Was Jobs-as-FDR clip filmed in Bizarro-Land?

Some who’ve seen it say it weirded them out


Having started in the news business about the same time that The Two Steves started Apple, I was almost certain that yesterday’s posting here of film footage of Steve Jobs portraying FDR for an in-house Apple flick back in 1984 was destined to go viral.

It’s well on it's way.

And much of the reaction to "1944" has been predictable, too: Most journalists, bloggers and readers are finding the film amusing and/or interesting, some are giving it a thumbs down, and the haters are doing what haters do.

But there has been one type of reaction that did catch me by surprise, namely the idea that this Apple flick, designed specifically for the company’s sales force, was filmed in Bizarro-Land. Examples:

From Engadget:

Bizarre internal Apple video shows Steve Jobs rallying the troops against IBM

“We're going to warn you up front: what you're about to see is eccentric, puzzling, and perhaps even disturbing. And undoubtedly, it's the fanboy film to end all fanboy films.”

From Gizmodo:

Steve Jobs Played FDR in 1984 and It’s Impossibly Weird

“We promise you, in the name of every religion, that this is the most bizarre thing you've have seen in a while.”

From Cult of Mac:

Steve Job Cosplays FDR In This Bizarre WWII-Style Apple Ad [Video]

We’ve seen glimpses of Steve in his FDR costume from a video made to celebrate Jobs’s 30th birthday, but we never knew the context of why Jobs was dressed up like the former-U.S. President until now. … The entire video is pretty bizarre and terribly corny, but definitely worth watching.

From Slate:

Steve Jobs Played FDR in a Crazy Short Film Made by Apple in 1984

On the heels of the blockbuster “1984” commercial for Macintosh, Apple created a rather bananas in-house short film called “1944.”

They were by no means alone; in fact, there were numerous suggestions that this may have been another case of the Apple founder’s legendary dabbling with drugs.

I’m not saying they’re wrong – about Bizarro-Land or the drugs – just that the film didn’t strike me that way.

I thought it was merely corny, or about what I’d expect from a sales-department production.

Welcome regulars and passersby. Here are a few more recent buzzblog items. And, if you’d like to receive Buzzblog via e-mail newsletter, here’s where to sign up. You can follow me on Twitter here and on Google+ here.

  • 2012’s 25 Geekiest 25th Anniversaries.
  • “Hilarious Unix admin tools”
  • When touring the Large Hadron Collider, stay with your group
  • Looks like Apple paid off victim of ham-handed iPhone search
  • The 50 best “Bragging Rights” claimed on Google+
  • “Moon landing was a hoax” crowd will love this NASA video
  • Watch a blind man behind wheel of Google’s self-driving car.
  • More fun with naming wireless nets.
  • Firewall fail: A tale both funny and sad.
  • Techies are spending a lot of time on PCs in our post-PC world.
  • If the “ridiculous” Dow had chosen Apple instead of Cisco.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

The 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking 2022