10 Trivial Facts About Pop Up Video (Bloop)

VH1
VH1

Premiering in 1985, it took a while for VH1 to step outside of bigger brother MTV’s shadow. Helping it carve out an identity was Pop Up Video, a series that debuted in 1996 and anticipated the appetite for trivial trivia. Check out some facts about how producers got their inside info, and why Billy Joel wasn’t a fan.

1. MTV EJECTED A POP UP VIDEO CO-CREATOR FROM THE BUILDING.

Before circulating a laundry list of proposals to VH1 for consideration—including the idea of “narrating” a music video with facts in pop-up window boxes they called “info nuggets”—freelance producer Tad Low had been working for MTV. Co-creator Woody Thompson wrote on the duo’s website that three years prior, Low had been fired from the network and “ejected” with “two beefy security goons” escorting him out. The VP who released him was now with VH1. "Needless to say,” Thompson recalled, “our early pitch meetings at VH1 were a bit tense.” No one was tossed out: the network loved the idea and ordered a pilot.

2. THE POPS COULD’VE BEEN HANDWRITTEN.

In their pitch letter to the network, Thompson and Low floated several different possibilities for communicating trivia to viewers. Telestrated handwriting similar to what sportscasters do was one idea; a “crawl” similar to a news ticker was also considered.

3. PRODUCERS GOT THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM CREW MEMBERS.

VH1

To gather information for the 75-odd info boxes that would appear onscreen for each segment, Low and Thompson started reaching out to crew members who had worked on the videos, from hairstylists to limo drivers. Doing “You Learn” as a trial video, they discovered Alanis Morissette was averse to shaving her armpits and “kinda stunk” when she arrived for the shoot.

4. NOT ALL VIDEOS WERE BLOOP-WORTHY.

When scanning the music video landscape for targets, Thompson and Low gravitated toward popular hits that were slow to unravel—a more measured edit would give them time to insert the facts and let them appear on-screen long enough to give audiences a chance to read them. Videos with faster beats were too kinetic to Pop-ify. "Ballads are better," said Low. "Something like Green Day—forget about it."

5. THEY WERE TOO MEAN TO JAKOB DYLAN.

Bob’s kid was big in the 1990s, thanks to the success of his group, The Wallflowers, and had a sound that went over well on VH1. When Pop Up Video targeted “One Headlight,” Thompson said the network asked for it to be re-edited five or six times to be kinder to Dylan.

6. LIONEL RICHIE’S “HELLO” IS CONSIDERED THEIR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT.

GiraldiMedia via YouTube

For a video to take full advantage of Pop Up’s format, it was helpful to be both catchy and completely ridiculous. Lionel Richie’s 1984 video for “Hello” proved to be a perfect storm of awful, from a Playboy playmate who was presumed to be blind (she wasn’t) to a clay sculpt of Richie’s head that was used despite looking grotesque. Thompson considers it the show’s crowning moment.

7. THEY AVOIDED RAP AND HIP-HOP ...

… until the 2011 revival, anyway. In its original 1996-2002 run, VH1 had producers avoid videos featuring rap or hip-hop artists, believing the genres were the domain of MTV.

8. BILLY JOEL HAD AN EPISODE BANNED.

Getty

While Pop Up Video was never known for its gentle touch, some artists took their snark a little more personally than others. When the show covered Billy Joel’s “Keeping the Faith” video from 1984, the network received a call from an angry Joel, who claimed his daughter was being teased about jokes relating to ex-wife Christie Brinkley. VH1 yanked the entire episode featuring Joel’s video from their schedule.

9. THEY ALMOST WENT TO THEATERS.

When Pop Up Video became VH1’s highest-rated program in 1997, the network began looking for ways to capitalize on the format in every venue possible. Reruns of The Oprah Winfrey Show got the treatment; a quiz show debuted (and fizzled). More impressively, talks began with Paramount about re-releasing the 1978 movie Grease in theaters with the info-text boxes inserted. The studio ultimately passed on the idea.

10. THERE WAS A BOARD GAME.

At the height of Pop-mania in 1999, VH1 partnered with Pressman Toy Corporation to release the Pop Up Video Trivia Game. A small LCD screen allowed for questions to materialize while players took turns answering or singing. Billy Joel seemed okay with it.

13 Father's Day Gifts for Geeky Dads

Amazon/Otterbox/Toynk
Amazon/Otterbox/Toynk

When in doubt, you play the hits. Watches, flasks, and ties are all tried-and-true Father’s Day gifts—useful items bought en masse every June as the paternal holiday draws near. Here’s a list of goodies that put a geeky spin on those can’t-fail gifts. We’re talking Zelda flasks, wizard-shaped party mugs, and a timepiece inspired by BBC’s greatest sci-fi series, Doctor Who. Light the “dad” signal ‘cause it’s about to get nerdy!

1. Lord of the Rings Geeki Tikis (Set of Three); $76

'Lord of The Rings' themed tiki cups.
Toynk

If your dad’s equally crazy about outdoor shindigs and Tolkien’s Middle-earth, help him throw his own Lothlórien luau with these Tiki-style ceramic mugs shaped like icons from the Lord of the Rings saga. Gollum and Frodo’s drinkware doppelgängers each hold 14 ounces of liquid, while Gandalf the Grey’s holds 18—but a wizard never brags, right? Star Wars editions are also available.

