Back in June, The A.V. Club ran a clip of Steven Spielberg losing the best director nomination for Jaws in 1976. The bearded one didn’t just have a camera set up in his house to document he and Joe Spinell hanging out on a Los Angeles morning; it was actually a “guerilla video collective” known as TVTV (Top Value Television), which included such soon to be famous faces as Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Christopher Guest. The clip of Spielberg watching the Oscar nomination ceremony came from one of TVTV’s documentaries, TVTV Looks At The Oscars. And now YouTube channel Conama U.S.A. has uploaded the full Oscars documentary as well as TVTV Goes To The Superbowl from 1976 and TVTV Adland From 1974.
TVT Goes To The Superbowl chronicles the 1976 big game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The documentary features interviews with the players, their wives, and the CBS personalities who helped bring Super Bowl X to television. There is also a man in a gorilla suit hanging around the proceedings. According to Alan Rucker, a TVTV co-founder, “no video makers had ever walked into a pro football locker room and hung out with the players. Because no one had ever wanted to get close to the real event, TVTV had almost carte-blanche access. One of the highlights of the short is a pre-SNL Bill Murray doing that Bill Murray shtick during a game of touch football that featured Johnny Unitas, Sonny Jurgensen, and Paul Hornung.
Also up on the YouTube page is a 1974 short titled Adland, which chronicles the advertising industry that came around right after Mad Men-era ended. The real life Don Drapers and Peggy Olsens work on a McDonalds TV spot as well as deal with child actors Mason Reese and Cousin Oliver himself, Robbie Rist. The smug, self-assured nature of advertising executives, artists, and creative directors is prevalent throughout the documentary. TVTV’s cinema verite style melds nicely with the world of advertising, especially since you can never tell when the featured players are being sincere or simply working a sale of themselves. One gentleman, for instance, proclaims “I’ll work with a monkey if it will make better advertising.”
All three documentaries are available to watch on YouTube for free and all 18 films from the TVTV archive can be purchased on their website.