January 29, 2008

RetroTech: The Scopitone

Built in France from spare aircraft parts after world war II, The Scopitone was a coin-operated jukebox that projected 16mm films. After catching on throughout Europe, they were distributed in the USA, and the first music videos were soon being shot exclusively for the format. The machines were most often found in bars, so the content was more risque than what could be found on television, and today serves as an archive of the fading burlesque era. But it never quite found success in the states. This was due to distribution problems with the mafia, and the campy films seemed dated as psychedelic culture became more commonplace. The machines disappeared by the end of the 60's. Listen here to a short NPR story about one of the last working Scopitone machines, here and here for a couple of my favorite films, here for a huge archive of shorts, and I can't help but repost this superlative film starring the Queen of the Scopitones, the talentless Joi Lansing:


hot funk said...

My two favorites


and the other one I have DVD. This a french black guy signing "black boy" over the music from Rawhide.

Sadly this one is not on youtube.

Lance Ehlers said...

Regarding Sir Funk's video, just imagine how disappointing it must have been for some horny guy in a bar to be watching that movie, getting off on the girls bending over, and then to have that Carmine Ragusa guy come flipping into the frame with his fruity gymnastics.

stexe said...

"Yow! Wotta Boner-Buster!"

hot funk said...

that video is wrong on many levels

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