Saturday, June 27, 2009


After posting the picture of Michael Jackson in the Tooniverse, I was asked by a friend of mine if I was going to give the self-proclaimed King of Pop a proper "Hat Squad" tribute.

Quite frankly, I wasn't planning on it. Between the allegations against him, the massive plastic surgery, and the situation with his own children, "Wacko Jacko" always creeped me out. And that's saying something when I get creeped out by something.....

But I've thought it over, and there is something that should be recognized in his career which had quite an impact on Toobworld.

From Wikipedia:

Following the successful chart performances of "Thriller" and "The Girl Is Mine", "Billie Jean" was released on January 2, 1983, as the album's second single. "Billie Jean" was a worldwide commercial and critical success; it became one of the best-selling singles of 1983, and topped both the US and UK charts simultaneously. Considered one of the most revolutionary songs in history, "Billie Jean" was certified platinum in 1989.

Honoured numerous times—including two Grammy Awards, one American Music Award and an induction into the Music Video Producers Hall of Fame—the song and corresponding music video propelled Thriller into the best-selling album of all time. The song was promoted with a short film that broke down MTV's racial barrier as the first video by a black artist to be aired by the channel, and an Emmy-nominated performance on "Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever", in which Jackson premiered "the moonwalk." The song was also promoted through Jackson's Pepsi commercials; during the filming of one commercial, Jackson's scalp was severely burned.

The short film for Jackson's "Billie Jean" is considered the video that brought MTV, a relatively unknown music channel, into mainstream attention. It was the first video by a black artist to be aired by the channel, as they felt black music wasn't "rock" enough.

Directed by Steve Barron, the video shows a paparazzo following Jackson. The paparazzo never catches the singer, and when photographed Jackson fails to materialise on the developed picture. Dancing his way to Billie Jean's hotel room, Jackson walks along a sidewalk, each tile lighting up at his touch. Performing a quick spin, Jackson jumps and lands, freeze framed, on his toes. Upon arriving at the hotel, Jackson climbs the staircase to Billie Jean's room. Each step lights up as he touches it and a burnt out "Hotel" sign illuminates as he passes.

Arriving at the scene, the paparazzo watches as Jackson disappears under the covers of Billie Jean's bed. Trailed by the police, the paparazzo is then arrested for spying on the couple.

Jackson sported a new look for the video; Jheri curled hair and a surgically sculpted nose. Jackson's look, a black leather suit with a pink shirt and bow tie, was copied by children around the US. Imitation became so severe that despite pupil protests Bound Brook High School banned students from wearing a single white glove like Jackson had on "Motown 25".

Walter Yetnikoff, the president of Jackson's record label, CBS, approached MTV to play the "Billie Jean" video. Yetnikoff became enraged when MTV refused to play the video, and threatened to go public with MTV's stance on black musicians:

"I said to MTV, ‘I’m pulling everything we have off the air, all our product. I’m not going to give you any more videos. And I’m going to go public and fucking tell them about the fact you don’t want to play music by a black guy.’"

MTV relented and played the "Billie Jean" video in heavy rotation. With the airing of the video, "Thriller" went on to sell an additional 10 million copies. The short film earned Jackson the Billboard Video Award for Best Overall Video and he was inducted into the Music Video Producers Hall of Fame in 1992.

In a 2005 poll, the music video was ranked as the fifth greatest music video ever. The poll was of 31 pop stars, video directors, agents and journalists, including Natasha Bedingfield, Björk, Fatboy Slim, Avril Lavigne and Amy Winehouse. Thriller ranked at number two, behind Johnny Cash's "Hurt". The video was also ranked as the 35th greatest music video in a list compiled by MTV and TV Guide at the millennium.

When reports of Jackson's death came on June 25, 2009, MTV interrupted its programming and played the video in tribute to him.

Wikipedia has more about the "Billie Jean" music video.....

Otherwise, in the grand scheme of Toobworld, there's not much else to relate about Michael Jackson. Sure, he appeared in lots of variety shows and reunited with his brothers to present their own variety program in 1976. But many musicians do the same, and that doesn't rate them a tip o' the Toob topper.....

As already mentioned, he was represented in the Tooniverse by 'The Jackson 5ive', as well as in that claymation/action figure TV dimension of 'Robot Chicken'. The TV dimension full of those behind-the-scenes docu-dramas about TV shows would probably be the home for the TV movie "The Jacksons: An American Dream". In that, Jackson was portrayed by Wylie Draper, who passed away himself a year after the TV movie aired.

And so it goes....



Anonymous said...

This is for the person responsible for this assinine article on Michael Jackson, who the hell are you to judge anyone?I just saw your pic, and talk about creeping someone out, OUCH! I am so sick of all of you "holier than thou" wanna be's, have you received the humanitarian awards MJ has, not to likely! I have heard people say things like "I don't have time for MJ", yet they find the time to write total garbage like this, what an ass. Anonymous

Toby O'B said...

Everyone's welcome to their opinion. Thanks for sharing yours.