Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Remember the time

Michael Jackson was such a superstar that it’s hard to find someone who isn’t at least familiar with the man & his music. I was one of many casual fans, and despite any failings, he will be missed. One of his greatest triumphs may be Captain Eo! Think about it. Who else could have gotten away with that? (Imaginary superheroes don’t count!) Michael Jackson was able to join up with George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola to make a short film for Disneyland. Even today, it’s kind of amazing to think about them working together. Watching the film, I can recall the applause from the audience after the captain began to rise up onto the deck. I can remember the brief applause at the end. I can remember buying the shirt. You know, the shirt he wears at the end of “Captain Eo” as he sings, “You’re just another part of me!” That shirt. It could glow in the dark. I wish I still had it - I could send it over to “Neato Coolville!”

I first began to become aware of Jackson during an unfortunate event. I recall the numerous news reports after he was accidentally burned filming a Pepsi commercial. Not the best introduction to MJ, I know! But when we finally did see the commercial, we loved the song. We hadn’t heard “Billie Jean” yet, so this was our introduction to the tune that would prompt the purchase of “Thriller.” (This was also before I got my MTV. I wanted my MTV, but I didn’t get it until about 1986 or so). Then to watch the “Making of Thriller” video, which included the classic moment from “Motown 25” when he “seemed to defy the laws of nature,” as many have said recently.

In the past few days, I’ve realized at least two things that I’ve picked up from Michael Jackson. First is the habit of wearing white socks when I wear jeans. Second is the habit of twirling around in a circle when I dance. I don’t do it as well as he did, that’s for sure. His dancing brought him the respect & friendship of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. His music brought him the respect of just about every other artist in the 1980s, and many more beyond. My Captain Eo shirt is gone, but Michael Jackson’s talent lives on, and always will.

Cartoonist Fred Hembeck has written about something that happened on Tuesday that I thought was pretty horrible. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought so:

So I watched some of the videos and listened to some CDs, newly freed from storage, watched some more news reports--until, up on my TV screen, Joe Jackson appeared, being interviewed about his son's untimely death on the red carpet at a BET event by a CNN reporter, blithely using the opportunity to slip in a plug for his new record label!! Unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable.

Thanks for the comments, Fred. Check up on Fred’s latest blog postings and artwork here:

And a final note: Could we PLEASE stop all these celebrity deaths? Karl Malden passed away today! Knock it off, guys! Uh, stop dying, that is! (I know you don’t have ultimate control over those things, but please, do all you can!)


SIGNING IN: In my May “Star Wars” postings, I didn’t mention that I happened to have a photo of Michonne Bourrigue, who played Aura Sing in “Phantom Menace.” I didn’t mention it because I didn’t have it! But after digging through the archives, I’ve managed to uncover this shot of Michonne signing autographs. Anybody know what she’s doing these days? Still an actress? Still alive? Still hot? Okay, ignore that last one. Anyway, here she is from the San Diego Comic Con a few years ago. They’re doing it again this year, of course, and scheduled to be there are talents such as voice artist June Foray and comedian Stan Freeburg. Read all about it here:


MY BRAVE FACEBOOK: In an effort to locate someone (who could possibly be interviewed for this blog, no less!), I joined the Facebook service. I didn’t find the person I was looking for, but I did find many friends from MuppetCentral and even a few old friends who I’ve wanted to stay in contact with. It’s very cool, and now you can visit the “other side of the face.” You would just do a Facebook search for “Steve Sesameguy” and I should show up. Good luck. Hope you have better luck finding me than I did trying to find someone else!


COOL NEW LINKS: For some insight into the latest happenings in the Disneyland resort in California as well as Disney World in Florida, it’s hard to do better than to check out the Mousepad forums on Mouseplanet dot com. Check it out in the links. And if you like good film reviews, you’ll enjoy Cinema Cervello. It also features a weekly poll. It’s new to the links as well! I’ve been visiting these sites recently and you can sometimes find my comments there. See you there!


GO LAKER: Disneyland held a parade for the Los Angeles Lakers to celebrate their big win, and the only one who showed up was Kobe Bryant! Well, at least the Disney characters were there, including the “rarely seen” Daisy Duck. Enjoy the blog posting with photos here:


ON YOUTUBE: CAROLINE, COOKIE AND YOU: Former MTV VJ and (sigh) high school dream date Carolyne Heldman produced some yoga videos for Expert Village a few years back, and they can finally be watched on YouTube. You can see one of them in my favorites folder. There you’ll also find the standard Sesame Street clips, including the rarely seen Bruno and the Trashmen, and the classic “smallest one gets the cookie” skit. They‘re on my YouTube page. (And needless to say, check out SesameStreet dot com to find a treasure of other rare skits.) And if I haven’t mentioned it already, check out two friends of mine singing the “California furlough blues,” a tune that rings loudly in the ears of many working people these days, who are just thankful that they’re working.