TVTV (video collective)

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TVTV (short for Top Value Television) was a San Francisco-based video collective that produced documentary video works using guerrilla art techniques.


The group was founded in 1972 by Allen Rucker, Michael Shamberg, Tom Weinberg, Hudson Marquez, and Megan Williams.[1][2][3] Shamberg was the author of the 1971 "do-it-yourself" video production manual Guerrilla Television

TVTV pioneered the use of independent video based on the new and then-revolutionary media, ½" Sony Portapak video equipment,[4][5] later embracing the ¾" video format.

In 1975 the group left San Francisco for Los Angeles, where it took up a contract with PBS to shoot Supervisions, a series of short tapes on television history.[6]

The group disbanded in 1979. Their last production was TVTV: Diary of the Video Guerillas.[7]


Over the years, more than thirty "guerrilla video" makers were participants in TVTV productions. They included members of the Ant Farm (Chip Lord, Doug Michels, Hudson Marquez, and Curtis Schreier) and the Videofreex (Skip Blumberg, Nancy Cain, Chuck Kennedy, and Parry Teasdale).[8] Other participants in TVTV included designer Elan Soltes, producer David Axelrod, actor-comedian Bill Murray[9] and his brother Brian Doyle-Murray, cinematographer Paul Goldsmith, actor and director Harold Ramis[10] and producer Wendy Appel (aka Wendy Apple).

In 1976-1977, experimental filmmaker Wheeler Winston Dixon briefly joined the collective, editing most of the Supervision series, as well as portions of the Hard Rain Special and the entirety of The TVTV Show.


The move to Los Angeles brought many in the group more into the orbit of conventional filmmaking. Bill Murray went on to become a film and TV star; Michael Shamberg a film producer, most notably with his company Jersey Films, in collaboration with Stacey Sher and Danny DeVito; Allen Rucker a writer and author; Wheeler Winston Dixon an author and university professor; Harold Ramis a film director, writer and actor; Skip Blumberg a videographer and producer; Tom Weinberg a producer based in his hometown, Chicago; and Elan Soltes a video graphic designer in Hollywood.

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive has digitized hundreds of hours of raw footage shot for The World's Largest TV Studio, Four More Years, and Gerald Ford's America, along with extensive paper archives.[11] Collections of TVTV productions and footage can also be found at Media Burn Independent Video Archive[12] and Electronic Arts Intermix.[13]

The 2018 film TVTV: Video Revolutionaries by director Paul Goldsmith explored the group's history.[14]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ First Run Features: TVTV: Video Revolutionaries
  2. ^ Digitization project reveals unseen ‘guerrilla’ footage that revolutionized TV-Berkeleyside
  3. ^ 'TVTV: Video Revolutionaries' Review|Hollywood Reporter
  4. ^ "Digitization project reveals unseen 'guerrilla' footage that revolutionized TV". Berkeleyside. 18 July 2018.
  5. ^ a b c O’Neill-Butler, Lauren. "Lauren O'Neill-Butler on Top Value Television and the 1972 presidential conventions".
  6. ^ d'Agostino, Peter; Tafler, David (1995). Transmission. SAGE. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-8039-4269-1.
  7. ^ Boyle, Deirdre (25 February 1997). Subject to Change : Guerrilla Television Revisited: Guerrilla Television Revisited. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-19-536459-0.
  8. ^ "Top Value Television papers".
  9. ^ TVTV : The Video Revolutionaries - DOCUMENTARY by Paul Goldsmith-Kickstarter
  10. ^ Paul Goldsmith's 'TVTV: Video Revolutionaries' Documentary-Vulture
  11. ^ "Preserving Guerrilla Television". Retrieved 23 December 2022.
  12. ^ "TVTV". Media Burn. Retrieved 23 December 2022.
  13. ^ "TVTV". Electronic Arts Intermix. Retrieved 23 December 2022.
  14. ^ Scheck, Frank (19 October 2018). "'TVTV: Video Revolutionaries': Film Review | Hollywood Reporter".
  15. ^ a b Schindel, Dan (25 August 2020). "The Radical Collective of 20-Somethings Who Filmed the DNC and RNC of 1972". Hyperallergic.
  16. ^ "Video History Project: Resources - People Text". Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  17. ^ ADLAND (TVTV, 1974) on Vimeo
  18. ^ O'Connor, John J. (10 January 1975). "TV: View of 'Gerald Ford's America'". The New York Times.
  19. ^ The Best of TVTV promo (#2 the Super Bowl) on Vimeo
  20. ^ The Best of TVTV (#1 the oscars) on Vimeo

External links[edit]