Video Time-Traveler: Enjoy Three Hours of MTV With VJ Martha Quinn in July 1983
Here’s another Video Time-Traveler journey back to the days when MTV actually was “Music Television.”
This time, it is via a three-hour block that aired on the channel Saturday, July 16, 1983, and was hosted by original MTV VJ Martha Quinn.
At various points throughout the three hours, Quinn introduces music videos, and brings you breaking news about people/groups like The Police or Rod Stewart, in her usual charming, informative and fun style (she continues to bring all of her ’80s music knowledge and passion to fans old and new via iHeartMedia’s The Martha Quinn Show).
Martha Quinn had all your breaking Rod Stewart news in 1983
There is a fair amount of coverage of The Police in particular, as MTV was sponsoring their tour at the time (you’ll see a list of where and when the band was touring).
The entire three-hour block is in the video below. (You can also enjoy it broken up into hourlong segments at this Internet Archive link if you have trouble loading this video.)
Along with Quinn, there are many other people and things to enjoy throughout this video.
There are, of course, a good number of music videos, featuring artists and songs that are still heard regularly and synonymous with the ’80s — like Men Without Hats‘ “The Safety Dance,” The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” The Kinks‘ “Come Dancing” and Culture Club‘s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” — as well as good tunes you may have forgotten about, like “On the Loose,” by Canadian rockers Saga.
Interspersed with Quinn’s segments and the videos is an array of delightful commercials for all sorts of things that a teenage viewer of MTV might have been interested in at that time.
There are ads for Milky Way chocolate bars; the Atari 2600 home video games Centipede and Keystone Kapers (which you can play while eating those Milky Ways); and Stri-Dex pads and Clearasil (which you can use if you break out after eating too many Milky Ways).
A young John Stamos (pictured above), who was a heartthrob on General Hospital at the time, also features in a weird ad for a Neet hair removal product, in which he tells us how much he loves girls with great-looking, and presumably smooth, legs.
There are music-related ads for products and companies like Columbia House Records and one of those “Sessions Presents …” commercials, which introduces a three-record (also available as two 8-tracks or cassettes) collection called The Greatest Hits Album.
The Greatest Hits Album features the type of easy-listening/soft rock tunes that about three decades later would start being referred to by some as “Yacht Rock.”
Which held up worse: 8-tracks and cassettes, or some of the songs on Sessions’ Greatest Hits Album?
Speaking of cassette tapes, a commercial for Duracell shows you just how many more of those tapes you can fill up with songs recorded off a battery-powered radio if you opt for that particular battery brand:
The battery of choice for hardcore mix-tapers should be pretty clear, don’t you think?
And there are commercials for a couple of the stinkers that debuted at the movie box office in Summer 1983.
One commercial is for a film that had opened the day before, on July 15, 1983: Staying Alive, the Saturday Night Fever sequel starring John Travolta, cowritten and directed by Sylvester Stallone, and with a soundtrack featuring “Far From Over” and other songs performed by … you guessed it — Frank Stallone.
The other movie commercial is for Jaws 3-D, which was coming to theaters the following Friday, July 22, 1983. (If I actually was a time-traveler, I would go back and warn my 13-year-old self that Jaws 3-D was not at all as cool as the commercial made it sound.)
Pictured: the only cool 3-D effect associated with this movie
And there is a whole lot more to explore and savor. Enjoy your trip!
The actor spent an hour on MTV in May 1983 introducing music videos by Duran Duran, Michael Jackson, Prince and other artists, and also helping promote MTV's contest tied in with his movie Doctor Detroit, which had just hit theaters.