Bringing you the latest news in the wall-to-wall coverage of the death of the King of Pop, we’d like to let you know what stories are obsessing not just the celebu-tainment fluff programs like “Extra” and “The Insider” (damn you, Lara Spencer!), but also the legit news organizations like CNN and MSNBC that have worked themselves into a frenzied lather with the incessant “Breaking News” news crawls or bloated panels of experts.
Hey, who knew Al Sharpton had such a puffy, misshapen head? Deepak Chopra! Compadre! Who knew you and MJ were so tight? Hey, Diane Dimond, there you are! You’re chummying it with Matt Lauer there on the “Today” show, thinking you’re all serious and witty like him! Looks like you now have plenty of TV time again to re-start your creepy tales of the life of MJ.
Let’s all wrap our grief-stricken, news-addled brains around the latest the news or gossip hounds have to offer:
- Neverland, where the Today Show broadcast his show live this morning with a bored Lauer, will not be the venue for a still-to-be-announced public memorial. Tell that to the crowds of people that have lined up since last weekend. Now tell them to head south to the LA Staples Center, where the memorial may be held in the next few days. The Staples Center is also where Jackson was rehearsing for his now-cancelled London QE2 Arena shows.
- Lauer interviewed Jermaine Jackson this morning, in segments that rivaled Obama, the Pope and Brad Pitt in their length and overall hype. At least they didn’t unleash Ann Curry! The essence of what Jermaine, ever-attention hungry, said: I wish it had been me who died, and no, I don’t believe my brother was a drug abuser. Oh, and praise Allah.
- Cherilyn Lee, a nurse-for-hire, went on Larry King Live last night to reveal that she had received a phone call from Jackson recently asking for an IV-medication, Diprivan, a heavy sedative which supposedly is used to anesthesize pre-op patients. Jackson said he couldn’t sleep. Celeb doctor after celeb doctor have gone on TV saying that they have never heard of Deprovan being taken outside of a medical facility. It can also kill you in large doses.
- All Top 10 titles in iTunes and Amazon are Michael Jackson. Fans or people who feel nostalgic amid their sadness have ransacked their record stores. Pity the fools who get there too late, or wonder first where the record stores are in the first place. (Our pick for MJ’s best: 1979’s elegant and remarkable “Off the Wall”)
- Debbie Rowe, Jackson’s second wife and supposed mother to two of the kids, Prince and Paris, says she now may want to have custody of the kids. That includes Blanket, which is supposedly the name of the youngest. Rowe had apparently given contradictory interviews, at first saying she didn’t want them, to then saying maybe she does.
- A court in LA yesterday awarded temporary custody of the kids to Jackson matriarch, Katherine Jackson, who is all of 79.
- In a Jackson will, it was also reported that Michael selected Diana Ross as an alternative custodian of the children, just in case his Mom couldn’t handle this. Diana Ross may or may not have been informed about this –you know, she’s kind of done raising five grown children already.
- It has been revealed that Joe Jackson, the patriarch, has been left out of the will entirely. This comes as no surprise to many who knew the Jacksons well, or those who followed Michael’s frequent admissions that Dad used to beat the kids’ ass a lot, especially as the Svengali was whipping the kids into shape as the Jackson 5. Remember the cheesy “Jacksons: An American Dream” film years ago when he slapped the kids around? Yeah, it was like that.
- Joe is a piece of work. Looking like a blue-eyed octogenarian gangster in a grey pinstriped suit, he decides to attend last Sunday’s BET Awards not to solemnly honor his son’s passing and career. No, he went to plug his new fledgling record label and sit there in the audience as Lil’ Wayne dropped his drawers on stage or as Drake, new thug wanna-be, rapped about his sexual conquests.
- Which may explain why, in case you didn’t know, Joe and Katherine Jackson do not live together anymore. Joe’s in Vegas, Katherine is in the Encino home. A reporter on NBC’s Today Show actually said they were able to find some other missing Jackson brothers, one a mechanic in LA and another who was stocking shelves in San Diego.
So as we anticipate the many weeks, months and years of Michael Jackson death and how-troubled-he-was coverage and all the attendant industries it will create, here’s our pick for the most fascinating MJ factoid that’s been uncovered. Did you know that Michael Jackson was an inventor? Remember the 1988 music video, “Smooth Criminal”? Take a look at the video here and remember the iconic moment when he performs an almost 45-degree lean; it happens at the very end, and it’s pretty cool.
You thought that was real? Really? Come on! Well, OK, maybe we were young and naïve back then, staying up to watch Friday Night Videos on NBC, but apparently this feat in the music video was achieved by some wires and harnesses. A ha! The trickery of special effects. Michael needed to then be able to perform this live so in preparation for his 1992 world tour, he had to find a way to create the same effect every night on stage. That’s where the magic shoes come in.
The shoes fit into a peg that then rises out of the floor. To provide stability, the shoes also have a rigid anklet to keep his feet in place, thus allowing him to lean forward so dramatically.
In 1993 Jackson filed a US patent, # 5255452, in which:
“the shoes are “a system for allowing a shoe wearer to lean forwardly beyond his center of gravity by virtue of wearing a specially designed pair of shoes which will engage with a hitch member movably projectable through a stage surface. The shoes have a specially designed heel slot which can be detachably engaged with the hitch member by simply sliding the shoe wearer’s foot forward, thereby engaging with the hitch member”
Now, you don’t actually think technology is always going to work for you, do you? In this video, you can see the special shoes put to work live. In a video from 1992, Jackson and dancers perform the classic lean during a dance sequence. If you want to go to 3:55 into the video, you can see the dancer on the right having a pretty tough time extricating himself from the pegs on the floor. He barely misses a beat, consummate dancer that he is, of course, but it’s obviously an example of something that, even back then, was something completely manufactured. RIP, Michael.