My dad used to talk about how, back in the Sixties, they would watch ‘mainly French music videos’ in coffee shops on ‘video jukeboxes’. I never really got to the bottom of it, at the time, and it was only when someone actually gave me the word Scopitone that I finally worked out what on earth he’d been talking about. (According to him, that was the only possible reason that Johnny Hallyday had ever become so popular here).
The Scopitone phenomenon was never really adopted by British or American stars on the same scale as in continental Europe, despite the fact that there were hundreds of machines installed throughout the US, so it is mostly effective as a record of those beautiful Yé-yé stars who briefly invaded the consciousness of British coffee shop-dwelling teenagers.
I decided to blog about this after seeking out footage of France Gall singing ‘Baby Pop’. Her appearance in Gainsbourg (Vie héroïque) is so hilarious, I needed to see the original. I’m somewhat disappointed by the lack of insane dancing there, but it did remind me to blog a few of my favourite examples of the genre.