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Cute Michael Jackson Stories

August 17, 2010

Everything highlighted in red has recently been added.

Support Act Orange Rainbow on Touring Through Europe With The Jacksons, November 1972

Halfway through this opening number I glanced to my right and noticed that the Jacksons were all in the wings, checking us out. This would have been the first time they’d seen us play. They seemed to be enjoying it and their father-cum-manager Joe made a point of coming early to the following shows just to enjoy our opening set.

Our arrival at the party, which was still pretty much in full swing, made the entourage complete. The twins were there sitting right next to the punch bowl which was just being refilled. Joe was in the corner with his lawyers and probably representatives from the German Record Co. Everyone but Joe was holding calculators and lots of frantic note-taking was taking place. Michael had already taken over the DJ booth and was playing some great dance tunes. Randy’s congas were brought in and he immediately jumped up and started playing. Soon we were all on the dance floor – via the booze, of course. As a sideline, Orange Rainbow specialised in silly dancing. You do not hang out with me in a dance club for all those years without developing a knack for it. We could remember dances that were over a decade old then. We could do synchronised routines based loosely on the Fantastics choreography the likes of which we had seen performed a thousand times (although the view was always from the back of the stage admittedly). Most of the time we would free-form and tonight was no exception. We were soon joined by some Jacksons who were also good in the silly dance department and gave us a run for our money. The party evolved into a full blown Silly Dance competition with everyone, including the record company staff, standing in a circle and taking turns in the middle with their own interpreptation of the most ridiculous dance you could invent. Fingers spelt out names, torsos twisted and feet did wild tip-toes to nowhere. Points were given for the volume of laughter obtained. Even the ageing record company chairman had a go. Needless to say Micheal won the Silly Dance contest and little Randy won the Limbo competitions

[…]

The next morning we boarded the Jackson Jet and headed for Frankfurt where they were playing yet another sold-out gig at the Stadhalle Offenbach. I noticed the equipment didn’t look so secure today. Michael was invited up to the cockpit and he had to clamber over the gear to get there. After take-off, he came back wearing the pilot’s hat, claiming he was going to land her. This didn’t amuse Twiggy our guitarist. This was going to be only his third landing. His fear of flying was so imense he’d been talking of little else for days and he’d screamed out loud when we left Heathrow. He spent the next part of the journey exclaiming, “We’re these little fragile beings, trapped inside this thin metal tube sevaral miles above the Earth, there’s so many, many things that could go wrong…” He finally drank himself to sleep and woke up just after we touched down. He did the same at Munich. But due to fog over Frankfurt, we were forced to circle for hours before we began to run out of fuel. Twiggy had been out cold but, as we were thus forced to land at a USAF base about 90 miles away, he slowly came round and was visibly sweating as we landed. Really, the USAF runway was far too short for our size of plane – I think it had been designed with nifty little fighter jets in mind – especially as we were loaded up with tons and tons of PA gear. Landing it wasn’t so much of a problem – Michael had already offered, of course – but taking off would be tricky although we were told that us and the gear would be transfered to the road transport that was on it’s way to meet us. This would also mean that the plane would be considerably lighter, thus lessoning the ‘short runway problem’. The pilot seemed fairly confident. “Full thrust should easily be enough to lift her above the trees at the end there,” he said, matter of factly, when he was quizzed by the interested entourage, “at least the fog hasn’t reached us yet.” That was another reason why that airport would never normally be used for civilian flights – there were densely packed trees all around, to help disguise it, I suppose. They went from the very edge of the nearest road right up to to the runway tarmac.

[…]

So we all just sat around on the plane, sipping fruit juices – and a good few alcoholic cocktails – as Joe walked on and off the plane and up and down the runway, barking questions and orders into his radio phones and walkie-talkies. Michael Jackson said he loved my flowery kipper tie and I took it off and gave it to him, “Gee, thanks man,” he whispered with such innocence that I ended up giving him my usual lecture on the dangers of stardom. He smiled through it all but I think he was listening, as a child star he was well aware that certain things in his life were really bizarre – to be world famous before you’re even a teenager is a trip that very few of us are (un)lucky enough to get on. My chat with Michael seemed to go on for hours but even after we’d finished, we were still waiting for fresh transport as the fog began to reach the airfield we were on.

[…]

Next stop Paris… As we cleared imigration at Charles De Gaulle, we were confronted with several thousand screaming girls. Police and security allowed them just close enough as the fab Five posed for Rue Fleet. Several fans managed to break through the lines before making a dash for a Jackson or two. Two teeneboppers grabbed Jermaine’s arm whilst a third snogged him furiously. “Now I know why they call it French kissing,” he joked after the ordeal.

We arrived at the Paris Hilton to find even more screaming fans and admirers. We knew they were there to see the Jacksons but that didn’t stop us from giving it the right Royal Wave as we strutted our stuff through the crowds and into the foyer. For security reasons, we had all been placed on the top floor. That afternoon was for R&R. Once in our rooms, we quickly set up our tape playback system. It was an Orange Rainbow ritual to get our sounds on the moment we occupied a new residence. We had at least two separate tape hi-fi systems. This meant we could spread them out amongst the dorms we’d been assigned. We could also link them together and with a bit of sound-on-sound we had our own recording studio. It was from this technological springboard that we experimented, recording all sorts of audio weirdness. Within minutes, our adjoining rooms felt more like a social club than a hotel. All the beds had been moved back against the walls. Rod had already invented a skittle game using empty beer bottles and tennis balls. Frankie had brought a kite and was flying it out of the window exciting the hoards of fans and admirers below. One by one, various Jacksons found their way into the Orange Rainbow Den of Enlightenment. We seized the opportunity and put on some recordings that we were currently working on. One song in particular grabbed their attention. Notably, ‘Hey Virgin Child’ a funky pop song with a cathchy five part harmony chorus line that goes “Hey virgin child, do you mind if I open your head… hey virgin child, look inside tell me why is it red… ? hey look at me, can’t you see, could it be that you’re dead?” and so on…

They were soon singing along. We managed to talk them into taking a copy as a possible J5 single or album track. I like to think that it was the song’s controversial nature that failed to put ‘Hey Virgin Child’ into the Jacksons’ repetoire. Whatever it was, we failed to hear anymore about it although I thought I detected a few of our brass riffs on the Thriller Album.

The Jacksons gig at the Olympic Theatre that night was magnificent. The party after was mega magnificent. Our own luxury boat cruised up and down the Seine. As the champagne flowed. Jermaine started acting strange and whispered that he had something he wanted to show us in private, up on deck. Surrounded by eight members of Orange Rainbow, Jermaine relaxed and informed us that the fan who had managed to snog him earlier had also managed to secure this necklace on him. We could see the gold chain around his neck but the pendant was hidden beneath his tee shirt. So, we asked, why the big secret over a necklace? Jermaine ushered us to be patient, saying “all will be revealed in good time”. He made us all promise not to tell a soul. Jermaine then slowly lifted the chain. We were all eyes. Finally a shaft of light reflected from the revealed crystal pendant. Once it’s full splendour was unveiled, one could make out what it was. “A Crystal Dick!” Well I never, who’d a-thought it ? We now shared a secret with a Jackson and we hadn’t even had to sleep with him!

At Birmingham, as with most British venues, the Jacksons seemed to be attracting more or less the same fans as The Osmonds, The Rollers, Kenny, Sweet, Mud and Rod Stewart. We had hours of fun throwing J5 badges and photos out of the top story windows of our hotel. This was a game Michael turned us onto when he strolled into our room and, beckoning us to an open window, preceeded to throw out a handful of badges to the fans 20 floors below. These badges were about 5 inches in diameter and acted like a mini frisbee. When one gets caught in an air stream, it can cruise for a long way before it finally touches down. The fun part of this game apparently, was watching the screaming crowds run back and forth attempting to catch the descending badges. In some cases, girls would fight over them until somebody threw more. There was no shortage of badges, we could have easily thrown enough out for everyone but Michael thought it was more fun a few at a time.

[…]

After the gig we were taken to some mock medieval restaurant that had been exclusively booked for us. Serving wenches poured goblets of vintage wine as roasted hogs with oranges in their mouths were placed on the table. The place came complete with court jesters – no, they weren’t A&R men – and, later, a few strolling minstrels. Big Daddy Joe was sitting in the Kings’ throne chair although young Michael and Randy took a few turns before the end. Since their flight back to the States was at 6 a.m. or so, it wasn’t worth sleeping and so the Jacksons seriously got into the party mood. Michael really loved the minstrels and kept borrowing their hats and requesting more medievil songs. Green Sleeves and Scarborough Fayre were the two most popular. It was five in the morning before they managed to escape. On their way out I asked one of them how much they’d get paid for that evening’s musical marathon. “Nothing, mate, it’s supposed to be a promotional gig for us. We’re on the same label as the Jacksons, we’re Amazing Blondel.”

Before the boys left for Heathrow we swapped numbers and we were invited to come to Fort Jackson to record a track or two. Stupidly, we never followed that offer up. Maybe we figured they were just being polite but an agent later told us that they really were fans. Orange Rainbow had even featured in their TV cartoon series for two or three episodes – so there’s a cartoon of me somewhere, folks! – because, “the Jacksons really loved you guys, really loved your band.” It’s a pity, in a way, that we didn’t make it out there. I’d like to have heard a Rainbow-Jacksons album…

Michael on Soul Train, Don Cornelius, 1975

DC – “I was just kinda rapping with Michael about what he does for…he told me not to say “kicks” right? (Michael chuckles) What he does in his leisure time…What do you do, Mike?”
MJ – “Well I read a lot…and..”
DC – “What kinda books do you read?”
MJ – “Like science fiction or just some of the bestsellers like ‘A Night to Remember’…’The Sinking of the Titantic’ and uh….I feed my birds every morning.”
DC – “You have a bird collection?
MJ – “Yeah”
DC – “Do you buy’em or do you catch them?”
MJ – “No *laughs*, I buy them.”
DC – “Do you go to a regular school or a private school?”
MJ – “No, we go to a private school and it’s a lot different from public.”
DC – “I would imagine that there are a lot of show-business kids that go to school there.”
MJ – “Yeah”
DC – “Who are some of the more famous kids you go to school with?”
MJ – “Well…Donny Bonaduce of ‘The Partridge Family'”
DC – “Is he a pretty good kid?”
MJ – “Yeah…yeah, I guess you could say that.” *Michael starts smiling like ‘Yea, you know I’m lying!’*
DC – “That’s not what you told me a while ago…”
MJ – “…No, he is!” *still smiling, trying to look serious*

Stan Winston, Make up Artist for the Wiz, 1977

I asked Michael over for dinner one night. We had to keep quiet about it, because if anybody found out, word would spread like wildfire. It was 1978 and at age 19, Michael was already well-known around the world. So he came over to our apartment in Bergenfield, New Jersey with his armed bodyguard, Spence. Dinner was Cornish game hens and, by Michael’s request, Stove Top Stuffing, which he said the folks in his home town of Gary, Indiana referred to as “dressin’.” When he ate, he really dug in: He got food all over his face, all over the table, all over his clothes. He was very passionate about anything he did, and I suppose eating was one of those things.

At that time, the comedian Robert Klein had made an appearance on Saturday Night Live; he came out with a harmonica, gave the band the downbeat by stomping his foot, and cried, “Lemme hear some blues!” The band struck up the introduction to a blues number and he began playing the harmonica with them, stomping his feet, leg pumping in time. After the opening 16 bars, he pulled the harmonica from his lips and, foot still stomping, sang, “I can’t stop my leg, little darlin’ … I can’t stop my leg, little guurrl!”

Well, Michael got a big kick out of this. So while I played a blues chord progression on my guitar, Michael stomped his foot and sang, “I can’t stop my leg!” At one point while he was singing, he said, “Now listen to me, people” and I broke up because he was really getting into it. From this visit, I got the sense that he was a very normal, healthy kid.

Quincy Jones, autobio Q, p. 243  1979

Michael was like a member of my family, a surrogate son. He spent many hours with my daughter, Kidada who was a precocious child of eight at the time. They adored each other and totally communicated despite the age difference (he was twenty then). Her mother once found a phone bill showing Kidada made ninety-one long-distance calls to Michael in a single month. She played the telephone like Herbie Hancock plays the keyboards

Michael came over to a party one day wearing his little Kangol hat and parked his new Rolls about three blocks down the street from my place. Him being from Gary, Indiana, and me being from Chicago, I knew what was on his mind when he went out my exit gate at 2 am and picked up a brick from the edge of my bushes. I said, Smelly, this ain’t Gary or Chicago. This is the safest street in LA.” That is so country, I’d tell him kiddingly, and he’d tee-hee (p. 242).]

Rolling Stone, while finishing recording of Thriller, 1982

Over the last decade my tape recorder has been unfailing in catching the weirdness of a moment: Bruce Springsteen doing Ed Norton imitations at 3:00 a.m. The whir of bat wings over Eddy Grant’s Bajan plantation. Sting howling at the moon. But even my hypersensitive Sony was not up to capturing the steady flick of a snake tongue a few inches from my ear during that first long session with Michael Jackson. That whole trip was quietly strange; not menacing, just out there.

The reptile in question was Michael’s eight-foot boa constrictor, Muscles. For more than an hour, Muscles lay perfectly balanced on a banister beside me, head erect, beady eyes fixed on the small veins doubtless throbbing in my throat. Michael set him there when I declined to have Muscles lounge around my torso. It seemed a fair compromise.

Young Mike wasn’t being naughty. He explained it as an exercise in trust, and he was most convincing. If I was scared of snakes, he had a mortal dread of reporters – and maybe we should both get over it. Michael hadn’t done an interview in years without one of his sisters screening questions. And in the nearly ten years since our remarkable sessions in late ’82 (conducted as he was finishing Thriller), he has never again done an interview of this depth. Not that things went badly. It just was . . . hard.

Michael shocked everyone – his family, his management and his record company – by deciding to go it alone. He opened the front door of his rented Encino condo looking like a street whack. His corduroys were dirty and rumpled; the scuffed dress oxfords were untied. No socks. No makeup. His hospitality was touchingly inept; having run out of the proffered lemonade, he filled the other half of my glass with warm Hawaiian Punch. There was no food in the refrigerator, just juice. He explained that he was camping out there while his manse on Hayvenhurst was being rebuilt. But as she breezed through to her bedroom upstairs, sister Janet announced that he lived like a beggar, all the time; never ate except for some old lettuce leaves; wore raggedy-ass clothes. A disgrace . . .

“Right,” big brother shot back as she climbed the stairs.  “At least I don’t have a booty like YOURS.”

Ten minutes into it, I could see his point. As he explained the tea party of garden statuary around his coffee table – including a Narcissus figure named Michael – I could hear how it would read. It nearly made me bawl. He was trying so damned hard.

We did agree to leave one part of our conversation out of the story, for his protection at the time. It came up as we sat in the condo dining room, and I noticed the school portrait of a young black woman tucked into the frame of an etching. The photo was one of the few personal touches in the place. The face looked like any .

“That’s the real Billie Jean,” Michael said. Quincy Jones had just played that cut for me in the studio; I knew the song was about a woman accusing the singer of fathering her child – which was what this woman’s letters insisted. Michael explained that he put the photo she’d sent in a central spot so he could memorize the face; it seemed she wanted him dead in a big way. He said she’d just sent him a gun in the mail with detailed instructions on killing himself. In a barely audible voice, Michael explained that the police had told him the gun was rigged to fire backward into the person doing the shooting. Later his mother would tell me that the woman was in an institution, under psychiatric care. When I saw the “Billie Jean” video a few months later – all disappearing tigers and pinpoint choreography – I kept seeing some girl in a green hospital gown.

