Elephant Parts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Elephant Parts
Directed by William Dear
Produced by Michael Nesmith
Written by Michael Nesmith
Distributed by Pacific Arts
Release date
  • 1981 (1981)
Country United States
Language English

Elephant Parts is a collection of comedy and music videos made in 1981 by Michael Nesmith, former member of the Monkees. Nesmith produced the video through his company Pacific Arts. Elephant Parts is one hour long and features five full-length music videos, including the popular songs "Rio", and "Cruisin'", which featured wrestler Steve Strong and Monterey-based comic "Chicago" Steve Barkley.


There are various comedy sketches between musical numbers: The most notable sketches are "Elvis Drugs", "Neighborhood Nuclear Superiority", "The Tragically Hip" (which was the inspiration for The Tragically Hip of the Canadian band and was featured as a pretaped sketch on a season six episode of Saturday Night Live), "Large Detroit Car Company", "Mariachi Translations", recurring comic blackouts that ended with the catchphrase "Just to prove a point!", and several series of bits with a lounge singer and a pirate, as well as a game show called "Name That Drug". The musical videos include "Magic", "Cruisin'", "Light", "Tonight", and "Rio".

Throughout Elephant Parts, Nesmith makes fun of his own works, with segments including a parody of his song "Joanne" called "Rodan", and comic promos for his albums Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma and Live at the Palais. Although Nesmith's solo career is punned or highlighted, he doesn't make any reference or mention of The Monkees.

Elephant Parts won the first Grammy in the Music Video category, and was later followed by two TV series: PopClips for Nickelodeon (released in 1980), and Television Parts for NBC in 1985. Nickelodeon's parent company, Warner Cable, wanted to buy outright the PopClips copyright to be expanded into an all-music video channel, but after Nesmith declined the offer, Warner Cable started work on what would become MTV.[1]

DVD releases[edit]

When Elephant Parts was first released on Laser Disc in 1998, Nesmith recorded an esoteric commentary track which did not describe the content of the video. Later, Nesmith recorded a new commentary track which does describe the content, included as part of a DVD version released in 2003.

In Popular Culture[edit]

Canadian band The Tragically Hip take their name from the sketch of the same name in Elephant Parts.


  1. ^ The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll (1995) ISBN 0-684-81044-1

External links[edit]