It’s hard to believe he’s gone. When you’re an old guy like myself, the late Michael Jackson still seems like a kid. I was certainly aware of Michael Jackson the performer. How could one not be? He revolutionized the entertainment industry and practically invented the music video. His albums sold like hot cakes and his personal life was considered somewhat odd and quirky.
So, whenever the “King of Pop” came to the Walt Disney Studios you can believe he created quite a stir. Hardly a star struck fan, I couldn’t resist getting a look at the gloved one myself. Once we heard Jackson was on the studio lot, we couldn’t stay at our drawing boards. And, at the risk of appearing like another goofy fan boy, I joined the other gawking fans watching the King of Pop.
This particular visit took place in the eighties and was around the time Jackson was wearing what I called his “band uniform.” The brass buttons, epaulets and such. However, as he walked down Mickey Avenue sporting an expensive pair of dark glasses, Jackson looked pretty cool. Aside from his phalanx of body guards he seemed cordial. The pop star always wore a fair amount of make up in public, but other than that he looked pretty normal. After all, how normal can anyone be at a Hollywood movie studio?
Naturally, I returned to my office that day filled with ideas for Michael Jackson gags. The wacky fun continued as production began on the Disney attraction, “Captain Eo.” If you’ve ever seen a “rough cut” of that Disney movie you’ll know what I mean. A few Disney animation guys cut together a special reel for their own entertainment and it was freak'in hilarious. Of course, this Michael Jackson special edition of "Captain Eo" no longer exists. At least that's what I've been told.
I've known my fair share of odd and talented people over the years. Michael Jackson seemed like a nice enough guy and I often wondered what he would have thought had he seen some the cartoon gags I drew about him. They were all in fun, of course. Hopefully, Michael Jackson would have found them funny as well. When I think about the rather sad life he lived, the poor guy could have used a few laughs.