I first saw this clever, funny, and subversive short video in the middle of the 1990s. It wasn't easy to find, but my friend Kim Newman had a fourth or fifth generation copy and I watched it a dozen times, maybe more. I loved it then, and I still love it.
It was a kind of secret, back then; now, it's famous for being one of the first examples of the video mashup genre. It was created by Todd Graham, recently interviewed here. He duped off copies of his work and hawked them around video stores and art galleries, but although word leaked out about this weird little piece of I-guess-you-had-to-call-it-video-art and it was copied and recopied and slowly spread around the world, it remained an underground hit, and never made the mainstream. Not only didn't we have a proper name for it; it lacked the kind of instant word-of-mouth distribution system YouTube and other internet video channels provide. These days, if you upload a clever bit of video and it goes viral, the buzz can give you an instant in with the media biz, a career move in the way that making TV ads once was, in the 1970s and 1980s. Back then, in the predigital age, Todd Graham was hampered by being way ahead of his time, like a paperback novelist trying to make it big before Caxton. So it goes.
His second mashup, Blue Peanuts, was also on that old video. I think it's even funnier, because it shows just how scarily close the two reimaginings of small town America are.