Michael Jackson’s experience in changing the world. IS CAPTAIN EO WINNING?
While I was struggling with my mobile Internet and looking for a better provider, one of the authors of this blog, Markoftheancients, sent me a compilation of articles and a text she accompanied it with. Her initiative was triggered off by my post about John Branca and Michael Jackson’s finances where MOA (I call her that way) found this of my statements important:
- Looking at the appalling decline in Michael’s fortunes I could not help thinking that stripping Michael of his money could actually be the main goal of all those “child molestation” allegations. If someone didn’t like Michael for some reason and wanted his downfall, nothing could be easier and more damaging that accusing him of a horrible crime and here you are, the thing is done quickly and quite effortlessly… http://wp.me/pIuKO-2J5
It is already becoming a tradition here to turn MOA’s texts and my additions to them into a dialogue between us, so here is another sample of our public conversation.
MOA found very informative articles on Michael Jackson’s enormous potential on how to generate money, success and impact on the public, and how all of it was ruined by the molestation allegations of 1993 and 2003. Against the background of these articles it becomes perfectly clear that the decline of Michael’s fortunes was not of his own doing as the media likes to portray it – no, this was the damage done to Michael by the media and its bosses who never stopped tripping on Jackson and made the utmost of false molestation allegations against him, thus delivering a fatal blow to Michael’s career and finances.
Now that we know that both 1993 and 2003 cases were fictional, one can’t help wondering if the mountains made out of those molehills could be deliberate and used as a finishing touch upon the many years of consistent work done by the media to diminish Michael Jackson’s impact on his countrymen and the world public opinion in general.
As Michael Jackson’s success was growing his potential at influencing the public opinion (and teaching the world something good) was becoming enormous and was growing into a huge challenge for some people.
MOA tells us how the whole thing started.
MOA: In the early 70’s Michael Jackson launched his solo career; however his split from The Jacksons happened more than a decade later, at the end of the Victory Tour in 1984. During the 70’s, the young Michael who was already a well-known Black American artist, found out that he had talent not only to sing and dance but also to create music. Some examples: He wrote and composed Shake Your Body with Randy Jackson in 1978, This Place Hotel written by Michael in June 1980, Can You Feel It with Jackie Jackson in September 1980.
VMJ: In one of his numerous depositions Michael said that he started writing his own songs at the age of seven and had the first song published when he was fifteen:
Q: Would you tell us when you started composing music?
A: Probably since the age of seven.
Q: Would you tell us, how old you were when you had your first song published?
A: That I wrote myself?
Q: Yes, sir.
Q: Could you tell us approximately Mr. Jackson, how many songs you’ve written to date?
A: In general couple hundred
Q: And approximately, how many of those songs had been released to the public?
A: About fifty, sixty.
(from Michael Jackson’s deposition in a ridiculous 1994 suit over the Dangerous song: http://mjtranslate.com/pl/interviews/1228
MOA: Even if The Wiz was not a very successful film, it teamed up Jackson with Quincy Jones. And soon Off The Wall was born. The very talented Jackson met and worked with Rod Temperton, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Bruce Swedien. Soon John Branca joined (in 1980) Jackson as his attorney.
After the huge success of Off The Wall album, the young artist dared to believe that his career could be unique and this would give him the opportunity to achieve his goals. And his goals were not only fame and wealth though he got a lot of both. He believed that his talent was given to him for a reason – to serve those who have nothing.
VMJ: This reminds me of Frank Dileo’s words about Michael who said that in every city they played during the Bad tour Michael visited hospitals, bringing a new piece of equipment there and a lot of joy to the ill children. He said that their main job was not getting up on stage singing and dancing, but making people happy. And this wasn’t just a mere formality or some “blah-blah-blah” for Michael Jackson – he meant every word of it! Otherwise he wouldn’t be spending his free time in hospitals as if it were the best way to relax in-between the strenuous shows!
Here is what Frank Dileo said:
“From Aphrodite Jones’ program on True Crime, September 30, 2009— the program about Michael Jackson and the 2005 trial. Frank DiLeo is talking to Aphrodtie Jones about “daily life on the Bad Tour.”
DiLeo tells Ms. Jones that on the Bad Tour, in every single city the tour played — Michael Jackson visited a hospital, and bought a new piece of equipment for that hospital. “Yes, it was Michael’s idea,” DiLeo answers Ms. Jones’ question.
Then Frank DiLeo tells a story. There was a child who was dying in a hospital (during the Bad Tour) in the city where the tour happened to be playing. Michael happened to have been at that particular hospital doing what he always did — for LOVE. The extremely ill child wanted to meet Michael, and Michael went to the child, talked to him; and Frank DiLeo states….”the child perked up. It was amazing. I really couldn’t take it. I went off — over in a corner, and cried. And Michael came over to me and put his arm around me and said, ‘You have to understand Frank. This is OUR JOB…….not getting up on stage and singing and dancing. Our job is making people feel good.’ ”
MOA: The coming years, 1980-1992 were amazingly successful; E.T. project, Billie Jean, Beat It, Thriller, the moonwalk, the White House invitation, the USA for Africa project and the song We Are The World, The ATV Music catalog and so much more… Almost every project pushed Jackson higher and higher. More success would bring more money and consequently more power which would allow him to make a change for the world.
Believe it or not, but this incredible artist was a homey man who spent his few days off at Hayvenhurst chitchatting with his mother, a few relatives and friends; he also took care of his animals and admired his gardens. Jackson was a neat guy, no alcohol, no cigarettes, no drugs. He believed in marriage and family. He wished a large family for himself. He only left parental home at the age of 29, in 1988 to settle down in his huge ranch Neverland.
The brilliant 1984 interview with Ebony gives an insight into the goals Michael Jackson set for himself and his deepest thoughts and wishes. Here are some quotes:
Although he has been out front and outstanding for 20 years, the 26-year-oldsinger/songwriter/dancer and actor was not recognized as a super-super-star until his Thriller album became the best-selling LP of all time. Since then, much has been written about him, but the man behind the superstar is still a mystery and a media enigma. The White media’s Michael Jackson portrayed mostly through gossip, rumors, hype, and sometimes slander, is not the Michael I have watched and reported on since he emerged from the anonymity of the steel town of Gary, Indiana in 1970. That Michael Jackson – the Michael Jackson nobody knows – is warm, sensitive, vibrant, keenly aware of the mysteries of life and the wonder and magic of children. Several months ago he told me that he was tired of the wave of lies in the White press.
…. Love is what made Michael endure one of the most pressure-filled concert tours of his career. Even though The Jacksons Victory Tour is expected to gross over $70 million, he didn’t perform for the love of money. He said he did it for the love of family, fans, and favorite charities. Although it was projected that his parents, who organized the tour with boxing impresario Don King, could each earn $5 million and each brother pocket about $7.5 million, Michael announced that his share of the concert earnings would go to three worthy causes.They are the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Camp Good Times for terminally ill children, and the T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia and Cancer research. He is also giving earnings from a special album called Let’s Beat It, to charity. He is doing it, he says, because children inspired him to write the hit single, Beat It,”Children are my biggest inspiration in anything I do,” Michael told this writer. “I adore children – crazy about them. I wanted to write a song, the type of rock song that I would buy….I wanted the kids to really enjoy it, the school kids, as well as the college kids,” said the sensitive songwriter whose two favorite songs are Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and Peter and the Wolf.
Ebony: You seem impressed by African art but what about African music and dance?
Michael: When we came off the plane in [Dakar, Senegal] Africa, we were greeted by a long line of African dancers. Their drums and sounds filled the air with rhythm. I was going crazy, I was screaming. I said, “All right!” They got the beat and they got the rhythm…. I just was so glad about the whole thing. This is it, I said. This is where I come from. The origin …
Ebony: You were obviously impressed by your musical roots, so where do you think the Africans derived their musical influence?
Michael: Music started with nature. Music is nature. Birds make music. Oceans make music. Wind makes music. Any natural sound is music. And that’s where it started… You see, we’re just making a replica of nature, which is the sounds we hear outside.
Ebony: Did your travels have any influence on the way you think about races of people?
Michael: The main thing that I hate most is ignorance, like the prejudice problems of America. I know it is worse in some other countries. But I wish I could borrow, like from Venezuela or Trinidad, the real love of color-blind people and bring it to America.
Ebony: You are making some observations with intense feelings. Please continue.
Michael: I’m prejudiced against ignorance.That’s what I’m mainly prejudiced against. It’s only ignorance and it’s taught because it’s not genetic at all. The little children in those [countries] aren’t prejudiced. I would like for you to put this in quotes, too. I’m really not a prejudiced person at all. I believe that people should think about God more and creation …. Look at the many wonders inside the human body – the different colors of organs, colors of blood – and all these different colors do a different thing in the human body. It’s the most incredible system in the world; it makes an incredible building, the human being. And if this can happen with the human body, why can’t we do it as people? And that’s how I feel. And that’s why I wish the world could do more. That’s the only thing I hate. I really do.
Ebony: What you have just said is not only compassionate but compelling. How do you communicate such feelings since you don’t make public appearances to express your views in public forums?
Michael: I try to write, put it in song. Put it in dance. Put it in my art to teach the world. If politicians can’t do it, I want to do it. We have to do it. Artists, put it in paintings. Poets, put it in poems, novels. That’s what we have to do. And I think it’s so important to save the world.
Ebony: You don’t seem to have any objections to messages in music as long as the messages are positive. Your music, unlike some artists, stays clear of messages glorifying drugs. But drugs are a reality. How do you view it?
Michael: In the field I’m in, there is a lot of that and it gets offered to me all the time. People even go as far as to just … stick it in your pocket and walk off. Now, if it was a good thing, they wouldn’t do that…. I mean, would somebody drop something beautiful in my pocket and just walk off? But I don’t want to have anything to do with any of that. I mean, as corny as it sounds, but this is how I really believe: Natural highs are the greatest highs in the World…. Who wants to take something and just sit around for the rest of the day after you take it [drugs], and don’t know who you are, what you’re doing, where you are? Take in something that’s gonna inspire you to do greater things in the world.
[ ] Ebony: What kind of questions do you wish you would be asked but nobody ever asks you?
Michael: That’s a good question. Probably about children or writing, or what I just talked about….You don’t make a better world of minds and things when people put the wrong things in their lyrics and give the wrong views on stage and everything.It’s just so important and I think this can lead so many people astray, because an artist can be built up so big in his career that this could change the whole world by what he does and thinks. They’ll listen to him before the President or any of these big politicians. You have to be careful. They could change these peoples’ way of life by what they say and do. That’s why it’s important to give off love vibes and that’s why I love what I do….When Marvin Gaye put out the album, What’s Going On, so many Blacks as well as Whites – but mainly Blacks-were educated. ‘Wake up. What’s going on? Wake up.’ I mean the ones that don’t watch the news, don’t read the papers to really dig in the depths of humanism. What’s going on? Wake up.
Ebony: There have been some campaigns against so-called dirty lyrics songs by some popular musical groups. Do you have any views about such groups and their lyrics?
Michael: Sometimes they go too far. They don’t leave anything for the imagination. If I just walked out on stage naked, there’s no imagination. I’m not letting them imagine what I look like without the clothes. But you see, they overdo it….We got to leave them something to imagine. People go too far at times. I think it’s important to set the right example because there are so many kids who look up to us.
[ ] As the most productive year of his entertainment career comes to a close and his talents helped him gross about $100 million, Michael is not content to rest on his laurels or his loot. He faces a future guided by two observations, both of which he made: “I’m interested in making a path instead of following a trail and that’s what I want to do in life – in everything I do,” Michael told this writer in an interview on July13, 1979. He made the other observation in his role as Scarecrow in The Wiz, a movie in which he co-starred with one of his dearest friends – Diana Ross. In a scene near the end of the film, Michael spoke these words through his Scarecrow character: “Success, fame, fortune – they are all illusions. All there is that is real is the friendship that two can share” Those are the thoughts of the Michael Jackson nobody knows. (Source http://www.scribd.com/doc/37731632/A-Collection-of-Michael-Jackson-Interviews).
VMJ: The interview is indeed brilliant. At the times when it is not politically correct to speak about God and we are urged to make small talk only avoiding the issue of God at all costs, Michael Jackson insists that people should speak about God and creation more.
And at the young age of 25 he also realizes how big his responsibility of an artist is. Same as poets, writers and journalists, artists can also change the world, and that’s why Michael says it’s important to give off the vibes of love (and not hate) or dirty lyrics about drugs and sex into the world.
Michael was serious about healing the world through each person’s efforts and what makes it all the more impressive is that the words of global responsibility for the world’s future were said by him at an age when other young men think of enjoying themselves at parties only!
And how insightful were Michael’s thoughts about the origin of music? None of us have even thought about it yet, but Michael at the age of 20-something already knew that music starts from nature – from the birds singing, the insects buzzing on a hot summer day, the waves breaking on the sea shore, the animals running in the savanna and creating a beat of their own, the thunder sounding as the heavens’ drums or the raindrops falling in a marvelous chorus…
Now that we have also realized that Michael is right about the origin of music, we can also feel the difference between the unnatural and shallow sound, produced by a machine which takes people into a sort of a drugged and zombie-like state, and the one that is resonant with nature and is very much alive – alive like the rich and vibrant Michael Jackson’s songs.
No wonder Michael used to make his music sitting on a tree. It wasn’t an “eccentricity” on his part as the media claims it to be. It was simply a natural phenomenon.
Michael Jackson’s music started in nature and was part of it, so it was very logical for the inspiration to come to him in no other place but the top of a tree. Michael’s music is as natural as the gust of wind and will therefore never die same as the wind never dies. Listen to his music and the thoughts expressed in his lyrics and they will help you to realize the true values of life and help save the planet from its further destruction. Save the planet and you will live to love Michael’s songs too as love and responsibility is what these songs are all about.
And did you also notice that back in 1984 Michael already said he was tired of the waves of lies in the White press? In 1984! So this is how long ago it started and how trying for Michael those lies were!
This discovery of the approximate period when media harassment of Michael Jackson started fits in very well with what I read in an article dated 1989. That LA Times article said a thing which initially surprised me very much – the early ticket sales for the shows of the Bad tour in Australia were slow because the public, radio stations and fans were “put off Jackson by media reports of his “eccentricities.” Can you imagine how bad these media reports were if they even put off the public from buying tickets to the “Bad” tour which was actually not bad at all but was smashing?
The sales were initially so slow that to turn the tide Frank Dileo even had to fly the Australian DJs to Japan to show the enthusiastic support of the Japanese fans for Michael Jackson there:
“The tour drew especially well in Japan, England and Germany, but early ticket sales were slow in Australia, where radio stations and fans were said to be put off Jackson by media reports of his “eccentricities.”
Dileo responded by flying top Australian DJs to Japan, where they could see Jackson’s show first-hand.
“Why not?,” said Dileo. “I told them, ‘I think we’re getting a bum rap. Come over and see for yourself.’ They met Michael afterwards and then went back to Australia and everything was fine. That turned the tide.”
The “Bad” album has sold more than 6 million copies in this country, and is the only album in pop history to generate five No. 1 singles.
And the project isn’t over yet: Dileo said that he may well authorize the release of an eighth single from the album, “Leave Me Alone,” next week.
The album has reportedly sold 20 million copies worldwide, about half as many as Jackson’s previous album, “Thriller,” and about one-fifth as many as Jackson’s reported goal for the album.
“Americans like to build ’em up and tear ’em down. They’re like that not only with artists, but with Presidents too. I’m sure that affected us. But we did the best we could. We made the best album and the best videos we could. We don’t have anything to be ashamed of,” [said Dileo].
MOA: Unfortunately, we know that Michael had health issues. By the end of 70’s, Michael noticed his skin diseases, Vitiligo and Lupus; in 1984 he was finally diagnosed with them and had to follow medical treatments for the rest of his life; then the horrible Pepsi accident happened in 1984 (for more on the medical issues please see the Lupus post:).
Before the Pepsi commercial, Jackson worked with Suzuki in 1982.
Flashback Friday: 1982 Michael Jackson in Japanese Suzuki commercials
August 21, 2009
By: David Sadof
Michael Jackson appeared in a series of Japanese commercials in 1982 for Suzuki’s CL50 Love scooter. Capitalizing on the popularity of his Off The Wall album, the company hired Michael for the promotional campaign of its smaller, fully automatic scooter, specifically targeting the female market. While Michael only dances around the scooter in the first spot, the second commercial shows him taking it for a short ride.
But it was Michael Jackson’s cooperation with Pepsi in the 80s which was indeed a groundbreaking experience for both parties:
Michael Jackson, Pepsi Made Marketing History
Essentially two kinds of people existed in the ’80s: Coke drinkers and Pepsi drinkers. And if you loved Michael Jackson, you had good reason to fall into the latter group.
In November 1983, one year after Thriller was released, Jackson (with his brothers) and PepsiCo struck a $5 million partnership that would shatter the record for a celebrity endorsement deal, link the two entities for a decade and set the bar for every integrated marketing campaign that would follow.
Jackson’s managers approached Jay Coleman, founder and CEO of Entertainment Marketing & Communications International, who would eventually broker all three Jackson-Pepsi deals, with the idea of partnering Jackson with a major brand at a firm asking price. Coleman, who had already orchestrated Jovan fragrances’ landmark sponsorship of the Rolling Stones’ Tattoo You tour, first proposed the idea to Coca-Cola.
“They gave it serious consideration yet couldn’t make that leap of faith,” Coleman says. “They saw anything they would do with Michael as a more targeted, ethnic campaign.” Coca-Cola offered a $1 million deal that was rejected and the Jacksons moved on to PepsiCo, where then-CEO Roger Enrico was looking for a big idea to launch his youth-targeted “New generation” campaign for the brand. “The goal was to make Pepsi look young and Coke look old, and Michael Jackson was in fact the choice of that generation — he was already the King of Pop, even though he hadn’t declared it,” Coleman says.
PepsiCo and its ad agency, BBDO, also hesitated at the possible cost, but Coleman’s proposal proved too appealing. “I pitched it as a multifaceted marketing campaign with lots of touch points: big-time advertising, tour sponsorship, logos on the cans, displays in the supermarket and PR-friendly events,” Coleman says. When Jackson suggested using his song “Billie Jean” as the jingle (with the rewritten chorus, “You’re the Pepsi generation/Guzzle down and taste the thrill of the day/And feel the Pepsi way”), Pepsi was sold.
So pervasive was the first campaign, which ran from 1983 to 1984, that the stories surrounding it have become like fables: the infamous accident that set Jackson’s hair on fire and resulted in his rumored first cosmetic surgery, the star’s desire to hide his face behind sunglasses for a “less is more” effect, and so on.
But its impact on the music and advertising industries was equally widespread. “It was definitely game-changing,” says Brian J. Murphy, evp of branded entertainment at TBA Global. “You couldn’t separate the tour from the endorsement from the licensing of the music, and then the integration of the music into the Pepsi fabric. If you pulled any one of those pieces apart, it really took away from what the campaign was all about.”
Jackson’s creative input also was groundbreaking. “Michael was very much involved in the execution of everything, from the choreography to the location scouting,” says Bob Giraldi, who directed Jackson’s most iconic Pepsi commercials — from the very first “street scene” spot featuring kids dancing with their idol, to the “Bad” series that amounted to a mini action movie — as well as the “Beat It” music video. “He really knew what worked.”
Apart from a short-lived deal with the athletic footwear brand L.A. Gear, other endorsements were scant during the prime of Jackson’s career, though he shot a few international TV spots for Suzuki, Sony and Esonic.
Pepsi, meanwhile, had sales of $7.7 billion in 1984 and an increase in market share while Coca-Cola’s dropped, according to financial reports at the time. Pepsi signed a second, $10 million deal with Jackson in support of his “Bad” album and tour through 1987-88. Where Jackson’s initial deal with Pepsi was limited to the United States, this one was global, covering 20-plus countries during the singer’s world tour.
The trend of Pepsi signing music stars as spokespeople has continued into the present day, with Lionel Richie, Madonna, Beyoncé and Britney Spears all lending their name to the brand. Corporations of all stripes now align themselves frequently with pop artists, but with music and advertising becoming increasingly fragmented, Jackson’s deals with Pepsi will likely remain the industry standard-bearer. Murphy says that 360-degree deals “are very effective, but whether they’ll ever become that front-page newsworthy really depends on the level of wattage of the artist. I don’t know that we’ll see something like this again.”
In the first Pepsi project, Jackson earned 5 million and in the last in 1992, 10 million. Pepsi sponsored Jackson’s Bad tour in 1988 and then his Dangerous Tour in 1992.
Roger Enrico, Pepsi’s boss said that he was struck by how modest and human Michael Jackson was:
Roger Enrico on Michael Jackson
June 29, 2009 |
In the beginning, being in a soda-pop commercial wasn’t really something the world’s most-famous musician wanted to do—go figure. But that was just about the time Jackson was going back on tour with his brothers, and he wanted to make sure the reunion was a success, for his brothers’ sake. Since Jackson was so worried about being in a TV commercial at the height of his stardom, Pepsi wound up showing very little of him in the ad. I’d never really thought about it before, but going back and watching the commercial now, it’s obvious. When Jackson decided to let Pepsi use the tune to Billie Jean, says Enrico, “I thought this is huge. The $5 million we’re paying him might be worth it.”
The thing that struck me the most in Enrico’s stories, though, as well as those told by others, was how modest and human Jackson seemed. One day, Enrico was speaking with Jackson on the phone. Jackson had to go do something else and said he’d call Enrico back a couple hours later. When he did, he said, “Mr. Enrico, this is Michael Jackson, the person you spoke to earlier.” As Enrico put it: “He was that kind of guy.”
Another example: after Jackson’s hair caught on fire during a commercial filming, he and Enrico went to the burn hospital in Los Angeles where Jackson had been treated to make a donation. The two were waiting in the wings of the stage, when Jackson turned to Enrico and “said the most amazing thing ever. He said, Do you get nervous at these things, too? There were 50 people out there, and he’s used to be being in front of thousands. Still, he was nervous.”
Then came the Sony/ATV Catalog.
Jackson’s most valuable asset is a 50% stake in the Sony/ATV music catalog. Purchased by Jackson for $47.5 million in 1985, the catalog includes hits from the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Eminem and others—and though he sold half to Sony in 1995, his share still throws off $50 million to $75 million a year. (Zack O’Malley Greenburg @ Forbes)
MOA: This topic has been studied many times. Perhaps the articles written by Zack O’Malley Greenburg of Forbes are the best to read. Here it is a link to many of them http://www.forbes.com/search/?q=sony%2F+ATV+catalog
VMJ: Let me note that the phrase “though he sold half to Sony in 1995” is somewhat misleading. Why “though”? Yes, Michael did sell his half of the Beatles catalogue to Sony, but he also received half of the Sony songs for himself as it was a merger deal. It all depends on how you look at it . Jackson shared his songs but acquired valuable assets too.
MOA: In 1986 Michael presented a big project of Captain EO in Disneyland involving many big names in the work; Michael of course, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola … It was a very expensive film for the time. It cost $30 million. The film is 17 minutes long this means each minute cost $1.7 million. And it was Walt Disney Company and its parks that would show the film year after year – from 1986 to 1994. Some time after Jackson’s passing Captain EO was put up again in different Disney parks around the world.
Here it is an article by Chicago Tribune that, except for an occasional nasty remark, gives us an excellent overview of this project:
Pepsi Bets Millions On Jackson`s Comeback
June 05, 1986| By William Scobie. Scripps-Howard News Service.
LOS ANGELES — After a year-long sabbatical, Michael Jackson, the 27-year-old prince of pop and soul, is back in action.
He is completing a film with Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, a new album with Quincy Jones, new videos, new TV commercials, and endless merchandising deals. He is considering a new tour, this time of Japan and Australia.
The prospects are thrilling hearts and minds at Disney Studios (producers of the film), at Jackson`s record label, Epic, and parent company CBS, and above all at Pepsi-Cola, where executives are hailing their new agreement with the young actor-singer-entrepreneur as “the biggest personality product endorsement deal in advertising history.“
An extraordinary deal it undoubtedly is: Jackson, with a personal fortune already in excess of $200 million, will get $15 million for making just three commercials for Pepsi.
Of these, he will appear in only two. For the third, he is obliged merely to supply “creative control,“ whatever that may be. His fee for 90 seconds of TV time will be five times that commanded by such stars as Marlon Brando or Elizabeth Taylor for a full-length feature.
Jackson`s contract stipulates that he will not, in the two commercials he appears in, be seen clasping a can of Pepsi. The singer is a dedicated Jehovah`s Witness and health food addict who takes his personal vegetarian chef with him whenever he dines away from his fortress like Los Angeles home.
Carbonated soft drinks are anathema: he imbibes only fruit juices and Evian water, imported from France.
Making the commercials will cost Pepsi another $15 million, plus around $20 million to buy air time, for a total of $50 million.
Followers of the career of this fragile, studiously epicene darling of young America may have assumed that he was already under contract to Pepsi:
Remember the famous episode, when the singer`s curly locks caught fire during shooting of a TV spot?
But that was in 1984, when Jackson and his brothers shared $5.2 million for filming two 30-second Pepsi commercials. A solo Michael has renegotiated the deal.
Why is America`s second-largest soft-drink company now prepared to treble its stake in a man who hasn`t released a new album in two years and who lets the world know he won`t touch the product he`s endorsing?
Partly because Jackson and his latest manager, Frank Dileo, a former CBS vice president who helped create the “Thriller“ phenomenon, threatened to switch to Coca-Cola.
Pepsi bosses were horrified at the prospect of their boy-wonder figurehead jumping, after barely two years, to their chief rival in a $65 billion world-wide market.
Pepsi, with around 19 percent of the $25 billion U.S. market, has been gaining on Coke, which has a 22 percent annual share. Pepsi`s marketing wizards are sure Michael Jackson had a lot to do with that.
Jackson`s recognition factor in marketing surveys may have dropped since the troubled “Victory“ tour with his brothers wound up in Los Angeles in December, 1984. He is rated below rival idols such as Bruce Springsteen and Prince, but Pepsi is banking on this summer`s comeback.
First, there is the film for Disney, which is not a regular studio movie but a 12-minute musical space fantasy titled “Captain EO“ shot in 3D. Its songs are written, produced and sung by Jackson.
With Coppola directing, “EO“ is already overdue and well over its million-dollar-a-minute budget, but a large slice of the cost is being carried by Eastman Kodak Co., whose scientists designed the new, improved three-dimensional process being used.
A measure of Disney`s expectations for this venture may be gauged from the fact that the Burbank studio has hired John Napier–who redesigned New York`s Winter Garden theater for “Cats“–to create completely new theaters at Disneyland in Los Angeles and Disney World in Florida simply to show “Captain EO.“
Industry analysts say Disney and Kodak will wind up spending at least $20 million on a project that relies almost entirely on the selling power of Michael Jackson.
