You've all seen the video. And given that we just celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Mac, you may have viewed the video a couple of times just in the past few days. I'm referring, of course, to the famous clip of a 29-year-old Steve Jobs, bow tie and all, introducing the Mac to the world.
There's an interesting backstory to the above video, however, that most people likely aren't aware of.
As it turns out, the video above was recorded by Apple employee Scott Knaster from a TV broadcast in 1984. And for the next 20 years, the video just sat on a shelf.
But when Andy Hertzfeld, who worked on the original Mac, was putting together Folklore.org, Knaster told Hertzfeld that he had video of Jobs' Mac introduction in his possession. Hertzfeld then watched the video to aid him in writing an article about the event and soon thereafter came calls to put the video up online.
One looming problem, though, was that the video was recorded in Beta.
In a recently published and must-read blogpost for any Apple history buff, Knaster writes:
After a few days I did actually hear from someone who wanted to digitize the ancient video. He was a video producer in Germany who went by the name majo. This guy had a website with a bunch of Mac stuff and other things. majo promised to digitize the video and post it for anyone to watch and copy (this was before YouTube). For some reason, despite the fact that I had never met him and he was 5,000 miles away, I decided to trust him. I put the precious videotape in a mailer and shipped it off to majo in Germany.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
The video went up on majo's site on January 24, 2005, offering the masses their first glimpse at a vintage Jobs product introduction. Now seeing as this was before the dawn of YouTube, and seeing as how the clip was 20MB, Majo's site was overwhelmed with traffic and crashed. Indeed, if you check out the Slashdot page the story appeared on back in 2005, the majority of the comments involve people talking about site mirrors and torrenting the video.
Make sure to check out Scott Knaster's blog entry for the full story. It makes for a great stroll down memory lane. It also reminds us how friggin' amazing YouTube is.
Also be aware that the full Mac intro presentation on January 24, 1984 was part of a larger annual shareholders meeting that lasted a whopping 1.5 hours, beginning interestingly enough with a special message from then Apple CEO John Sculley. If you have some time to kill, indulge in the video below.
We recently highlighted comments from Sculley who revealed in a commemorative post that Jobs was beyond nervous and scared moments before taking the stage; rather understandable given that he was just a 29-year-old making a world-changing announcement. No pressure.
As a final note, if you can't get enough of Mac nostalgia, be sure to check out this never before seen video of Steve Jobs and the original Mac team demoing the Mac in public for the first time.