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Apple self-produced parody '1944' arrives on YouTube

updated 10:20 pm EDT, Mon May 7, 2012

Features Steve Jobs as FDR in cameo

A video Apple created in 1984 as a motivational spoof for its annual Hawaii sales force conference that features a cameo of Steve Jobs playing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has arrived on YouTube. The film, first made public by Network World a few days ago, was intended as a spoof "propaganda film" to inspire the Macintosh sales force to do battle against "Big Blue" (IBM), then seen as Apple's main rival.

Though styled as a sort of historic sequel to the "1984" ad that had run in January of that year, the film (which reportedly cost more than $50,000 to produce) was never intended to be seen by the public. Although it used professional actors in most roles, notable cameos include Mike Murray (then vice president of marketing) as "The General" as well as Jobs' brief turn as Roosevelt.

Jobs appears for around 30 seconds in the nine-minute film, telling assembled troops "your battle will be long ... it will be hard ... but it will be won. I am sure your victory will be great." He then hangs up the phone, turns and adds with a smile to the camera "insanely great."

Both Apple and Microsoft have, over the years, made films designed to entertain and inspire their salespeople that have "escaped" onto YouTube and other such channels. In 1997, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer made a memorable parody of a then-popular Volkswagen ad that featured the 80s song "Da Da Da" by Trio (seen below) that was intended to poke fun at Sun Microsystems for a similar sales conference. Gates and Ballmer later did parodies of Night at the Roxbury, Harry Potter and Austin Powers for various Windows conferences. Jobs once let actor Noah Wylie (who had played him in that year's Pirates of Silicon Valley TV-movie) take the stage to open the 1999 Macworld conference.

The 1944 film also contains several in-references, for example referring to the "LightWriter" (which would later be renamed LaserWriter), and a perceived lack of software problem that was being addressed with assurances from "General Gates" and "General Kapor" (the latter being Mitch Kapor of Lotus).

The film also contains a few in-jokes; when asked for a report from sales, the force were said to be "goldbricking in Hawaii," to which the General reacts badly, and earlier in the film a reference to World War II extends to "IIplus ... IIc ... IIe." When a soldier whispers "what about the III," a reference to the ill-fated Apple III, another soldier shoots back "we don't talk about the III."

The voice-over narrator who opens and closes the film is the same unnamed artist who did the voice for the "1984" ad. The "1944" parody was preserved by former Apple employee Craig Elliott, now of Pertino Networks.

by MacNN Staff





  1. DaJoNel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So cheesy yet funny. Apple sure had fun in the 1980's before everything they do is now the wrong move.

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