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Come on and slam, and welcome to the jam!
December 29, 2010 7:37 AM   Subscribe

In 1996 a film was released that combined the animated Looney Tunes with the reality based basketball star Michael Jordan. That film was called Space Jam. Incredibly, Warner Brothers still maintains the movie's website, which is a snapshot of web design from the time period.

Frames!
Image Maps!
Bulleted Lists of Links!
Quicktime! (hypothetically, these appear to be dead)
Eyerending combinations of bright fonts on bright, textured backgrounds!

Want some more preserved, vintage Internet? Hop on over to Club Bacardi.

Wiki link for those unfamiliar with Space Jam

Space Jam and Internet Archaeology recently on the Blue.
posted by codacorolla (70 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
Unfortunately, this only works on a Macintosh running Netscape; sorry, Windows users.

Ah - - good times!
posted by fairmettle at 7:39 AM on December 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


Wow loving this, specially since I went to see this movie when it came out in the theaters!!!
posted by The1andonly at 7:39 AM on December 29, 2010


This is magical.
posted by Windigo at 7:40 AM on December 29, 2010


Hahahhahaha!!

I remember going to this website in the 4th grade. Thank you, Metafilter.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 7:45 AM on December 29, 2010


Don't jam your computer -- download this screen saver, and never again will you need to suffer the indignity of burnt phospor.
posted by paisley henosis at 7:48 AM on December 29, 2010


The bio page omits any mention of Lola Bunny, who certainly seems to have touched the hearts of a generation. Well, maybe not "hearts", per se.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:49 AM on December 29, 2010 [9 favorites]


I thought they shut down Geocities? :D
posted by BurN_ at 7:50 AM on December 29, 2010


I remember browsing around this site with my son who was a big fan of the movie at the time. No accounting for the tastes of seven year-olds (he loved the R. Kelly theme song too).
posted by octothorpe at 7:51 AM on December 29, 2010


The glasses! They do nothing!
posted by Ironmouth at 7:51 AM on December 29, 2010


The one site where a starfield background is acceptable, being in space and all.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:51 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. From this link:

Salt-N-Pepa - "Upside Down" (350k aif)(350k wav)
(RealAudio 2.0 [14.4, 28.8] RealAudio 3.0 [28.8, isdn, double isdn])
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:51 AM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Holyshit, frames! Fucking Times New Roman! Animated GIF's right up there in your junk!

The future was awesome. Back when all you needed was notepad and some uncle at a major studio.
posted by Thoth at 7:54 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love it - I'm not the only one who ran the cursor over the planets and expected them to balloon up, am I?
posted by rodmandirect at 7:58 AM on December 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


OMG this is hilarious. I just found my own archived site from 1998 and was lamenting at my poor skillz (and they were) but they weren't THAT far off. That star background ...wow.
posted by pywacket at 7:59 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd have to dig around a little, but I think this made it into at least one book as an example of really snazzy design. The Bacardi one too - maybe there just weren't that many websites back then.
posted by Artw at 8:00 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


> reality based basketball star Michael Jordan

That may be the first time that phrase has ever existed in the human language.
posted by ardgedee at 8:02 AM on December 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Unfortunately, this only works on a Macintosh running Netscape; sorry, Windows users.

Wait. What????
My recollection of the web circa '96 was something almost exactly the opposite "This site requires Internet Explorer and Windows 95" was all-too-common. That and ubiquitous Active-X controls.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:02 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


That is ADORABLE.
posted by chowflap at 8:03 AM on December 29, 2010


I like how the photos and icons are so small nowadays on our massive screens. I bet this displays well on a netbook though.
posted by smackfu at 8:03 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


reality based basketball star Michael Jordan

I need new business cards.
posted by ODiV at 8:06 AM on December 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


Back when all you needed was notepad and some uncle at a major studio.

Unfortunately, it's not all that different these days, either.
posted by jsavimbi at 8:06 AM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wonder if the sudden spike in traffic on the site will convince the studio execs to finally greenlight Space Jam 2: Jam Harder.
posted by Dr-Baa at 8:14 AM on December 29, 2010 [23 favorites]


Yeah, it's that good.
posted by rhizome at 8:15 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


The site was linked in a forum I lurk on just as passing conversation. Here's the google search on sites that link to that site, and it looks like it was found by someone on Twitter and then passed around that network.