“You deal with it,” Michael had told me. “You just deal.”

Over the next couple of days, Michael continued to deal with me, gamely, politely and with increasing humor. Janet shook her head in warning as he offered to drive us over for a tour of his house.

“Ray Charles drives better,” she cracked.

Strapped into his gold Camaro, I found myself longing for the relative safety of Muscle’s fond embrace. The motor skills were there, but Michael admitted that concentration was a problem. Horns were still honking at us as we pulled into the drive of the magic kingdom he was building for himself.

“You want go out tonight?”

Another surprise. Michael was going to a slam-jam Queen concert at the I.A. Forum. He wouldn’t mind the company. He felt he had to go. Freddie (the late Mr. Mercury, who died of AIDS in November 1991) had been calling him all week. He really should. . . .

Dusk was falling as we left for the show, Michael and his bodyguard Bill Bray walking point through the condo shrubbery toward a waiting limo. I thought they were being a bit silly – this was months before he hit monster status with Thriller. But they sensed the girls before I heard or saw them, made a dash to the car as a spiky red tangle of Lee press-on nails drummed against the windows.

“Lock it down!” Michael yelled to me, pointing to a panel at my knees. Limo savvy as I am, I hit the skylight button. Before it was half-open, arms reached in, clawing blindly.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeee. The keening drew blue-haired condo dwellers peering from behind their Levelers. Bray was twisting back from the front seat, prying fingers with surprising gentleness. Michael was helpless with giggles. I was flat scared, looking for Billie Jean in those contorted faces stuck against the windows.

When at last we pulled away, I turned to look at Michael. He had “dressed” for this public evening in jeans and a turquoise terry blazer, black loafers and just a tinge of blusher. This precept Michael looked great – healthy, handsome and robustly African American.

We stopped to pick up Michael’s one true friend – a blond teenage skier who was then his partner in Jehovah’s Witness fieldwork – and just as much of a Lost Boy. When Bray piloted us into Mercury’s dressing room, the boys shrank back until fib Freddie bounded over like a dizzy Rottweiler and damn near crushed tiny Mike in a hug. They fell against a big trunk that opened, releasing a terrifying avalanche of Freddie’s industrial-strength jockstraps. Michael’s jaw dropped.

“Ooooooooh, Freddie. What are those?”

A gold football helmet fell out and came to rest on the mountain of cups.

“Rock & roll’s a man’s job, little brother,” Freddie thundered. Michael smiled and wanted to know if his host had really spent his last birthday hanging naked from a chandelier. The skier blushed. We all had a swell time until Freddie’s trainer called him over for a little preperformance spine cracking.

As it turned out, we didn’t see much of the concert. Things got too spooky again once Michael was recognized in the beery dark. Hands, notes, eyes, surrounded us. When an unidentifiable liquid began raining on our heads, Bray stood up.  “That’s it. We’re gone.”

We spent more time together, in the studio with Quincy Jones, rambling through Michael’s unfinished pleasure dome and visiting his menagerie. Toward the end, while we were bottle feeding his twin fawns, he turned suddenly and looked me in the eyes. Finally.

“You know something? You’re no better than I am. I mean, you’re just as sneaky.”

“How do you figure that?” I asked.

“You tap-dance in public. Sure you do, all over the page in ROLLING STONE. You need to perform, too. But when you’re done, you can run away and hide. Nobody’s after you.”

Michael had me there, dead to rights. He laughed and put a hand on my shoulder.

“Believe me when I tell you – don’t know how lucky you are.”

In Search of Neverland by Gloria Rhoads, 1983

“When he was about 24 years old, Michael was given a big, shiny, black Harley Davidson in return for a favor he had done for someone. The motorcycle was a fancy one, worth around $35,000, and it was placed in the foyer of the house on Hayvenhurst, right below the staircase.

(The author says she has a talk with Katherine and she tells her she’s worried about MJ riding because he’s inexperienced.)

Later on, I went over to the music studio where Michael was working. He was writing some new lyrics and creating new arrangements for a song. When Hw as finished I visited with him and he told me he was going to ride the motorcycle.

“Are you sure? I don’t think you should risk it in town. There’s too much traffic.”

Michael replied,”I ride very early in the morning, when there’s little or no traffic. Sometimes when I ride, I ride around the park.”

(The author explains that the park is the 2,500 acre Encino Glen Park)

I said,”Michael, now you’re sure you want to do this? You need to take care of yourself.”

He said, “Well, I want to feel the wind. I need to fill my lungs up with fresh air. And I like the purity of the park, and the smells of the park.”

“Well, you know best what to do,” I replied.

Eventually, he persuaded me to take a spin with him. I reluctantly got on the back of the bike and put my arms around Michael’s chest.

Suddenly, he zoomed off at such a speed that I was holding on for dear life and screaming like crazy. That only made Michael laugh-and go faster! We sped around around the park, me scared out of my wits but loving it in a way, Michael going faster and faster and enjoying the whole ride.
Of course, he returned me safely to where we had begun, but what a ride.

After that day, I understand he only rode the motorcycle about six times. Everyone was concerned for his safety because he really had to be careful. Michael Jackson was insures by his record label and by the companies that employed him to do commercials. If he took unnecessary risk, their policies might cancel.

MJ, Rolling Stone, February 17th 1983

Alas, he is still at the dining-room table in his condo. But despite the visible strain, he’s holding steady. And he brightens at a question about his animals. He says he talks to his menagerie every day.”I have two fawns. Mr. Tibbs looks like a ram; he’s got the horns. I’ve got a beautiful llama. His name is Louie.” He’s also into exotic birds like macaws, cockatoos and a giant rhea.

“Stay right there,” he says, “and I’ll show you something.” He takes the stairs to his bedroom two at a time. Though I know we are the only people in the apartment, I hear him talking.

“Aw, were you asleep? I’m sorry….”

Seconds later, an eight-foot boa constrictor is deposited on the dining-room table. He is moving in my direction at an alarming rate.

“This is Muscles. And I have trained him to eat interviewers.”

Bob Giraldi, director of Beat It, 1983

How did you cast the real gang members?
It was Michael. He went out and he got ’em through, I guess, the LAPD’s gang squad and he convinced them that, with enough police presence, this would be a smart and charitable thing to do; get them there to like each other and hang with each other for two days doing the video. I didn’t like the idea because it was hard enough to direct actors and dancers, let alone hoods.

So he tried to use the video to foster peace between them?
Michael was always about peace. He was always about some sort of peace offering. That was his idea and the cops did go along with it and as history has it, we were almost shut down the first night because, as you know, film sets get to be very boring after the first hour.

I guess the Crips and Bloods started to get on each other’s nerves – they are mortal enemies – and we had a few incidents and two cops came to me and said they wanted to close it down. I somehow convinced the cop squad guy to just let me [shoot the] dance. I was gonna hold the dance for the second night of shooting. I said, ‘The only thing I can think that’ll save this is to let me just blast the music. I have a feeling it’ll calm everything down. Can’t get any worse, just give me a chance.’ And the cop was cool, he looked at me and said, ‘OK, not much more.’ I couldn’t go much more because it was volatile – no question about it – and scary. So we were in that warehouse, change of plans we’re going to do the dance, get Michael out of the camper, here we go.

What happened next?
The gang members couldn’t dance so they formed the ring and watched. And the [dancers] all started to dance with Michael Peters and Vince Paterson. When Michael Jackson comes down and does what he does, I remember looking at the faces of all the Crips and Bloods lined up and their expressions as they listened to that music and watched those kids dance. Those kids were basically, most of them were gay… and when they started to dance, the Crips and the Bloods had that look like, ‘You know what? With all our wars and vendettas and stuff, that’s cool right there. That’s something we’ll never be able to do.’ And that’s what made that evening work.

What impact has “Beat It” and working with Michael Jackson had on your career?
I met a man who I have total respect for. One of the most interesting things he ever said to me, I’ll never forget, we were arguing, he said to me in that very high-pitched voice of his, ‘You use the F-word to much’. That always stuck with me. I thought that was smart to say at a time like that.

I watched a man dance better than anyone I’d ever seen in my life and I watched a man talk softly and carry a tremendously big stick, get what he wanted and get his way. And as we know now 25 years later, perhaps he got his way too much. But nonetheless, I watched him get his way but always using the softest, quietest approach you could possibly have used. I was influenced not only by his talent, but by his personality.

Eddie Murphy, Delirious, 1983

Eddie: All you gotta do is sing. Michael Jackson who can sing. And is a good looking guy. But he ain’t the most masculine fellow in the world. That’s Michael’s hook, his sensitivity. Women be saying, “Michael’s just so sensitive.” They eat that shit up. Mike know too, he be usin’ women in concerts. I seen Mike onstage in the audience, “Is it alright if I come down and sing this song to you?” Then if you don’t scream [enough during the show], Mike’ll get real sensitive and cry on yo’ ass.

You hear that record “She’s Out Of My Life”? Michael goes, (starts singing) “So I’ve learned that love is not posession and I’ve learned that love won’t wait and I’ve learned that love needs expression but I learned too (voice cracks) late.” (breaks into sobs)

Tito, get some a tissue. Jermaine, stop teasing.”

Just SING!

Thriller video, November 1983

John Landis It was amazing working with Michael at the time because it was at the height – it was like working with The Beatles at the height of Beatlemania or something, it was extraordinary being with him, because he was just ridiculously famous. It was like being with Jesus I used to say, because people used to see him and go into hysterics. Also, Michael’s friends – it was so nuts. It used to be like, ‘Michael, William [son of Walt] Disney’s on the phone,’ or Fred Astaire, who Michael had known very well since he was a kid. ‘Mike, Henry Kissinger’s on the phone’; ‘Mike, President Reagan’s calling.’ Bizarro shit all the time.

My favourite moment during the making of Thriller, and one of the few times in my life I’ve ever been speechless, was when we were shooting the graveyard set in a meatpacking plant in East LA, a dodgy neighbourhood, by a freightyard. And we’re shooting away and Michael’s assistant comes to me and he says, ‘Michael would like to see you in his trailer.’ And I was like, ‘OK, I’ll be out in 20 minutes.’

So I go out – and it’s like 3.30 in the morning – and there’s a Winnebago out there and there’s loads of security there, so I step up and I knock, and Michael’s like, ‘John, do you know Mrs Onassis?’ and it was Jackie Kennedy…

John Landis: We had a première – which was a riot – because Michael wanted a première. I’ve been to the Oscars and I’ve been to the Baftas, I’ve been to the Emmys, I’ve been to the Golden Globes, and I’ve never been anywhere like this première. It was incredible. There was everyone from Diana Ross and Warren Beatty to Prince. It was nuts. Amazing… got a standing ovation and all that stuff and they’re shouting, ‘Encore, encore,’ and I said ‘Encore? There is no f—ing encore!’

Then Eddie Murphy got up and shouted, ‘Show the goddamn thing again!’ So they sat and they watched Thriller again. Why not?

It was just amazing, it was just amazing…

Marty Thomas (props assistant on Thriller): It was a long job and it was secret, you know? I remember we had to sign a non-disclosure agreement and not to tell anybody what we were filming, not to tell family or anything… very, very rare for music videos back then. What they would do is print up maps to the location and leave them around, but they were false locations. Somebody from the press would sneak on set and steal these maps and they were just sort of locations of the shopping mall that’s closed, way way out in the Valley.

I was having lunch and Michael came and sat at the head of our table to talk to somebody else. It was just a crew table, and usually he was pretty separated – in fact, they told us at the start of the shoot, if anybody talks to Michael, you’re fired. So he sat down and we’re like, ‘Oh, God,’ and he started talking with us, and he had with him a mayonnaise and beansprout sandwich, and he said, ‘Anyone wanna finish this?’ and I said, ‘I’ll finish it!’ So he gave me half of his mayonnaise and beansprout sandwich.

I ate a few bites and after he left I didn’t finish it, and one of the guys said, ‘Why’d you take that?’ I said, ‘Actually, I just want to be able to say when I’m 80, I just want to say, I ate half of Michael Jackson’s sandwich.’ Like, mayonnaise is supposed to be so bad for you now – he won’t eat meat, but he’ll eat all that lard.

Recovering from the burn, January 1984

Michael awoke to a breakfast of fruit and juice and a tidal wave of messages from friends and fans. Diana Ross called. So did Liza Minnelli. Jackson’s favorite among the hundreds of telegrams was one from a girl that said, “I heard you were hot, Michael, but this is ridiculous.”

By the time Hoefflin arrived the next day, Jackson had watched American Bandstand on TV and, according to one nurse, “was bebopping in bed while the doctors examined him.”

Joan Rivers presenting the Grammys, February 1984

“The reason we’re reading the rules is so that all the losers will know why they lost to Michael Jackson.”

Michael’s orgasmic affinity for art, 1984

And he knows that when he sees it. Like in the early 1980s when he met Michael Jackson for the first time. My husband (Howard Bloom) had just been hired to do Michael’s publicity – most notably for the Victory Tour of 1984.

As he walked into the room to be introduced to Michael, Michael was about to be shown proposed album cover art. I recall Howard describing, as he often did,  Michael’s reaction to seeing the first nugget of the work.

It goes like this:

“Oooo (rhyming with ‘you’) ….. Oh, oh, oh, oooooo, oooo, ooohhhh” with Howard adding little sighs and moans in the manner of a person, although standing, having an orgasm.

And this was with just the first square inch of the art exposed.

As Howard explains it, “You can feel that in every inch Michael sees an infinity.”

Marlon Brando’s telegram to Michael, July 6th 1984

On the evening of July 6th, 1984, The Jacksons reunited and embarked on a 55-date tour of the U.S. and Canada. Prior to the Victory Tour’s first show, the following ‘Good Luck’ telegram was sent to Michael Jackson by his friend, Marlon Brando.

Transcript

DEAR MICHAEL

THINKING ABOUT YOU THIS EVENING PLEASE TRY NOT TO MAKE AN ASS OF YOURSELF AND PLEASE FOR GOD’S SAKE DON’T FALL IN THE ORCHESTRA PIT.

MARLON

John Landis, visiting Disney World with Michael, 1984

“After Thriller we went to Disney World and I have this photograph in my library that I really treasure which is a really silly photo of Michael Jackson, Mickey and me. The guy took like two pictures when I heard this deafening noise and I looked and I saw this security guy *****ing out and talking into his microphone. I turned around and I don’t really know how to explain it but it was the only time in my life that I was truly terrified and I thought, “We’re dead”. It was a sea of people and they completely surrounded this island of grass and they were held back by this little chain and by when I saw a sea of people, it was people as far as you can see in every direction. There were thousands of people, all of whom were hysterical. The kind of hysterical like Beatles, Elvis, Sinatra-hysterical. They were Michael Jackson hysterical. I looked and I thought, “Oh my God”, and it got louder and the screaming and you had to shout to hear the person next to you. And at Disneyland, the characters in those costumes, they’re never allowed to speak and then Mickey looks at me and goes, “Holy ****!”. And I don’t know how long it was but out of nowhere this Cadillac limousine, I’ll never forget it, I don’t know here it came from… just *poof*… it was Disney magic, and the security people grabbed Michael, Mickey, and I and throws us into the car with Mickey’s giant head and slams the doors and the chains broke and it was like the ocean, like surf. This wall of people, you know, like the Sorcerer’s apprentice, surround the car. And Mickey and I are just platzing, the driver was like, “I don’t know what to do” and I said, “Don’t drive you’ll kill somebody!” and Michael was like, “Hi…, Hello”, totally not phased!”

Fan remembering the Victory Tour, July 1984

My strongest memory from the night was when one of the Jackson brothers ripped off Michael’s white t-shirt with fringe at the bottom (this was 1984) and tossed it into the crowd. My mother was holding me and standing on her chair, and my father was holding my brother; my parents dropped both of us as they leaped up and grabbed the t-shirt. Two guys behind my father also had their hands on the t-shirt and they would not release their grip. I was crying on the floor. My brother was crying on the floor. My father was fighting for the Michael Jackson t-shirt. Finally my mother picked us up, and my father decided that the only solution was to split the t-shirt with the guys.

Hot balloon flight, October 1984

“We were flying fairly low,” Bansemer said, “and we flew over what looked like an elementary school with children playing in the playground, and he started to sing to them, and of course they had no idea who that was. Who would think, ‘Hey, that’s Michael Jackson?’ We were high enough that he wasn’t highly recognizable.”

People Extra, Dec 30, 1984

It was sheer curiosity that drew Alice Heap, 83, and her kid sister, Elizabeth, 77, to a Jackson concert in Knoxville, Tenn. A schoolteacher for 45 years, Alice is interested in the young. When reporter Marti Levary told Jackson security agents that two elderly ladies were in the audience, the women were invited backstage. “I see you have your earplugs in,” a costumed man impishly told Alice. “Who are you?” Alice Heap asked, understandably confused by the scene. “I’m Michael Jackson,” her bemused host said, squeezing her hand, which she later used to applaud enthusiastically.

[…]

Frank Dileo, a 5’2″ man with a bountiful belly, sat at the top of the 30-foot Banzai Boggan water roller coaster at Wet’n Wild in Orlando, blinking like a Buddha suddenly robbed of its serenity.

“C’mon, Uncle Tookie, c’mon down!” implored Michael Jackson from below.

Tookie giggled nervously; already he missed his cigar. Hadn’t he known that being Jackson’s manager meant being a barracuda in a three-piece suit one moment and a babe in bathing trunks the next? Hadn’t he left the 9-to-5 world because he yearned for new challenges?

“TOO-KIE, TOO-KIE,” Michael chanted impatiently.

Dileo repositioned his rump on the raft, closed his eyes, grabbed the sides of the chute with his two beefy arms and launched himself downward. The first half was exhilarating, but suddenly Uncle Tookie was hydroplaning, half in control, half out. It was kind of like managing Michael Jackson during the Victory tour.

His arms flailed, his ears caught Michael’s cackle, his body pitched headfirst toward the pool below. Geronimoooooooo…

[…]

Another odd thing about this morning: His wife Linda, 36, is in the room. Since he took the job, she and the two kids had become strangers; the children had even refused to speak to him on the phone. He could tell Michael felt badly about it. Every few days the singer would ask, “Did you call home, Uncle Tookie? Did you tell your kids you love them today?”

[…]

“I look at everything as being funny,” he says. Sometimes he tells Jackson his zipper’s down, or that he has just ordered fried chicken for him from room service, or sings Born to Run so off-key Michael runs for cover.

Sometimes Jackson wanders into Dileo’s room while Tookie’s working and goes through all his mail, or wanders into his L.A. office and goes through every drawer. Sometimes the two just sit and watch reruns of The Honeymooners.

[…]

12:15 a.m.: Tookie goes to Jackson’s suite to make sure everything’s okay. Michael reaches into Dileo’s pocket, removes $4,000, tosses it into the bathtub and starts to turn on the water. Tookie tackles him on the bed to get the money back. It is almost as much fun as the time Michael tossed Tookie’s cash out a car window, or the day he coiled his pet boa constrictor, Muscles, around Dileo and watched him flee Michael’s mansion in horror.

[…]

Midnight to 3 a.m. is the time Dileo and Jackson usually spend discussing business and receiving special guests. One night in Dallas, it was a 9-year-old boy who had a brain tumor and spinal cancer, rushed up to Michael’s room on a stretcher. Dileo turned away in tears when the boy weakly reached up with a gloved hand to touch his idol, but then Tookie once more saw in Jackson the sinew beneath the satin. “Don’t feel sad, don’t cry,” he told Dileo. “This is why I’m here.”

“Captain Eo” set, usenet, 12th August 1985

Gossip-from-friend-of-friend-of-coworker-of-occasional-tennis-player-buddy-of-guy-who-works-on-set-(how else does anything spread around Hollywood?) Department:

Harrison Ellenshaw (Disney special effects ace) reports that Michael’s buddy-buddying up to all the technical people on the shoot (much to their amusement). I’m sure he’s a perfectly nice guy and all, but it _ i_ s a little disconcerting. So Harry comes home and his kids are in an uproar; they can’t believe it! Seems that Michael Jackson called him up at home to just chat, you know? Toss around some ethereal ideas and such. Left a message in his unmistakable tones on the answering machine.  So his kids spend the rest of the evening calling all their friends and playing back Michael’s message from the answering machine.

Diana Dawn at the Lucasfilm Picnic, 86

A little later I was walking down the dirt road at Skywalker Ranch and I saw a Fire Engine coming down the road and it’s bells were ringing and it’s horn was blowing, so I moved over closer to the ditch, thinking they needed more room to pass by, since it was a narrow road, and to my surprise, they blew the horn again and when I turned to look back at them I saw Michael hanging out the passenger side of the truck and waving excitedly, so I looked behind me thinking he was waving to someone else, but no one was there, so it suddenly dawned on me that he was waving to me. So I smiled and waved back, and he seemed to be as excited as a kid would be riding in a Fire Truck for the first time.

Stephen Davis, Moonwalk ghostwriter, 1983-86

“Michael had this monkey called Bubbles. And they brought in Bubbles one day after lunch when my daughter was with me – she was seven at the time, her name is Lilly. And there weren’t many kids around at that time. This was in the Encino house, before he moved out to Neverland. And the monkey comes in and takes one look at Lilly, my little seven year old girl, and grabs her by the arm – and then starts dragging her out of the room. And Michael Jackson grabs Lily’s other arm. And he says to the monkey, “Hey Bubbles – Where you goin’ with my girlfriend?”

Meanwhile, I notice that the hand that is being held by the monkey is turning blue, because he’s got this vice grip on it. So I said, Mike, this is getting a little old here, I’m a little worried about the hand turning blue. So he kind of intervened, sort of kicked the monkey with his foot. But it’s that moment – where the monkey is pulling one way, and Michael is pulling the other, and Lilly looks up at me, and Michael goes, “Hey Bubbles – where you going with my girlfriend?” And my heart just went out to him, it was such a sweet thing to do.”

Shaye Areheart, editor for Moonwalk 1983-1988

The last room we toured had a very large glass terrarium with a lid on it. It was a low table, and it was hard to see what was inside. Jackie and I were looking around admiring some very beautiful birds in cages, oblivious to what Michael was up to, when suddenly he turned from the terrarium and said with a sweet smile, ”Here, Shaye, you want to hold Muscles?”

Languishing across his outstretched hands was a very pretty boa constrictor. I took it. It felt like damp silk and, much to my surprise, began to move sideways, so that I was in danger of dropping it. I exclaimed to that effect, and Michael protectively retrieved his snake with a look of abject disappointment on his face. It was only much later, when he teased me about it, that I realized he was hoping — wildly hoping — for a shriek from me and, maybe, a hysterical dash out of the room. He was a kid at heart — then and always.
[..]
In the evenings, we would sometimes see a movie in the screening room. I remember him taking his friend and advisor Karen Langford and me to the L.A. County Children’s Museum, which they kept open for us after hours. We exhausted ourselves leaping against Velcro walls, standing in front of spinning lights, and throwing ourselves into the pools of plastic balls. On the way home, he asked his driver to pull over somewhere near the intersection of Hollywood and Vine and jumped from the car to dance on his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, singing some perfect little bit of a song before leaping back in, and off we went into the night. It was exhilarating to be in his presence. He was exciting and funny and brilliant.

Michael and Frank Dileo, 80s

Contrary to what you might expect, [Dileo’s] office is a humble space in a nondescript building. But hanging on those office walls are enough gold and platinum records to make your head spin. And there is also a framed photograph of Frank Dileo and Michael Jackson, from behind, standing at urinals in a public restroom. Above Michael’s head, in Michael’s handwriting, are the words:

“This water sure is cold.” Above Frank’s head, he wrote, “It’s deep too.”

Stories from David Gest’s autobio “Simply the Gest”

Michael used to love calling people up. He would do it when he came over to my house. He would just pick up the phone, dial a random number and start horsing around.

The person at the other end would pick up the phone and Michael would say, “Who’s this?”

They would reply something like, “It’s Lenore.”

He would go, “Oh, Lenore, listen, we’re going to have to get a divorce. I can’t carry on like this.”

“She would go, “No, no, you have the wrong…”

Michael would interrupt and say, “No, Lenore, don’t even try that on me. I’ve just had it with you. We’ll divide the property evenly and everything but it’s got to be this way.”

Then he would hang up, leaving the person on the other end of the line wondering what the hell had just happened.

(sometime in the 80s)

Michael was staying at my place on Dohney and was happy to come along. He really respected Burt (Bacharach) but wondered, as we all did, what made him tick.

Burt had ordered a bottle of expensive French red wine, which he, Carole (Bayer Sager) and I were drinking. Michael never drank but that night he got interested in wine. Unbelievably; he didn’t even know what wine was.

‘What’s it made of?’ he asked me.

‘Grapes’, I said.

‘I like grapes,’ Michael said. ‘I think I’ll try some.’

So we poured Michael a glass and he drank it. He obviously liked it because he drank another one. We were drinking a 1982 Pomerol that tasted like candy, so he was bound to like it.

By this time, we all had a glass or two and the bottle was finished. So Burt ordered a second bottle. This time, Michael drank virtually the whole bottle. He had really aquired a taste for wine, fine wine at that, and was guzzling the stuff down.

So we ordered a third bottle and Michael drank most of that as well. That’s when I knew we were going to have a problem that night.

The evening came to an end and I drove Michael back to my place. He was, understandbly, happy. In fact, he was flying high, very high. In the car he was talking and laughing. He was singing ‘I Want To Be Where You Are’ and ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’.

Then he started singing more of his hit songs like ‘Ben’. He was giggling away all the time.

‘You’re going to be in trouble,’ he said. ‘I’m going to tell Joesph what you did.’

I wasn’t taking the bait. ‘I didn’t do it, you did,’ I said.

It took us a few minutes to get back to my place. The minute I parked the car and opened the door for him, Michael leaned out and threw up all over the place. He spent the rest of the night hanging over the toilet. He was as sick as a dog. I was up all night with him.

He kept saying, ‘I’m going to tell Joe you corrupted me,’ I was kinda worried he would but he never did.

It was his first taste of wine, something he would come to love a little too much in later years. I always felt bad about that night but it sure was funny!

[…]

We would go to Disneyland. We both loved rollercoasters. Sometimes we would go on them twenty times in a row.

Often, Michael would wear disguises. Once, he was a sheikh and I was his translator. We would go into a place called Carnation Restaurant in Disneyland where they served great tuna salad and sandwiches. Michael was eating organic food only, although, at that time, he had a rather strange idea of what organic was. We would go to KFC, Michael reckoned if you took off the skin it became organic.

Anyhow, at Carnation on this particular day, there were two elderly women and a gentleman in their eighties from Croydon. We started talking in our mock Arabic to each other.

When the two ladies looked over, I turned to one of them and explained, “The Sheikh Majolini wanted me to tell you that you are a beautiful woman and so is your friend,” I said.

These two ladies probably hadn’t been paid a compliment like that in the last couple of decades so they started smiling. We then got talking. They asked what the Sheikh was doing here and I said he had just got divorced from his 97th wife and was now on his 154th child.

“He has 154 children?” they asked, looking shocked.

“That he knows of,” I said. “He has had 97 wives…” and I started naming them, “Jada, Jami, Shakira, Vera…” with Michael saying them in mock Arabic.

There was nothing malacious in it. In fact, Michael picked up their bill. He was like that, always pulling practical jokes on people.

Sometimes though, the joke would be on us. The funniest thing that ever happened to us was when we went for pancakes one night. It was after 1am and our regular haunt, Dupars, was closed, so we went to another pancake house that we knew on Ventura Boulevard. There was only one couple in there; normally it held 150 people.

The waitress who served us was in her late sixties or early seventies. This was around 1979, when Off The Wall came out. Michael was the no. 1 artist in the world. She didn’t recognize him at all.

We got to the table and she come over and asked us what we wanted to order. I put on a Saudi accent and went “Yamaka fallesh.”

Michael started laughing. The waitress slapped him across the face with the back of her hand. She said, “This is not funny. Your friend is from a foreign country and you have respect for people from foreign countries.”

Michael got nervous. He wasn’t used to being treated like that in public. He slid further inside the booth so he couldn’t get slapped again.

I asked, “What is pancake? Explain please.”

The waitress started miming a pressing motion. She said, “It’s like a cake that you press down.”

Michael started to laugh again and she started to put her hand up again, so he slid further away.

She then said, “Ok, I’m going to take you back to the kitchen.” She and the cook showed us how to make pancakes. I ordered some.

When the pancakes came to our table, I took the syrup bottle and emptied the whole bottle all over the pancakes. She immediately slapped me across the face. It hurt.

“Not funny,” she said. Michael was laughing again.

She brought me a new batch and I ate them. When we left, Michael left her a $200 tip.

We were in the car park, heading back to Michael’s Rolls Royce, when the waitress came running after us.

“I’m not taking this. You boys are probably working your way through college and you need the money,” she said, not even noticing the car he was driving.

Michael insisted but she said, “No, I’m not taking it.” We couldn’t believe it.

[…]

We’d get in the car and sing songs together. He used to tell me I was the worst singer he’d ever heard! He always made me laugh. Michael had a great sense of humour which most people never saw. We loved to go antiquing for furniture and paintings as well as memorabilia. Our favourite thing to do was walk into a store and go, “Do you have any John LeCockah paintings?”

The antique dealer would respond, “We’ve just sold the last one for $100,000.” I’d say to Michael, “Oh no, he’s just sold the last John LeCockah painting.” We would plead for him to get another in and he’d respond, “They are just too hard to find.” We’d walk out and go, “We’ll never buy from that dealer because there’s no such painter!” Michael would be laughing so hard. He had a laugh that was like a cackle: Hhk hhk hhk hhk hhk.

We’d do very normal things. We’d go out for pancakes and French toast and I’d drive his Rolls-Royce. When we stopped for gas, I’d ask him to fill the tank. He’d say, “I’m the star here. I can’t believe you’re making me put gas in the car.” And I’d tell him, “When we’re together, there’s only one star.” That was the reason our friendship was so good. I never treated him like he was a big deal.

(at the 7th Annual American Cinema Awards where Michael was honoured, 1990)

When Michael Jackson came on stage to take his final bow at the end of the evening with Celia (Lipton Ferris – she was the executive producer of the show), she got even more excited. At one point, she wrapped herself around Michael shouting, ‘He’s the greatest, he’s the greatest!’ Finally the musical conductor danced with Celia and Michael could free himself. It was very funny. Even Michael enjoyed it.

[…]

I remember we once went to Disneyland. He was in disguise and we watched Captain EO, a Disney 3D movie which he starred in.

When we came out I said, ‘You were brilliant’ and he went, ‘Oh thanks, have you only just realised?’. Then when we got home I made him Moonwalk in my kitchen — then I tried it and fell flat on my face!?

The Michael Jackson I will remember was smart, articulate and made me laugh. His death was a huge shock but it brought back so many happy memories.

