16 Magazine, 1973
If you’re the kind of girl who digs mystery and craves excitement, you’d beter hold on to your stack of Jackson 5 LPs – cos you’re about to get the low-down on that super talented J5er Michael Jackson and life he leads off stage and away from the TV cameras and recording studios! In other words, you’re about to get an inside look at the oh-so-hush-hush secret life of Michael Jackson!
Michael Meets The Bradys
You might say that Michael’s secret life began one day last summer, when Michael and his talented brothers – Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon – were at ABC-TVs Hollywood studios taping part of their Goin’ Back to Indiana special, which was aired last Setpember 19th. Those lovable kids – Maureen McCormick, Barry Williams, Chris Knight, Even Plumb, Susan Olsen and Mike Lookinland – who make up ABC-TV’s The Brady Brucnh, were also shooting that day. Well, maybe it was fate that the two groups met – being on the same lot on the very same day – for during the afternoon the Jackson 5 and The Brady Brunch came face-to-face and a happier bunch couldn’t find you in all of California.
Especially thrilled about the meeting was Michael Jackson, for the Brady Bunch is one of his favorite TV shows. In the short time they got to chat that day, Michael was immediately drawn to Chris Knight and Maurren McCormick. He really dug Eve, Susan, Mike and Barry too, but somehow Chris and Maureen seemed to be on the exact same wave length as Michael. Because of the heavy work scheduled that day for the J5 in connection with their TV special, the Bradys and the J5 didn’t get nearly enough time together – but in the short span they did spend talking, Michael managed to exchange phone numbers with Chris and Maureen!
Maybe because the Brady gang were so busy filming their TV series and doing personal appearances – and because the Jackson 5 are constantly on the go with recording dates and concert tours – months passed by without Michael calling or seeing Maureen or Chris. But a couple of weeks before Christmas, Michael was cleaning out one of his chest drawers at home and found the slip of paper on which he had written Maureen and Chris’ phone numbers. As you’ve probably guessed already, before you can say the name of the J5’s latest hit reocrd – Michael was dialing the phone and asking for Maureen!
When Maureen answered and heard Michael’s voice, she was very pleased, cos during the many months that had passed she had planned to call Michael and say hello – but things had come up which compelled her to put off her call.
That first time they talked, the telephone wires at the Jackson and McCormick homes were busy for at least two hours! There were just so many things to be said – experiences and incidents that had to be told, and just plain old gossip about what was happening! When Michael and Maureen finally realized they had been talking for two hours, they couldn’t understand where the time had gone!
One of the many things they shared was their mutual admiration for each other. Maureen, who has just embarked upon a singing career, was very interested in Michael’s views on singing – and Michael, who has always had a secret desire to act, found himself asking “Mo” (as Maureen is called by her friends) the many questions about acting that he had stored up – one of which was, “How o you cry when they want you to?” When Michael and Maureen said goodbye to each other that night, they promised each other to speak again soon – and Michael checked Crhis Knight’s home phone number with Maureen.
The phone calls between the McCormick, Knight and Jackson households continued for weeks. When the J5 left on a concert tour, the phone calls stopped for a week or so, but after Michael returned home to California – once again the friendly threesome picked up where they had left off and resumed their groovy phone conversations!
It was really great, for soon all three found themselves looking forward to calling each other every night! n fact, Michael, Maureen and Chris joked about putting in a private three way line – so that all three could talk and listen to one another at the same time! During many of their conversations they tried to make plans to get together, but one of them was always going someplace or hard to do something. Finally, there came a day when all three would be free – Sunday January 9th. So all three made plans to go ice skating at a nearby skating rink!
Since Chris and Maureen live pretty close to each other – and Michael’s home was nearby too – the rink was a perfect idea. Michael suggest inviting the other kids from The Brady Brunch to come along – and Maureen and Chris readily agreed. But after checking it out, Maureen learned that Barry Williams would be away and that Mike Lookinland wouldn’t be able to make it. Howeever Eve Plumb and Susan Olsen would be there, along with Maureen and Chris – or so they all thought at the time. But at the last minute Chris has to bow out because he came down with the flu! Michael was disappointed that all of the Bradys couldn’t make it, for he had hoped to get to know Michael Lookinland and Barry Williams a little better. And poor Chris – coming down with the flu! Well, Michael decided, he would just have to draw a personal “get well” card for Chris and send him a special note along with it!