Buy it: Toynk

2. Space Invaders Cufflinks; $9

'Space Invaders' cufflinks on Amazon
Fifty 50/Amazon

Arcade games come and arcade games go, but Space Invaders has withstood the test of time. Now Pops can bring those pixelated aliens to the boardroom—and look darn stylish doing it.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Legend of Zelda Flask; $18

A 'Legend of Zelda' flask
Toynk

Saving princesses is thirsty work. Shaped like an NES cartridge, this Zelda-themed flask boasts an 8-ounce holding capacity and comes with a reusable straw. Plus, it makes a fun little display item for gamer dads with man caves.

Buy it: Toynk

4. AT-AT Family Vacation Bag Tag; $12

An At-At baggage tag
ShopDisney

Widely considered one of the greatest movie sequels ever made, The Empire Strikes Back throws a powerful new threat at Luke Skywalker and the Rebellion: the AT-AT a.k.a. Imperial Walkers. Now your dad can mark his luggage with a personalized tag bearing the war machine’s likeness.

Buy it: ShopDisney

5. Flash Skinny Tie; $17

A skinny Flash-themed tie
Uyoung/Amazon

We’ll let you know if the Justice League starts selling new memberships, but here’s the next best thing. Available in a rainbow of super-heroic colors, this skinny necktie bears the Flash’s lightning bolt logo. Race on over to Amazon and pick one up today.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Captain America Shield Apron; $20

A Captain America themed apron
Toynk

Why let DC fans have all the fun? Daddy-o can channel his inner Steve Rogers when he flips burgers at your family’s Fourth of July BBQ. Measuring 31.5 inches long by 27.5 inches wide, this apron’s guaranteed to keep the cookout Hydra-free.

Buy it: Toynk

7. Doctor Who Vortex Manipulator LCD Leather Wristwatch; $35

A Doctor Who-themed watch
Toynk

At once classy and geeky, this digital timepiece lovingly recreates one of Doctor Who’s signature props. Unlike some of the gadgets worn on the long-running sci-fi series, it won’t require any fancy chronoplasm fuel.

Buy it: Toynk

8. Wonder Woman 3-Piece Grill Set; $21

Wonder Woman three-piece gill set
Toynk

At one point in her decades-long comic book career, this Amazon Princess found herself working at a fast food restaurant called Taco Whiz. Now grill cooks can pay tribute to the heroine with these high-quality, stainless steel utensils. The set’s comprised of wide-tipped tongs, a BBQ fork, and a spatula, with the latter boasting Wonder Woman’s insignia.

Buy it: Toynk

9. Harry Potter Toon Tumbler; $10

Glassware that's Harry Potter themed
Entertainment Earth

You can never have too many pint glasses—and this Father’s Day, dad can knock one back for the boy who lived. This piece of Potter glassware from PopFun has whimsy to spare. Now who’s up for some butterbeer?

Buy it: EntertainmentEarth

10. House Stark Men’s Wallet; $16

A Game of Thrones themed watch
Toynk

Winter’s no longer coming, but the Stark family's propensity for bold fashion choices can never die. Manufactured with both inside and outside pockets, this direwolf-inspired wallet is the perfect place to store your cards, cash, and ID.

Buy it: Toynk

11. Mr. Incredible “Incredible Dad” Mug, $15

An Incredibles themed mug
ShopDisney

Cue the brass music. Grabbing some coffee with a Pixar superhero sounds like an awesome—or dare we say, incredible?—way for your dad to start his day. Mom can join in the fun, too: Disney also sells a Mrs. Incredible version of the mug.

Buy it: ShopDisney

12. Star Wars phone cases from Otterbox; $46-$56

Star Wars phone cases from OtterBox.
Otterbox

If your dad’s looking for a phone case to show off his love of all things Star Wars, head to Otterbox. Whether he’s into the Dark Side with Darth Vader and Kylo Ren, the droids, Chewbacca, or Boba Fett, you’ll be able to find a phone case to fit his preference. The designs are available for both Samsung and Apple products, and you can check them all out here.

Buy it: Otterbox

13. 3D Puzzles; $50

3D Harry Potter puzzle from Amazon.
Wrebbit 3D

Help dad recreate some of his favorite fictional locations with these 3D puzzles from Wrebbit 3D. The real standouts are the 850-piece model of Hogwarts's Great Hall and the 910-piece version of Winterfell from Game of Thrones. If dad's tastes are more in line with public broadcasting, you could also pick him up an 890-piece Downton Abbey puzzle to bring a little upper-crust elegance to the homestead.

Buy it: Hogwarts (Amazon), Winterfell (Amazon), Downton Abbey (Amazon)

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16 Priceless Treasures We've Lost Forever

jeanyfan, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
jeanyfan, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Steven Spielberg is known for crafting such masterpieces as Jaws, E.T., Schindler's List, and Jurassic Park. With such a long and acclaimed film career, it probably wouldn't surprise anyone to learn that Spielberg got his start behind the camera at just 17 years old when (with the help of his friends and his high school marching band) he directed his first feature-length film, Firelight.

What's that? You've never seen Firelight? Well, you're certainly not alone; sadly, just under four minutes of the original footage remains. After screening Firelight for around 500 people, the young director sent a few of the film reels off to a producer for review. When the budding director later went back to retrieve his film, he discovered that the producer had been fired—and his movie had vanished.

Firelight is just one example of the many priceless items that have disappeared from history. On this episode of The List Show, we're rediscovering all sort of treasures—from writing by Ernest Hemingway to natural landmarks—that have been lost to time (or circumstance). You can watch the full episode below.

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