Sheryl Crow, Bad Tour 1987-88

“It was really surreal. I was lucky in that I got to hang out with him on a number of occasions by myself,” she recalled, “He invited me to his hotel room in Tokyo and we watched ‘Amos & Andy’ videos and the movie ‘Shane,’ just completely unexpected.

“He was funny, he had a big laugh, he loved practical joking and I can remember vividly going to Disneyland and going on a ride with him and he wouldn’t let the ride stop and by the end of it I was just absolutely ill. And he thought that was the funniest things he’d ever seen.”

Eddie Murphy presenting MJ with an award, 1988

(MJ’s mic stand is too low down and he gestures to Eddie to ask him to adjust it for him)

MJ: (laughing) Could you pull that up for me, please?
Eddie: (starts to adjust it for him, then tries to leave MJ to do it)
MJ: (laughing, because he doesn’t know how to do it) It ain’t working.
Eddie: Bend down.
MJ: First I’d like to thank…
Eddie: He said “Eddie, pull it up” like I was working for him or something.
MJ: (laughing embarrassed)
Eddie: And I started to do it too, like “yes, Michael.” Wait, what am I doing??!

La Toya Jackson’s autobio, 1990

(filming the Wiz in NYC 1977)

While in New York we had a very strange experience. I enjoyed playing practical jokes on Michael, just as he did on me. One evening I attended some function with Dick Gregory, and Michael stayed home to relax watching television. He became absorbed in a Twilight Zone episode about a man who loses his identity. Everyone he thinks he knows treats him like a total stranger, until he begins questioning whether he exists at all. For some reason this story made an impression on Michael, blessed with an active imagination. At the same moment I was inserting the key into the door of our apartment, he was sitting in front of the TV asking himself, Who am I? Am I really real?

Why I did this, I don’t know, but on the spur of the moment I pretended I didn’t recognize Michael, staring at him blank faced and asking, “Who are you? And what are you doing in my house?”

Michael jumped on the sofa, aghast. “What do you mean? I’m Mike!”

“But who are you?”

“I’m Mike!”

“But who are you?” I asked him over and over again.

“Don’t do this to me, LaToya!” he pleaded.

I burst out laughing. “I’m just kidding, you creep,” I said, wondering why he looked so agitated.

“No, you don’t understand.” He gulped for air. “I saw this Twilight Zone episode where a guy loses his identity. And I said to myself, ‘If LaToya comes in here and asks me who I am, I am going to die.’ You almost gave me a heart atack.”

[…]

Another morning the entrie family was awakened by a heavy crash! and ran outside to investigate. We saw a tiny young woman tramping along the perimeter of the swimming pool, shrieking at the top of her lungs, and toppling these solid marble statues it had taken four brawny men to move into place. When all the statues were lying on their sides, she commenced turning on the gas valves that feed the heating units in the pool, the jacuzzi, and the gas lamps.

“I’m going to kill all of you” she screamed hysterically. “Every last one of you!”

My father managed to calm down the woman while waiting for security to arrive. They brought her in the house and he demanded,

“Okay, what’s your name? How did you get in here? Why are you doing these things?”

She glared at Joseph, Mother, Michael, Janet, Randy, and me, lifted her skirt, and in a deranged voice declared, “My name is Pussy, and I’m gonna give it to all of you! All of you! And I hate you! Because you’re close to Michael!”

“What are you talking about?”

“I hate you!” she said, looking at me. “And I’m gonna make sure you don’t live. God’s gonna strike you dead!” When I’d heard about enough, I walked out of the room.

[…]

Some of my most cherished memories of home centre on my mother and the many good times we shared. One day I teasingly told my brothers, “You guys go to Europe all the time, but I’m going to be the first person to take mother there.” It was going to be a special trip, just the two of us together. Before we left, Michael handed me an envelope. “Here,” he said, smiling. “Give this to Mother when the plane is up in the air, okay?”

What is it, I wondered. Once airborne, I took the envelope from my bag and handed it to her. “Mother, this is for you, from Mike.”

“For me?” she asked, surprised. No matter how many gifts her children lavish on her, for Mother each is like the first one.

Inside were $10,000 in cash and a piece of paper on which Michael had written the lyrics to one of her favorite songs, “Moon River.” As we read the words – “Two drifters off to see the world, there’s such a lot of world to see” – tears welled in our eyes. By the time we got to Michael’s inscription, “Please enjoy yourself. Don’t hesitate to do anything. Just go for it.

It’s your life, enjoy it. Love, Michael,” we were crying like a couple of idiots. All the passengers stared at us, and the flight attendants kept asking if there was something they could do.

Letters about the Moonwalker Sega video game, 1990

Letter Three: Just Add Bubbles
TO: XXXXXXXX, SEGA Corp.

I realize it may be late in the process, but Mr. Jackson has requested a final addition based on a particularly powerful dream he had while taking an afternoon nap.

Mr. Jackson requests the addition of his pet monkey Bubbles as an in-game power-up that will turn Jackson’s character into a robot that can melt enemies with devastating laser beams.

It’s ridiculous on its face, but the man has a proven genius that I have learned not to question.

The end is in sight,
XXXXXXXXXXXX

Bruce Swedien on Michael losing his room key during the Dangerous recording sessions 1990-1991,

When Michael and I began work on the Dangerous album, we were recording at Larrabee North Studios in Hollywood. As usual, we had run over the deadline required by the record label. So Michael, Bea and I moved to the Hilton Universal City Hotel to be near the studio. Staying at the Hilton, in the morning all we would have to do was have Bea take Michael down the service elevator and through the kitchen. Then we would get in my Big Bronco and go to the studio.

One night, or I should say one morning, we returned to the hotel at 3:00 a.m. only to discover that Michael had misplaced his room key. So we all went to my room. Bea called the front desk and asked for a replacement key for Mr. Sherman (Michael’s code name at the time), at 3:00 a.m. When we called the front desk, we were told that there was no one in the hotel that could authorize this. We suggested that perhaps they could send up a cot. (No response from the hotel night manager.) Well, we sat around with Michael and had a great time joking and telling crazy stories. Finally, the night manager arrived with a key for Michael for his room.

Brad Sunburg, Dangerous Recording Sessions 1990-1991

Around that same time he did an often forgotten album, The ET Storybook. This was when I met Quincy Jones and Bruce Swedien. Early in 1986 the team moved into Westlake Studio D in Hollywood to record the BAD album, and welcomed me in. I worked other sessions during the day, but at night I was invited to sit in and learn. Eventually I worked my way up to technical director for the team, and the trust was solidified. It was during this time that Michael nicknamed me “Really Really Brad,” a twist on the chorus, “Bad, Bad, Really Really Bad.” Check the album credits, it’s there.

He typically drove himself to the studio alone. For a while he drove a big Ford Bronco with dents and scrapes on it. He was not a great driver. More than once he called into the studio to say he would be late after being in a fender bender.

He was intensely curious about “normal life.” He asked me about Christmas once, and couldn’t understand how kids could wait until Christmas morning to open the gifts. You see, he was raised Jehovah’s Witness, so Christmas was not celebrated in the Jackson family.

During the BAD album, Fridays quickly became known as “family day.” He would have his two chefs, affectionately known as the Slam Dunk Sisters, prepare a large dinner for the crew, musicians and any family members that might be around. Since I was working sometimes 80 hours a week, it was not uncommon for Deb to come have dinner with us. Michael loved these family get togethers. In later projects I would bring my girls, whom he loved and would play with. There is one moment in time in my head when Deb brought my daughter Amanda, who was just a baby at the time, into the studio for the afternoon. She set up a play mat and brought some toys, and Michael sat and played with her for a while. He looked at Deb and said, “This is her own little world, isn’t it?”

His lounge would be decorated with Disney posters and old Hollywood memorabilia. He loved innocence, and displayed gentleness, humor and patience.

Deb loves to tell of the times Michael would call at 2 in the morning (his sleep schedule was never normal) to talk to me about a new attraction he had coming to Neverland, and if I would put music on it. I still have an old answering machine tape of him thanking me for one of the systems we had built.

This was the Michael I knew. Innocent, perhaps child-like at times, but not childish. A professional who worked to be the best performer in the world, yet knew how to have fun. If he was comfortable, he would laugh and joke with everyone, but if someone was there that made him uncomfortable, he would disappear.

We used to say there were two Michaels: the one we worked with, and the one who went on stage in front of 100,000 people and entertained them. There have always been singers and dancers, but Michael was in a class by himself. I have been to perhaps 12 of his concerts (my daughter Amanda was on stage with him in Paris with several other kids singing “Heal The World”), and there is really no one that comes close to his level of artistry.

I have worked with plenty of normal looking people who thrive on pain and anger. I’ll take a guy who might be abnormal looking and eccentric yet shows kindness, love, generosity, patience, humor and humility any day of the week. I could write page after page of simple acts of kindness I have seen firsthand.

Russ, Dangerous Recordings 1990-1991

OK here’s MY pie in the face funny story:

One fear of mine was that I knew there’d come a day that it would be just Michael and I in the same room one on one. I’d rehearsed it in the mirror over and over, just what was I going to say to this guy??? Well that day came, and what was probably seconds, seemed like a very long time. Catering had arrived at the Studio and here Michael and I were standing by ourselves. I was looking at the floor and said to myself, “this is it, this is what I‘ve been afraid of, I’m going to have to break the ice.” I took a big deep breath and raised my head to speak and … wham .. I got hit with a handful of corn, I thought, “oh no this is going to be war” … I picked up some pickles and threw them at Michael, then he threw something else and it went back and forth for a while. We were laughing so hard (I had to clean it all up later of coarse) but for three weeks we couldn’t look at each other without laughing. What a great way for him to make me feel at ease. Michael really has a great sense of humor, he just loves seeing people do a 3 stooges act and fumble all over themselves. I wish there were more people in the world exactly like Michael Jackson, he is truly one amazing human being.

Sam L Parity on the Dangerous recordings 1990-1991,

I guess I should mention at this point that Michael is an awful driver. He hit everyone’s car in the studio lot at least once, including mine. One time, he rear-ended a guy on the 101 freeway, and just left the scene because the guy got out of his car and started screaming at him. Eventually, he gave up and got someone to drive him in to work every day.

Other memorable experiences include calling Tower Records (RIP) an hour before they closed, and having them shut down early so that Michael and I could go shopping. Even thought it was just up the road, I was glad to get out of MJ’s car and into the safety of the store! I think he dropped about $1500 on CDs that night.

Anyway, one day Michael shyly asked me if I could do him a special favor. I’m pretty sure this was after he stopped driving, so I guess he really didn’t have any other way to get stuff during the day. Of course I agreed, which was when he told me flat-out that he had just run out of underwear.

For pretty much the whole two years that I worked with him, Michael came in every day wearing black dress pants and a red button-down shirt. He had a whole rack of just these two items in his office, which I assume he either had cleaned and returned to him, or just threw away at the end of the day. But on this particular day, I guess he was running low on drawers.

At first, he just said that he wanted underwear. When I asked him what kind, he just repeated “Underwear!” When I told him I wasn’t his mother and didn’t know what to get, he kind of laughed, and then said “Hanes thirty please.” When I was almost out the door however, he came running up and yelled “make them thirty-twos, I don’t want them to be too tight!” So there it is folks. The King of Pop wears tightie-whities!

Jodi Gomes (Executive Producer/director of Jackson Family Dynasty) on facebook, meeting MJ during Dangerous recording sessions 1990-1991

I was a young TV producer recording/mixing Voice-over for an animated Nickelodeon series in the early 90’s. We booked a room weeks in advance, but the day of our session were told a client rented the entire facility. Of course, lil miss ambitious, I was beside myself. I pleaded with the management to let us use one room for just an hour, because it was a nightmare rescheduling the child actors. He reluctantly asked the client – and to my surprise the client obliged with two caveats: (1) I had to describe the characters that the kids were voicing – and – I happily did (inaccurately of course because I thought a competitor was in the other room stealing my idea! After all, this is Hollywood!); and (2) we would have to record in the smallest room, of which, the client had equipment and items stored, which we could not touch.

At the end of my rope, I agreed, and got to work. BUT… the room had a smell that we’ll just say, “had the funk of 40,000 years”. There were damp, sweaty, musty, funky, moldy T-shirts & clothes hidden behind a couch in the room. Piled high. Well – this was just too much! I carried on like a fool with the manager, who snickered with laughter. I went on & on about hygiene, “we’re a paying customer too” type stuff – and “you have the nerve to have a large client’s equipment stored in here with this nasty sh*t”.

GOD’S INTERVENTION: Bruce Swedien walks by. Then Michael Jackson walks by during my rant – of course I shut the heck up and showed respect because I was clearly enamored. We’d met previously and he recognized my face, gave me a huge flirtatious hug and mischievous smile. We exchanged a “where do I know you from” story and had a big laugh about something I can barely remember now.

SIDE NOTE: MJ had a way of making you feel like you knew him for 100 years, and eased your nerves about how HUGE he was.
He said, “so you’re the one recording the animation project?” I said yes and exchanged, “so you’re the big client keeping me out of this joint”. Again, we laughed. He was soooo curious about the animation project and voice over. With the ice broken, I called myself giving the King of Pop a heads up. I informed him that there were DISGUSTING, STANKY clothes in the room where he was storing equipment. He was shocked. He was embarrassed. He wanted to see it.

Again, the management smiled a funny smirk and led us to the room. I was being over dramatic covering my nose, preparing for the stench, and of course still carrying on. MJ kept teasing me & laughing, “oh girl stop, it’s can’t be that bad”… and before I could show him where the clothes were hidden, he went right over to the pile!!! He pulled them out and instructed manager to take HIS clothes away! Apparently, Michael liked to dance his little skinny butt off in between recording, and be drenched with sweat. He’d change clothes, and go back to recording…this went on for days! There was no equipment stored in the room – just his clothing. After complete embarrassment and a million apologies from me, he burst out with this huge laugh and said, “my brothers and I used to say, if it don’t stink – it aint funky”. He gave me a big hug and whispered to me, just don’t tell my Mother. I think that album went on to be “Dangerous” – and it definitely was funky!