Interesting confluence of the web 1.0.0.1 and Web 2.0.
posted by codacorolla at 8:20 AM on December 29, 2010


Wow. Yeah, this makes me feel better about my early web sites, too.
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:22 AM on December 29, 2010


It is INCONCEIVABLE that this could ever have seemed slick, professional or attractive. WILL NOT COMPUTE.
posted by fire&wings at 8:22 AM on December 29, 2010


I remember around that time period being pretty upset when movies created domain names specifically for a movie that was only going to be "around" for a few months or years at most. I recommended (to my viewing companions) that it be productioncompany.com/movietitle. I'm glad to see that Space Jam followed my advice.
posted by DU at 8:23 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Space Jam was one of the most important movies of my childhood. It came out the same year as NBA at 50, so that was a big year for me as a 6 year old. I used to watch these movies over and over (along with one about the Chicago Bulls dynasty). One day my oldest brother told me that Denzel Washington, the man hosting NBA at 50, was the sexiest man in the world. I didn't know what that meant, but from then on I felt like I had to watch the movie in secret. My godmother came into my room to watch with me as I was watching it my requisite once-a-week and I felt so ashamed and and uncomfortable I had to get up and leave.
posted by Corduroy at 8:31 AM on December 29, 2010 [9 favorites]


Amazing find, codocorolla. As Windigo said, this is magical.
posted by Corduroy at 8:33 AM on December 29, 2010


Space Jam Metafilter: Never on the Internet have so few worked so hard to bring you so much in so little time.
posted by quin at 8:39 AM on December 29, 2010


A 7.5MB trailer?

Do you know how many series of tubes that would block?!
posted by WinnipegDragon at 8:40 AM on December 29, 2010


I am grateful for the clarifying captions on the photos.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:44 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was older than the target audience when this came out, but I gotta say, that toy of Marvin Martian's rocket ship (The Martian Maggot) is one of the best and most useful movie tie-in toys of the last 15 years. I think it opens up to some kind of stupid basketball goal or something, but it just looks great as a 1950's rocket. Partial view of it in this awesome photo of mine and a better view of it in this shitty photo of mine.
posted by marxchivist at 8:44 AM on December 29, 2010


So, back then my HTML and design skills were apparently comparable to industry professionals. Rock on, 15-year-old me. Rock on.

(I remember being seriously jazzed when URLs started popping up at the end of movie trailers. I said, out loud, "they're finally getting it!" If I knew then what I know now...)
posted by SMPA at 8:47 AM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow that takes me back. It really does look good and work well by 1996 standards. The top frame seems quite useless and the graphics (spinning 'Games' ball especially) are incredibly dated, but the site does display properly and has good navigation. This is SO much better than many other examples of 1996-era websites. It's a little odd that it's still up and not updated, but I love it and I hope they keep it around for people younger than I to see a good example of what was well-done web design in the early-ish days.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 8:48 AM on December 29, 2010


This movie is an example of what's wrong with movie making. It was never intended to be a good movie, or make money. It was just a way to sell toys, which it did very well.

Imagine the screens this piece of junk occupied, taking space and time from movies that might have been creative efforts. Instead, we get this, a movie with no soul, never intended to be any more than a cynical advertisement for plastic crap.

Such is the nature of mass communications synergy.
posted by cccorlew at 8:52 AM on December 29, 2010


I wonder if/how Internet sites can be properly archived, preserved in content and outmoded technology. It will be sad if, when researchers want to see what they were like in the 1990s, there is nothing left...

As such, I applaud this! The movie not so much.
posted by dumdidumdum at 9:13 AM on December 29, 2010


I'm using the Google limiter site:www2.warnerbros.com to look for some other Warner Bro.s properties that might still have vintage sites, and it looks like Space Cowboys site is pretty indicative of turn of the millennium design. Large, central image maps, splash pages, flash animations, etc.
posted by codacorolla at 9:22 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


My 3-year-old nephew has been watching Space Jam lately. He now sings "Fly Like an Eagle" when he plays basketball in the house. It is adorable!
posted by elvissa at 9:22 AM on December 29, 2010


I wonder if the sudden spike in traffic on the site will convince the studio execs to finally greenlight Space Jam 2: Jam Harder.

Reminds me of this
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:32 AM on December 29, 2010


Viewing the source code of this site is like a digital archeological dig.

It says something that a fourteen year old site crammed with <center>, <nobr> and <font> tags, and completely lacking a DOCTYPE, still renders correctly in my Webkit-based browser.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 9:32 AM on December 29, 2010


This movie is an example of what's wrong with movie making. It was never intended to be a good movie, or make money. It was just a way to sell toys, which it did very well.

Imagine the screens this piece of junk occupied, taking space and time from movies that might have been creative efforts. Instead, we get this, a movie with no soul, never intended to be any more than a cynical advertisement for plastic crap.

Such is the nature of mass communications synergy.


