WATCH: Van Halen’s ‘Lost Weekend’ mini documentary

News 19/03/2020

60 Second Docs have released a mini-documentary about Van Halen's 1984 MTV ‘Lost Weekend’ contest, which is now available to watch for free online. 

The mini doco, running for just under 15 minutes, screened at festivals last year before being released by 60 Second Docs this year, directed by Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb.

“Lost Weekend was born out of many late nights watching classic MTV music videos, awards shows and MTV bumpers," the filmmakers said in a statement. "Among the madness appeared the commercial for MTV's Lost Weekend contest. Before we knew it, the simple suggestion that 'We should do a doc about the guy who won that contest!' turned into a week in Pennsylvania, the surprising discovery of untouched raw archive footage, a newfound appreciation for Van Halen's music and the short film that is Lost Weekend." 

You can watch the original advertisement for the competition below:

The winner of the contest was 20-year-old (at the time) Kurt Jefferis from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, who had one of his 13 postcards picked out of the more than a million submissions to MTV in 1984. In early April, Jefferis and his friend Tom Winnick were put in a limo from their suburb outside of Philadelphia to the airport. They then boarded a private jet to Detroit, where Van Halen were performing two nights at the city's Cobo Arena in support of their smash album 1984.

Van Halen brought Jefferis onstage during one of the shows to congratulate him and then smashed a cake in his face and sprayed him with champagne. "The rush was unbelievable," Jefferis said in the film. 

At the backstage party, things got a bit wild, with Jefferis recalling he drank with the band, smoked some pot and snorted "a little cocaine off David Lee Roth's pinkie."

However, what the band and MTV staff didn't know was that Jefferis had a recent fall down a stairwell that left him with a blood clot in his brain, and had a metal plate inserted in his head. He was not supposed to be drinking at all, which his friend Winnick eventually told someone from the staff. A decision was then made to separate Jefferis from the festivities, potentially saving his life.

"I didn't tell MTV about my accident because I didn't think anything of it," Jefferis said. "I was the grand-prize winner and I was going to go experience a lost weekend with Van Halen." Winnick noted that a contest like that held today would include a "50-page release and lawyers out the wazoo before you could even do a 10th of what happened."

You can watch the mini-documentary below.