Wednesday, November 2, 2011

There's White Out On The Screen! Bwahahaha!

Today's post title is the punch line from a blonde joke, of course.  I hate blonde jokes.  I have a sister and two kids who are blonde and who are all smarter than me by a mile.  Be that as it may, we're talking about White Out today, or rather the woman who invented it and her son. 

White Out was invented by Bette Nesmith Graham, a Texas bank secretary and graphic artist.  She used a tiny pot of white tempera paint to fix typing mistakes on her own work and other secretaries at the bank where she worked requested pots of their own.  A typist's indespensible friend from the days before computers with spell check was born.  Don't you love stories like that?  Someone has a great idea and all the stars are aligned correctly and they get the glory for their invention and make all the money?  Unfortuately the same cannot be said for her son.

As I talked about here, smack-talking wool hat pimp daddy Mike Nesmith has been slammed before for just doing his own thing, in that case recording his own song.  What's worse than being slammed for performing your own music is being completely ignored.  Here are a couple things that Nesmith has contributed to pop culture that he's never credited with.

Country Rock

The Flying Burrito Brothers and the Eagles are generally thought of as the founding bands of country rock but Nesmith's First National Band was in there, too.  They released three albums in 1970 alone.

Jack Handey's Deep Thoughts

You've probably heard this bit on Saturday Night Live.  Jack Handey started writing "Deep Thoughts" at National Lampoon so it was a natural for it to wind up at SNL but it's first appearance on television was in Nesmith's Television Parts.  Plus, baby duck hat.


Lots of people have claimed to have invented MTV over the years.  Anyone who made a promotional clip before it debuted, it seems, tries to take the credit for it.  In a business sense, though, it was Nesmith.  He developed a show for Nickelodeon called Pop Clips in the early 80s and eventually sold it to TimeWarner.  Thanks, Papa Nez, for the single greatest time sucker of my generation.

During his time with the Monkees Nesmith also introduced Frank Zappa to a national audience.  Imagine you're a ten year old in the 60s watching this. 



    I am not very talented musically but I bet I can play the car and the fire extinguisher! Very inspirational and historical. And hysterical!

  2. A comment totally missing the point: I love the smell of whiteout and am sad that it has mostly disappeared from offices.

  3. Your love for niffing paint may explain a few things, Kurbiss. ;)


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