I have the sad obligation to write the second obituary on the Mousekingdom Blog in less than 24 hours as Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, died yesterday at the age of 50 in his home at Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, CA. While the cause of his death has not been confirmed and an autopsy is underway, speculations (also fueled by a statement of the families attorney apparently) indicate medication or maybe a misuse of such could have played a role. Michael Jackson was currently preparing for his comeback concerts planned in London but recent rumors had indicated that he had suffered various injuries and attacks of weakness hampering the rehearsals.
Michael Jackson is certainly remember for what most probably will stay forever the best selling pop album of all times, Thriller, but had various worldwide smash hits around the globe in the course of its career before it faltered in the last years. He started performing professional at the young age of five with his brothers as “Jackson 5″ (who had amongst others the hit “ABC”). Michael Jackson was also one of the best known Disney fans worldwide who frequently visited in particular the original Disneyland as well as the Disneyland Resort Paris, where he signed the underside of the couch table in the Sleeping Beauty suite. A visit of his to the Disneyland Resort Paris in 1992 (opening year) can be seen in the you-tube clip embedded below.
However, his involvement with Disney went beyond his frequent visit to the Disney theme parks and its love for everything Disney that resulted in an incredible collection of Disney artifacts (some of which were created especially for him by the Walt Disney Company). As member of the “Jackson 5″ he also performed in the Disneyland Park. The Disney Blog found a short clip of them performing a medley of their hits in 1974 on the sailing ship Columbia in the park. With the Jackson 5 Michael Jackson also recorded a cover version of the popular Disney song “Zip A Dee Doo Dah”.
However, the contribution to the world of Disney that is much better known is his performance as “Captain EO” in the 4D movie of the same title from 1986 directed by Francis Ford Coppola and executive-produced by George Lucas. In it Captain EO and his desolate crew on a space ship are chosen to travel to the world of the evil Supreme Leader, played by Anjelica Huston, to bring her a gift … the gift of love … in the form of Michael Jackson music that eventually – after mayhem ensues during the mission – results in her transforming and the world becoming a better place. The 4D movie originally premiered at Disneyland Anaheim, but was later also showcased in EPCOT at Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland Park as well as the Disneyland Park at Disneyland Resort Paris, before it was replaced with “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience”. The movie included a score written by James Horner as well as the two songs “We Are Here to Change the World” and “Another Part of Me” written and performed by Michael Jackson for the movie. “Another Part of Me” was later released on Michael Jackson’s album “Bad”, while “We Are Here to Change the World” wasn’t released officially till 2004 when it surfaced on the collection “Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection” (the score by James Horner btw. was never officially released).
His death has resulted in detailed obituaries in the professional media and also numerous posts on various blogs. Didier Ghez posted an excerpt of an interview with Bob Thomas on his Disney History blog in which Bob Thomas remembers taking Michael Jackson along for an interview with Hazel George, who was the official Walt Disney Studio nurse at the times of Walt Disney – funny story giving a surprising look as Michael Jackson, the person he used to be. The article is also accompanied by a cover of the “Disney Adventures” magazine from 1993 featuring Michael Jackson.
With Michael Jackson not only has Disney lost one of its most avid fans and an contributor to the legacy of the theme parks, but the world has also lost one if not the greatest pop artists of all time who brought joy and fun through his great music to billions around the world – despite the controversy that surrounded him in his last years. The whole team of the Mousekingdom Blog wants to say “Thanks for the music Michael” and also extend its heartfelt condolences to Michael Jackson’s family and friends.