The story of the mysterious “lost” Van Halen “dinosaur” video begins back in 1995, one year before The Van Halen News Desk launched. At that time, Jeff Hausman (who would go on to run the VHND) got ahold of some strange photos of Van Halen playing their instruments outdoors, among life-size sculptures of dinosaurs(!).
Knowing these photos were never published or seen before, Jeff couldn’t wait to share them with fans, so he released them in the very first issue of The Inside, the magazine he published that was all about Van Halen, which went on to become the band’s official magazine throughout the second half of the nineties.
The photos were featured in a one-page piece entitled “Sunday Afternoon in Jurassic Park?” The short article read:
“The Inside dug up these rare, never before published photos of Van Halen in 1981 while on location for a video shoot for the ‘Fair Warning’ album. We’re not quite sure which song the video concept was for, but we do know that the dinosaurs never made it off the cutting room floor.”
The photos, taken by a VH roadie, were the first evidence that anyone living outside of Italy ever had seen about this “lost” Van Halen video.
No one at The Inside knew any details about the video shoot.
So, for the 26 years since those photos were published, this has been a big mystery and source of speculation for Van Halen fans. What the heck IS this? Where was this filmed? What song was it for? What became of the footage? Was it ever aired, anywhere? Will it ever be seen by anyone? Does the footage even exist anymore?
Lethal Amounts magazine’s recent article about this mysterious footage states, “In 1981, Van Halen gathered in a foggy forest alongside life-sized dinosaur sculptures to shoot a music video. The clip was intended to promote a track from the group’s astonishing fourth album, the dark and brooding Fair Warning, but the video was shelved. Sounds intriguing, right? Well, don’t bother searching the web for it, because it’s never seen the light of day. Forty years on, the facts surrounding the enigmatic footage remain obscured, though I’ve done my best to shine some light on this murky rock ‘n’ roll mystery.
In November 1981, Van Halen did a promotional tour of Europe, in which the group made several television appearances, lip-synching various songs from Fair Warning. On November 14th, the group mimed “Mean Street” for Italian TV. It can be presumed the mothballed video was shot on or around this date.”
And then, incredibly, today, June 6, 2021, the video surfaced online for the first time!
The uploading Youtube channel writes, “At the end of 1981 Van Halen filmed some videoclip settled in a Jurassic park in Italy, the “Prehistoric Park” of Rivolta D’Adda (near Milan). The band was engaged in a European tour for promoting “Fair Warning”. These videos aired on Italian state television, RAI 1, during a TV show called “Happy Circus”. Van Halen Italia Fan Club found those video clips and shares them with fans all over the world.”
The low budget video, which unsurprisingly focuses more David Lee Roth than the other band members, and had nothing to do with MTV or Warner Bros. It was just something that the Italian TV station could film quickly. Silly as it is, it’s a real treat for fans who’ve wondered about it, and who’ve been starving for more “lost” footage to be unearthed.
Watch the never-seen video below!
Will we ever see more unearthed Van Halen video? Hope springs eternal…
Van Halen fans… did you know that you can still purchase back issues of The Inside – The International Van Halen Magazine. They’re available at VanHalenStore.com.
Get your official EVH STRIPES Beach Towel at VanHalenStore.com!