Music Video of the Day: I Lost On Jeopardy by Weird Al Yankovic (1984, directed by Frances Delia)


Based on Greg Kihn Band’s Jeopardy, I Lost On Jeopardy was an early song parody from the master of the form, Weird Al Yankovic.

Today, Jeopardy is an American institution but, at the time this video was filmed, it was considered to be a nostalgic memory.  The original Jeopardy ran from 1964 to 1975, with Art Fleming as the host and Don Pardo as the announcer.  (Famously, Pardo went from announcing for Jeopardy to announcing for Saturday Night Live.)  This video was shot on the original Jeopardy set, with Fleming and Pardo playing themselves.  As you can tell, Jeopardy has changed considerably from what it once was.  The version of Jeopardy that we all know and revere, with Alex Trebek at the helm, would not start until three months after the release of this video.

After Weird Al is kicked out of the studio, the man in the convertible is played by Greg Kihn, in a parody of the ending of the original video for Jeopardy.  At the time, Kihn told The Washington Post that he didn’t mind the parody and that it was his idea to appear at the end of the video.  As Kihn put it, “It was a vote of confidence.  If you’re not well-enough known to be parodied, well, you’re just not well-enough known.”

This attitude seems to be true of most musicians whose songs have been parodied by Weird Al over the years.  It helps that Weird Al rarely pokes fun at the original artist or the subject matter of the original song.  It seems like one of the easiest ways to get a bad reputation is to complain about Weird Al parodying one of your songs.  For instance, just take a look at Coolio (if you can find him).

This video was directed by Francis Delia, who also directed videos for Wall of Voodoo, The Bangles, and Timothy B. Schmit.

A Movie A Day #326: MacArthur (1977, directed by Joseph Sargent)


The year is 1962 and Douglas MacArthur (Gregory Peck), the legendary general, visits West Point for one last time.  While he meets the graduates and gives his final speech, flashbacks show highlights from MacArthur’s long military career.  He leaves and then returns to Philippines.  He accepts the Japanese surrender and then helps Japan rebuild and recover from the devastation of the war.  He half-heartedly pursues the Presidency and, during the Korean War, gets fired by Harry Truman (Ed Flanders).

MacArthur is a stolid biopic about one America’s most famous and controversial generals.  It was produced by Frank McCarthy, a former general who knew MacArthur and who previously won an Oscar for producing Patton.  McCarthy was obviously hoping that MacArthur was do its subject what Patton did for George Patton and both films follow the same basic pattern. a warts-and-all portrait of a World War II general with all of the action centered around the performance of a bigger-than-life actor in the title role.  Though obviously made for a low budget, MacArthur is a well-made and well-acted movie but it suffers because Douglas MacArthur was just not as interesting a figure as George Patton.  Gregory Peck does a good job subtly suggesting MacArthur’s vanity along with capturing his commitment to his duty but he never gets a scene that’s comparable to George C. Scott’s opening speech in Patton.  The main problem with MacArthur, especially when compared to Patton, is that George Patton was a born warrior while Douglas MacArthur was a born administrator and it is always going to be more exciting to watch a general lead his men into battle then to watch him sign executive orders.