Bill Bray keeping Michael awake, 2:5 Glenda Tapes, mid-1992

Michael: Got something to tell you (laughing)
Glenda: What is it NOW? What is this- oh, is it something to do with the hospital?
Michael: Nooo. It’s something to do with Bill.
Glenda: With Bill?
Michael: And Randy. Randall and Kathy, God. Well, Randy already knows, because he had a huge problem with Bill before. It’s gross, I don’t want to tell you (laughing)
Glenda: Oh, come on! What is this? Okay, this is Bill Bray right?
Michael: Yeah, yeah.
Glenda: Okay. What did he do, what’s he doing?
Michael: Everytime, everytime he gets up…
Glenda: (laughing) Come on, man, it can’t be that gross!
Michael: It happens everytime. Everytime, this has been going on for years. (laugh)
Glenda: (laugh) Really?
Michael: (i) stay in the room. Oh, he’s getting ready to get in the shower. Everytime, everytime even when we were little kids. Bill (i) I tell you how he snores he (makes a loud snoring noise).
Glenda: I know you told me! (laugh)
Michael: Everytime, everytime, girl, the first thing he does…(laughing)
Glenda: Oh no! What?
Michael: (still laughing)
Glenda and Michael: (both laugh)
Glenda: Come on! What does he do?
Michael: He’ll wake up, go bursting outta bed, and he farts real loud! (laughing)
Glenda: (gasps) Are you serious?
Michael: (laughing) Yes.
Glenda: Why?
Michael: He’s been doing this for years. I don’t know. I said, “You better check this, I think there’s something wrong with you, Bill.”
Glenda: (laughing)
Michael: But when he opens his eyes, he’ll stretch and he’ll wake up. “Michael, you awake?” “Yeah, I been, man…”
Glenda: That’s the worst, Michael!
Michael: (laughing)
Glenda: Oh my god, what a turn off. How do you stand it?
Michael: (laughing)
Glenda: (laughing with him)
Michael: He’s always had that problem.
Glenda: (laugh) I hope it’s just in the morning!
Michael: Yeah.
Glenda: It’s not like an all-day thing…
Michael: (laugh- SO CUTE) Nooo…
Michael and Glenda: (still laughing…)
Glenda: So funny!
Michael: And we used to tease him when we were little boys and stuff like that. We used to share a room with him, me and Marlon. First thing he did in the morning, he farted reeaal loud. Oh god we were like, “Clear the room, clear the room!”
Glenda: (laughs)
Michael: He STILL does it. I haven’t been on tour with him for a long time. We like, “Oh my gooood, Bill!”
Glenda: How funny! Oh my god. That IS gross, that’s the worst.
Michael: I know when he’s awake, everytime I’d be playing asleep. “Michael? Joker, joker are you awake? Hey, joker?” I go (loud fart noise)].
Glenda and Michael: (laughter)
Glenda: That is funny.
Michael: My god, he trying to kill me
Glenda: That’s very funny. (laugh) Well, I guess when you’re in close quarters with somebody like that…
Michael: You got to be LOUD and stuff?
Glenda and Michael: (laugh)
Glenda: Yeah…
Michael: [immitating Bill: gas now, it’s gas, yeah yeah].
Glenda: (laugh)

Michael: You were mad. You were madder than that woman that had a nappy natural couldn’t pick it out with a comb – you were so mad!
Glenda: (laugh) Or when you called me and told me that you were gonna get married. I thought that I had given you all thewrong advice, I thought, “Oh my god!”
Michael and Glenda: (Loud laughter)
Michael: I forgot all about that!
Glenda: “What did I saaay?! I didn’t mean to!”

Michael: Well, yeah, that’s one of the last things he dabbled in, he screwed it up. I said, “Don’t use Don King.” And all this and that. (Joe’s voice)” Oh, but Don, well, you know, he’s a good businessman.” I said, “No, he’s not, he’s a crook.”
Glenda: (i) [That was a funny one? Tell us the funny part?]
Michael: He can suck my socks.

Glenda: What put you in such a crazy mood?
Michael: Excuse me?
Glenda: What put you in such a crazy mood?
Michael: Oh god, a number of things.
Glenda: Huh? A number of things?
Michael: Yeah.
Glenda: Good things?
Michael: You know, Kathy’s, she’s so crazy.
Glenda: Why?
Michael: We were talkin’ and I was dyin’. Oh my god.
Glenda: Dyin’?
Michael: What?
Glenda: Dyin’?
Michael: Yeah. It was so-
Glenda: Like “dyin'”, funny, or-
Michael: Yeah.
Glenda: Oh, you were laughing.
Michael: Yeah.
Glenda: Oh, okay.
Michel: Do you really wanna know?
Glenda: Yeah!
Michael: (laughing)
Glenda: Tell me, what!
Michael: (laughing) First of all, I’m having a wine cooler.
Glenda: (gasps)
Michael: (Today is Kathy’s birthday.)
Glenda: Oh. Yeah?
Michael: Yeah.
Glenda: Ohh.
Michael: And, girl. I don’t know how we got on the subject… God I do not remember (I, laughing) We were talking about… white guys.
Glenda: White guys?
Michael: Yeah (laugh)
Glenda: Why?
Michael: I was talking with Kathy, cause she’s a nurse. Oh, because Randy the other day was calling Kathy prejudice and stuff like that and she’s like I’m not prejudice, I like white people. “I have a preference, I would never sleep with a white man.” And we were talking about that. (laughing)
Glenda: Really?
Michael: (laugh) She goes (laugh)
Glenda: Oh no…
Michael: She like, “No, I would never sleep with a white man because their penises are just too pink” or too red or something.
Glenda: (gasps)
Michael: And their veins show! (laughing)
Glenda: Oh my god!
Michael: (laughing)
Glenda: Oh!
Michael: She like, “No, I wouldn’t mind, you know, doin’ stuff with a white man because I’m not prejudice, I like white people” and stuff “But ooh, god, I could never I could never lay down with a white man!”
Glenda: She said that?
Michael: Because their penis is all pink and its all red, you know. She gotta these old men, you know, that sometimes she gotta put catheters on them and stuff like that.
Glenda: Ugh!
Michael: She’s like, “(i) oh when the white man’s old. His penis shrinks up and you gotta jerk it up” and (i) find it and stuff! (laugh)
Glenda: Oh my god.
Michael: Like, “Black men aren’t like that.” You know? “Even when they’re old, their penis don’t shrink up that little. And they’re not all red and wrinkled.”
Glenda: Ewwww.
Michael: (laugh) I like, “Oh my God.”
Glenda: (i).
Michael: (She said, “I like them thick”) And she’s like, “I just can’t be making love with a white man. There’s no red or pink stuff inside me!” (laughs)
Glenda: Oh, gross! That’s what she said?
Michael: Yeah.
Glenda: Eww.
Michael: “But I’m not prejudice, it’s just my preference.” (i).

Glenda Tapes, 4:5, June 1992

M: But.. ya.. but girl, girlfriend had my nose wide open… ok, you could drive a truck through my nose…
G: Laughs…That is the craziest expression. How did they come up with that…
M: I don’t know
G: But it had to come from somewhere and I just wanted to the people who made it up. That’s the craziest expression I have ever heard
M: It’s a black thing
G- (Laughing) Black thing? What is it with your nose? I can’t understand how your nose can be wide open?
M-I don’t know..(whispers–It’s just, it’s personal)
G-I mean it had to come from somewhere. Somebody had to have made it up and I was wondering what they were thinking when they made it up?
M-It’s a black secret

June 28/29 1992

M: Did you have a real good Fathers Day, Sam?
S: I had a good one yeh..It was a real good .(I) Vodka
M: What else..What else did you get? I heard you got a video game
S: Yeh. I got a video game a golf game, real neat. And I got some cologne.
M: What kind of cologne?
S: I don’t know what’s it’s called..it’s uh.. Ho ..Ho..HOMO..HOMO something.
M: (laughing)
S: HOMO
M: SEXUAL? (laughing)
S: It ain’t Sexual (laughing)..It’s called..I don’t remember what…some, some Japanese thing. It’s called Sung Homo.
M: Son of a HOMO?
S: Son of a HOMO!
M: (laughing)

Glenda Tapes 1:4, June 27th 1992

Michael: We have this thing, it’s a (inaudible).  We had them in London (he pronounces it so British, it’s cute), I didn’t, I didn’t taste it- EAGHH. Actually, when I heard it, I heard about it a long time ago. Did you see the movie King Ralph?
Glenda: No.
Michael: There was this pastry out in London in stuff, and it’s called a  Spotted dick.
Michael and Glenda: (both laughing)
Michael: It looks good.
Glenda: Sounds terrible! (laughs)

During Filming of Pepsi Commercial, 1992,

Someone who worked on a commercial with Madonna in 1992 remembers that Michael was also working on a commercial in a studio nearby. He said that Madonna walked in and Michael was telling him something like, “You know Madonna can be naughty, a bad girl. Sometimes she needs to be spanked.” He hadn’t realized Madonna was standing right behind him.

Liz and Michael, celebrating christmas together in early 1993

MJ: Santa came?
Liz: Santa from Bel Air.

Deposition, 1993

Attorney: And you don’t uh… do you include common musical phrases in your songs that you write?
MJ: Common musical phrases…
Attorney: Do you know what that is?
MJ: Yeah, but I don’t know if YOU know what that means…

Judge: “Mr Jackson, just answer the question”
Michael:”I’m just trying to tell her the situation.”
Judge: “Just answer the question!”
Michael: “I’m answering the question..”
Judge: “You’re not.”
Michael:”I’m trying…”
Judge: “You’re failing”
Michael: *giggle*

His stay in rehab, November 1993

Once him came down for a cup of tea, we got the impression he wanted us to make it for him but we said “sorry Michael, you’ll have to do it yourself, it’s all part of the therapy” . It was true, Beechy instructed evryone to look after themselves, there was to be no star treatment. It was odd watching someone like Jackson make himself a cup of tea. It was like a major exerscise for him…you could tell he wasn’t used to it. “The tea he made looked disgusting, it was really weak, the colour of chicken soup and he piled in 5 or 6 sugars…He also had a hankering for Hobnob biscuits, he had six or 7 and dunked them all in the tea. He didn’t appear to mind making the tea himself, he seemed quite normal at times, and he has a great sense of humour, he used to call Beechy ‘The mad professor’.

Andy mentioned the famous moonwalk…we all tried to do it but made a hash of it and Jackson was really giggling and said we had done okay, then he said “okay guys, Im going to bed’. With that he spun around and glided out of the kitchen backwards in a perfect moonwalk. He was still giggling and had the drink in his hand while he did it….It looked brilliant, you could tell he got a kick out of doing it for us.
[..]

Once he went on his knees and started playing piano in the barn. He played a few notes then began singing. It was a love song and sounded really good and he had actually written it right there in front of me. It was amazing to watch, it took him about 6 minutes. When he got up I said did you just write that? He said “yeah, but I have forgotten it already” Then he started looking for something else to do. “No matter what his problems are, the man is a complete genius.”
[…]

It was an amazing house, very wealthy looking, but Jackson has all that and was more interested in playing racing-car games with the boy for hours.

“I was aware of the allegations against Jackson but the two behaved like two little kids having fun and it was all totally innocent. Jackson kept getting beaten…whenever he made a mistake he would shout ‘Jesus Christmas!’”

Maximilian Schell, Hollywood Reporter, November 1993

In November of 1993, as the media feasted on the first child sex abuse allegation to be made against Michael Jackson, Oscar-winning actor Maximilian Schell sent the following letter to the Hollywood Reporter and paid for it to be printed on the back page of every copy of the publication. Obviously there was a lot to take in when the allegations began, and as such I’m struggling to remember seeing this letter or any mention of it either at the time or at any point since. Regardless, it definitely deserves mention, if not for the haphazard uppercase deployment then for either the letter’s hand-drawn rose or Schell’s amusing tone.

Transcript follows. Many thanks to Robert Schnakenberg.

MAXIMILIAN SCHELL

NOV, 19
1993

TO: MICHAEL JACKSON
(SOMEWHERE ON THIS PLANET)

DEAR MICHAEL,

I AM DEEPLY ASHAMED — FOR THE PRESS, FOR THE MEDIA, FOR THE WORLD – I don’t know you – we met only ONCE on one of those Award-Dinners (“ENTERTAINER of the DECADE”) – We shook hands – you were kind and polite – I don’t think you knew who I was – HOW SHOULD YOU? OUR WORLDS ARE TOO FAR APART – (I am more, “CLASSICAL” – minded -) but I looked into your eyes — THEY WERE KIND —

You are a great artist and I admire you – my little daughter (she is 9½) LOVES YOU! DEEPLY – SHE EVEN WANTS TO MARRY YOU! (-“BUT HE NEVER CALLS ME!”) SHE IMITATES YOU ALL THE TIME – and quite well –

WE ALL LOVE YOU

I would like her more to listen to MOZART – but she loves YOU! AND I RESPECT HER TASTE! —

THAT YOU SURVIVE THIS AVALANCHE OF DIRT THROWN AT YOU – I ADMIRE TREMENDOUSLY –

THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU ARE!

GOD BLESS YOU

Maximilian Schell

P.S. “ONE CAN ONLY SEE GOOD WITH THE HEART – THE ESSENTIAL IS INVISIBLE FOR THE EYES” – (“THE LITTLE PRINCE”)

Delaney Bishop, production of Scream, 1995

MJ:

MJ music permeates the streets, the airwaves, the TV. People are dancing, remixing, enjoying.

My Michael Jackson story

A commenter to my blog asked that I chime in about Michael Jackson’s death this week. Here it is:

When I was a runner at visual effects house Planet Blue, we had an MJ music video in production. (effects work for SCREAM directed by Mark Romanek).

Caryl Flemmons, who remains my close friend and a producer, was the receptionist at the time.The General manager did not tell the staff we would be having visitors. The plan was to have MJ secretly escorted into the back.

In the afternoon, Caryl received a call from a car outside. They wanted someone to run down and show Janet inside. We assumed she was a commercial producer who was lost.

I ran down and a black Range Rover with darkly tinted windows pulled up. Janet Jackson stepped out but I didn’t recognize her. Too improbable, too unexpected, and the situation too rushed.

I asked if she were ‘Janet’ as I escorted her toward the door. By her smile, I could see she was mildly amused and her guard came down. (I’m now sure she was pleasantly surprised I had not recognized her. )

In the lobby, others recognized her immediately. The engineers assistant, Obie almost fainted. Janet was beginning to panic. She asked Caryl where Michael was. Caryl didn’t know who she was talking about and began to sort though the sign-in book. “Micheal Gresh?….Micheal….”

Finally Janet blurts out “Micheal Jackson!”

Everyone within earshot froze. In the silence we could hear a RUKUS down the halls toward the back door.

He was here. Briskly crossing, we could see his figure, and his shadow. A red bandanna covered most of his face and he wore a ‘Billy Jean’ ish hat.

Janet quickly joined him.

Later, Caryl would get request from Michael’s bay via telephone. In a frail, high voice he asked; “Sugar? Can you do my a favor, sweetheart? A glass of water? Thanks so much, honey.”

Caryl has since maintained Michael was the sweetest client she’d ever spoken to.

Michael and Lisa, Sawyer, June 1995

Lisa: I was separated for four months and I said…he said what would you do if I asked you to marry me? And I said I would. Um…
Michael: A big I would. You were really enthusiastic! (laughing)

Michael to a journalist,

“Why not just tell people I’m an alien from Mars. Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They’ll believe anything you say, because you’re a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say, “I’m an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight,” people would say, “Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is nuts. He’s cracked up. You can’t believe a damn word that comes out of his mouth.”

Cory Rooney and Chris Apostle, Apirl 1999

CY: “It’s just amazing. Remember Chris, David Blaine buried himself alive?”

CA: “Yeah. Sure. He used to hang out on our floor at Sony. You don’t remember, but he used to hang out up there around the time your friend 50 Cent was running getting us coffee.”

CY: This is a very random story, but continue.

CR: “So David Blaine buried himself alive in the city over by the Trump building.”

CY: Trump National Towers.

CR: “Right. When I told Michael that was going on, he was like, ‘You gotta be kidding?’ I said, I’m telling you. He didn’t even know who David Blaine was. I started like sending for like video footage and everything because we didn’t have YouTube then. I started sending for footage to explain to him who David Blaine was. He was so fascinated. We got in a van that night and we went to see David Blaine late at night. We went over there.

We jumped out the van and he like a kinda partial disguise and no one really knew it was him. He jumped out and walked right over there and we sat there and he was fascinated by it. It was funny. Then we were laughing because sometimes he said, ‘You know what? Half the time someone is going to think it’s an impersonator and not me anyway. Sometimes I can just jump out.”

Rabbi Schmuley giving a gift to Howard Stern that Michael had bought for him, 6th April 2001

Howard opens the present from Michael. It’s Howard’s book, “Miss America.” He opens to the chapter about Michael and Michael wrote Howard a note. Howard starts to read it. Howard: “I’m not too… what does this say???”