Next there`s the album. Jackson has already taped about 18 new songs and is working with Quincy Jones, his musical mentor on “Thriller,“ to polish eight or nine cuts for the record. Inevitably, it will spawn two or three short, top-selling videos.
“Thriller“ sold some 40 million copies at a list price of around $8, grossing $320 million. CBS is looking for a similar bonanza this year.
One reason for that particular success is that the canny Jackson persuaded such stars as Paul McCartney and heavy-metal rocker Eddie Van Halen to perform on “Thriller.“ The recipe will be repeated on the new album, making him one of the few black singers to be aired regularly on radio stations that cater to white American audiences. Release is scheduled for late summer or fall.
Jackson sightings have been rare over the past year. He popped up in London to pose with his statue at Madame Tussaud`s. He appeared at charity dinners, in faintly waxwork-like cameos, with his new pal, the remodeled Elizabeth Taylor.
But for the most part the enigmatic Michael stays closeted behind the high walls of his Encino castle with pets that include a boa constrictor named Tinkerbell. He even shops from home, sending aides to London to negotiate his $48 million purchase of a 5,000-song hoard that includes rights to most of the Beatles` best works.
Manager Dileo reports that Jackson works long hours daily at the Encino conclave he shares with his mother. He sings, he writes, he dances, he pounds on his synthesizers. He considers plans for a Far Eastern tour that could net another $100 million.
Pepsi will be lucky if it is allowed to sponsor the new tour, which means channeling more millions into the Jackson coffers. The recent agreement simply allows the company first shot at such sponsorship. Which means that if Coke or some other rival offered more money, young Michael would be free to sell them his name.
And after that, there`s a long-projected film of “Peter Pan“ which Steven Spielberg wants to direct, with Jackson starring in, and partially financing the enterprise.
The fey, reclusive Michael woud be ideal for the part, believes Spielberg. “He`s very childlike, very vulnerable,“ says the director of E.T. “Like a fawn in a forest.“
Some fawn. Some forest.
MOA: In 1986, when Captain EO was shown for the first time at Walt Disney World, Chicago Tribune published a long article carrying a paragraph about Captain EO:
At the moment, the longest lines at Walt Disney World are in Future World at Epcot Center, where a brand new movie involving some very famous film and entertainment names is packing `em in. The movie about which everybody in Orlando is talking is called “Captain Eo,“ a 20-minute, three-dimensional, musical fantasy that stars Michael Jackson as the captain of a rather odd spaceship, also inhabited by a corps of pretty strange critters. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by George Lucas, it delivers the kind of razzle-dazzle that audiences expect from a venture that combines the talents of these three mega-celebrities and includes the requisite quantity of Disney magic.
Using a combination of 3-D stunners, special laser effects and lots of musical diversion, the 20-minute-long “Captain Eo“ is something of the ultimate musical video. It was perhaps the most expensive film ever produced, on a foot-by-foot basis, and audiences seem enthusiastic about the music and the cinematic magic.
But look how different the same Chicago Tribune sounds after the 1993 allegations, in an article published in February 1994 or only a month after the settlement with the Chandlers! They literally part with Michael Jackson and say to him “So long!”
And in addition to all that they claim that there is “no relation whatsoever” between the decision to replace Michael’s movie and the allegations:
So long, Michael: Pop star Michael Jackson’s relationship…
February 26, 1994
So long, Michael: Pop star Michael Jackson’s relationship with Walt Disney World and Epcot Center is coming to an end, a Disney spokesman said.
Jackson’s 3-D movie, “Captain Eo,” one of the most popular attractions at Epcot Center since 1986, will be pulled in the autumn and replaced by a new show titled “Honey I Shrunk the Theater.” Disney’s move came in the wake of allegations that Jackson sexually molested a 14-year-old boy. Dave Herbst, a Disney spokesman, said there was “no relationship whatsoever” between the decision to replace Jackson’s movie and the allegations.
However at the end of the 1980s, or just prior to the allegations, the idea to create successful projects by trying to get Michael Jackson involved in them was still going strong.
MOA: At the end of the 80’s Las Vegas was classified as no good place for families. Some powerful people with cash wanted to change this city’s bad reputation. They came with the idea of building a luxurious hotel with themed parks for children. Who would they ask for help? Michael Jackson. Since Jackson had already helped Disneyland parks why not do the same for them in Las Vegas?
Here is a quote from the excellent site The Silenced Truth and an article about this project:
In 1989, Michael Jackson has teamed up with a Las Vegas Hotel in Nevada to create a new water-themed park. Jackson arrives at the Mirage Hotel to begin designing a new water and mountain attraction that will resemble Hawaii’s Diamond Head. Diamond Head is a defining feature of the view known to residents and tourists of Waikīkī alike. The volcanic tuff cone is a United States State Monument. While part of it serves as a platform for antennas used by the U.S. government and is closed to the public, the crater’s proximity to Honolulu’s resort hotels and beaches makes the rest of it a popular destination.
Las Vegas Gambles On Disney-style Resorts
November 19, 1989|By James Coates, Chicago Tribune.
LAS VEGAS — This bastion of adult entertainment, where showgirls still beguile aging crapshooters, has switched gears in an effort to obtain a family rating.
Las Vegas` new look will debut Wednesday with the opening of a family-oriented casino/theme park called the Mirage, a $650 million project that hotel and city officials say is the first of a series of planned enterprises openly copied from Disneyland.
Architects of the Nevada scheme, like Stephen Wynn, president of Golden Nugget Inc. and chief planner for the Mirage, want to attract part of the crowds that enrich Disney coffers in Florida and California.
The idea is to give the kids something to do while their parents hit the casinos.
“I won`t say we`re going specifically after their (Disney`s) customers,“ Wynn said. “But it is a happy fact of life that we are both being driven by the same booming interest in resorts and very, very high quality entertainment.“
About a half-mile from the Mirage, crews are constructing another casino/ resort called Excalibur, a $300 million project that will lure the family crowd with a King Arthur motif complete with jousting knights and bare-fisted dining.
Excalibur is a project of Circus Circus Inc., the pioneer that opened a big top with slots, craps and blackjack in 1968 in an early and, until now, unique bid to lure families to Glitter Gulch.
… This year an estimated 18 million people came to Las Vegas, while 25 million visited Disney World in Orlando. By contrast, 2 million tourists visited Yellowstone National Park, the nation`s most popular federal vacationland.
The Mirage will feature a 60-foot high artificial volcano that is studded with real palm trees and will belch flames 40 feet into the air every other minute.
Visitors will arrive in the lobby via a moving walkway that passes over a “habitat“ built for the rare white tigers that entertainers Sigfried and Roy will display in a cavernous showroom. The entertainers are being paid $57 million to provide shows for family audiences for the next four years.
