From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Videofreex were a pioneering video collective who used the Sony Portapak for countercultural video projects from 1969 to 1978. They were founded in 1969 by David Cort, Mary Curtis Ratcliff and Parry Teasdale, after Cort and Teasdale met each other at the Woodstock Music Festival. They were based out of a 17 bedroom house in the Catskill Mountains named the Maple Tree Farm. In order to receive an initial grant of $40,000 from The New York State Council of the Arts, the Videofreex rebranded itself as the non-profit "Media Bus".[1][2][3]

Michael Shamberg, author of Guerrilla Television and founding member of TVTV, remarked, "The Freex are the most production oriented of the video groups […] in terms of finished, cleanly edited, high quality tape, which is generally quite entertaining, the Videofreex are clearly the best."[2]

Mirroring the beliefs outlined in Guerrilla Television, they believed they could turn the medium of television, at the time dominated by The "Big Three" Television Networks, into a more democratic medium and in 1972 they launched the first pirate television station, Lanesville TV, using a transmitter given to them by Abbie Hoffman.[4]

The Videofreex Archive, containing more than 1,500 original tapes, is housed at the Video Data Bank. Work is underway to preserve important titles from the Archive and make them available through distribution.[5]



  1. ^ Teasdale, Parry. America's First Pirate TV Station & the Catskills Collective That Turned it On. Black Dome Press Corps.
  2. ^ a b "Videofreex". Archived from the original on August 18, 2010. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
  3. ^ HODARA, SUSAN (28 February 2015). "Before YouTube, Experimenting With Video". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  4. ^ MICHEL, KAREN (22 March 2015). "Decades Before YouTube, Video Pioneers Captured Turbulent Era". NPR. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Videofreex Archives". Video Data Bank. Retrieved 29 March 2015.

External links[edit]