Rabbi: Here Howard, I’ll read it to you. “Howard, I just found you the best present in the world. I thought you’d find it humorous. I did.”

Conan O’Brien Monologue, 24th July 2001

“Jermaine Jackson is in the news… You don’t get to say that everyday. Jermaine will not be at the Jackson Five reunion tour because he thinks Michael Jackson is charging too much for tickets. After hearing about it, Michael said that to keep peace in the family, he will buy Jermaine a ticket.”

“Starstruck” Michael Gross on celebrities and their fans,

Quite a few of them [Michael’s fans] have been following him for more than a decade or more, and he rewards and stokes their loyalty. Bea Arizna, twenty-four, who owns a nightclub in Oviedo, Spain, said, “If we are standing outside his hotel or his house, he will always come out. He recognizes us and says, “Are you okay? Why are you here?” He has never insulted them, the way the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Madonna and many other performers have at times snubbed and offended their admirers. This unwavering generosity helps to explain why the fans’ feelings for him seem to be entirely affirmative: what they describe as their “love” for Michael Jackson strikingly (and, in my experience with fans, almost uniquely) has no apparent undertones of hate. He sometimes invites them to have supper or watch movies with him at Neverland, although they declined to discuss these experiences in detail because they sign nondisclosure agreements upon entering the house. “I love the popcorn at Neverland,” says Daniela Kameke. “It tastes better than any popcorn in the world.” When some fans who attended Michael’s Madison Square Garden concerts on September 7 and 10, 2001, were stranded in New York when air traffic halted after 9/11, Michael assigned a bodyguard, paid for several of them to stay in the Helmsley Palace Hotel, chartered a bus to take them shopping, and covered all their expenses until they could return home. “The Spanish Embassy said they couldn’t help me,” Dulce remembered, “but Michael did.” (Gross, Starstruck, p83-4)

(Michael Gross, the author of Starstruck, asked celebrities about their experiences as starstruck fans. Missy Elliot tells a story about Michael Jackson)

Or when I [the author] asked Missy Elliot is she ever wrote a fan letter as a kid, and she laughed like she was busted: “I used to write Michael and Janet a whole bunch of fan mail. It got to a point where I started telling them that I had cancer, I was in a wheelchair.”

Fan who met Mike in 2002

A me and a buddy of mine met Michael Jackson back in 2001 or 2002. Talked to him for about 10 mins. Was prob the nicest person Ive ever met. Yes pics are 100% real. And yes that is a showercap and rubber gloves.

It was in Vegas. They opened a jewlery store in the Vanitian for MJ at 1:30am…my buddy and I just happened to be walking by and saw him in there. The store had glass walls. We knocked on the glass and he saw my buddy wearing the showercap and rubber gloves and started laughing. He walked us along the wall to the front door and came out to talk to us. We got to talk to him for a bit before anyone else noticed. I tried to get him to go have a beer with us but he said his kids were upstairs (srs) so he couldnt. I got him to autograph a pc of paper I had in my pocket. Still have the original pics too. I need to frame em.

Millenium Concerts court case, 2002

Lawyer Miller alleged that the star never even rehearsed for the gigs.

“I conceptualise everything, ” said Jackson. “I visualise what I want the concert to look like. I stand in front of a mirror in my bathroom and try out the dance moves. It’s hard work.”

Miller asked Jackson if  “all the choreographers, technicians, backing singers and band” were in his bathroom for the rehearsal.

Jackson said: “I’m not sure. I don’t want to guess.”

[..]

They ask Michael questions about where he was and what he did on a particular day 3 years ago. At each question he answers; “I don’t remember.”

The lawyer gets annoyed and asks; “Do you remember having memory problems?”

And Michael goes: “Not that I recall” The court laughs loud.

Gold Magazine Interview, 2002

GG: If you were invisible for a day in London, what would you do?
MJ: Oh boy. Who would I like to slap? Let me see {laughs}… I think I’d find one of the tabloid paparazzi and kick his ass, moonwalk style . I’d really like to knock them off one of those little scooters they ride around on, I really would, knock the cameras right out of their hands. They’re so annoying. I’d go for them first, yeah. They drive you nuts. You can’t get away from them. It’s terrible.

About touring, Private Home Movies, 2003

MJ: You go from one continent to another. You’re sleepy, the time zones are different. You can’t sleep after a show…
(Clip of Michael on stage running towards the camera with a smile)
MJ: …the adrenaline is up here.
Director: Can we just do it again? Without the negative, saying you don’t like to tour… just…
MJ: (to director) I don’t like it though.
Director: I know, but this just…
MJ: I go through hell.
Director: Standing up though…
MJ: I go through hell touring!
(Crosstalk)
Director: Touring is…
MJ: (to director) Okay then I’ll… I’ll make it positive then.
Director: Yeah, just a…
MJ: (to director) Just… you know the truth.
Director: Yeah… (laughs)… And action, Michael.
MJ: I love to tour. I just…
(All start laughing loudly)
MJ: (laughing) You guys messed it up! Why you all start laughing? I was ready to get into it!
Director: Just say…(laughing).
MJ: Hehehehehe… (giggles)

(MJ’s nephews pushing him into the his pool, MJ protesting)

“I’m a nice person! I just took a shower! And I washed my hair thoroughly!”

Nancy Malnik, 2003

“Michael wearing Michael… This was due to Michael needing a shirt, before he was leaving somewhere and all his things were packed up. I had this shirt and I brought it to him, as a joke, but he put it on.. LOL”

Amy Winehouse, February 27 2004

“You know how you either grow up in a Michael Jackson house or a Prince house?” says Winehouse, whose accent reveals her north London roots. “For me it was Michael Jackson. I could never decide whether I wanted to be Michael Jackson or marry him. I don’t care what people say about him now because he’s a ****ing genius. That’s it – the end! He was robbed of his childhood, which is why he surrounds himself with children. When you’re around kids you can be a little kid yourself and pretend that life is magic and you don’t have to be one of those sweaty people going to work every day. I completely see what he’s doing.”

Is It A Bird?, Is It A Plane? Nope … It’s MICHAEL JACKSON!, August 3, 2004

Panic and mayhem was the order of the day when utter confusion hit Texas on Tuesday wrecking havoc in a Houston shopping mall. Was this the work of a whirlwind I hear you ask? Nope! None other than Michael Jackson had just hit town for a surprise shopping trip.

Witnessing the scene at the Memorial City mall was Katy resident Lester Davidson, who had this to say about his excitingexperience:

“I could not I could not, I could not freak’n believe it there I was, in the mall, right down the way from me was, my God, Michael Jackson! I can’t believe it happened my God Michael Jackson did you hear me Michael Jackson!”

Davidson, who was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time, went on to say:

“I was at the Foot Locker when Mr, I mean Michael walked by. I immediately ran. People were falling down, screaming, yelling and stampeding. One lady outside the Sharper Image even ripped her top, skirt and bra totally off and threw it at Mr Jackson.”

I fought my way through the crowd, somehow got close enough to Michael, Mr Jackson, my heart pounding out of my chest, not knowing what to do I just, I just did what any sane human in my situation would have done .. I got down on my knees and kissed Michael Jackson’s shoe.”

Pete Townshend, June 23, 2005

Townshend wrote in the diary section of his official petetownshend.co.uk website that he’s always known Jackson to be loving and supportive of children, especially those in need. Townshend said, “[Jackson] has unselfishly helped every cause, and individual child, I have sent his way. In one case he hired a circus for the Down’s Syndrome children of a special school of the daughter of a friend of mine, and showed up to happily, and – yes – in childlike enthusiasm – watch the show with them. This little girl believed she was Michael’s future wife, and he so kindly allowed her to sit next to him, as his future bride. His feathers may be badly burned, and he may be damaged in other ways too, but he is something of an angel.”

Swapping clothes with Blanket, 30th January 2006


While in Hamburg, a fan had his hat taken so that Michael could sign it. But it seems that Blanket, who was there, admired the hat so much that he was allowed to keep it! Michael then took Blanket’s t-shirt signed it and gave that to the fan instead! The shirt read “Blankets T-Shirt love Michael Jackson.”

DJ Whoo Kid on meeting Michael, 23rd March 2006

G-Unit’s DJ Whoo Kid recently spent some time in the Persian Gulf nation Bahrain. He originally connected with Bahrain’s royal family after he was recommended to DJ their parties by mutual contacts, including the Prince of Monaco and Seif Khadafy, son of Libyan dictator Moammar (“They’re huge G-Unit fans,” the DJ said). In Bahrain, he also met Michael Jackson. Whoo Kid recalls the beginning of his day with Bahrain’s royal family and their guests as follows:

“I (saw) Michael Jackson sitting by the pool sippin’ lemonade. They didn’t tell me he was going to be there — I didn’t even expect Michael to be in the country. So I’m like ‘F—ing Michael Jackson is here, sippin’ lemonade!’

I said ‘What’s up?’ to him and acted like I wasn’t groupie-sized. I gave him respect for all the sh– he did, but in my head I was going crazy. He said, ‘I’m just chillin’ ‘ — he actually said ‘chillin’!’ F—ed my head up, so I walked away from him. Everybody gave him his respectful space.”

During his trip, Whoo Kid was also invited to dinner with the sheik and his guests. Apparently people were giving Michael Jackson too much space as there was an empty seat next to him, which other guests were evidently too intimidated to fill. Finally Michael, who’d laughed at some of Whoo Kid’s jokes earlier in the day, called the DJ over to sit with him:

“Mike was like, ‘Whoo Kid, come sit over here’. I was like poinng! He was supposed to be there for like 45 minutes; he stayed for five hours. We was talking about Eminem. He was like, ‘Is Eminem really retired?’ I forgot that Eminem totally cremated him in one video (‘Lose It’), but (Michael) didn’t even bring it up. Then he started talking about 50.”

“I gave Michael some music. I’m trying to get him to do a song with 50. It will be like the Jackson Two or something.”

During the dinner the two also talked about food and fashion

“They had a whole lamb they brought to the table and Mike was eating some weird vegetables. I told Mike, ‘You better get up on some of this lamb.’ I said, ‘Let me get some of this lamb ass.’ The Sheikh was dying (laughing) because I kept saying ‘lamb ass.’

“You can’t talk to Mike all fluffy like everyone does. I got him to curse — he said ‘sh–.’ I told him he needs to cut his a hair, get some million-dollar earrings, get a million-dollar watch and take all them spaceship clothes off. He said, ‘I have to change my whole outlook.’ He said he was trying to work out.”

My Dinner With Michael Jackson, By Tim Kash
The MTV News correspondent recalls his encounter with the King of Pop in Bahrain, 2006

He had shoulder-length black hair and was wearing a shiny black tuxedo with aviators tucked into his open white shirt. He knew how to dress. As I walked up to Michael, he extended his hand and said, “Hi, Tim.” That was weird, but I guessed he had been briefed prior to our arrival. Then I figured I’d try to break the ice, so I said, “Hi … and you are?” The prince and everyone within earshot looked at me with disbelief, but the King of Pop simply replied “Michael” with no sense of ego whatsoever. I smiled, “I know,” and we laughed. To the relief of everyone listening, Michael had a sense of humor.

A few things surprised me about the legend in real life: His voice was quiet but not as high-pitched as you might have heard him in interviews. Maybe that was part of his character. He wasn’t wearing his signature aviators, but I remember seeing him sweep his hair in front of his face a few times, almost as if to hide his eyes. He was shorter than I thought he would be, but despite being skinny, he was solid and well-built (yes, we bro-hugged).

Dinner conversation was as diverse as the characters sitting around the tables. The topic of his big comeback came up early, and Whoo Kid started telling him he should “get hip-hop with it” — cut the hair short, go for a new look and get some bling. Ha. When I told Whoo Kid to show him his big, diamond-encrusted watch, MJ joked, “What is that?” We couldn’t stop laughing.

The jokes didn’t stop there. I remember Tyson Beckford standing up and challenging Michael to a dance-off. Michael hit back with, “Let’s see what you got.” Tyson gave it his best with an MJ impression and a moonwalk. Michael laughed, “That’s OK, but that’s easy. Can you do the backwards and sideways moonwalk?”

Right in front of us all, he effortlessly broke out a few dance moves (and totally wiped the floor with Tyson). There was a rapturous applause all round. MJ took a small bow. Tyson sat on the floor in submission. It struck me that Jackson was at his most comfortable when performing; and for an obviously shy man, there was a part of him that loved the attention.

MJ Makes Chris Tucker Laugh, 11th September 2006

In an exclusive interview with New York Post’s Page Six, Chris Tucker said that Michael Jackson makes him laugh.

“He does this impression of my voice and it’s really hilarious.”

Japan 2007

Michael Jackson at Yurakucho Japan: Michael Jackson was spotted shopping with his children at Bic Camera in Japan. Michael posed with the life size Superman Statue at the request of his children. Michael inquired as to whether the statue was for sale to bring it to Neverland and people from Bic were happy to oblige him. Unfortunately the Superman Statue was one of the many Michael memorabilia to be auctioned.

German interview with Will.I.Am, 2007

Sp: You’ve also worked with Prince? The man has shocked the recording industry, by giving away his new CD in Great Britain for free with a newspaper.

Will.i.am: A visionaire. I performed with him. A few months ago,I was with the Black Eyed Peas in Las Vegas. Prince calls me, he played in a Casino and asks, “You want to perform with me tonight?” Sure, I say, of course! The next day his assistant called me and said: “Prince would like to know if you want to come along this evening too.” Want to? What’s more cool than to play with Prince? Right, to play with him two days in a row! A few minutes later I get a further call: “Hey, it’s Mike, wat are you doing?” Mike? Michael Jackson? Wow! He had changed studios at that time, from Ireland to Las Vegas. I say: “Hey, I’m playing with Prince here tonight.”

“Prince? That is great!”

“You should come!”

“Really? That would be cool!”

“That would be really cool!”

“Okay, I’ll come.” Imagine that: I’m playing with Prince, and Michael Jackson sits in the audience! Holy ish! What chance is there to get a call from Prince and then one from Michael Jackson within ten minutes?

Sp: that chance is zero.

Will.i.am: Right. Okay, I head for the concert in the early evening and – get stuck in traffic! I think by myself, @#$%, this is the worst time to be stuck ! So I jump out of the car and start to run. I make it at the last second into the club. Everything goes smoothly, after three minutes I ‘m back from the stage, Prince still yells in the microphone “Give it up for Will.i.am!” I creep into the hall and sit down to the table of – Michael Jackson. So he really came!

“What did you think of me?”, I ask him.

He answers: “I did not know you rapped.”

Now I ask you? The man lets me fly to bloody Ireland for a few photographs, and he doesn’t even know that I am not only a producer, but also a rapper!

I say: “Have you never heard my music, or looked at my videos? I @#$#%’ am the main rapper of the Black Eyed Peas!” Anyways. Besides Michael Jackson sits the actor Chris Tucker, and then Prince comes down from the stage to us…

Sp: … and sees Michael Jackson sitting at the table with you?

Will.i.am: Yo. He had his bass still strapped on and stops at our table. So there we sit : Michael Jackson, Chris Tucker and I. Prince stands directly before Michael Jackson and improvises on the bass: Slap! He does nothing- nothing! – and says nothing! Simply plays . What a scene! When Prince is again back on stage, Michael Jackson says to me: “Prince played his bass in the middle of my face! What’s up with that?” Now now, I say: “you are finally incognito here! Imagine that Prince would have said: ‘and by the way Michael Jackson is sitting here.’ The people are already excited because of Prince, let alone knowing you’re also here!” Yep, that was it then, the craziest night of my life.