Hey, wait a minute, folks! This is that other Jackson 5-lover-boy-dude-namely me, Jermaine – and I’m cutting in on the line to say a few words with you! After all, “little brother” Michael can’t hog the phone all day, you know! But it looks like he’s done a pretty good job – huh?! In fact, he’s used up all our space this month! Never mind that, though, little soul sister – cos your main man ermaine will be right here in the June ish of sweet 16 – with goes on sale April 20 – not only to whisper sweet nothings in your shell like ear, but to also tip you off to the whole truth and nothing but ’bout that super-sexy skating party Michael had with his three “girlfriends,” Maureen, Susan and Eve!
Actress Maureen McCormick (52) is known to a large audience from the 70s tv sitcom “The Brady Bunch” as Marcia Brady (1969-1974 on US channel ABC). In her new memoir “Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice” she writes about dates she had with Michael Jackson back when he was still with The Jackson 5. She says the time with Michael Jackson was innocent: “Once we went ice-skating and he held my hand as we glided around the rink. I wondered if he might try to kiss me, but he didn’t. After another outing, he did give me a kiss goodbye. But it was only a gentle peck on the cheek.”
Donny and Michael found good company in each other and remained quite friendly. All day long they chatted about their respective recording studios (both the Osmonds and the Jacksons have built studios in their homes) and about— guess what?— girls! At the party they straightened each other’s ties, and did a little “hamming it up” for the camera!”
Maureen McCormick also showed up at the bash. She arrived with a girlfriend and managed to mingle with just about everyone there! It must’ve been an interesting situation for Mike—he’s had a crush on Maureen for ages!”
From the 1991 edition of Randy Taraborrelli book:
…when the boys were in Vegas in 1975, Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady on “The Brady Bunch”) was always back in his [Michael’s] dressing room,” Susie Jackson remembered. (p. 391-2)
“Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice,” October 2008
Besides my parents the person who worried most about my driving was Katherine Jackson the strong-willed matriarch of the Jackson family. I met the Jackson 5 about a year and a half earlier when they visited us in the recording studio where we were doing the voices for the Brady kids animated series. Michael was a fan, and we became friends-as friendly as one could get with Michael.
But I think Michael really liked me. He called me and then I started driving over to his house, where we hung out and talked about TV and music. He let me watch him sing and dance in their studio, which was a thrill, as I had been a fan of the Jackson 5 for years.
Having performed onstage myself, I envied his talent. Once we went ice-skating and he held my hand as we glided around the rink. I wondered if he might try to kiss me but he didn’t. After another outing, he did give me a kiss good-bye. But it was only a gentle peck on the cheek. Michael’s parents made me nervous. I was a little afraid of his father, and his mother struck me as the strong, silent type.
I became even friendlier with Michael’s sister LaToya than I was with Michael. She was fun and had a good sense of humor. She used to confide in me about how strict her parents were.
Maureen McCormick, Billy Bush Radio, October 14th 2008
Billy Bush: Going back through the years you’ve dated some famous men. I want you to describe quickly in ten seconds describe quickly your dates with Michael Jackson.
Maureen: Very strange. Very strange. It was sweet and nice and all that but I feel like I never got to know the real Michael Jackson.
BB: No kissing?
MC: Yeah, we kissed but it was just on the cheeks. We held hands and we ice skated around an ice rink. I used to go to his house and hang out. I mainly hung out with LaToya and we’d take her shopping to the Topanga Plaza.
BB: But with Michael you never felt that hormonal rage that you-
MC: Oh, I did. He never acted upon it, but I did. I thought he was hot.
BB: You were ready for Michael? Did you make it clear to him that there could maybe be something there?
MC: (Laughs) No. No, I didn’t.
Q: When you heard the news of Michael Jackson’s passing what was your reaction?
MM: Shock. Shock. I still am in shock, I still can’t believe that he’s gone. He was so amazing.
Q: What do you remember about him? You guys actually dated when you were young.
MM: We did date. We dated when I was 16. I had a chocolate brown Mercedes Diesel car.
Q: And you’d pick up Michael?
MM: I’d pick up Michael in my little Mercedez Diesel that I was so embarrassed to be in.
Q: How old was he at the time?
