A mini-documentary about MTV’s 1984 “Lost Weekend” Van Halen contest is now available to watch online.
The film, which runs a little less than 15 minutes, screened at festivals last year, and is now presented by 60 Second Docs. Lost Weekend was directed by Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb, who previously made the documentary GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, the inspiration for the hit Netflix show GLOW.
“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.”
The winner of the contest was 20-year-old Kurt Jefferis from Phoenixville, Pa., who had one of his 13 postcards picked out of the more than a million that were submitted to MTV in 1984. In early April, Jefferis and his friend Tom Winnick were ushered in a limo from their suburb outside of Philadelphia to the airport, where they boarded a private jet to Detroit. Van Halen were performing two nights at the city’s Cobo Arena in support of their smash album 1984.
Watch Promo for MTV’s ‘Lost Weekend’ Contest
The band 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. Things got a little out of hand at a backstage party, the contest winner recalled. He drank with the band, smoked some pot and snorted “a little cocaine off David Lee Roth’s pinkie.”
What the band and MTV staff didn’t know was that Jefferis had a metal plate in his head after a recent fall down a stairwell left him with a blood clot on his brain. He shouldn’t have been drinking at all, and Winnick eventually pulled someone aside and told them. A decision was then made to separate Jefferis from the festivities, a move that may have saved 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.