Election coverage, natural disasters, and Wall Street meltdown got you down? Let’s go back to a simpler time — 1984! It’s morning in America again, and the dawn of a new information age.
Fortunately, one unlikely celebrity couple is here to guide us through the brave new world of spread sheets, data banks, and modems. In Computability, an instructional VHS tape from 1984, comedian Steve Allen and actress Jayne Meadows “take us on a light-hearted but detailed tour of the ways a home computer can change your life by simply using the correct software packages to suit your needs.”
The video was originally inspired by the couple’s Grammy-nominated “Everything You Wanted to Know About Home Computers,” a vinyl LP released by Casablanca/Polygram Records in 1983. The LP’s completely unavailable, but thanks to Sammy Reed’s wonderfully strange podcast, I was able to recreate the full album. (Stream it below or download the 11 MB MP3.)
With an Apple II, a Kaypro 2, cheeseball computer animation and a grab-bag of corny jokes, this is classic computing from the VHS era. Keep an eye out for references to Wargames, hackers, Boy George, Ronald Reagan, and more.
I’ve highlighted the different sections and my own highlights in the video’s comments, but feel free to add your own on Viddler.