And the best part VJs!
May 4, 2003 6:17 AM   Subscribe

The Scopitone was a French video jukebox that made its debut in 1960 and was imported into the US in 1964. Although they usually featured high production values, catchy melodies, and lots of gratuitous cheesecake, the singers were often relative unknowns and the music was square even by the standards of the day. Consequently, they never caught on in a big way outside of Europe, and many of the original Scopitone jukeboxes and films were destroyed. Fortunately for us, a few Scopitone enthusiasts have catalogued the songs, scanned the advertisements, and even preserved a few Quicktime clips of the original French and American Scopitone films.
posted by MrBaliHai (9 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks a million, MrBaliHai - I'd be getting by with the Scopitone fix over on Sharpeworlde.

I remember the Scopitone jukeboxes in the early 60s. They were very expensive and the selection was crap - at least for a seven-year old!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:52 AM on May 4, 2003

clips of the original French

Evil, bad, naughty frames...that URL should be here.

Wouldn't want you to miss your Johnny Halliday fix, Migs...;^)
posted by MrBaliHai at 7:33 AM on May 4, 2003

I like that phrasing that seems imply that only Europeans would like square music and gratuitous cheesecake.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:35 AM on May 4, 2003

Great links MrBaliHai - the Scopitone was vital in preserving embarassing footage from the go-go girl era, a time when sex appeal was apparently measured by an enormous demonstration of energy. Anyone who hasn't viewed your last link needs to do so right now! Also, this Mother Nature, Father Time one is really scary! Thanks for the guffaws.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:09 AM on May 4, 2003

Dig those crazy hotpants.
posted by the fire you left me at 9:45 AM on May 4, 2003

Mo: Haha! That phrasing was inadvertent on my part, but having spent much of my childhood in Europe being forced to watch embarassingly lame variety shows on television with my parents, and listening to the milquetoast musical programming on government-controlled radio stations, I must've subconsciously let that sneak through!

On my return to the States, I was amazed at how much better music and teevee seemed to be by comparison (hard as that might be to believe).
posted by MrBaliHai at 10:37 AM on May 4, 2003

Wait a minute. Miguel used to be a seven year-old girl?
posted by monkeyman at 5:27 AM on May 5, 2003

Still is, actually. He inhabits a new host every autumn.
posted by Vidiot at 7:54 AM on May 5, 2003

I highly recommend you buy the video from Dennis as listed on Sharpeworld (scroll down for info) if you're interested in seeing more. It's worth every penny and chock full of rare Scopitones. MTV did the transfer work for him, so it's a nice clean copy - which is a hard thing to find!
posted by sparky at 2:05 PM on May 5, 2003

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