For most of my life one of my dreams has been to one day own a jukebox...well, when I first found out about Scopitone machines that dream took a backburner and now I'd rather have one of those! I have a huge love for music videos and the Scopitone machine combines this love with my desire for a Jukebox perfectly. A little about Scopitones from Scopitone Archive:
Scopitone films are the 1960s ancestors of today's music videos. They were distributed on color 16mm film with a magnetic soundtrack, and were made to be shown on a Scopitone film jukebox. The first Scopitones were made in France in 1960, and the Scopitone craze spread throughout Europe (particularly in West Germany and England) before crossing the Atlantic to the United States in mid-1964. By the end of the 1960s, they were gone. [Source]
Many of the Scopitone videos are available to watch on YouTube (but, take caution - you could spend hours watching them!) so I've chosen a few of my favourites to share with you. It was painful to pick these as there are just so many fantastic videos!
The Bike by Alex Marco
My favourites are, of course, the kookiest. Like this one - I don't understand French but I'm assuming The Bike is possibly meant to be a dance? Or maybe this guy is just really excited about bicycles?
This one is my absolute favourite (so far!) - I love all of the novelty dances showcased, there are some great threads and the flip on the blonde is fantastic! There is a bit of a discussion trying to identify the singer over here.
Pussycat A Go Go by Stacy Adams.
Oh, look! Bikini clad dancers! What a surprise in a '60s video. The dancing really is something else, though. I'm especially impressed by the woman in the orange-red bikini with the fabulous beehive! Mesmerising.
Here's some more evidence that the reasons for scantily clad dancers were really quite tenuous in this video for Jody Miller's version of The Race is On - the dancers appear in lieu of horses or other racing animals...hmm. Their costumes are a bit fabulous, though.
Le Vampire by Stella
To show you that it wasn't all scantily clad go-go dancers here's one that...well, I'm not sure what to say about this!
This really is just a small selection - there are so many fantastic Scopitone films to watch on YouTube, including songs by artists I know and love like Lesley Gore, France Gall, Neil Sedaka, Nancy Sinatra as well as many I'd never heard of before!
You can read about the Cinebox here, a similar machine originally produced in Italy. And check out scopitones.com for more info and news on Scopitone machines and the films made for them. You can pick up DVDs of some of the videos, there, and the site even offers custom made DVDs of your favourite Scopitone films.