Steve Jobs Played FDR in a Crazy Short Film Made by Apple in 1984

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
May 2 2012 3:13 PM

Steve Jobs Played FDR in a Crazy Short Film Made by Apple in 1984

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Steve Jobs during a 2001 press conference.

Photo by JOHN G. MABANGLO/AFP/Getty Images

Paul McNamara from Network World’s Buzz blog has unearthed a long-buried gem. On the heels of the blockbuster “1984” commercial for Macintosh, Apple created a rather bananas in-house short film called “1944.” The plot: scrappy Macintosh is trying to take down the “big blue monoblob”—IBM, whose dull products turn office workers into zombiefied prisoners of wars. Steve Jobs makes a brief appearance as FDR, and while he certainly committed to the accent, he did not quite succeed.

The video, which is nearly 9 minutes long, was intended to fire up the company’s sales force and was screened at a meeting in Hawaii in 1984.

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As Gizmodo’s Sam Biddle points out, the entire venture is baffling (though no doubt the sales team got a kick out of the jokes about co-founder Steve Wozniak’s weight and last name). But even in absurdity, there are germs of technological prescience: A private in the Apple army briefly composes a note home to Ma on his Mac—much like members of the armed forces do today.

Head over to Network World to watch the full video as well as a 25-second clip isolating Jobs' cameo.


Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

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