Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Brief Note on Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video was one of the first, if not the first, music video to really combine film and music. Most of the early videos were just more or less studio films of the band playing. I say this as someone who remembers when MTV came on the air.

Those around at the time might remember that the "Thriller" girl had been in Playboy at some point before the video came out. I can't remember now what month and year. I was in grad school and working as a clerk in the college library's microfilm / special collections department. While most of the magazines on microfilm were self serve, some, including Playboy were behind closed doors and had to be retrieved. This wasn't for prudery but to prevent mutilation. Believe it or not there were people who would carve out the centerfolds of black and white microfilm. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. Forcing people to ask for the film and return it when they were finished discouraged the frivolous and the only mildly whacky. There was such a steady stream of sheepish young men (and a few women) asking for the "Thriller" girl reel that I just kept it on my desk instead of going and getting it all the time. Quite a few people who wanted to see the pictures weren't sure what issue she was in so I memorized the month and page (lost to memory soon after the fad ended).

Jackson is one of the few musicians I've seen in concert. He could really put on a show.

No comments: