Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: xeni@boingboing.net.

40 Responses to “BB Video: The 1944 "soundie" that inspired Devo's "Whip It" (Oddball Film + Video)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Is that Elizabeth Montgomery!?!

  2. sirkowski says:

    That girl looks familiar.

  3. stevew52 says:

    Definitely the inspiration for DEVO’s video. The song came first though and has nothing to do with a bullwhip, western theme, women or sex. As and avid DEVO fan, I remember Mark and Jerry (founders of DEVO) commenting on the song and video in interviews. They were frustrated at first because many radio stations wouldn’t play Whip It (incidently, one of my least favorite DEVO tunes) because there were rumors floating around that the song was really just about sex. But if you read the actual lyrics, you can see it’s a purely motivational song to fire you up and make you feel like you can tackle your problems. Very quickly though, this controversey made the song and the band even more popular, so DEVO embraced the stupidity or their oposition and ran with it. I’m sure DEVO saw this old b&w film and realized that this type of hokey, old-style music short was a perfect fit to tie the whole thing together. — and pay homage to this classic short film.

  4. edked says:

    The introductory caption in the video was both a tad over-explanatory and was on screen waaaay longer than it needed to be.
    How slow are they assuming people are?

  5. buddy66 says:

    That’s a teenish “Bud” Brando playing guitar.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Girl looks like Elizabeth Montgomery from Bewitched.

  7. LeSinge says:

    Yeah those skirts seem insanely short for 1944.

  8. Marc Turnley says:

    Obviously an homage (of sorts).

    Don’t listen to the guy from Devo, they are notorious pranksters and untruthers.

  9. Anonymous says:

    That’s Elizabeth Montgomery (Bewitched)

  10. fancyfeast says:

    Is that Elizabeth Montgomery?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Elizabeth Montgomery? She was quite striking and much better looking that the woman in this clip. Besides Montgomery was a brunette until after Bewitched took off.

    Check her in 1961 on ‘The Twilight Zone’.
    http://www.catwomanfan.com/tz/show/images/3two.jpg

    Montgomery jamming with DEVO some ten years before they formed:
    http://www.natom1.com/SERENA4~.JPG

  12. Xeni Jardin says:

    Date-disbelievers, I’ll double-check with the archivists at Oddball, but 1944 is what they told us, and they tend to be very careful about date accuracy!

  13. The habman says:

    A kind of pseudo Texas Swing mated with Kinky Whip Goodness equals a truly awesome find no matter when it was made!

  14. Anonymous says:

    The girl looks a bit like Elizabeth Montgomery …

  15. oasisob1 says:

    Shenanigans! That piece of paper was already torn in half. The girl just let go of it at the right moment. I suspect other old-timey photoshoppery, too!

  16. Anonymous says:

    It’s either not 1944 or not Elizabeth Montgomery.

    IMDb claims she was born in 1933. Quite the developed girl for only being 11!

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000548/

  17. Anonymous says:

    Oh! That Alan!

  18. AccordionGuy says:

    See? This sort of thing is precisely why I took up the accordion.

  19. eti says:

    #21 anonymous FTW!

  20. Anonymous says:

    It sure looks like Samantha Stevens to me. She must have been cloned from Margie Beeler.

  21. elk says:

    Director: “Ok great, now hang on to that trust, ok? Save that sort of ‘hey you fooled me’ reaction until about the fourth time around, then really lean into it. Repeated honest mistakes first, then real betrayal, Ok? GREAT.”

  22. jfrancis says:

    Didn’t Devo get disinvited from some show for being misogynistic after the video to Whip It came out?

  23. JPW says:

    My fave was when DEVO appeared on the Mike Douglas Show and Milli Vanillied it, with the unplugged mic cords blatantly coiled around the bases of their stands. . . .

  24. oscar says:

    Interesting, because they’ve claimed that it was based on an article about a retired actor who ran a dude ranch and did the whip striptease as entertainment – and the fact that people mistakenly thought the song was about S&M or whipping. But there’s no denying the similarities to this film.

    http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=722

  25. MrJM says:

    Rubs eyes

    “Is this real life?!?”

    – MrJM

  26. Takuan says:

    whip it? Reminds me more of Winona’s Big Brown Beaver.

  27. getbrett says:

    Maybe the coincidence is more pragmatic in nature. how else can you contrive a situation where a women is declothed by a whip? You gotta go C&W as anything else is too risqué and C&W means cliché central.

  28. Xeni Jardin says:

    I see no beaver.

  29. buddy66 says:

    I don’t see much of anything … some gray images jerkily moving against a black background. No! There’s a cowgirl eating a banana … I think. Fail.

  30. fbrusca says:

    The actress is Margie Beeler, not Elizabeth Montgomery.

  31. yupgiboy says:

    Your clip made it to DEVO’s website. The quote therein…

    “We never saw this until now! Cowboy minds think alike.”
    - Gerald V. Casale of DEVO

    Gerry should know, he directed the clip! #34, you are correct, sir.

    (might wanna change your headline now since it wasn’t the inspiration for the video…)

  32. Anonymous says:

    Those are some cute women. Too bad they’re all dead now.

  33. gobo says:

    Wow, that’s risque stuff for ’44. Where was this shown?

    I’m not sure what Buddy66 is talking about. Video not working for you, sir?

  34. Anonymous says:

    Well, that explains a lot. I’m not sure what these other posters are complaining about, that was pretty interesting. It looks almost exactly like the DEVO video. Those guys really were/are ahead of their time.

  35. yupgiboy says:

    Though it looks similar, I’d heard the “Whip It” was based on a real ranch where the “entertainment” was the ranch’s owner stripping off his wife’s clothes with a whip. I think it was on the “The Complete Truth About De-Evolution” DVD.

    Then again, originality is the failure of the current unwashed masses to recognize the fruits of the past.

  36. webmonkees says:

    I miss the USA network’s ‘Night Flight’, 4-5 hours or more of just weird videos and clips. Devo, of course, and I first encountered ‘Duck! and Cover!’ there.

    I wouldn’t have been too surprised to see that film on there..

    It was the boing-boing of weird film.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Do not forget that color did not exist widely until the sixties. Anything in the fifties could have appear like this made on second hand equipment from the forties. Which may have been the case if you wanted to create some soft porn (well hardcore back then!). It does seem very fifties era like dress to me esp. the girl shorts.

  38. Marcelo says:

    #4 –

    Soundies were shown in these big video jukeboxes that different bars and dance halls had. Fun fact, due to the nature of the jukebox the film on Soundies is usually reversed. Swing dancers looking for old footage on Soundies have to flip the image in a computer before they can study it.

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