After our second show in Dallas Texas I ended up winding down in my good friend John's room. Some how we ended up talking about movies/tv shows that influenced us as children. He showed me YouTube clips of Dot and Kangaroo. A lovely little show with music and cartoons mixed with live clips from the Australian outback. I in turn showed him my all time favorite childhood/teenage obsession Captain EO (click here for the first half and here for the second half, which has the music and dancing). Captain EO, a 3D movie at Disneyland staring Michael Jackson and Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, ran from 1986-1997. Living in Anaheim, I had a year round pass to the park, and Captain EO was a staple in my life. John and I watched the 20 minute film and reminisced about how RIDICULOUSLY talented Michael Jackson was and how truly sad he seemed now. It seemed such a shame that someone who has influenced so many people all over the world should be driven to such a sad state. What brought us all so much joy and gave us some many wonderful memories also seemed to be what fueled his depression and seemingly lonely life. We had no idea that the next day we would learn he had passed away.
I still can't believe he is gone. I know EVERYONE was affected by him. We all have memories that we associate with his music, amazing ability as a performer. While everyone turns his death into a crazy circus, I thought I'd share some of my favorite memories.
When I was 5 years old I fully believed that he was my best friend. My mom loves to tell the story of how I burst into tears when she shut the car door. As she struggled to find out what had happened, I quickly informed her she had not let Michael into the car. Hahaha... what a crazy kid! My mom, never one to burst a bubble, lovingly opened the door and let him join me in the car. Thanks, Mom.
A few years later, my aunt says, we walked into a shopping center and I stopped dead in my tracks, grabbed my chest as if I couldn't breathe. She was very worried until she realized I had stopped because I spotted a poster of MJ and, clearly my heart skipped a beat. I was OB-SESSED.
Then... came Captain EO. I often try to explain the glory of this film. When I meet people who have seen it, there is always a spark of excitement. When I was in high school I found a VH1 special that showed the rehearsal process for the big dance number "We are Here to Change the World." I watched that video with painstaking diligence and recorded each step into a notebook. I then proceeded to teach the dance to the entire Associate Student Body leadership team. It was really amazing. We even made shirts that looked like the shirt he wears under his space suit that read "We are here to change the world" on the back. I still think it was a pretty brilliant idea. And... it was so much fun! Captain EO closed when I was 17, and I'll never forget how sad I was when it was replaced by "Honey I Shrunk the Audience."
THEN... in 2003 my sister and I went to visit a friend who was working at Universal Studios in the Terminator stunt show. As we waited outside to go in to see his show I got a phone call. My friend had stepped backstage on a quick break to tell me that MICHAEL JACKSON was in the audience of his show. My friend told me where he would be exiting. My sis and I freaked. We ran straight into a shop to buy a pen and headed toward the back of the theatre. I am not usually one to approach celebrities. I feel like it is invasive and I think they should be able to live their lives without being attacked by swarms of people. BUT this was Michael Jackson. His life was far from normal, and he had meant so much to me. We spotted him with a few friends and few security guards. We got his autograph on the back of a ticket stub and my sis clicked a great close up pic of he and me. I spoke to him about Captain EO, he was super sweet, a little weird (of course) and very gracious. I still feel so bad about not taking a pic of my sis with him. But, I think you can see her face in the reflection of his sun glasses.
A few days have passed since the news of his death was confirmed. I know I didn't "know" him. But, it still feels so strange knowing he is gone. I know it seemed as if the Michael Jackson we all loved has been gone for quite some time now, but he was still a force bringing new ideas to the entertainment world. It's so sad knowing his upcoming tour will not happen. I don't think the world has ever seen nor will we ever see an entertainer who compares.