Black Friday: A 1940s Re-Interpretation of Rebecca Black’s famous YouTube video ‘Friday’

British Pathé guest blogger Meghan Purvis has pieced together her own music video for Rebecca Black’s hit ‘Friday’, using 8 fabulous clips from the British Pathé film archive. Here’s what she did:

If you’ve spent any time on the internet in the last few weeks, odds are you’ve been exposed to Rebecca Black’s video for “Friday.” It’s racked up nearly seventy million views (and counting!) on YouTube, despite being widely described as the worst music video ever made.

If you’ve somehow missed out and can’t be bothered to watch for yourself (it’s a music video about a girl going to school, debating which seat to take in a car, and then showing up at a party with a disturbing number of vehicles, given that the singer in question is all of 13).

It’s also very literal: if there is a lyric about sitting in the backseat, rest assured, it will be accompanied by a shot of three girls sitting in the backseat of a car. The isn’t great: the weird line-drawing animations, the cheesy imagining of what a preteen party might look like, the strangely unenthused extras.

Because I love a challenge I’ve scoured the British Pathé film archive subbing in clips that are historically and artistically meaningful, therefore surely elevating the song somewhat?

Perhaps a more high-minded video is just what Ms. Black’s music career needs! My project was clear: to make a different, better video, using footage from the British Pathé archive.

I present to you: “1940s Friday”  …


7am, waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs
Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal

Already I feel more glamorous. A closer attention to toilette, a healthier breakfast—Anne Edwards is so on top of things she’s even up a half hour before Rebecca.


Seein’ everything, the time is goin’
Tickin’ on and on, everybody’s rushin’
Gotta get down to the bus stop
Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends (My friends)

This clock is not kidding around: check out that officious ticking. Rebecca had better hurry to the bus stop, before her friends die of diphtheria.


Kickin’ in the front seat
Sittin’ in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?

Here’s a hint: not the one the Queen is sitting in. An attempt to call the window seat when Queen Elizabeth is involved will only end in tears.


It’s Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday

Okay, okay, I had some difficulty finding a good calendar shot, so I’m attempting to distract you with some card tricks. Pick a Friday! Any Friday! You’ll have to get down!


Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin’ down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

This weekend definitely looks more wholesome than what Ms. Black has planned. Fishing for some serious localvore credibility, a nice stroll in the park, some al fresco dining…all while wrapped up in a nice overcoat. This is a British summer, after all.


Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)

Partying with Alan Ladd!


Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)

Partying that ends in a film contract!


Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin’ forward to the weekend


Look, I believe the music video speaks for itself: “1940s Friday” gets up earlier, has a better ride, and throws way better parties than its 2011 iteration. It’s no contest. Now, if only we could get some 1940s lyrics to go with it…

Words and research by Meghan Purvis

British Pathé visit a 1940s Dating Agency

"Hmm, you might want to take that bit out actually"

Online dating is widespread and very much taken for granted in Britain today, with an entire range of online facilities, from popular dating websites like Match.Com or eHarmony, to more sophisticated set-ups like Guardian Soulmates or the more adventurous online destinations like Gaydar.

So we were delighted to discover a much simpler and slower-paced world of dating, albeit a little stiff upper lip, and that’s the Marriage Bureau, a 1940s dating agency that Pathé News made a little film about. Their mission statement is “To introduce to each other people who normally meet very few members of the opposite sex”.

I think you’d agree – not the catchiest jingle, and already flawed on several levels, but still, let’s press on … we’re enticed by the Marriage Bureau’s charm…

In case you were expecting a line-up of men in briefs, rest unassured that the Marriage Bureau can offer any such thing: “You can’t walk in and pick yourself a man just like that. First the whole issue has to be discussed. There’s a long form to fill in” The clips follows a woman and a man who sign-up in the Marriage Bureau’s office and then meet each other rather awkwardly in the park. The narrator is quite an unusual British Pathé voice over artist, who gets quite carried away by the various dramatic perspectives, it’s nail-biting stuff.

We’d love to know which London dating agency this was, where exactly they were based, and possibly discover the names of these people. We wonder too how the end of the War was connected to the birth of the dating agency industry, with all those torn apart couples and fractured social groups.

We’ll keep you updated if we learn more. In the meantime, for any archive film enthusiasts who are single and looking for love might, may we suggest ‘The British Pathe Film Archive’ group on Facebook, there are reels of fascinating people in there, you may well meet the perfect partner!