Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Girl in the Video: “Jack & Diane” (1982)

Introduction to series “The Girl in the Video 2” (including list of interviewees).

The video: “Jack & Diane” by John Cougar (now John Mellencamp).

The girl-now-woman: Vicky Granucci.

How old were you when you appeared in the “Jack & Diane” video?


Where were you living at the time?

John and I lived in Bloomington, IN.

How did you meet?

John and I met after he saw a photo of me at my friend’s home and convinced her to invite me to dinner. When I arrived at Dan Tana’s (restaurant) in Hollywood, I was surprised when I realized I was on a blind date. We hit it off immediately.

Are you “Diane”?

Although many people think it is about the two of us, Diane and Jack are fictional characters. (How funny is it that as I am writing this, “Jack & Diane” came on the radio?)

What music videos, shows, or movies, if any, had you appeared in prior to that?

In the late ‘70s, I worked as an extra in a variety of TV shows, commercials, and films including CHiPs, Happy Days, Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Charlie’s Angels, Grease, and Thank God It’s Friday.

Did John ask you to be the video or did you volunteer?

I really don’t know how we decided I would be in the video. It just happened.

Where was the video filmed?

The part where John is singing the song was shot at a small restaurant/bar in Medora, IN. We also filmed “Hurt So Good” there [earlier] that same day.

The 8 mm footage of John and I was filmed at and around our home in Bloomington.

All of the photos of John and I growing up were from our personal collections.

How long was the shoot?

John sang the song twice for the camera and then we spent another day shooting the 8 mm footage.

How did you feel making the video?

We had a great time. It seemed natural except for the fact that our friend was following us around with a camera.

What was the hardest part of the shoot?

Convincing John to perform another song after he had just filmed “Hurt So Good” [and] was literally exhausted.

How was it to work with your then-husband?

I had previously worked behind the scenes on many of John’s videos so it did not seem that different to make the progression to being in a video. John is very good at maintaining creative control of all the things he does.

Any funny stories from the shoot?

I was able to sneak a few pictures from his early “Johnny Cougar” days.  He, however, did not see the humor at the time!

Anything go wrong on the shoot?

The only difficult part of putting the video together was making the photos and the music come together. So someone came up with the “white glove claps.”

What did you think of the video?

The “Jack & Diane” video was a fun way for me to watch John & Vicky [growing] up and being a young couple in love.

What did your parents think of it?

The video also was a great way for my family in California to feel like they were there in Indiana with us. [Of course] no Internet, Facebook, Snapchat, FaceTime, etc., in the olden days.

What did your friends think of it?

I have heard from a lot of friends I grew up with that they really liked seeing it. There’s one picture of me with my childhood friend, all dressed up for our 8th grade banquet (in our homemade baby blue dresses). She was very surprised to see herself.

Did you watch the MTV World Premiere of the video, and if so, where and how did that feel?

We were at home with the Betamax machine ready so as to catch the first airing. We were both happy with it—although John is his harshest critic. He may have had some criticisms.

Did you receive fan mail? If so, do you still have any of it?

I did receive some mail from fans of John’s. The most surprising was while we were in Japan. There I was bombarded with fan letters and gifts. [Sherrie Swafford of Steve Perry’s “Oh Sherrie” similarly reported a positive experience with the Japanese.]

Did the video generate any controversy that you know of?

There was never any controversy that I know of. There was some negative blurb somewhere once about the line “dribble off those Bobby Brooks / let me do what I please.” [Bobby Brooks was a clothing brand for young women in the ‘70s and ‘80s.] But it was pretty silly and didn’t pick up any real attention.

What were you paid?

$0.00, of course.

Were you ever recognized in public?

Yes. That has happened quite a lot. Less as I get older. I think the “funniest” times are when a person repeatedly tells me “I know you from somewhere” and I don’t help them in figuring out that “somewhere.”

Did you appear in other music videos after that?

I did appear in other videos with John including “Rumbleseat” and “Small Town.” “Rooty Toot Toot” (1988) is another video that only John and I were in.

Did you ever meet other women who were female leads in a mainstream ‘80s rock video?

Over the years I met a few other woman who were in mainstream videos, one being Christie Brinkley.

If you went to college, where and what did you study?

I never went to college; my education has come from life experiences good and bad.

What are you doing these days?

Focusing on being a grandma. My daughters have wonderful children and have really given me a whole new outlook on life.

Where do you live?

I have been living on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina but enjoy going to the west coast to visit my other daughter and her growing family.

If you are remarried, what was your future husband’s reaction when he learned you were in this video?

I have never remarried. 

How many kids do you have?

John and I have two daughters; they are 28 and 33.

What do they think of the video?

Recently I asked the girls what they thought of seeing their dad and I in the videos together and they said…

  • “It is fun to see mom and dad when they are so young.”
  • “It is nice to see my parents having fun together.”

What did you think when you first heard from me?

I was hesitant about what type of questions you would ask. I was a little leery…that your questions may be too personal about John and I. I was relieved to see they were primarily about “Jack & Diane.”

Has anyone else ever interviewed you about this? If so, when and for what publication?

This is actually [my] first interview about the videos.

Have you appeared at any fan conventions to sign autographs? If not, would you?

I have never appeared at any fan conventions nor would I care to.

Are you in touch with John?

I am still very close with John’s family given that we all share our two children and their children [Vicky’s grandchildren]. John and I are always just a phone call away.

When was the last time you were in touch?

I last saw John a couple years ago when he did a show in nearby Savannah.

How do you look back on the experience?

I look back at “Jack & Diane” with fond memories. I see “two American kids doing the best they can.”

Tweet about this interview to @johnmellencamp!

Next: 38 Special, “Caught Up in You” (1982).


Unknown said...

That was so nice to read about you both..the songs he sung, and the videos were a big part of my life.. Thank You!!

syndicate.001 said...

hello, mr. nobleman, and happy new year to you..... I was just curious to know: you do this blog as best you can about rock video girls, and who they are, but what about sexy album cover girls?.... would you do any sleuthing regarding this aspect ad well, or of someone that does?.... please let me know, and thank you for your time and attention regarding your reading my inquiries, and I really appreciate all your help and replies, and you as well.. take care, and be blessed, in this new year....


jeffrey nobleman

syndicate.001 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
"L" Diva Style said...

The actual song was written about a girl he dated prior. Her name is Diane Graham, a teacher in Scottsburg,Indiana.

Belle7175 said...

What? The song was originally wtitten about an interracial couple. Not about him & "Diane."

Unknown said...

I am amazed she still lives in Hilton Head. According to a property manager, My wife (at the time) and I stayed in her home on Hilton Head back in 1993.she must have been renting it out back then or the guy was making it up.

Unknown said...

I visited her home back in the mid 90's on Hilton Head, as I was friends with their nanny at the time. She wasn't renting it out - it was full of children's toys (for older kids), kids even had a golf cart just for their use. So cool.