The casino recently acquired federal permission to open a dolphin-filled aquarium in a water theme park where youngsters can frolic in a South Seas setting.
Pop star Michael Jackson is completing plans for “Jackson Attraction,“a multimedia show and super game arcade for young people. A similar Jackson show, “Captain EO,“ has become a major draw at Disney`s two parks.
VMJ: It is amazing that the media people constantly “overlook” the fact that the most of Michael’s projects were family-oriented. The media (and prosecution) preferred to paint a picture of a man whose only desire was “divide families” and select “boys from dysfunctional families for his dirty ends”. Why doesn’t it occur to people that a person who is set on family-oriented projects will launch them exactly for those who come from dysfunctional families to help them become functional at last?
Michael Jackson was probably the only rock and pop superstar in this world whose primary goal was to promote family values among people. This alone is a huge rarity of its own.
Our old friend Rabbi Shmuley who seems to have finally started understanding Michael, says that it was always Michael’s dream to set up a world family project – a Children’s day similar to Father’s and Mother’s days:
“I last saw Paris when she was three years old, a little girl, but whatever she wants to do with her life, [Michael] would want it to happen later when she was older and had a stable life,” the Rabbi said.
“He wanted to give them a normal life. It was always going to be difficult because of who he was, but he wanted to try. He wanted them to have a father who was always there to read them a bedtime story, to play with them, because he never had that.”
He also wanted kids to have a real childhood; with that in mind, the Rabbi announced on Wednesday that he would continue trying to bring to fruition one of the King of Pop’s dreams: to have a Children’s Day.
“His greatest desire was to have a childhood and ensure other children had a childhood,” Rabbi Shmuley said. “He said, ‘There is a Mother’s Day and a Father’s day, but there is no Children’s Day. Could you imagine when I was a child, I could have said, ‘Joseph [he always called his father by his first name], it is Children’s Day – I can do whatever I want today.’”
“We tried to create it, but now I am running for Congress. I made a commitment to him and to myself to try to create this Children’s Day.”
Shmuley says the “American Sabbath” would take place on a Sunday, with stores and businesses closing so that parents could spend the day with their children. He proposes that any business which participates be offered tax breaks. The announcement comes just a month after the third anniversary of Jackson’s June 25, 2009 death.
“I think it is really sad that on the third anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, there was barely any recognition,” Rabbi Shmuley said. “It is sad because he really had a message, and this message was, ‘I was screwed up because I didn’t have a childhood, so let’s ensure other children have one.’”
Just imagine – if Michael Jackson had not been stopped by the media and malicious prosecution these and many more other projects would have been fulfilled by now. The world would have had dozens of family-oriented parks, a nationwide Children’s day, as well as loads of new and phenomenal Michael Jackson music….
MOA continues to tell us about other business affairs Michael was involved in before the allegations started and how everyone was seeking Michael Jackson as a “very visible name” for their business. The year 1989 brought Michael Jackson a LA Gear deal:
Michael Jackson a Shoe-In to Sign Up as Spokesman for L.A. Gear
September 13, 1989|BRUCE HOROVITZ | Times Staff Writer
Pop star Michael Jackson is about to lace up with L.A. Gear as a corporate spokesman.
Jackson has scheduled a press conference this morning at the Hollywood Palladium where he is expected to announce a long-term, multimillion-dollar contract with the Mar Vista-based athletic shoe maker.
There is speculation that the company may eventually develop a shoe or clothing line named after–perhaps even designed by–the eccentric singer. And as has been the case with a growing number of rock stars, L.A. Gear is expected to tie in the promotion with Jackson’s upcoming album–a greatest hits collection scheduled for November release.
Terms of the contract have not been disclosed. But Los Angeles-area celebrity brokers–agents who arrange deals between stars and corporate sponsors–generally agree that, at the very least, the deal could rival the estimated $10-million-plus that Pepsi has paid Jackson to be its spokesman for the past three years.
One celebrity broker says the incentive for Jackson has to be more than monetary.
“It’s hard for me to believe this is a money deal,” said Sandy Joseph, co-owner of Joseph & Rix, a Beverly Hills company that represents a number of top Hollywood celebrities. She speculated that L.A. Gear might eventually develop a Michael Jackson line of shoes or clothing–and perhaps even have Jackson play a role in its design. “After all,” she said, “what kind of money can you pay Michael Jackson?”
Well, how about $10 million? That is what one source close to L.A. Gear, who asked not to be identified, said Jackson will be paid to wear L.A. Gear shoes in future music videos. At the same time, L.A. Gear is said to have agreed to air portions of the music videos in its TV commercials.
This would be a major concession from Jackson, who previously has not even touched the products he endorses in ads. Although Jackson has sung about Pepsi for several years, none of the commercials shows him drinking the beverage.
Just how effective a spokesman would Jackson be for L.A. Gear?
“It’s a good move,” said Kate Burnham, public relations manager at Reebok. “Michael Jackson is a very visible name.”
Jackson is “a perfect spokesman for a fashion product,” said Liz Dolan, Nike’s director of public relations. But she said Jackson would not be a good spokesman for shoes that are primarily aimed at athletes–such as Nike. Besides Bo Jackson, Nike also uses basketball star Michael Jordan as a spokesman. “I’d love to see Michael Jackson go one on one with Michael Jordan,” Dolan said.
A year later the project began to be realized:
Michael Jackson Starts Selling L.A. Gear’s Soles
August 06, 1990|BRUCE HOROVITZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER
Michael Jackson is about to do some hard sell in soft shoes.
Of course, hard sell for Jackson is just touching a product in an ad. He never has before. But later this week, the pop star will walk, dance and even pantomime in a pair of “MJ” athletic shoes in his first TV commercial for L.A. Gear.
In the ad, Jackson–who refused to so much as touch a Pepsi can in all of his Pepsi spots–is happily strapped into an $80 pair of L.A. Gear black athletic shoes with silver buckles.
But unlike with former sponsor Pepsi, Jackson has more than a cash deal at stake with L.A. Gear: Part of his estimated $20-million contract with the athletic shoe maker includes options to purchase an undisclosed amount of L.A. Gear stock.
The highly stylized spot is sure to be provocative. Jackson doesn’t sing or speak in it. Nor does the commercial have any typical Jackson music. What it does have is plenty of close-ups of the performer’s L.A. Gear-decked feet. There is just one close-up of Jackson’s face–as he transforms a dark alley into an electrically charged set.
“We wanted something uniquely different from the 500 different ads people see every week,” said Sandy Saemann, executive vice president of marketing at the Marina del Rey company. “This is not your average commercial.”
The back-to-school ad, which the company said cost about $700,000 to produce, was filmed last month in a tightly secured alley off Seventh Street in downtown Los Angeles. Much like Jackson’s actions in the “Captain Eo” film that he created for Disney, he once again appears to be controlling the forces of nature in the spot. Jackson even seems to be the catalyst for a lone street light that flicks on–and eventually explodes.
