In 1976, TVTV Tapped Into a World Obsessed With Violence

In 1976, pioneering video collective TVTV created a mini series called Super Vision. Each of the ten episodes took a satirical poke at the cultural impact of television. “Shoot-Out!,” one of the short videos in the series, was (unfortunately) prescient. It’s about our addiction to TV, even when two armed invaders are holding you hostage in your living room.

It rings true to today, 43 years later when TV news every day is inextricably bound to gun violence, with mass shootings almost every week and hundreds of thousands of gun-related deaths and injuries. Our relationship with the 24/7 news cycle has numbed us to violent death. According to CBS, there have been 255 mass shootings in 2019—more shootings than days this year. Shootings occur so often that we tend to forget about them in less than a month. While “Shoot-Out!” is a darkly comedic look at the dynamics in TV news in 1976, it has eerie implications for how we interact with television and our world today.

TVTV was a force for innovative change in TV for several years in the 1970s, but it broke up in 1979. The members went on to successful careers in Hollywood and television, both as performers, artists, and producers. Media Burn founder/president Tom Weinberg was one of the original members of TVTV.

This episode of Super Vision, taped in Hollywood, included Megan Williams (news reporter and TVTV co-founder), Ed Begley, Jr. (man in apartment), Hudson Marquez (gun-toter) and Lewis Arquette (police captain.)

If you can identify others, please let us know.

Later versions included in the performers and producing team were Wendy Appel (editor/producer), David Axelrod (LA producer, not the political chieftain), Eleanor Bingham (performer, documentary producer), John Belushi (before he had acted in any movie),Cali Cerami (producing staff), Paul Goldsmith (videographer), Harold Ramis (before he had ever appeared in or written a movie), Michael Shamberg (TVTV co-founder who became a successful movie producer), Allen Rucker (co-founder, long-time author and TV/movie writer), and Elon Soltes (producer/designer, later of House, M.D.).


Watch more TVTV content on Media Burn.

 

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