Check out Elephant Parts – one of the coolest Music Video (and comedy video) collections ever

By: Mark

The Elephant Parts video DVD was created by Mike Nesmith of the Monkees and was an inspiration for a generation of video makers

In 1981, Elephant Parts won the first ever Grammy Award given for a music video. It is a compilation of extremely funny video skits.

Nez called it a video record. Elephant Parts was born out of Nez attempting to find a home for Rio and other music videos — how they could be applied and used. He decided that comedy videos would make good sandwich material.

Elephant Parts refers to zooming in on different sections and how that zoom can make it hard to decipher what you’re viewing in relationship to the whole.

You can buy the Elephant Parts DVD at Amazon

You can watch many of the Elephant Parts skits and videos here

According to WikiPedia –

Elephant Parts is a collection of comedy sketches and music videos made in 1981 by Michael Nesmith, formerly of the Monkees. Nesmith produced the video through his company Pacific ArtsElephant Parts is one hour long with parody commercials and comedy sketches, and features five full-length music videos, including the popular songs “Rio” and “Cruisin'”, which featured wrestler Steve Strong and Monterey-based comic “Chicago” Steve Barkley.

There are various comedy sketches between musical numbers: The most notable sketches are “Elvis Drugs”, “Neighborhood Nuclear Superiority”, “The Tragically Hip” (which was the inspiration for the Canadian band the Tragically Hip and was featured as a pretaped sketch on a season six episode of Saturday Night Live), “Large Detroit Car Company”, “Mariachi Translations”, recurring comic blackouts that ended with the catchphrase “Just to prove a point!” and several series of bits with a lounge singer and a pirate, as well as a game show called “Name That Drug.” The musical videos include “Magic”, “Cruisin'”, “Light,” “Tonight” and “Rio.” Director Bill Dear said they were doing “music videos before people even knew what they were… we approached them as mini-movies…. We always tried to tell a story and we looked for a lighter interpretation.”[1]

Throughout Elephant Parts, Nesmith makes fun of his own works, with segments including a parody of his song “Joanne” called “Rodan“, and comic promos for his albums Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma and Live at the Palais. Although Nesmith’s solo career is punned or highlighted, he does not make any reference to or mention of the Monkees.

Elephant Parts won the first Grammy in the Music Video category. Billboard’s review said it was “the cleverest exercise in original video programming to date.”[2]

Two related series were PopClips for Nickelodeon, which premiered in 1980, and Television Parts for NBC in 1985. Nickelodeon’s parent company, Warner Cable, wanted to buy outright the PopClips copyright to be expanded into an all-music video channel, but after Nesmith declined the offer, Warner Cable started work on what would become MTV.[3]

The title Elephant Parts refers to the parable of the blind men and an elephant where each man comes to a different conclusion about what an elephant is due to them touching only one part.[4]