Okay, before I turn everyone over to watch and see this amazing yet little known 1984 visionary production by Apple, staring Steve Jobs, I will let you in on a little secret — I am in it as an actor, from long, long ago.  

After I discovered the power of entrepreneurship at age 10, but before I discovered service leadership with the founding of Operation HOPE at at 26, I was an actor during most of my teenage years.  That's probably where I learned the power and effectiveness of communication. That said, I was not an incredibly good actor, but I was good enough to have a couple recurring roles in mediocre shows, a good number of bit and extra roles in big shows, and an occasional starring role in shows you probably have never heard about — before or sense (smile).  

I did so much over this period that I literally have forgotten about many of my appearances. And that includes this very special Apple production. 

Now, for those who remain courious about my ho-hum acting career, here is a bit more; one appearance I remember well, and that you can find easily on the Internet today if interested, is a co-lead role (playing a bad guy) in Twilight Zone with my friend Glynn Turman, and the late, great Danny Kaye.

Twilight Zone use to be my favorite memory from that era of my life, but now I have a new favorite from the gallery of all that I had forgotten.  Thanks to Sherry John from Operation HOPE's Communications Group, the Apple piece was somehow found and brought to my attention.

I literally could not recall doing it, but once you look at the black dude on the screen — trying hard to be 'hard' (smile again) — you will come to the same conclusion that I did.  Wow….that's me!  

As Steve Jobs is one of the American entrepreneurs I admire most with respect to "changing everything," and Apple is a company I continue to admire as one of the best in the world, period, I am really honored today to have done this then.  And when I speak on the subject of leadership, what change takes, and "re-inventing and re-imaginging everything," I often read the Apple Ad called "The Crazy Ones."  This poem in many ways defines how I see the world, and 'the how' of all that we seek to accomplish with and through Operation HOPE, today.  All of this, without ever knowing or realizing that I actually played a pretty cool role in an amazing slice of the Apple history.

Postscript note: for all those who think that all acting is just glamorous and well paid, you will note here that this entire film-advertisement probably cost no more than $50,000.00 to make. That's $50,000.00 for everything; me included (smile).  

That's okay though, because this shared memory with Steve Jobs is PRICELESS.  Enjoy, and of course let me know what you think.

Here you go…

EXCLUSIVE: Watch Steve Jobs play FDR in Apple's long-lost takeoff on famous '1984' Macintosh TV commercial

Nine-minute film called '1944' was produced to inspire Apple sales team to take on IBM

Entitled "1944," the almost 9-minute full version was Apple's in-house takeoff on "1984," the iconicfirst Macintosh TV ad that caused a sensation during that year's Super Bowl. Set as a World War II tale of good vs. IBM, it is a broadcast-quality production (said to have cost $50,000) that was designed to fire up Apple's international sales force at a 1984 meeting in Hawaii. A copy of "1944" was provided to me by one-time Apple employee Craig Elliott, now CEO of Pertino Networks, a cloud-computing startup located two blocks from Apple in Cupertino. (Update, May 8: Filmmakers tell story of how Jobs came to play FDR.)

Elliott, who worked at Apple from 1985 to 1996, says he has "never seen (the film) anywhere else" and that there has been "no additional circulation" as far as he knows. I couldn't find it online, either – the year 1984 was pre-World Wide Web, of course — which doesn't mean it isn't out there. Two snippets from "1944," without any dialogue, do appear in another Jobs video – a photo-montage tribute to him made by Apple employees to mark his 30th birthday. After Jobs died last October, Elliott posted that birthday video to his Facebook page, from where it went viral before being knocked off the 'Net by Sony Music Entertainment because it used a Bob Dylan song.


By Paul McNamara on Wed, 05/02/12

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