Sp: And when you tell this story, nobody believes you.

Will.i.am: I would not even believe it! But I have to say: It is true. Each word. The next morning I had breakfast with Michael Jackson, we worked a bit on songs together – and that was the last time that I saw him.

The Bodyguards, 2007-2009

Q: If you were the only people working for Michael at that time who did the cooking? I read somewhere I think it was Teddy Riley or Akon said that Michael would cook for his children when the recorded songs in London.

– MJ did prepare meals for his kids.

Q: So he cooked or opened a tv dinner?

– lol…Cooked

– We called MJ SIR and he would say “you guys dont have to call me SIR” we would then say ok SIR, he started laughing.

Q: Did he ever pull pranks on anyone?

– Yes, he did pull pranks and we will mention in book.

– Oh yes, we will have many stories about MJs sense of humor, he laughed alot and joked around. He once gave security some

food but before he did he put exstremly, exstremly HOT PEPPERS on the food and watched security run around looking for water.

Q: Did you guys ever just kick back, drink some beers and watch the superbowl, NBA Championship, World Series or Stanley Cup?

– He pretty much had every movie ever made (LOL) while we were away in Virginia, somewhere deep, deep, deep in the woods we sometimes kicked back and watched a few movies together….he had the loudest laugh…good times.

Q: I know that Michael knew how to drive, but I am curious to know if Michael would drive while you were working for him.

Would hope in the driver side and just drive?

– The only car MJ drove (on my watch) was the bumper cars at the amusment park.

Q: Please ,can you tell me if Michael always have sad eyes?In “This is it”, i saw this, sadness in his eyes … i’m wrong?

– He was sad alot.

– Now I said he was sad alot, but there were many times he laughed until it hurt. He laughed so loud while watching a movie and ppl were saying “dude shut up” they didnt know it was MJ.

Q: Oh, so did he go to the cinema to watch the movie?

– Yes we took him and the kids to regular movies, though no one knew he was there( thats cause my team is good) He and his children laughed, smiled and played alot…..outside of his children MJ was sad and hurt from being accussed of those things, he had to defend himself, where in the HELL was his so called music & hollywood friends?! Its ok because in my book I’m going to put them ALL on blast!!

Q: Bill, it was known in the past that Michael loved to talk on the phone! Did he still talk on the phone for hours and hours?

– $3,000 monthly cell phone bill, What do you think?

MJ’s Bodyguards One day while driving MJ said he would love to just walk into a bar and say” Bartender give me a Beer”…..on the anniversary of his passing I’m going to do just that! In his Honor!

GMA Interview with the BG, March 2010

Bill: He got so frustrated he through my cell phone out the window – through the window. And then he looked at me and said, “Bill, you’re gonna need a new phone.”

Comedian Gary Owen, 2008

“Michael Jackson does stuff only Jesus can do. Michael Jackson goes to Third World countries, they have no money, they have no music, they have no radio, they have no TV, yet he comes to concerts and sells out. Only Jesus can do that. I’m not saying he’s Jesus but when he dies you got three days to get yo shit together, that’s all I’m sayin’.”

Akon, November 2009

I love movies. He’s a movie goer and he loves movies as well. He’s like, “Yo man, I gotta take you to the theatre, this new technology they got, it’s like 4D, it feels like you’re feel like you’re in the midst of it.”

I’m like “Nah, I know 3D…”

And he’s like “No, you really gotta check this out.” So he paused for a minute and he’s like, “Okay, let’s do it tomorrow.”

And I’m thinking to myself, I don’t know how we gonna expect to go to the movies – this is Michael Jackson! How the hell are we gonna go to the movies?

So next day he calls my room, we’re both staying at the Palm in Las Vegas. He’s like, “Are you ready? I’m ready.”

I’m like, “Yeah, let me get dressed.” At the time I thought he was joking, I thought he was probably gonna just rent. I thought we were gonna go to the back, late late night or something. This is broad daylight. So he grabs the kids, they looking normal. Then Mike comes out, he has this disguise on. So I starts laughing, ’cause I didn’t even recognize him. It wasn’t like he even had a fake mustache or a fake wig on, or nothing, he just had a simple hoodie on. He could’ve easily passed to be a Saudi or something, know what I’m saying?

We go to the mall, going on the elevator going down, going to the hotel where they have the IMAX thing. Soon as we get in all these kids start coming running towards us. So I’m like damn, I think they know who he is. And all these kids just start come running up to me asking me for an autograph. So I’m like, should I toss them off before they recognize who he is or should I play it cool? He shakes his head like, you gotta do what you gotta do.

So I’m signing autographs, taking pictures, and I’m looking at these kids faces, and they don’t even know that Mike is standing right next to me! If they only knew this guy was standing right next to me! You know how much havok that would cause?

So we get to the theatre, manager meets us up front, he hands us the tickets. We’re all seated, so as we’re talking I forget that he’s supposed to be in disguise and I keep calling him, “Mike.” I see this girl and she looks over and I think she recognizes him, I really think she does. So when I realize she’s peeping I start calling him “Dave.” (laughs) But she wasn’t stupid. So she runs up, full speed, goes all the way to the top of the theatre, and I see her whispering and I see her pointing, and I know she wasn’t pointing at me, I know it, and I think he kinda felt it too.

Right before the movie was over we all got up and started to walk out. But by the time we got to the car everyone in that place knew that possibly coulda been him. It was the funniest thing.

He’s extremely funny, he laughs a lot, he just likes to have fun.

Judith Hill, June 2009

Billy: There were some glimpses in the movie of michael’s sense of humor. Did you uh get that sense in rehearsals? I mean, sometimes he would just… you know, let out the air of the tire a little bit.

Judith: Yeah, he loves to laugh. He likes to clown around. I thought that was a lot of fun. I remember he….

Billy: What put the biggest smile on your face in the movie?

Judith: Um, you know, I had this huge hair going on at one point. They had added some stuff and …… it was an attempted Diana Ross moment, but like on steroids. It was crazy. And um we had to throw on these grim reaper hoods for “Thriller”, the singers, and I was like the conehead grim reaper because my hood was completely filled out cause of my hair! And michael just looked over and started laughing, he was just like… he kinda went like this (puts hands together and bows) “God bless you”.

Madonna, 4th July 2009

Madonna also revealed she had offered to sing with Michael at the 50 shows he had planned in London.

She joked: “I don’t know what we could have done together. I could have carried his bags for him maybe.”

Student to Seth Riggs, Michael’s vocal coach, talking about the stories he used to tell her, 2009

Most of his stories are about how crazy the fans got around MJ. People mobbing him, jumping on top of his limo etc. One time on his Bad tour a large crowd gathered outside MJ’s hotel room and Michael knew it would be too dangerous for him to go outside there, so he sent out my voice teacher (named Seth) instead. Michael wrote a note which he gave to Seth to read to the fans and afterward Seth was instructed by MJ to give the note to the “youngest fan” out there. Seth saw a little girl and tried to give her the note but before he could, a woman JUMPED on him and ripped the note out of his hand. Then several people jumped on top of her and basically the note ended up being ripped apart. Then Seth ran for his life to get out of there haha.

Michael always wanted to learn how to say “I love you” in each language of the country he was visiting. So he could tell that to his fans in their own language.

During his bad tour MJ tried to keep quiet all the stories of him donating to children’s hospitals and such so he didn’t look like such a “goody goody”

Once Seth came into MJ’s dressing room to vocalize him before a show. Michael was busy reading a letter from a woman who was asking for money because she had just been hit by a car and told that she would never be able to walk again. Apparently, MJ was so moved by her letter he started crying and couldn’t stop. Seth had to calm him down enough so that he was able to go out and perform.

Once Michael played a joke on Seth by putting him on the phone with Pavarotti (Seth’s hero) unknowingly. Seth got into a conversation with him before he realized he was talking to Pavarotti and once he figured it out, he turned around and saw MJ laughing hysterically.

Once Seth came to Neverland to vocalize him. He walked into MJ’s bedroom and saw MJ changing his Chimpanzee’s diaper haha.

That’s probably my fav story haha

Lastly, Seth insists that Michael was completely ready for his This Is It tour. He says he was in great shape and it would have been an amazing comeback 😦 They worked together for 30 years or so. If you’re interested there’s actually some audio on youtube of Seth vocalizing MJ.

Kenny Ortega, This Is It, 2009

Ortega also recounted one of his favorite personal memories of working with Michael Jackson. He explained that during “This is It” rehearsals, Michael used several colognes and dancers would frequently line up to hug him to take in the Michael Jackson smell. Ortega said he approached Michael one time when he was having a particularly sweaty day and told the singer, “You don’t want to hug me. I’m sweaty. I stink.” Michael responded, “That’s okay” and promptly sprayed him with cologne. Said Ortega, “That whole rest of the day, everybody just was hugging me and saying ‘You smell like Michael!'”

Michael Bearden talking about This Is It, Lopez Tonight, November 2009

Lopez: “You must have seen a side of Michael Jackson that we don’t know about.”

Bearden: “Yeah, I know what you’re referring to. I hope I don’t get in trouble for this. One time we were working on stage, we had Dirty Diana. we had a bed and an aerialist. She was pretty much doing a pole dance, but it was rated PG. so I’m asking him, “so MJ where are you gonna be on stage during this?”

And he looks me, when the girl is in the bed, “Where do you think I’m gonna be? I’m gonna be in bed with the girl. Why would you ask me that question?”

And we have a wonderful female guitarist, Orianthi is her name, a wonderful female guitarist. so I’m like “MJ, where’s Ori gonna be?” And he goes, “She’s gonna be in bed with me too!” Then he looks back a me and goes, “And Bearden I can handle that too.”

That’s MJ.”

Michael’s Armenian Driver Gokor after the Memorial, 2009

Michael’s driver and friend-Gokor was interviewed by a local Armenian channel shortly after the ‘memorial”(Gokor is Armenian). One day Gokor was driving Michael to an important meeting, Mike as usual was looking out of the window watching people outside and the red light went and they stopped.

There was a little girl with her mum on the pavement, she was playing with her ball while her mum was busy talking on the phone and then the girl’s ball rolled onto the motorway and the girl ran out to get it, and as she was doing so the  green light for the cars turned back on and a car continued heading in the direction of the little girl.

Mike was following all of this happening and at that moment he openned the car door and ran out of his car to save the little girl. Gokor didn’t have enough time to figure out what was happening as all he could see was a car heading MJ’s way and he thought he was going to die. Luckily they both managed to make it across the street and the mother pulled her daughter away from the road.

When Michael got back into the car he and Gokor were trembling with shock and Mike was in tears over the thought that the car might have run the little girl down, but at that moment Michael hadn’t cared about his own life, he was ready to save the girl.

The driver also said that Michael used to disguise himself and take a mini cab with Gokor and they would go out to ice-crem shops and wait in queues and nobody would know that Michael Jackson was near them.

Once when they were waiting in line, Michael asked Gokor to tell the old lady who was next to them that he (Gokor) would pay for her. The lady turned Gokor down several times, finally Gokor turned around to Michael and said loudly: “You see MICHAEL JACKSON she doesn’t want me to.”

After that everyone turned to look at them and the old lady couldn’t believe it, she went down on her knees, was trembling and crying with shock. Michael helped her to stand up, held her, kissed her and then paid for  ice-cream for everyone in the shop.

Katie Burrell on the Michael she knew and on a trip to Neverland with her father

Michael liked those that can respect him.  So many fans viewed it (the memorial service) as a show, a concert, and that’s not what it was.  They disrespected his family to get to him, pushed  them etc…

If you went up to him with a clear head and spoke to him, he’d speak back to you in his ‘real’  voice.  If you were the fan that cried and couldn’t speak, he’d play the kop (King of Pop) role. He’s always been like that.

He is very sweet and he was honest to a fault UNLESS he felt the truth would hurt you. He was (also) a very shrewd business man and if things didn’t go correctly, he wouldn’t hesitate to have someone fired.

The first time I took my father to the ranch, he was cranky. He’s borderline diabetic and all we brought up were sweets, so he was complaining.  We were in the arcade and it was blaring loud in there from the jukebox.   Now im deaf, so if it was loud for me, it had to be mind numbing for everyone else.  So i left and sat w/ my feet in the pool. My dad followed but then said he was going to go and get some water.   After a half an hour, he still wasn’t back and when i went back to the arcade, there he was, playing a video game  with a big cheesy grin on his face. “pow, i got u! POW POW” omg it was hilarious.

Then we went to the train station.  It was full of pastries and candy. My father, the ‘diabetic’, went to the Good Humor chests (they had them all over the ranch) and got two ice cream bars for each hand, stuffed some candy in his pockets and waited for the train.  After we ate dinner, we went to watch a movie.   Instead of using the popcorn bucket for…popcorn (LOL) he filled it up w/ sweets and went to go sit down.

He told michael, at the end of the day, that he finally understood what the ranch was about. He finally got it. It was about the child within the adult. You didn’t have to be a kid to enjoy it and he was glad Michael opened his eyes to that. Michael just said he was glad and that he hoped he had a good time and to come back  whenever.

Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, August 2010

Another memorable moment from Chelsea Clinton’s wedding: Bill Clinton, on the dance floor Saturday night, making a very proud attempt at the moonwalk.

Stories from Michael’s family on twitter on his birthday, August 29th 2010

Niece Genevieve Jackson
Uncle Michael always called me “Randy with a Wig on” #MessagetoMj

Brother Jackie Jackson
#MessageToMJ I remember how one day the snake escaped & we were so scared, especially Toya, Janet & Mother

Nephew Taj Jackson
#MessageToMJ Remembering how my uncle stopped everything, so that he could go over choreography for our first live performance of Anything.

#MessageToMJ Remembering how my uncle did his amazing 3T “I Need You” end vocals in just ONE TAKE.

#MessageToMJ Remembering when my uncle told us the importance of visiting children hospitals around the world when we toured.

#MessageToMJ Remembering when U grabbed a baseball bat after the ’94 Northridge earthquake & said “This is when people start acting crazy” He grabbed it for protection

#MessageToMJ Remembering when we all hopped into my car after the ’94 Northridge earthquake and there was no gas in the tank.

#MessageToMJ Remembering that U climbed our tree when the ’94 Northridge earthquake had an aftershock.

#MessageToMJ We asked what U were doing, U said, “that tree is not going anywhere. It’s been there before we were born.”You had a point.

#MessageToMJ Remembering that the day after my mom died, you played Hide and Go Seek with all my school friends at Hayvenhurst.

3 Stooges 🙂 RT @fan4always: @tajjackson3 how in the world did the whole ‘APPLEHEAD’ thing start? Where did that name come from???

I plan to spend it with my 3 llittle cousins. 🙂 RT @Maryanne_Allan: @tajjackson3 heyhey! what you doing for mj’s birthday anything nice?

We (my brothers and I) use to tell my uncle that we were part of his army. He would always smile. I am still an MJ legacy soldier

So honored and proud to be spearheading #MessageToMJ. I love my uncle so much and I promise I will always keep his legacy alive.

Cousin Anthony Jackson
#messagetomj You know Applehead, the only reason The Matrix was so cool is because they took your style.

#messagetomj I miss our hot air balloon trips across Neverland

LL Cool J, George Lopez Show,  29th September 2010

Lopez: In your rap career, you have created tracks with a lot of rappers artists and musicians, who were some of your favourites?

LL: You know I had a lot of fun with Method Man, TMX, but the person I had the most fun with, you know, may he rest in peace, the songs were never releaed but I did quite a few songs with the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The songs never came out. But I had a lot of fun in the studio, it was crazy.