All of this apparent magic is quietly observed by a little girl from an apartment window. The girl, played by Jackson’s 8-year-old niece, Brandi, ends the commercial by applauding as a surprised Jackson beams a smile toward her.
At one time, L.A. Gear officials had hoped to time the release of Jackson’s planned greatest hits album and a new music video with the introduction of the shoe line. But Jackson is reportedly way behind on both music projects, and the album may not be released until spring.
Why the delay? Responded Saemann: “That’s a question you’ll have to ask Michael.”
Still, L.A. Gear officials hope Jackson’s magic will rub off on their company. In late June, the company reported a 36% drop in second-quarter profit despite a 33% increase in sales over the same quarter of the previous year. It was L.A. Gear’s worst earnings report since the company went public in 1986. And its stock, which last year hit a record high of $50.375 on the New York Stock Exchange, closed Friday at $20.75.
Just how might this new Jackson line of shoes affect sales–and L.A. Gear’s stock performance?
“There’s no where to go but up,” responded Saemann.
Several athletic shoe industry experts tend to agree with him. “The trend in the athletic shoe market is toward a flashier, more upbeat look,” said Dick Silverman, editor of the New York trade publication Footwear News. “I don’t see any reason why these shoes shouldn’t be extremely successful.”
The shoes have been available at Foot Locker stores for several weeks. Sales have been relatively slow, but one store manager says that is basically because the ads haven’t started to run yet.
“Let’s face it,” said Tony Gee, manager of the Foot Locker store at SouthCoastPlaza. “Michael Jackson sells a lot of records. I don’t see why he won’t sell a lot of shoes.”
MOA: Here are some figures on the album sales in the period of 1979-2009 (4 albums were released between 79 and 91) :
Michael Jackson’s Hit Album Off the Wall (1979)
Jackson’s fifth solo album Off the Wall combined funk, disco-pop, soft rock, soul, jazz and pop ballads and won the singer acclaim for his vocal versatility. With this album that sold 19 million copies to date, Michael Jackson became the first artist with four singles from one album in the Top 10:
- “Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough”
- “Off the Wall”
- “Rock With You”
- “She’s Out Of My Life”
The Biggest Seller of All Time – Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1982)
With 65 million copies sold, Jackson’s sixth album Thriller remains the world’s best selling album of all time. The music video for the title song “Thriller” aired for the first time in 1983 and has become the most famous and most often repeated music video of all time.
It was on March 25, 1983 that Michael Jackson revolutionized dance when he performed on the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever television special and introduced what would become his signature dance move – the moonwalk. The six singles below stormed the charts throughout 1982 and 1983.
- “Beat It”
- “Billie Jean”
- “The Girl Is Mine” (with Paul McCartney)
- “Human Nature”
- “P.Y.T.” (“Pretty Young Thing”)
- “Wanna Be Starting Something”
In 1985, Michael Jackson wrote “We Are the World” together with Lionel Ritchie, released worldwide to aid the poor in Africa and donating millions in revenue for famine relief.
Another Big Success with Bad (1987)
After a gap of five years, Jackson’s long-awaited seventh album Bad was released and became an instant success, selling 28 million copies to date. Jackson’s friend, actress Elizabeth Taylor, conceived his nickname “King of Pop” at the “Artist of the Decade” award in 1989. The following seven of Bad’s nine singles made it to the hit list:
- “Another Part of Me”
- “Dirty Diana”
- “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” (with Siedah Garrett)
- “Man In The Mirror”
- “Smooth Criminal”
- “The Way You Make Me Feel”
Jackson’s Album Dangerous (1991)
Jackson’s eighth album Dangerous was released in 1991 after he renewed his contract with Sony for the record-breaking sum of $65 million. It sold 29 million copies. The following nine of the album’s 14 songs became hits and topped the charts, often for weeks:
- “Black or White”
- “Give In to Me”
- “Gone Too Soon’
- “Heal the World”
- “In the Closet”
- “Remember the Time”
- “Will You Be There”
Read more at Suite101.
And here is information on some tours (from Wikipedia):
Destiny (MJ + J5) 1979-1980 grossed $ 7.5 million.
Triumph Tour (MJ + J5) 1981 grossed $ 5.5 million.
Victory Tour (MJ + J5) 1984 grossed $ 75 million [ VMJ: Michael’s share went to charity]
Bad Tour Sep. 1987- Jan. 1980 grossed over $ 125 million.
Dangerous World Tour June 92- November 93 grossed (?)
VMJ: We know that the proceeds from the first 1991-1992 leg of the tour went to Heal the World Foundation, while for the 2nd leg evidently no money was generated. In fact the tour manager Marcel Avram sued Michael for breaking the contract as the 1993 leg of the tour had to be cancelled. This is probably the reason why the exact proceeds are not available for this tour.
MOA: Even this incomplete summary over Michael Jackson businesses during the years 80-92 shows clearly how Jackson could produce millions of dollars. Add to it his incredible capacity to work very hard, his philanthropic, environmental, anti-racist and missionary goals and you will see the giant that was about to be born. Evidently this frightened some powerful men who saw their downfall in case the giant gained full power. And to destroy Jackson, they had to destroy his extraordinary capacity to produce money by accusing him of a horrible crime.
VMJ: Nothing could be easier than accusing him. Such allegations are easy to make but difficult to refute. And irrespective of the outcome the damage is still almost irreparable. Those who were doing it knew it full well. This is most probably why Ray Chandler sounded almost sorry for Michael Jackson in many of his interviews. And you can understand him – all they wanted of Michael was extorting him for $20 mln. and not damaging his career, but instead they completely ruined the man which is an act they evidently regretted.
Please compare this attitude with the way the relatives of real victims of molestation feel (they are ready to strangle the abusers with their own hands) and see all the difference there is to see between true and false accusations. Ray Chandler is probably even afraid of the Heavens’ retribution he may get for what he has done. No wonder he said to Roger Friedman that Michael’s money was “cursed”. The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind small.
The next two articles of 2009 cited by MOA look back into the past and show the humiliation Michael Jackson began to be subjected immediately after the 1993 allegations. As we know one of the numerous repercussions that followed was calling off the Captain EO film from the Disney parks. It was a clear signal to other industries that Michael Jackson was now a pariah not to be accepted in the homes and businesses of decent people. Fortunately this changed at least after Michael’s death.
But back in 1994 Michael was not even allowed to stay on the Disney’s premises!
Paying tribute to Michael Jackson: Will Disney resurrect Captain EO?
June 26, 2009
By: Peggy Macdonald-Demosthenous
… Several years before Jackson faced felony child molestation charges, he enjoyed a lucrative partnership with Disney. Jackson teamed with George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, and Anjelica Huston to create the 3-D short “Captain EO,” which debuted at Epcot’s Imagination pavilion in Future World and at Disneyland California in 1986. The film ran at Epcot until 1994, and also ran through the late 1990s at Disneyland California, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland.