Who shit in your cereal?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:36 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


The bio page omits any mention of Lola Bunny, who certainly seems to have touched the hearts of a generation. Well, maybe not "hearts", per se.

What is shocking to me is that of the piles of fan art created around Lola, most are relatively tame. However, there is one recurring form of bizarre fetish art... SFW, if not for brains.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:44 AM on December 29, 2010


Apparently they disabled virtual includes on that server.

Ahh.... virtual includes. The first way to do anything dynamic on a web page.
posted by bitdamaged at 9:52 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Usually the only reason these kind of sites stop working properly is that someone turns off the stuff on the webserver side, like server side includes or server side image maps.
posted by smackfu at 10:12 AM on December 29, 2010


Thanks to the miracle of computers, live action and animation appear together on the big screen like never before.
posted by stevil at 10:23 AM on December 29, 2010


Sometime later, when Space Jam came out on video the video store where I worked got a whole mess of Space Jam embroidered baseball caps, and so I, being a super-broke student, gave my whole family matching Space Jam hats at Christmas.

The Christmas pictures for that year are pretty funny looking, let me assure you.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:51 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Imagine the screens this piece of junk occupied, taking space and time from movies that might have been creative efforts.

I KNOW RIGHT WHY DON'T PEOPLE TAKE THEIR SEVEN-YEAR-OLDS TO ERIC ROHMER AND LARS VON TRIER MOVIES IT'S OUTRAGEOUS

Keep raging against the machine, dude. Maybe you can be that parent or uncle/aunt who gives the children more improving toys.


This website reminds me uncomfortably of the website builders' UFO cult website, though.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:04 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


It says something that a fourteen year old site crammed with <center>, <nobr> and <font> tags, and completely lacking a DOCTYPE, still renders correctly in my Webkit-based browser.

That shit is indestructable. Really it's with the version 4 browsers and their varying support for JavaScript and CSS that the real problems with archiving would start.
posted by Artw at 11:05 AM on December 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


I KNOW RIGHT WHY DON'T PEOPLE TAKE THEIR SEVEN-YEAR-OLDS TO ERIC ROHMER AND LARS VON TRIER MOVIES IT'S OUTRAGEOUS

The ballerina obsessed seven year old in your life will love Black Swan!
posted by Artw at 11:08 AM on December 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


One of the best things I've ever witnessed was a result of Space Jam.

I was at a performance of the Portland Cello Project (the 2008 Christmas Sweater Spectacular, with the Flash Chorus and Mirah) and one of the featured vocal performers of the evening sang Fly Like An Eagle and then proposed to his girlfriend onstage. She looked like she was mortified but she took it pretty well and said yes. Then they went and drank whiskey.
posted by tmt at 11:14 AM on December 29, 2010


This may be the only time it will ever be appropriate to point out that Space Jam's novelization takes gross liberties compared to the original film.

The most egregious change replaces Bill Murray — entering the interstellar basketball match at the finale — with the Roadrunner.

This is what turned me, a young appreciator of Murray's performances in films like Ghostbusters and Caddyshack, against the Roadrunner. Perhaps Wile E. Coyote felt a similar sleight once upon a time. Perhaps I will not be destined to repeat his fate when a chance at reckoning arrives.
posted by pokermonk at 11:20 AM on December 29, 2010 [8 favorites]


The bio page omits any mention of Lola Bunny, who certainly seems to have touched the hearts of a generation. Well, maybe not "hearts", per se.

That link lead me to this page, which contains the following: "The cute and sarcastic Bugs Bunny and his female companion, Lola Bunny, are among the most popular Disney characters."

So, so much wrong with that sentence.
posted by brundlefly at 11:37 AM on December 29, 2010


Ain't too hard for me to jam.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:57 AM on December 29, 2010


I wonder if the sudden spike in traffic on the site will convince the studio execs to finally greenlight Space Jam 2: Jam Harder.

2 Space 2 Jam?
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:08 PM on December 29, 2010


SPACE JELLY

because jam don't shake like that
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:13 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


This may be the only time it will ever be appropriate to point out that Space Jam's novelization takes gross liberties compared to the original film.

How ... how do you novelize Space Jam?

What is this I don't even
posted by Avenger at 12:28 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


The ballerina obsessed seven year old in your life will love Black Swan!

My mom really wanted to Black Swan, until I told her it isn't quite the straight up artsy ballet movie she thought it was.

