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A collection of comedy skits and music videos, such as a game-show spoof called "Name That Drug", a visit to the office of the Clandestine Typing Service, and a man providing a skewed translation of a Mexican serenade for his girlfriend. Written by
Kevin G. Madzia <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mike Nesmith was, and continues to be, an innovator and visionary. With "Elephant Parts", he looked at the new technologies available for film making (videotape having reached critical mass, so that 'home video' could be inexpensive.) Quality of entertainment suddenly depended on writing and technique, not so much big up-front expenses for equipment and the people to use them that discouraged any number of director-wannabes.
Music videos had existed for 20 years or more (what exactly is an Elvis Presley movie but story between music videos, the Beatles and of course the Monkees had been doing this sort of thing too), but what made a good video (simple, entertaining 'story', include the band, and always cut on the beat) was not well understood by makers. Mike understood it, and with the help of a collection of crazy and energetic friends made the video equivalent of "I'll get some pallets from the lumber yard for a stage, you get your mom's sheets for a curtain, and you get some clothesline and we'll put on a show right here in the back yard!"
But this backyard show had Mike to know what it should look like and in general how to make it. From this humble beginning, this pathfinding, came MTV, and groundwork was laid for the whole the digital-indie movement (videotapes were cheap to make, but expensive to distribute - once the internet made distribution cheap, anybody with talent -- and loads of people who don't -- could show what they could do.) For the music business, it was discovered that music videos were suddenly ridiculously cheap to make, and became very quickly the primary method of reaching an audience, once MTV made distribution essentially free. From that, came a whole generation of directors, who could get experience away from film school. Pretty long path he blazed, eh?
Elephant Parts (which also spawned a ultra-short-lived TV show, "Television Parts", which Mike sells from his 'video ranch' website (check it out)) is a rapid-fire, no-organization series of Mike's songs (presented as high-quality music videos) and child-of-the-television comedy bits. My personal favorite is the foreign-language-gibberish video. It is, of course, of uneven quality, but all presented in an infectious, high-energy format that pulls you along for the ride. Worth seeing. Hat's off to ya, Mr. Nesmith.
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