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EXCLUSIVE: Watch Steve Jobs play FDR in Apple's long-lost takeoff on famous '1984' Macintosh TV commercial

Nine-minute film called '1944' was produced to inspire Apple sales team to take on IBM

By Paul McNamara on Wed, 05/02/12 - 10:37am.

If all you want to see is Steve Jobs playfully portraying Franklin Delano Roosevelt - right down to the cigarette holder - here's that short clip before we get to the longer version of the film that it's taken from and an explanation:

Entitled "1944," the almost 9-minute full version was Apple's in-house takeoff on "1984," the iconic first Macintosh TV ad that caused a sensation during that year's Super Bowl. Set as a World War II tale of good vs. IBM, it is a broadcast-quality production (said to have cost $50,000) that was designed to fire up Apple's international sales force at a 1984 meeting in Hawaii. A copy of "1944" was provided to me by one-time Apple employee Craig Elliott, now CEO of Pertino Networks, a cloud-computing startup located two blocks from Apple in Cupertino. (Update, May 8: Filmmakers tell story of how Jobs came to play FDR.)

Elliott, who worked at Apple from 1985 to 1996, says he has "never seen (the film) anywhere else" and that there has been "no additional circulation" as far as he knows. I couldn't find it online, either - the year 1984 was pre-World Wide Web, of course -- which doesn't mean it isn't out there. Two snippets from "1944," without any dialogue, do appear in another Jobs video - a photo-montage tribute to him made by Apple employees to mark his 30th birthday. After Jobs died last October, Elliott posted that birthday video to his Facebook page, from where it went viral before being knocked off the 'Net by Sony Music Entertainment because it used a Bob Dylan song.

(Steve Jobs and his gadgets ... in LEGO) 

Here's the full version of "1944."

(25 other geeky happenings from 1984)

Anyone who's seen the TV commercial no doubt recognized in this film the reprised role of the female hammer thrower, although I'm not sure if it's actually Anya Major from "1984." And, if you recall, Apple's famous ad ended with a narrator intoning: "On January 24th, Apple Computer will release Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like '1984.' " As you just saw, this film begins: "On January 24, 1984, Apple Computer introduced Macintosh. And we saw why 1984 was like ... 1944."