Video Time-Traveler: Enjoy Three Hours of MTV With VJ Martha Quinn in July 1983

screenshot from a July 16, 1983, broadcast on MTV. The shot is a medium closeup of VJ Martha Quinn, who is wearing a shirt colored white below the neck, with red ring around the neck and red shoulders down into the arms.
MTV/Screenshot from Internet Archive

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).

screenshot from a July 16, 1983, MTV broadcast. It is a medium closeup of VJ Martha Quinn as she reports on news about Rod Stewart, who is pictured in a large black-and-white image to the left of Quinn, who is seated in a chair.

MTV/Internet Archive

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).

There’s also a little bit on Andy Summers‘ upcoming book of photographs, and a mention that this particular day (July 16, 1983) happened to be Stewart Copeland‘s 31st birthday.

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).

screenshot from a 1983 commercial for a Neet hair removal product. A young John Stamos is pictured in medium closeup, in front of a woman whose legs can only be seen. Yellow text reads: "John Stamos for Neet"

Internet Archive

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.”

screenshot from a 1983 commercial for "The Greatest Hits Album" collection from Sessions Records. The image has the vinyl record album covers stacked across the background, with the actual records laying in front of each jacket. There are also cassette tapes of the collection, and 8-tracks. White text reading down over the imagery says: "3 Record Set or Two 8-Track or Cassette Tapes $14.98"

Internet Archive

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:

screenshot of a 1983 Duracell battery commercial. Pictured in the background are two boomboxes. In front of the one on the left is a small pile of cassette tapes, over which is yellow text reading "Regular Carbon Batteries." In front of the boom box on the right is a much larger stack of tapes, with lettering in front of it reading "Duracell Batteries."

Internet Archive

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.)

screenshot from a 1983 commercial for the movie "Jaws 3-D." It is the movie's title treatment, in large red lettering with yellow shadowboxes behind the letters as they come out of the black background seemingly in 3-D. Above the "Jaws 3-D" lettering is flat red letters that read "All New"

Internet Archive

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!