Rockula Retrospective video diary- The Elvira 1986 MTV Halloween Special -or- Learning how to trick the copywrong police pt 1

I have finally acquired a stable VHS to digital converter and have been converting all of the tapes that survived the great purge of years gone by
One of my most prized of all VHS tapes is the tape that I put in the VCR on Halloween night in 1986
I went out for a night of Halloween hijinks and returned with a treasure trove of new information to consume
MTV had played spooky videos before on Halloween but this time, they had Elvira host a 4 hour special
evira 1

Next on the tape was an Alice Cooper concert featuring his “comeback” with more muscular versions of his classics
Not only was the music beefed up to reflect the steadily rising popularity of metal and it’s ever increased heaviness, but Alice was literally beefing up his music with a bodybuilding lead guitarist named Kane Roberts
Kane Roberts

This concert would mark a dividing point in my musical growth in both positive and negative ways
But that’s a different story
The main focus is on Elvira

Waking up the next morning after the hi jinx, I watched the tape that had been recording all night
Elvira’s special consisted of her own sketches and host segments as well as videos that appeared to be picked by Elvira herself
She does say at the end that she picked the top 10 at the end and the video selection was far too deep and  imaginative for MTV in 1986

The next 4 hours would introduce me to a great deal of music that I had never experienced before
Siouxie and the Banshees, The Damned , Bauhaus and X were all bands that I ended up looking into and enjoying in one degree or another because of the music videos that Elvira played
There are plenty of obscure videos as well but my favorite has to be “Hollywood Halloween”

As the years progressed, I made this tape a part of my Halloween ritual
My friends loved it and plenty of them asked me to run off copies
Of course, this takes a toll on the VHS and it has degraded a bit but I think it just adds to the character
Fast forward to today and I am able to convert the tape with a decent VHS converting program
It deals with the tape flutter a lot better than my old burner so I thought it would be a great artifact for Youtube
Here’s where the drama begins
I wanted to put the whole thing up unedited but I knew that Youtube would have a problem with a tape full of music videos
So, in order to preserve the continuity of the tape, I decided to fade the videos in and out when the title stamp appeared at the beginning and end of each video
The initial condensation edit was made and I uploaded it
You’d think that commercials from a 30 year old decaying VHS wouldn’t pose much of a threat to the copywrong police but I got three separate 3rd party content  claims
One of them was for a Til Tuesday commercial which I thought was unusual since there are several commercials for albums on this tape
The next two were for a Clearasil commercial and an Air Force commercial
The funny thing is that the Air force commercial music was a direct ripoff of “Eye of the Tiger”
The funniest thing was that both of these commercials were claimed by WWE
Does that mean that Vince Mc Mahon owns the the rights to the content of an Air Force and Clearasil ad?
Or, does it mean that they have a completely arbitrary filtering system that flags anything that gets close to their registered content?
It is a very reasonable assumption that the WWE holds copyrights on thousands of pieces of intellectual property not associated with “sports entertainment”

I struggled with this issue and tried to figure out how to get around this system and cutting out the least amount of content
I tried muting the audio but I wasn’t satisfied
I tried glitching up the commercials by chopping and editing but they still got caught in the filter
It wasn’t until I got my new editing software that I hit upon a new idea
What if I cut the video out and reversed it?
The new edits were applied and I uploaded the video
The new trick worked and a compromise was achieved
My intent is to share these chunks of time that have been suspended on the tape with people who want to know what that time looked like
Commercials are a example of their times, so I wanted to keep as much as possible
I think it is kinds funny watching an Air Force commercial in reverse

Now that the program has been posted strike free, the next step was to give back the experience that Youtube has taken away by making a playlist of the videos and inserting links into the transitions so that you can watch the full videos from other people’s channels
This re-introduces the music videos back into the natural flow of the original program and avois content claims
There is a bit of maintenance that needs to be done to the playlist because the videos tend to get deleted (voluntarily or not) from people’s channels, so you sometimes need to find a new source and change the links etc…

The final addition to the upload is an interactive comments section
Not only do I encourage the viewer to comment in the section below the video but I also add them to the annotations that appear over the video
This allows viewers to have commentary appear on the screen during the relevant moment of the program
Of course, if all of that stuff gets too distracting, you can always turn off annotations

So, after countless edits for continuity and to get it past the filters, I finally got the whole thing up with annotations
Please feel free to participate in this video and let me know what you think


One thought on “Rockula Retrospective video diary- The Elvira 1986 MTV Halloween Special -or- Learning how to trick the copywrong police pt 1”

  1. Hey, I found this post when searching for other Eliva-hosted clips, and thought it was a neat post. Watching both of the Elvira MTV specials (1984, 1986) has become an October ritual of ours too. I’ve got the 1984 one on DVD if you’re interested 🙂

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