‘Before Macintosh: The Apple Lisa’ documentary will tell the story of Apple’s most important ‘flop’

“A new documentary called Before Macintosh: The Apple Lisa promises to tell the story of one of Apple’s most important flops,” Luke Dormehl writes for Cult of Mac.

“Directed by computer historian (and Apple collector) David Greelish, the movie will feature interviews with key players in the machine’s development,” Dormehl writes. “It also will place the Lisa in its proper context — as one of the most influential computers of all time… The Lisa was Apple’s first attempt at a computer with a WIMP (windows, icons, mouse pointer) interface. While we associate many of these innovations with 1984’s Mac, the Lisa actually introduced them to a general audience.”

“The documentary should come in around 100 minutes long, divided into three parts,” Dormehl writes. “The first will tell the story of the Lisa at Apple, focusing on the computer’s development, launch and untimely demise. The second part of the doc will then cover its life after Apple. The third segment will focus on Lisa enthusiasts who keep the computer’s legacy alive today.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: The digital release of the movie is targeted for November 2019 and the DVD for December 2019 and its modest budget is being funded via KickStarter. More info, including an introductory video from Greelish, here.


  1. I got in at 9:00 that morning at the Byte Shop Seattle and Mike had already set up our demo unit. It was interesting trying things out. Godawful slow.

  2. I was at Apple Repair certification training when Lisa was ‘current’. I think I was at One Infinite Loop. Anyway, they had two rooms full of Lisas. We could look but we could not touch 🙂 We were being certified on Apple //s, not Lisas! 🙂

  3. Think of it as evolution. Lisa was the prototype: massive, costly and over-engineered. Was never gonna survive in the environment.
    However, the progeny included a diminutive version, the Mac. Call it a runt, but in fact better suited for the environment at the end.
    The point being is that Jobs stake a lot on Lisa, but ended up getting the Mac off the ground. Ultimately cost him his place at Apple but started a new lineage in the evolution of the computer industry.

  4. I first saw the LISA in Byte magazine and knew this concept was going to blow everything away. I was a one man engineering company and puschased one ($10,000) with an extra 1 MB of memory ($1000) and a Pascal development environment ($1200). Because of this, when I was involved in week long working meetings I could come in viewgraphs each day that were not hand drawn. This was important because the people I worked with were from large corporations and could not do the same thing. Another thing about the Lisa, you could hit the off button and come back later and hit the on button and be back where you were. You could do this without saving and it would still be in the unsaved state. I don’t think you can do that on any computer today. I moved to the regular Mac when the Mac II came out.

      1. program Pascalworks;

        ItGotUsStartedInObjects = object
        procedure Put;

        HelloWorld: ItGotUsStartedInObjects;

        procedure HelloWorld.Put;
        ShowMessage(‘Hello, World!’);


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