Like one time we was in the studio, I was like, “Mike, in the Smooth Criminal, how do you lean forward like that?” I was sitting at a baby grand piano, I was sitting on the chair and he was sitting on the piano (LL does a yoga position) like this.  “Oh, you know we had a Swarmi come in and he did a ritual and he leaned forward and we all leaned forward together.” I was like, “Really?!” He was like, “No, silly.” (laughs) Yo, Mike was funny!

One time, and I never told nobody this, and excuse the vulgarity of it but it’s late so it’s cool. You know one time, we was sitting in his office, I says, “Mike, Mike I gotta pass gass.” He said, “What? What?” I said, “I gotta fart.” He said, “You gotta what?” I said, “I have to fart.” He said, (motions with hands) “Well go ahead then.” And I went, prrrrrp! And he went ahahahahahahahaha! And then – hold on, hold up, I love it but this is when it gets funny. So he was on the phone and I says, “Oh man I’d love some ice cream.” So he says “Really? Hold on a second (mimics making a phone call, click) Yes? Hey. Guess what LL did? (beat) He ordered some ice cream.” Yo, Mike was a trip!

LL: Let me tell you something, working with Michael was the most amazing part of my life. I respect him so much, I love him so much.

Lopez: It’s special to have in your heart.

LL: He was amazing, amazing.

45 comments

  1. thanks for this. it was a great pleasure to read all these stories 🙂


    • Thanks 🙂 One more for you:

      “Michael had this monkey called Bubbles. And they brought in Bubbles one day after lunch when my daughter was with me – she was seven at the time, her name is Lilly. And there weren’t many kids around at that time. This was in the Encino house, before he moved out to Neverland. And the monkey comes in and takes one look at Lilly, my little seven year old girl, and grabs her by the arm – and then starts dragging her out of the room. And Michael Jackson grabs Lily’s other arm. And he says to the monkey, “Hey Bubbles – Where you goin’ with my girlfriend?”

      Meanwhile, I notice that the hand that is being held by the monkey is turning blue, because he’s got this vice grip on it. So I said, Mike, this is getting a little old here, I’m a little worried about the hand turning blue. So he kind of intervened, sort of kicked the monkey with his foot. But it’s that moment – where the monkey is pulling one way, and Michael is pulling the other, and Lilly looks up at me, and Michael goes, “Hey Bubbles – where you going with my girlfriend?” And my heart just went out to him, it was such a sweet thing to do.”

      —Stephen Davis, Moonwalk ghostwriter


      • This was meant it to La cienega. Whatever


      • Ahh I love that story, thanks!


  2. A publicist who worked on the Dangerous tour, was told not to speak to Michael, so she was going along with the rules and regulations. And then out of nowhere people told her that Michael was asking them:Who’s the Black girl? This story can be found.

    Who knew that Michael actual voice was a deep southern accent? Michael Bearden from This Is It, remembers watching MJ speak into the mike, when MJ thought he was alone, and his voice was deep and a southern accent. MJ noticed MB standing there, and both laughed about it.


  3. Thanks so much for this, I definitely had a good laugh.

    Jazi

    P.S. On Jetzi, they have Macualay’s fathers book. Somewhere in the first 5 chapters, he says that MJ told him early on [before the allegations came out] that he was planning on getting married. I thought you might want to add that to the LMP Post.

    =]


    • LOL I was the one who typed that up and posted it last night…

      The timeline’s not right for Lisa. He supposedly said it sometime in June 1993, Lisa was still married and he’d told Teddy Riley he hadn’t expected her to leave her husband for him…


      • o yaaaa, I heard about that one


  4. when did teddy riley say that mj said that he didn’t expect lmp to leave her husband for him? is there an article, or is this internet hearsay. because i have read teddy riley interviews, and he has said specifically that mj has told him things, that he would never discussed. Can you provide a link to the article, please.

    and in the rumor section, someone stated that Grace was poor and that she may have been with mj because her family were poor Africans. that is a bold face lie, without merit. if people go to her charity website, she has a bio of herself. both parents were in the medical field, she and her siblings came to the states to study. she didn’t need mj money to help her family, Grace was already the surrogate daughter to Chopra who is a wold-reknowned author. wouldn’t he have enough money to help Grace and her family.


    • He said it on a radio show during the early 2000s, there’s no link still up to it. It’s not heresay. It’s posted in the Lisa Marie section. The only thing he said was he wouldn’t talk about some (private) relationships MJ had had, he said maybe he’d talk about them if he ever wrote a book. Teddy isn’t shy about saying what he knows about Mike.

      That rumour is based on what the Jacksons think about Grace…


  5. Once again, this site – a treasure trove of hidden things, that go a little way to bringing the incomparable Michael Jackson, within welcome reach.

    The Prince story had me chuckling for hours.

    Fabulous stuff.


    • I love your article “Making of a Myth” btw 🙂


      • Thank you.


  6. loved the whole thing especially the one where Stories from David Gest’s autobio “Simply the Gest”
    thanx a lot !!!!!!!!!!!!!


    • can i jus ask where can u read simply the gest from?x


      • It’s his autobiography, I bought it.


  7. The girl group TLC, member Chilli, has always LOVED, michael. She refers to him as her husband,lol. Chili recalls mj giving her a hug, saying, i remember this face, and motions to kiss her on the cheek, but Chili turns her face purposely and he kisses her on the lips. lol

    Toni Braxton remembers getting a call years ago from Michael. She said that out of the blue, he calls her. He said, hello, toni this is Michael Jackson. In disbelief, Toni hangs up on him.The phone rings again and it’s MJ publicist; the publicist says, Toni it was really Michael Jackson. He gets on the phone and Toni apologizes to him, and he was like, it’s ok, it happens alot. And then years later, he runs into Toni Braxton again, this time around Unbreak My Heart comes out, MJ runs and hugs her, tells her that he loves her voice, it’s so adrongonious(sp) and that he loved Unbreak My Heart, and asks her to take a picture with him. So, cute.

    Mc Hammer memories of MJ demonstates the power MJ had in the music industry. McHammer had a song that mentioned MJ, before it was released MJ had to clear the song. So, Hammer calls MJ, and asked if it was ok, MJ said sure, I’ve already heard the song.

    MJ bodyguards talked about MJ being hood. One day MJ and the bodyguards were driving, and MJ noticed an Indian statue in front of a store. MJ wanted the statue, and wanted the bodyguards to take9steal), but they couldn’t because he had too much stuff in the car. they laughed, saying that MJ was hood.

    Eminem totally dissed MJ in his lyrics and video, so MJ turned around and bought some of his music. so when eminem disses mj, mj got paid.


  8. When MJ took Brooke Shields with him to the Grammys , he was accompanied by his sisterLatoya and Webster, aka. Emannuel Lewis. Well, according to the chauffer, MJ didn’t pay Brooke any attention in the car, instead his attention was focused on the pint size actor. Which irritated Webster. why? because Emmanuel was 12 years old at the time, and MJ was talking to him, and acting like Emmanuel was a baby. And Emmanuel kept on telling MJ, th at he was 12 years old, not a baby. lol MJ and his antics.

    There is a photo that was in a magazine of MJ standing in his room and Webster is dressed like a toddler, overalls, and sucking on a bottle.


  9. I am still in the middle of reading these stories and I’m laughing so hard at most of them. But the David Gest stories have me laughing so hard I can’t catch my breath. I have a whole new respect for David Gest every time I see him or hear his stories, his honesty about himself and the people he knows is refreshing. I love that he got Michael drunk for the first time on Pomerol wine (which is like Ripple for rich people LOL!) with BURT BACHARACH & CAROL BAYER SAGER of all people. Now, if that’s not living like a boy king, I don’t know what is. And I’d love to know who the “slapping-waitress” was who had the cajones to slap Michael Jackson across the face.

    And if anybody has any question about whether Michael was comfortable with him blackness, all they have to do is read the story of him saying that if you take the skin off KFC chicken, that makes it organic. If that ain’t black, I don’t what is. LOOOOOL!!


  10. Michael Jaackson knew how to laugh at himself. During the Dangerous Album, MJ came out with a song called, “Black or White”, in the video MJ smash cars and dances on top of one. He also had different people morph into other people. Well, during this time period, there was a show called, In Living Color. Tommy Davidson played MJ in a parody of MJ, the lyrics were foul, but funny. Well, during the smashing scene, a cop comes and arrest MJ. Some may thought this was insulting to MJ, but MJ thought it was funny, and actually wanted and tried to meet Tommy Davidson.

    Another comedian who loved and respected MJ was Martin Lawrence. He often paid homage to the King in his show. One episode, Martin goes to Hollywood, and while he’s there, he runs into MJ backstage of a show. MJ gets hostile with Martin.Then at the end of the show, Martin is on a streetphone, and MJ calls him out. He says, “you ain’t bad,…Martin and MJ go back and forth, and then MJ yells out, “Tito”, and sneaks attack Martin. Martin Lawrence also defended MJ and asked comedian Katt Williams to lay off MJ.

    Chris Tucker before he became a huge actor was a comedian who loved Michael. Well, he had a part of his act, in which MJ was a pimp. Years later while on a plane , CT received a call , MJ wanted to meet him. While in mid-air , he told the pilot to turn around and go back. The pilot did, but CT had to pay 45,000 more or less for the trip. And from that point on, MJ and CT were close friends.

    During the YRMW video, MJ was shy, when it came to the kissing scene, so according to Kishaya Dudley, MJ wanted to practice the kissing scene. funny , and cute. maybe wrong on this story.


    • And your point is???


  11. Adama, the direction of my post was meant to demonstrate MJ effect on his fellow celebs, especially those in the urban market. I discussed the stories that draws the black audience into the fact that although MJ had soared beyond the realms of his community to the international community, MJ still had a deep connection to his community. That it may have appeared that we abandoned MJ, but we didn’t, nor did he abadoned us.Contrary to reports. It was never my intent to offend anyone, just wanted to point out the fact that throughout MJ career and life, he knew how to relate to his people, and that black comics loved and respected him. Considering the fact, that MJ is videotaped constantly defending his blackness, written interviews in which he had to defend his blackness, where is the crime in his black fans, giving examples of MJ still being”black”. MJ being labled as a sellout to his race caused him mental pain, ask the Chopras, his family among others. that’s my point.


    • This is an incredibly profound point, and it is so true. Michael was an African-American male consistently told he wasn’t black, consistently told his community hated him – and we were told he hated us.

      I’m so angry at what was done to this Black-American hero and gentleman. So incredibly angry.

      What do I do with it all?


  12. Spike Lee held his 2nd annual Brooklyn MJ Day, this time, no other than rap Superstar Snoop Dogg came to pay homage to the King. Snoop performed a medley of his songs with MJ music, then did the ultimate sign of respect, instead of doing his usual homage to his hood, the infamous C-walk, Snoop moonwalked across the stage.Afterwards, he remembered MJ and his impact on his life, music and the world. According to Snoop he is a personal friend to the Jacksons.

    During the infamous rap beef between rapper 50 cent and The Game, Michael Jackson contacted both rappers and wanted to end the beef between the rappers, which he wanted to end with a collab between the 3. He had told The Game that he loved the Songs, Underdogs on Top.

    Dancehall Artist Shaggy has said that MJ loved the song, “It Wasn’tMe”. A song that talks about when your girl catch you, tell her it wasn’t you.

    MJ and R.Kelly were friends and collaborators, well when the song Ignition came out, the song was immediately a smash. Surprisingly, MJ wanted Kells to write a song like Ignition for him. MJ is on home video with Brett Ratner in the back of a jeep singing Ignition. This story makes me sad in a way, that as much as his fans claim to love and honor his artistry, many fans wouldn’t allow the man to step away from the kiddie pop Thriller. He said during the Bad Era, that he hated the idea that people thought of him as a goody. Now, if MJ were to have an album in which he expressed his sexuality it would have been phenomenal.


  13. I would’ve loved to have hung out with MJ.he sounds like alot of fun.


  14. Thank you for this blog. As I continue to read, I wonder if Michael should have attempted to perform unplugged as Prince was rumored to have suggested he try. Also, I’m going to see if TV ONE will add the Jacksons/Jackson 5 to their Unsung or Life After series. The AE docs did not work for a second season, but a TV One program should. Any comments? I didn’t know where to put this, so I wrote it here.
    Thanks


  15. WOW Michael is so cute~


  16. […] Support Act Orange Rainbow on Touring Through Europe With The Jacksons, November 1972 Halfway through this opening number I glanced to my right and noticed that the Jacksons were all in the wings, checking us out. This would have been the first time they’d seen us play. They seemed to be enjoying it and their father-cum-manager Joe made a point of coming early to the followi … Read More […]


  17. the accomplished Director, choreographer, singer, actress Debbie Rowe, worked with MJ in 2000, well MJ spent time at her house and she babysit his son for him. Cute. She had known MJ for years.


  18. @ms.appeal tvones’s unsung is a show for underrated musician.The Jacksons were no where near unsung.Maybe lifeafter would be better.


  19. @mjfan the name is debbie allen not debbie rowe,debbie rowe was the ex wife.


  20. I Love all the stories you highlighted above but my absolute best out of all of them is the david gest ones lmao,I would love it if the book is made into a tv movie or a documentary time road show film it would be amazing.


  21. My sister lives in Germany and sent me a link to this web site. A lot of these articles I have never seen before.
    http://www.mjfriendship.de/en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=156&Itemid=55


  22. Wow I love reading these stories thank you for posting them. I would love to read any updates you have. It has been a long time since it was last updated.


  23. These stories are so enjoyable and touching to read, I am bookmarking it! Thank you so much for posting these stories about Michael Jackson whom I really admire. I was smiling the whole time I read it.


  24. […] […]


  25. Your log is amazing I love it! 🙂 ❤


  26. *blog


  27. First of all I wanna thank you for this great side with this huge collection of cute anecdotes. I usually don’t read blogs so often, but your side is one of very few I come by occasionally.
    Hence, It means a lot to me to set something straight. I read David Gests book „Simply the Gest“ and saw that you posted them as well. But three anecdotes here doesn‘t actually include Michael Jackson, but Michael McDonald from the Doobies. (however there are funny too)
    So I looked those pages up again:
    – „Simply the Gest“ Page 95 The story when they drove to Nashville and David Gest makes Michael McDonald sing into the intercon and the guy on the other side says “Sorry we don’t let weirdos in here“
    – „Simply the Gest“ Page 98 The story in Al Green’s church and the crotch rot.
    – „Simply the Gest“ Page 99 The story when David Gest calls up Michael McDonald in his hotel room in Little Rock, pretending to be his room service with nothing left for him in the kitchen to eat.
    These are the three Michael McDonald storys. The rest involved Michael Jackson. Just wanted to set those straight 🙂
    The “grape juice” story is hilarious. “Hmmm yummy! Grape juice!”


  28. Heiii cool…. i have also a story in my mind and i’d love to share it!!! but ist a little DIFFERENT story its more … sexier and stuff like that… 😉 who is interested ?


    • annnd you have to bee 17 + i think just therefore that you are not so shocked…


    • This is for actual stories about Michael, if you have fanfiction you should join:

      http://www.mjfiction.com


  29. when 1 person says ” i am interested then ill share my story ” when you like it ill share part 2 and 3 also


  30. Sorry i didn’t knew… and thanx for the link 🙂


  31. it was funny he said a nurse doest like white men because their penis and a man name bill farts alot and a pastry in london is call spotted dick he said it looks good but i wouldnt eat it. my favorite story is when michael got drunk from drinking to much wine lol



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