Pre-History of Online Video

Pre-History of Online Video


Good morning, John! Most of you, 99%, aren’t
gonna be able to be at VidCon and, so, you don’t wanna hear about how great it’s gonna
be. So, in lieu of being at VidCon or either if you are gonna be there, I’m gonna give
you an assignment. VidCon is all about celebrating and appreciating the culture of online video.
But as, John, you so wisely pointed out last video, we’re pretty old. The first time I
got obsessed with a video that I downloaded from the internet was 1998. The year before
that was when the very first viral internet video happened – uh, it was just this dancing
baby. Except you gotta go “UGACHACA UGAUGAUGACHACA
UGAUGAUGA” (keeps chanting that while singing) I can’t stop this feelin’, deep inside of
me.” In fact, I have been into online video for
longer than some of you have been in the world. Which makes me…kinda depressed. But it also
might actually make me that elusive thing – an expert. So, here’s what we’re gonna do.
You’re gonna listen to me talk about how great the old days were and then you’re gonna indulge
me by going to watch a bunch of old online video that I think is better than anything
being created today, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. It’s just like any
other course you’ve ever taken. The dancing baby is not in the category of things that
I think are really fantastic and great. But a couple years later, in the year 2000, a
project was launched that became the best, and remains the best, online video project
in history. Homestar Runner is some kind of bizarre, alien thing that lives in Free Country,
USA, with his friends: his girlfriend, Marzipan, who’s a baseball bat with hair in a dress;
Coach Z and Pom-Pom and the Cheat and King of Town and Strong Mad, who is just a square,
and Strong Sad, who is sad and circular and Strong Bad, who, despite having boxing gloves
for hands, types out responses to e-mails every week. There’s so much good Homestar
Runner content! You need to grab a friend and take them and take this wonderful thing
that exists into your life! It’s really good. HomestarRunner.com. Check it out. And note
that when we started watching that show, that little thing took up our entire computer monitors!
And then weep for us. There’s a kid just fell off a bike outside
of my window. He’s okay. He’s fine. At the same time as Homestar Runner, there
was all kinds of really interesting Flash animation stuff happening: The End of the
World, All Your Base Are Belong To Us, Peanut Butter Jelly Time – these are things that
are important pieces of the culture of the Internet. We also got what was probably the
first Internet native genre of video, the animutation. The animutations were brought
into the world by a lot of different people, but they were pioneered by a guy who you might
know from his later work, “The Mysterious Ticking Noise,” Neil Cicierega. But when bandwidth
got good enough, people could actually start to send and receive video. THIS kind of video.
And the most important video series of all time was, of course, “The Show with Ze Frank.”
The show revolutionized video. It took advantage of the fact that the Internet is a two-way
medium. It allowed people to participate in the project. It wasn’t just about Ze; it was
about the entire sportsracer community. Pretty much anything you watch on YouTube nowadays
is either directly or indirectly influenced by Ze Frank. All this stuff was extremely
important in the Internet’s ability to establish itself as its own, stand-alone legitimate
culture, and since YouTube came along, yes, many more amazing things have happened. So
much amazing stuff is being made now that of course, I can’t even start to talk about
what’s happened since YouTube existed. This is almost a kind of pre-history of Internet
video that I’m talking about right now, and I think that it’s important for us to understand
that stuff, for us to know where it all came from. Also, it’s just amazingly fun to enjoy,
so grab a friend, click the links in the description and just enjoy. Now I have to go back to VidCon stuff. I want
this video to keep going! I want to keep making this video! I don’t wanna work on VidCon.
Okay, I’m gonna do it, though. John, I’ll see you on Tuesday.

Danny Hutson

100 thoughts on “Pre-History of Online Video

  1. I love Homestar! I remember my sister and I watching it for hours! So many memories. (Trogdor, anyone?)

  2. This video fills me with so much joy. I'm only 22 but I remember all these videos at their beginning of popularity! Thanks older brother 😉

  3. I remember all of those things, except for that weird dancing baby (because I wasn't really using email back then on account of me being like in elementary school) and Ze Frank. I think you may be overestimating his importance, perhaps because your content and the content you personally see online is heavily influenced by him. There's a thriving community of animators even here on YouTube, despite Newgrounds still (after like a decade) being the main home of online animation. Plus the other genres of video like tutorials, critical analysis (of movies, video games, etc.), Let's Play, and others that have at best a tangential connection to the Show, and even that might be stretching it a little.

  4. Hank talked really highly of homestar runner. Could Hank please do more videos talking about that specific series, hopefully adding more attention to it will speed-up their coming out of hiatus.

  5. Wow! I watched too many of those Ze Frank videos. That period of time was depressing enough when I was living through it….

  6.         LMMFAO…….Hank singing 'Hooked on a Feeling'.
                                                            …….Priceless   😛

  7. If all Home Star Runner ever did was introduce me to Teen Girl Squad, it would still be more than enough. The memories. 🙂

  8. we never can really ever reach silence. even in the quietest place on the planet you can still hear your breath and your heartbeat.

  9. Thank you for this bit of awesome! Trying to explain these treasures to my dad has been a challenge without visual aids. 

  10. I was introduced to Homestar Runner before I even knew that YouTube existed…heck, I don't even think YouTube existed at all when I saw HR for the first time. 

  11. I remember AtomFilms being my first regular interest in online video. They had a lot of creative and interesting stuff… and a lot of really stupid but funny stuff too, like the red headed kid and the frog in a blender thing.

  12. I was born March 11, 2000. Does that mean I'm awesome? No……… I don't think I can be rescued from the abyss of my uncool…..ness. 

  13. So I checked out homestar runner and the end of the world…and what is the deal with these things?! Like are they even videos, or what? You can't pause them, navigate through the video, enlarge them (nevermind the fact that they're like the size of a thumbnail), or anything…

  14. I used to be a boy, then I became a man… erm, a dragon-man. I'm glad to see that I can finally make a comment where the name is relevant!

  15. I kinda skimmed the video, but I didn't see a mention of You're The Man Now Dog, a site where .gifs/ flash loops are set to looping sound. It pre-dates Vines and a lot of internet memes spawned there.

  16. The funny thing is that Hooked on A Feeling (oooga oooga oooga shaka) was in Guardians of the Galaxy about a month later

  17. homestarrunner was my favorite thing ever when I was 14. I watched every single episode and i was so sad when they stopped updating

  18. I was one of the lucky few who grew up with homestar runner, anxiously awaiting episodes each week. What a wonderful time to be alive.

  19. It's so weird that, in the old days of the internet, I thought I was the only one who watched HSR. My friends and I were obsessed and there wasn't an online "community" like there is now. You found things on the internet by going on portal websites and hopefully you found something good. It's crazy that we watched videos over and over again without ever thinking about views, comments, and thumbs up.

  20. the 1st video i watched on youtube….. I'm not sure, but i think it was something from ebaumsworld, about two girls on a spining park roundabout, which was made to spin quickly with a smal motobike. The girls aventualy spin so fast they were sent flying into the air. I pissed laughgin.

  21. Homestar Runner is so great! I was introduced to it by my mom and her girlfriend when I was in sixth grade, I think… I'm a junior in high school now. It's one of my favorite online videos!

  22. Can this thing right here be the jumping off point for a crash course history? It could be called Crash Course Internet History and I would love it for ever. 😀 Though, I would get hyped for an art history instead if that is a more reasonable choice. . .

  23. I can remember exactly where I was the first time I saw that dancing baby all those years ago! Thank you for that, I re-watched that clip 17 times LOL

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