Weird Al's Cult Hit <I>UHF</i> Is Finally Hitting DVD13 May, 2002 By: Fred Topel
UHF has enjoyed a cult following since its theatrical and video releases in 1989, but it has taken until 2002 to get the movie released on DVD.
The film was written by and starred “Weird Al” Yankovic as the manager of a UHF television station, putting on movie parodies and wacky television shows. MGM Home Entertainment will release a special edition of the film on June 4, and star/writer Yankovic was closely involved with creating the special features.
“Producer Greg Carson and I went through a mountain of slides that MGM had hidden away to find a couple hundred really cool ones to use in the photo gallery,” Yankovic said. “Plus, there's a nice little ‘making of' documentary, basically an edited-down version of the electronic press kit that was produced at the time the movie was being shot. The behind-the-scenes cameras were only there for a few days, so they only covered a few things -- but we get to see the making of ‘Wheel of Fish' and the Indiana Jones sequence, which is fun. There's a 20-minute feature on the deleted scenes which I host, and a full running commentary with myself and director Jay Levey.”
With the commentary session, Yankovic took it upon himself to fill the running time with constant information. “As it turns out, Jay Levey wound up not saying very much on it -- he warned me ahead of time that that might be the case -- so I basically came prepared with every anecdote and factoid I could remember or dig up about the film. The commentary is chock-full of useless trivia, like the names of people who auditioned for the movie and were turned down (only to become big-name stars) and the street addresses of virtually every location we shot at in Tulsa. Plus -- you may not know this -- but UHF got some bad reviews when it first came out, and I read them all over the closing credits. If you're a fan of the movie, I think you'll find it fascinating -- if you're not, it's probably way too much information, but then why are you listening to the commentary track anyway?”
Yankovic teased that there would be some surprise guests on the commentary track, but would not say if one of them would be his UHF co-star, “Seinfeld”;'s Michael Richards. “I won't say, because then it wouldn't be a surprise, would it?”
The deleted scenes will include some more movie parodies, more crazy UHF TV shows and, as Yankovic said, “a little bit of just about everything. The deleted scenes on the DVD were taken from a VHS tape that I've had in my closet since 1989 -- that's the only copy that exists -- but really, considering the source, they look surprisingly good. And the reason they were taken out of the movie is because, well, they just weren't all that funny. But if we didn't have deleted scenes on the DVD, the fans would just go insane, and we can't have that now, can we?”
Yankovic credits the fans for convincing MGM to finally put the film out on DVD. “I know there was a big grassroots campaign among the fans to get this movie on DVD. It's really got a cult-like following, so I think MGM may have been badgered into finally putting this thing out,” he said.