Similarly, there was once when I visited my parents and was horrified to find a Blockbuster box for Quills. Mom thought it was a nice period piece... which I guess technically it was, but it isn't exactly Merchant and Ivory. She didn't finish watching it.
posted by kmz at 12:47 PM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wiki link for those unfamiliar with Space Jam

Having seen it in the theater, I now feel a distressing urge to watch Matlock...
posted by Gelatin at 1:09 PM on December 29, 2010


Heh. Yeah. It's basically a really pretentious and trashy horror movie, and as such I love it, but not for everyone.
posted by Artw at 1:09 PM on December 29, 2010


Black Swan, that is, not Space Jam (or Matlock).
posted by Artw at 1:11 PM on December 29, 2010


Yes, Warner Bros still hosts the '96 "Space Jam" page but they they also feature more recent properties (via James Urbaniak on twitter)
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:25 PM on December 29, 2010


Get
Ready
To
Jam

November 15

posted by The Card Cheat at 4:31 PM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wonder if the corporate conversations around this site go something like this:

New Middle Manager: So, this Space Jam page. Why are we maintaining something for a movie that hasn't generated revenue in a decade-and-a-half?

Crusty Old Systems Admin: Why not? It's a piece of history. And I worked on it back in the day.

NMM: Yeah, I built sand castles as a kid too. Doesn't mean I had them bronzed. Do you have any idea how negative the ROI is on this thing? It doesn't stay up for free; not to mention, I could use you on our customer service database migration project.

COSA: You've heard of Leon, haven't you?

NMM: Who's he?

COSA: Leon built the original set of pages, then went on to build-out the version of Linux this entire company runs on. He really loved the Space Jam site, thought of it as one of his children. Eventually he was recruited by a shady Eastern European outfit. No one knows exactly who or where he is today.

NMM: Good for him, what does this have to do with --

COSA: If any of the Space Jam pages are down for more than 24 hours, we go dark and all of our executive emails, logins, and passwords are sent directly to the Russian Mafia.

NMM: Goddammit, you expect me to believe that?

COSA: You willing to risk it?
posted by treepour at 4:54 PM on December 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


OMG.
posted by Put the kettle on at 6:09 PM on December 29, 2010


Memories start to flow back in my mind, and they aren't good.
posted by jermspeaks at 6:43 PM on December 29, 2010


This movie is an example of what's wrong with movie making. It was never intended to be a good movie, or make money. It was just a way to sell toys, which it did very well.

Okay, so here's the thing: yes, I'm gonna step in to defend a 14-year old kids' movie. That I saw in theaters. Twice. Space Jam came out in my senior year of high school right when I was deciding to try to apply to NYU for the animation program at Tisch Film. And yes, even then, and of course moreso now, I understand the entire thing was a goddamn marketing mess: toy sales, Michael Jordan product tie ins, WTF is Bill Murray doing in this, let's fabricate a brand new character just to sell products for girls and let's face it, give the dads something to look at eeeeeeew but yeah we know what we're doing here.

Except, from the perspective of someone into cartoons and animation and classic Looney Tunes, from that angle, the movie was phenomenal. I proudly have the making of/art book from the movie, asked for it for Christmas in '97 and still pore through it every now and then. The technical aspects of the animation of this film are an incredible achievement: producing a 90-minute animated feature in less than a year, adapting classic characters with (at the time) new computer and shading techniques but still using traditional animation, and deciding that a "kid's movie" slash animated movie doesn't need musical numbers: all of these things: awesome.

Without even looking it up and having not seen the movie in over a decade now, instantly the things I remember and marveled at: getting Marvin the Martian to appear with a perfect reflection in the live-action grain of basketball court floor lacquer. Daffy's "we gotta get new agents; we're getting screwed" line. The entire slow-pan of the cartoon team's bench in dire straits complete with Granny dropping panels on Slyvester while Tweety's feet stick out of an iron lung. Shots that, despite being in a terrible, terrible movie, took effort. Really good effort.

The biggest disappointment of Space Jam was every shot that had live action in it. But the animation was an intense labor that clearly Warner Bros. only greenlighted because they knew it could sell backpacks. But they still made that investment and it paid off on screen.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:11 AM on December 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


Sir, for your clearly expressed love for something I (and let's face it, most people) could not give a damn about... I salute you.
posted by Artw at 6:19 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The bio page omits any mention of Lola Bunny, who certainly seems to have touched the hearts of a generation. Well, maybe not "hearts", per se.

But they do have a whole page of sketches devoted to "that pneumatic bunny, Lola".

If that was a typo, I'm not sure what it was supposed to have been. I wonder if that's the source of FatherDagon's discovery...
posted by Darkphibre at 2:03 PM on December 30, 2010


Darkphibre: "If that was a typo, I'm not sure what it was supposed to have been."

"Pneumatic," you mean? One definition of pneumatic is "busty."
posted by Chrysostom at 10:05 AM on January 11, 2011


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