MM: If I were 16, he was 13/14
Q: Oh a younger man?
MM: Cougar, definitely.
I was just absolutely in love with Michael Jackson. I thought he was the greatest star ever. I couldn’t even believe that here I am little Maureen McCormick from the Valley driving up to the Jackson 5 house and going inside and hanging out!
Q: And Michael was like “Here comes Marcia Brady!”
MM: I wish, I wish! I mean, I don’t know!
Q: I’m sure he was!
MM: I definitely had a huge crush on him. And we kissed.
Q: On the lips?
MM: On the lips.
Q: A little peck action.
MM: A little peck action! It was close, but it was on the lips.
I thought he was the greatest thing in the world, I really did. I used to go hang out in their house, they had a family room. I remember being with his parents, they were always kind of there. I always felt I was being watched, like I wasn’t good enough or something to be hanging with Michael!
Q: The parents made you feel that way?
MM: I don’t know if it was them or my lack of self esteem or what? But I was just aware that this guy was a huge star.
Q: Could you tell they were as strict as everyone said they were?
MM: Yea, they ran a really tight ship. Michael talked about music all the time with me and his moves, he would dance for me. We once ice skating together at the Topanga Plaza, there used to be an ice skating rink there. I remember going around the rink and holding hands with him. It was really… I was in love. I thought I would maybe be Mrs Jackson.
MM: Yea, I definitely could’ve been. I would’ve loved it.
Q: So he seemed like a very normal kid to you?
MM: Um, yeah. He seemed, he always seemed younger than he really was. And I think I was younger than I really was and maybe that’s why we wer so connected. I think a lot of times child stars develop slower than normal people. But we related so well. He was like a little boy, very naive, so full of wonder, you know, everything.
RTV: I wanted to ask you, you’ve actually met Michael Jackson briefly, the Brady kids did, and then you had Farah on the Variety Show.
S: Actually, we more than just met Michael Jackson. He was sort of a friend.
RTV: Oh yeah?
S: Yeah. I would have one outing with him. Outing? (heh) We went ice skating. Michael and Marlon and Randy. And Maureen and Eve and me.
RTV: Maureen talks about that in her book.
S: Yeah, she says it was an intimate date between she and Michael. She had a crush on Jermaine!
RTV: That’s funny.
S: But she used to go to the house and stuff. She knew him way better than I did. I think Chris Knights kept in touch with him. I remember Maureen saying, “Michael Jackson wants your number, Susie.” And anyway, Michael was wonderful. He was a very, very nice guy. He was friends with us… we liked him so much because he was so normal. That’s exactly why we liked him. He was completely unphased by celebrity. He was just like sunshine. He had such a lovely personality. Very humble. I remember asking him who his choreographer was, “‘Cause you sure dance good, you don’t dance like us white girls!” and he says, “Choreographer? Man, we do it ourselves!”
RTV: That’s great! That was back in the era of the Brady Bunch doing music? Was that kind of “we do this touring music show and we apologize”-
Was that kind of, “we do musical shows”?
S: I remember Michael and I talking about… The reason we met was because of a special we were doing. We had a special. We had a cartoon coming up, they had a cartoon coming up. We were supposed to be like the Jackson Five and the Osmonds except with no talent. We should’ve done a Disney Franchise.
I remember talking, we knew we were just a big hype machine. I was like, “Listen to Michael Jackson, look at him dance, he is really good.” Well look at all of them. It was really to see Jermaine sing at Michael’s funeral. Remember it’s a talented family. There’s so many gifted people in that family.
RTV: I don’t think anyone in that family can’t sing.
S: I don’t think you’re allowed to, I think they were drowned at an early age.
RTV: That’s great. So here was Michael Jackson this normal kid. Did it shock you to see everything that he was sucked into?
S: Yeah, it did, because… well, I’m not gonna pretend I knew him. I hate when people do that. Can you imagine being dead and all these people are being, “We were very close, no we weren’t, I didn’t even know you, I didn’t like you!” But I really felt like he was so innocent, he was such a naive, sweet guy that when I started seeing what was happening to his face and everything – aw. The bad people were getting to him.
I wish that I’d gotten in touch with him, I really wish I did, that was one regret I had. But I didn’t want to be one of those people trying to get to Michael. What I gather now is he was really open to seeing people that he had known when he was a kid.