Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Doesn't Live Here Anymore

I knew something was wrong when helicopters began to hover over the neighborhood about 2:00 pm Los Angeles time. There were as many as three news choppers in the sky at once for a while. It eventually became too loud to ignore. After I knew why they were there I snapped this picture from my back yard.

When I moved to Encino there was mention of the fact that the Jackson Family home was near my house. It was not Michael's home, but he was there some of the time. A picture of Michael Jackson posing with the owner of a jewelry store at the corner of my street and Ventura Blvd. hung on the wall of the shop. Before his child molestation trial there were occasional "sitings" of Michael on Ventura. Celebrities going about their daily life is not that unusual in Los Angeles.

Celebrities always die in threes. It has become a running joke between my friend Harry Anderson and me. When two celebrities die I call him to see if he is feeling okay. Ed McMahon died, then Farrah Fawcett so I was planning to call Harry to continue the joke. Before I could my son called me from UCLA where a crowd was already gathering at the medical center. Michael Jackson was dead. "That's the third, Dad, so you don't need to call Harry, " he said.

I turned the television to CNN but it could have been any station; they were all covering the same story. It was true, the King of Pop was gone. Some of the live shots were coming from the choppers I could see and hear from my back yard. The "eyes in the sky" were focused on the Jackson Family home. It became clear that the Jackson house was much closer to me than I ever realized.

The choppers left for a while as they followed a medivac helicopter carrying Michael's body to the coroners office. Soon they were back and stayed until after 11:00pm for a live feed to the local news. We had planned dinner outside but were eventually driven indoors by the noise.

So ends the strange life of a very talented man. I think of him as the Sammy Davis, Jr. of our generation. That is if Sammy lived with a chimp at a theme park, carved his face to look like Peter Pan, bleached his face and liked small boys.

It is hard to watch the old footage of an eleven year old boy singing "ABC"as lead singer for the Jackson Five. It is all too obvious now the toll this early popularity took on the little boy. There will be questions and blame thrown toward the "handlers" and "enablers" that surrounded him at the end. We may never know what really killed him, but my bet is on fame itself.

He was a money machine who needed to generate some more cash after massive legal fees. A sold out tour was to begin in weeks. Like a pedigree race horse, any treatment, any drug, any excess would be acceptable to get him back on the track. It wasn't his bizarre life style that killed him, it was his talent, or more rightly, the fame that his talent ignited.

Now begins the funeral circus and the media frenzy that was a constant refrain to his life. For a while everyone will be asking each other, "Where were you when you heard?"
I heard helicopters.

Rest in peace Michael.

As you were,

1 comment:

Roomie said...

Mandy said that this was in your neighborhood.....
Carry on,