In The Beginning Was The End: The Truth About De-Evolution

Concept: DEVO

Director: Chuck Statler[1]

Years Filmed: 1975[2] - 1976 [3]

Year Premiered: 1976 [4]

Appears On:

Characters: DEVO, Booji Boy, China Man, General Boy


The film starts with a closeup of a television screen, on which the film's title is displayed. It cuts to a factory where DEVO and Booji Boy are working. One member notices that it's quitting time, and they all pile into a beaten up car. They pull up across the street from a club, and enter. On the club's bottom level, they perform Secret Agent Man in front of large DEVO letters, while the film periodically cuts to various odd images.
This segment ends with a scene of Booji Boy running through a parking lot and into a building via a fire escape. Inside, he hands a set of papers to General Boy, who informs us that "Every man, woman, and mutant on this planet shall know the truth about De-Evolution."
Booji responds, "Oh, Dad! We're all DEVO!" Following are a series of rapid fire clips of the letters "D E V O" in yellow neon, accompanied by an audio snippet from Mechanical Man. The camera cuts to a lecture hall and a lecturer singing Jocko Homo. As he recites the song, the classroom begins to riot.
Following Jocko Homo is the Devolutionary Oath, with a close-up of images on T.V. screen. [5]
Before the end credits, we see Booji tied to a chair. A male figure wearing a mask steps in, removes the man in the chair's mask and stabs him in the abdomen. The background music in this sequence is a distorted version of Because by The Beatles.

Closing Credits:[]

  • Credits scroll right to left.
a film by Chuck Statler
sound by John Bodin
edited by Dale Cooper

special mention: every devotee
		 & beautiful mutant
		 r.l.motherbaugh [sic] as general boy

words & music by DEVO (the de-evolution band)
  • This short film ends with a shot of the yellow neon sign spelling "DEVO".


  • The Beginning Was The End: The Truth About De-Evolution was Devo's first film. Directed by Chuck Statler in 1976, with concept and content by Devo, the short film is comprised of two videos, one for Secret Agent Man and the other for Jocko Homo. It contains additional music cues and interstitial material.
  • The music during the film's credits was originally "Because" by The Beatles, distorted through a frequency analyzer. Changed to other modulated noises on video releases to avoid high license fees.
  • The factory was actually the Goodyear "World of Rubber" in Akron, Ohio.
  • As DEVO enter the club, a sign is on the door which reads "Tonight: 15-60-75". 15-60-75, also known as The Numbers Band, is an Akron area blues group which Jerry Casale once was a member of.
  • A segment of this film, the sequence with Booji running into General Boy's office, was played before DEVO's performance of Jocko Homo on Saturday Night Live.
  • This film contains the first of several purported deaths of Booji Boy.
  • Robert Mothersbaugh, Sr. was not originally planned to be General Boy. A lawyer friend of the band was to play the part, but got cold feet. Mark, Jim and Bob 1's father was the only person willing, and able to fit into the costume.
  • "The Truth About De-Evolution" was first seen by the audiences at Devo's late 1976 performances. It was mentioned in a December 1976 ad for two shows at the Crypt in Akron. It was screened at a private party before the Art Institute debut.
  • This short film had its first Akron Art Institute screening in 1977, before a Devo performance.[6] [7]
  • Six days after the free showing at the Akron Art Institute,[8] this film was screened on the night of Friday, March 19, 1977 at the 15th annual Ann Arbor Film Festival, [9] where it subsequently won an award.


DEVO was approached with the prospect of the restoration of their short films.
Jerry approved of DEVO’s films being restored. After Mark also approved, Peter Conheim[10] began the ongoing work.
The short films / music videos restored thus far have been shown on a tour - "De-Evolution Is Real: The Restored Films of DEVO".
Some restored film and production footage was included in DEVO’s documentary by Chris Smith released in 2024.

“The Beginning Was the End: The Truth About De-Evolution” (1976) Dir. Chuck Statler.
Ears, Eyes and Throats. (2019).
“Ten rare and restored punk films curated by Peter Conheim (1976-1981).”


  1. Internet Archive. flickr. Mongoloid b/w Jocko Homo (1977). Image of credits. "...from the soundtrack of "In the Beginning Was the End.. (the truth about DE-EVOLUTION)" a film by Chuck Statler All words & music by DEVO."

  2. Bob1, Jerry, Jim and Mark shot the "leaving work scene" in 1975 at the World of Rubber vulcanization set in Akron. Devo: Unmasked, page 8.

