Friday, June 15, 2007

Because It's Friday: Emergency Broadcast Network

Oh man, EBN. Eli introduced them to me in the best possible way, by showing me the videos at the end of their only full-length CD ("Telecommunication Breakdown").

Through some obsessive-compulsive technique that nobody else would dare reproduce, EBN created video-songs using reams and reams of recorded footage. They didn't have a "video sampler" (as the sort of shoddiness of their VHS tape makes clear)...they just meticulously catalogued and sampled and trimmed. And in the process they made songs with themes, usually involving television overload and media manipulation.

EBN is no more, but every month it seems like more and more goodies are appearing on YouTube, both full-length videos and strange experiments from the EBN archives. This song, "3:7:8," is my favourite, and I'm thrilled to finally see an unedited version (with the "Beginning of the End" section at the end). It doesn't have a "theme" and it's one of their more polished efforts, and it's a great song to boot.

Are you a savvy culture-spotter? See what you can recognize. I'll put my discoveries below the video.

I think the falsetto boy at the beginning is from "Prospero's Books," but I haven't seen it in a long time. The Dalai Lama is laughing in one clip, and Danny Kaye is definitely yelling "CONGA!" (Jeez, his mouth!) That's Ann Miller doing "I've Gotta Hear That Beat" from "Small Town Girl" (two bars forward, two bars backward, but no audio from the actual number). The surprise footage in the "Beginning of the End" segment is partially from "Carnival of Souls" and "Brainstorm." The singing woman looks and sounds an awful lot like Virginia O'Brien, ol' stone-face herself.

So what did I miss?

PS: When the fancy menu pops up at the end, do yourself a favour and watch the next EBN video, "Rock This Base." Shiver.


Eric Little said...

One real quick one, and then I have to start playing with the pause--

The guy laughing near the end is Rex Ingram playing the Genie in Michael Powell's "The Thief of Baghdad." There's a couple of milliseconds of Sabu--the thief he's laughing at--there too.

Danny Kaye's mouth has to be digitally manipulated.

Eric Little said...

And now that I look at it again, I see John Justin (Ahmad) with Sabu.

At about 3:38 left, Edward Arnold can be seen at the head of a dinner table. William Holden appears to be seated in the lower left. That could be from "Dear Ruth" (1947).

Also near the end--it sure looks like James Dean flopping around that room full of dust-covered furniture.

Geez--you got me going again.

Eric Little said...

On second glance, I withdraw my James Dean identification--those aren't dustcovers.

But I do notice that in the scene with the singers who stop at the striking of a triangle, Harry von Zell is visible at the right of the scene.

Sheesh. I'm going to quit now and do something worthwhile, like recognizing Faye Wray (with brunette hair) in a first-season episode of "Perry Mason."

Adam Thornton said...

I watched "THX-1138" last year, and I THINK I tweaked that the ghostly blue creature saying "" was from there...but it could have been something I dreamed.

That may not be Virginia O'Brien...she didn't make many "period" films, and she didn't sing any song with those lyrics in the one I assumed it was from ("Harvey Girls.")

Thief of Baghdad, good catch!

Incidentally, in the Ann Miller section, the guy doing a swing dance with the girl-doll was NOT part of the that's another unknown clip.

The guy who taps the triangle looks like Franklin Pangborn (I recognize him from "Reville with Beverly").