Epcot stopped showing Captain EO shortly after the first accusations of child abuse were made against Jackson in 1993. Disney insiders claim that Jackson, who had made regular trips to Disney World, was only permitted to stay at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin hotels after the allegations of child abuse surfaced. The Swan and Dolphin hotels are located on Disney property but are managed by separate corporations: Westin Hotels manages the Swan and Sheraton Hotels & Resorts manages the Dolphin.
Not only did Disney World restrict Jackson’s access to its resort hotels and close down Captain EO at Epcot in Disney World (years before shutting it down at the other Disney parks), it also decided against partnering with Jackson on future projects.
Although Jackson’s career had started to decline by the early 1990s, his international fame remained intact. As the decade wore on, however, Jackson first faced child abuse allegations and later faced even more serious charges. In 2004 Jackson was charged with ten felony counts of child molestation and conspiracy. In 2005 he was acquitted of all ten felony charges. The pop star hoped to stage the world’s greatest comeback with a 2009-2010 world tour. He was busy rehearsing for the concerts when he collapsed and died June 25 inLos Angeles, just weeks before the tour was scheduled to begin…
VMJ: The above article somewhat misleads the public by saying that “Jackson’s career started to decline in the early 1990s”. The decline in his career was there – no doubt about it – but it did not start on its own! Even in the early 90s the decline was absolutely not due to Michael losing in quality as Michael’s music and lyrics were becoming only more powerful with each new day, but came as a result of a deliberate trashing of Michael Jackson by the media and his portrayal as “weird”, “freak” and so on and so forth along the same lines.
We see the first signs of the mass media mockery campaign against Jackson already in 1984 (when Michael said he was already tired of the media lies). So in the early 90s or before any allegations the trashing of Michael Jackson was in full swing and was almost at its ugliest. Otherwise why would the Bad album have Leave me alone song, released as early as 1989 and the Dangerous album of 1991 put Why you wanna trip on me song as the second track after Jam?
See how Michael Jackson is screaming in “Why you wanna trip on me” about the pain the media inflicts him and remember that this was well before the 1993 allegations. Why indeed did they choose to target him for decades while the real and acute social problems remained unresolved? To distract the public even from thinking about them?
Here are the lyrics of the song (1991):
They say I’m different. They don’t understand.
But there’s a bigger problem that’s much more in demand.
You got world hunger. Not enough to eat
So there’s really no time to be trippin’ on me
You got school teachers who don’t wanna teach
You got grown people who can’t write or read
You got strange diseases Ah but there’s no cure
You got many doctors that aren’t so sure
So tell me
Why you wanna trip on me
Why you wanna trip on me
We’ve got more problems than we’ll ever need
You got gang violence and bloodshed on the street
You got homeless people with no food to eat
With no clothes on their back and no shoes for their feet
We’ve got drug addiction in the minds of the weak
We’ve got so much corruption. Police brutality
We’ve got streetwalkers walkin’ into darkness
What are you doing to try to stop this
Why you wanna trip on me
Another article of 2009 found by MOA casts a fresh look at the Captain EO venture, banned in 1994 and resumed after Michael Jackson’s death. The novel feature of the 2009 journalism is that the author would want to see Michael Jackson in a full feature-musical and finds it a shame that he never had a chance to make a film of his own: http://www.examiner.com/article/michael-jackson-meets-star-wars-a-look-back-at-captain-eo.
Of course the article does not miss a chance to laugh at the old visual effects of the Captain EO movie, but except for this part its analysis is superb and ends on an uncharacteristically human note which takes us completely by surprise after all we’ve heard and seen from the media up till now.
The author compares Michael Jackson to his Captain EO character and is ironic in calling Michael a rarest of human species who was naive enough to think that he could change the world by his songs and dance. The author lists this Michael Jackson’s drawback as another of his antics and calls Michael a true believer – evidently in the the fairy tales that love will eventually conquer hate.
Thus the readers are led to believe that beating hate and changing the world by love alone is a totally unattainable task, and therefore the final conclusion the author suddenly comes to takes them completely unawares.
And the author suddenly admits that Michael Jackson managed to do it, meaning that the naive young man did change the world… Well, the world must be really changing if even the media starts saying that Michael Jackson managed to change it…
Michael Jackson meets Star Wars: A look back at “Captain EO”
July 7, 2009
By: Ward Porrill
Now that the memorial service for Michael Jackson has concluded and the finality of his passing has begun to sink in, it seems only natural that his fans all over the world will begin to celebrate his legacy by reveling in the many wonderful artistic gifts he left behind.
Obviously, his musical contributions will be the first to be considered, but one of the milestones he achieved was his one and only collaboration with George Lucas, the 3-D short “Captain EO.”
Co-written by Lucas from a story he conceived and directed by Lucas’ mentor Francis Ford Coppola, “Captain EO” tells the story of the titular spaceship captain (Jackson) and his crew of misfit creatures and robots who crash land on the planet of the evil queen Supreme Leader (Angelica Huston.) The queen attempts to subdue EO and his crew but the charismatic captain wins over the forces of evil through his gift of song and dance.
If you’re laughing at this, don’t feel bad. This wasn’t meant to be “The Godfather.”
“Captain EO” premiered at DisneyWorld’s EPCOT Center September 12, 1986. At the time, the $30 million short was considered to be the most expensive film ever made, just by cost per length of film ($1.76 million per minute.) Considering how little 3-D was being utilized at the time, the short was certainly groundbreaking for its era. A look at the amount of feature-length films showing in the 3-D format today is proof enough that the film was, in fact, ahead of its time.
Looking at “Captain EO” in its entiretyon YouTube, it is rather laughable. It was certainly nobody’s finest hour. The effects pale in comparison to any given “Star Wars” film, the dialogue (written by Lucas, Coppola, and Rusty) is painfully wooden, and neither of the two songs Jackson sings in the film (“We Are Here to Change the World” and “Another Part of Me”) can be considered his best. However, Angelica Huston plays her role as the Darth Vader of the piece with sheer abandon and she is a joy to watch, even underneath all of her makeup.
What is undeniable about “EO” is that Michael Jackson had star quality to burn. Even if he wasn’t much of actor – and who did he ever play but himself, in videos such as “Thriller” and even in vehicles like “The Wiz?” – he lights up the screen.
Watching “Captain EO” one can’t help but think it’s shame Jackson never made a feature-length musical for the big screen.
As corny as “Captain EO’s” message of love conquering hate through song and dance may be, the sheer conviction that Jackson conveys through his message is what impresses the most. You really believe that he believes such a thing is possible. Say what you will about his antics in his later years, but the Jackson that most everyone knew and loved – still loves – was that rarest of human species, a true believer.
To paraphrase a song Jackson sings in the movie, he was here to change the world.
And he did.