  3. Under The Radar. (2010-7-28). "Fucked Up vs. Devo: The Full Transcript of a Conversation Between Damian Abraham and Mark Mothersbaugh" by Matt Fink. Photography by Norman Wong.

    " was with great happiness when back in 1976 we had made this film called The Truth About De-evolution, and there was nowhere to show it because there was no such thing as MTV, so we talked the Akron Art Institute into letting us show this seven-and-a-half minute film". - M. Mothersbaugh.

  4. DEVO twitter account.
    "39 years ago today on 12/17/76, DEVO played at The Crypt in Akron, OH. See ad for a DEVO Crypt gig we found online." (press clipping)
    December 1976 ad for two midnight shows on the 17th and 18th. "The Crypt" newspaper advert. "...DEVO - Don't Miss Their Movie 'The Truth About De-Evolution'...".

  5. YouTube. "Devo | In The Beginning Was The End | THE TRUTH ABOUT DE EVOLUTION". uploaded by Devo - Official Channel.

  6. Internet Archive. "Flyer: DEVO at Akron Art Institute 1977". "Akron Art Institute (3.12.77 Akron, OH) 11" x 17" flyer. Hand colored. This was also the night of their "The Truth About De-Evolution" film debut! FROM THE ARCHIVES OF MARK MOTHERSBAUGH". - M. Pilmer.

  7. Internet Archive. Temple of DEVO | Posters - Page I. Mouseover text, over link to image of the Akron Art Institute "concept" flyer.

    According to Jerry Casale: ' I was close friends with Kate Myers, daughter of the Myers family who owned Sieberling Tire Company. They were millionaires and had the finest collection of Pop art in the whole mid-west. They were also board members of the Akron Art Institute. Katie believed in me and convinced them to have Devo play an "art performance" at the Institute. These were placed around the Institute and once again I think maybe a dozen were made. I rented a projector and set up "The Truth About De-evolution" to intro our show. It was the first time we did this.' - Copyright Brian Applegate.

  8. DEVO Live Guide. Internet Archive. "1973 to 1977".

    03/12/77 - Akron Art Institute, Akron, OH"] (11" x 17"). "saturday, march 12, 1:00 p.m. - concept - an afternoon of music, discussion, and improvisation devoted to the ideas and concepts of contemporary arts. - with: Alex Gildzen, poet - Ed Mieczkowski, painter - DEVO, (the de-evolution band) - All events are free - akron art institute - 69 east market street". - Image of DEVO, captioned: "The De-Evolution Band 1977". - Red handwritten text: 'Also - The Movie: "The Truth About De-Evolution" '. - Round yellow sticker with the black text "DEVO".

  9. Internet archive. - Ann Arbor Film Festival Archive - Programs. 15th Ann Arbor Film Festival Program (PDF).

    "15th Ann Arbor Film Festival, March 15-20, 1977". "Friday 7:00 PM ... In The Beginning Was The End: The Truth About De-Evolution Chuck Statler 10". (minutes)


External Links:[]

In the Beginning Was the End: The Truth About De-Evolution -- A2 Film Festival
In the Beginning Was the End: The Truth About De-Evolution (1976) -- IMDb
The Truth About De-Evolution -- Wikipedia

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Official Studio Albums
Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978) | Duty Now For The Future (1979) | Freedom of Choice (1980) | New Traditionalists (1981) | oh, no! it's Devo (1982) | Shout (1984) | Total Devo (1988) | SmoothNoodleMaps (1990) | Something for Everybody   (2010)
Other Albums
Be Stiff EP (1978) | E-Z Listening Disc (1987) | Now It Can Be Told: DEVO at the Palace (1989) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 1 74-77 (1990) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 2 1974-1977 (1991) | DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years (1992) | DEV-O Live (1999) | Recombo DNA (2000) | Live In Central Park (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | New Traditionalists: Live 1981 Seattle (2012) | Something ELSE for Everybody  (2013) | Miracle Witness Hour  (2014) | Live at Max's Kansas City - November 15, 1977  (2014) | Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig  (2014) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015) | Art Devo 1973-1977  (2023)
In The Beginning Was The End: The Truth About De-Evolution (1976) | The Men Who Make The Music (1981) | Human Highway (1982) | We're All DEVO (1984) | The Complete Truth About De-Evolution (1993) | DEVO Live (2004) | DEVO Live In The Land Of The Rising Sun (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig  (2014) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015)
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