who turned it into the compilation known as the Winnebago Man, one of the most viral viral videos of all time.
In the video, Jack loses his patience. Much. He's dissatisfied with the script, the crew, the set and probably his life and the faces of everyone around him. He publicizes his misfortune through some of the most colorful curses any of us have ever heard in our lives, and suffice it to say that his mood did not improve for the duration of the video.
Copies of it were circulating on VHS and appeared (in heavily edited versions) on TV shows entitled "funniest home video" before the advent of the internet, where it appeared as early as 2002. In 2009, documentary filmmaker Ben Steinbauer Rebney chased a documentary over the video called Winnebago Man, only to discover that Rebney had no idea he was famous. The documentary was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at both the Sarasota Film Festival and the Edmonton International Film Festival.3 apocalypse pooh
In 1987, an Ontario College of Art and Design student Todd Graham set off the mashup around the world. Apocalypse Pooh is pretty much what it sounds like; Mostly video from the award-winning Winnie The Pooh shorts The Honey Tree and The Blustery Day, compiled with edited parts of the soundtrack to Francis Ford Coppola's masterpiece Apocalypse Now. Occasionally the opposite aesthetic is used, with footage from the film being added to soundtrack pieces from the animated shorts.
The film played almost entirely in two different locations - contemporary art houses and comic book conventions. The ever-popular pirated VHS circulated mainly on the latter, and the legend of the film grew.
The version available online is a restoration by a colleague of Graham. This film is notable for being incredibly comical and inventing the concept of mashup well before the well-known web phenomenon. British journalist and critic Kim Newman described Tiger's entry into the acronym for the dialogue "It's a finging tiger!" - as the greatest moment in Tigger's film career.2
The farting preacher
Robert Tilton was a pre-eminent televangelist of the late 1980s and early 1990s, best known for his infomercial-style Success-N-Life program. In this program, he often had lengthy conversations with the Almighty, pausing for dramatic effects while making faces that seemed to beg for some kind of sound effect. In 1985, some unknown men decided to correct the failure.
It was around this time that VHS copies of Tilton's Heavenly Conversations began to circulate with titles like Joyful Noise and Pastor Gas. Well-coordinated flatulence noises were inserted into the preacher's diatribes.
After an LA radio station mentioned the video in the air, the creators sold the bootlegs, which were (and are) largely copied. Many different "episodes" of Tilton's babbling wanderings can be found online today.1 Jesus Vs. Icy
In 1992, a couple of University of Colorado students showed a short animated film called The Spirit Of Christmas for their colleagues. In it, four boys build a snowman and bring him to life with a magical hat (as in the classic "Frosty The Snowman"). Except that Frosty is a murderous monster and immediately kills one of the boys, whereupon his friend says, “Oh my god! Frosty killed Kenny! “Which sounds a little familiar.
The CU students responsible for this confused work were Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and the four boys - with some names changed - were the very first versions of the four main characters from South Park. For a couple of years (you guessed it), bootlegs circulated around campus and eventually reached executives of the Fox network who hired the duo to create a new version of "Spirit Of Christmas" as a video Christmas card for their friends. Both were animated using only cardboard, construction paper and an ancient 8mm film camera.
The new version (now called Jesus Vs. Santa to distinguish between it and the original) also went viral, although this virus was initially limited to dozens of television executives on the network. The result, which became one of the first viral videos on the new internet, caught the attention of Comedy Central, which led Parker and Stone to develop South Park. Although all subsequent episodes of the series were computer-animated, the pilot "Cartman Gets An Anal Probe", like the originals, was animated with cardboard and construction paper.
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