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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Spinal Tap - The Birth of 'Rocumentary'?

submitted by Deena

Last weekend I watched This Is Spinal Tap for the first time, a long overdue viewing on my part. This is the first in a line of Christopher Guest mockumentary films on everything from folk music to dog shows.

I thought it was great that all the actors (Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, and Michael McKean) were competant musicians and played their own instruments for the film. Even funnier is that this originally ficticious band actually ended up going on tour and releasing several albums to boot, with songs like "Hell Hole," "Sex Farm," and the classic "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight," which actually made it as an unlockable "secret" track on Guitar Hero II.

In the movie, Rob Reiner plays Marty DiBergi, a filmmaker who jumps at the chance to make "the documentary--the, if you will, ROCKumentary" of "England's loudest band."

Of course, there were documentaries about legitimate musicians well before this movie's release in 1984, but this is, perhaps, the first time the all-important term "rocumentary" was coined. And the all-knowing internet can't seem to confirm or deny my suspicions. Urban Dictionary, Word Origins, IMDB, even Wikipedia couldn't help me!

So I'm opening it up to you, faithful readers--can anyone trace the origin of "rocumentary" to a pre-Spinal Tap occurrence?


Scott said...

how about the origins of the term mockumentary?

Deena said...

Looks like Spinal Tap may be responsible for that one, too, although mockumentaries dated back to the 50s. Apparently Reiner called the film a mockumentary at some point, maybe in an interview, and the term was coined. Of course, I'm just going on Wikipedia...

BigOno said...

Apparently the Rutles pre-date Spinal Tap as the first "fake band" documentary, in their "mockumentary" 'All You Need is Cash'. The Rutles were loosely based on the Beatles, and were created by Eric Idle (of Monty Python fame) in 1978. However I don't think that the terms "Mockumentary" or "Rockumentary" were attached to the Rutles film(s) until later.