Oct 31 2011

Happy Halloween to Michael and MJ-777 Readers!

Category: Art,Books,Photos,Quotes About MJSeven @ 7:52 pm

I wanted to share just one example of the magnificent artwork of Sunflowers for Michael’s Eliza Lo, who every week creates magnificent drawings to accompany the stunning flowers fans help deliver to Michael. For more about Sunflowers for Michael, visit this page: https://www.mj-777.com/?page_id=3401, and join Sunflowers for Michael on Facebook!

Happy Howwwloweeen to Michael and Fan-mily!

Happy Howwwloweeen to Michael and Fan-mily!

Thriller‘ has of course become pretty much a standard part of Halloween, so don’t miss this piece I did quite a while back all about Thriller, which includes details about the spooky house in the video, where the dance sequence was filmed, information about the Palace Threater whose marquee bore the words “Vincent Price Thriller” in the film, and best of all – the actual recording of all three verses of Vincent Price’s spooky rap in the song, including Michael, Vincent Price, and Michael’s sound engineer Bruce Swedien. Rod Temperton wrote three verses of that rap, but we only typically hear two of them!  You can hear all three here.

But wait, there’s more. . .

Michael’s messy room was scary!

During the filming of ‘Thriller‘, photography director Bob Paynter learned that Michael was a messy boy.

Bob Paynter, from Yarmouth UK remembers filming Michael Jackson’s music video for Thriller, which went on to become one of the greatest ever made.

Back in 1983, cameraman Bob Paynter was asked to film the music video for Thriller. The offer came from Hollywood director John Landis, who had taken on the project after Michael Jackson had seen John’s film American Werewolf in London and asked him to re-create it for one of his records.

Bob’s notes on Jackson 25 years later Bob, didn’t know who Michael Jackson was at the time, but he’d previously worked with John Landis on films such as Trading Places, and enjoyed their partnership, so took the job.

Electrifying” Bob first met Michael in the Betty Reynolds rehearsal rooms in Los Angeles rehearsing the famous dance routine for Thriller – in full make-up and prosthetics. He remembers: “Michael seemed shy with a quiet disposition, but his dancing was electrifying and had to be seen to be believed. He was just so talented.

He was very pleasant and polite – asking me about my family and the other films I had made. Michael was a real movie buff and absolutely loved Disney films.

After the rehearsals those working on the video went back to Michael’s house where Bob got a full tour and was very impressed with the fairytale decor and atmosphere.

He was not impressed however with [Michaels] bedroom, which he says was: “untidy, full of loads of souvenirs he’d collected through his career and had a huge pet boa constrictor in the corner!”

Bob laughs at the memories of John Landis being made to hold the snake and of them all watching a Chevy Chase film together on Michael’s projector.

Bob says: “I’m proud to have worked on Thriller – but I’m never totally happy with my work. I can always find things that I would have done differently.

Not only did he film the memorable video – he was also an extra in it. In the cinema scenes Bob sat next to Michael and actress, Ola Ray – who played his girlfriend on screen. The director, John Landis, gave Bob the job of making Ola act more scared!

Working with Michael had a profound effect on me. I’ve filmed many icons but none made me want to write down my memories of meeting them like he did.

SOURCE: Victoria Bartlett, BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/hampshire/content/articles/2009/06/26/bob_paynter_micheal_jackson_feature.shtml

Whats in the bag?

Douglas Kirkland shares: On the second or third day, someone brought a bag in, and out came Michael’s pet snake Muscles. We didn’t know what was in the bag, so some people were a little less than comfortable when he came out. And Michael got a giggle from how people responded to Muscles. He liked to hold him in his lap, and it made him feel in control. He was totally at ease when Muscles was there.

SOURCE: Book, ‘The Making of Thriller

Michael on the set of 'Thriller' with Muscles and Bill Bray

Michael on the set of 'Thriller' with Muscles and Bill Bray

Michael’s locked in his room!

When shooting was finished, [John] Landis and Folsey worked every night in an editing room on the Universal Studios lot; after the original editor departed for another project, Folsey took over cutting. Jackson liked to hang out with Landis and Folsey while they worked, driving himself and arriving in the editing room at about nine P.M. They’d bring in his preferred dinner of salad and brown rice and vegetables. “We’d look at cut footage and talk about things, and it was always fun,” says Folsey. “He was very appreciative and had good ideas.” All three were pleased with the way the short film was shaping up, and looked forward to the premiere at the Crest Theatre, in Westwood, on November 14. When Jackson departed at one or two in the morning, he’d find mash notes on the windshield of his Rolls.

About two weeks before the premiere, Michael called Branca and, hyperventilating and speaking in a halting voice, ordered him to destroy the negative of “Thriller.” After much cajoling he revealed the reason for his decision. “He said the Jehovah’s Witnesses heard he was doing a werewolf video,” Branca recalls. “They told him that it promoted demonology and they were going to excommunicate him.” Branca conferred with Folsey and Landis, and all agreed that the “Thriller” negative had to be safeguarded. Landis immediately removed the film canisters from the lab and delivered them to Branca’s office, where they were locked up.

Next, according to Landis, he got a call from Jackson’s security chief, Bill Bray, who reported that the singer had been in his room with the door locked for three days, refusing to come out. Landis drove to the Encino estate. “Bill and I kicked in the door, knocked it down, and Michael was lying there. He said, ‘I feel so bad.’ I said, ‘Michael, have you eaten?’ He hadn’t eaten. It was weird. I just said, ‘Look, I want you to see a doctor right now.’”

Landis returned to see Jackson the next day and found him at Frank DiLeo’s house, a few blocks from the Encino estate, in a more cheerful state. He apologized for issuing the order to destroy “Thriller”: “I’m sorry, John. I’m embarrassed.” Landis then informed the star that his directive had been ignored. “I said, ‘Michael, I wouldn’t let it be destroyed.’ He went, ‘Really? Because I think it’s really good.’ I go, ‘Michael, it’s great and you’re great.’

Still, Jackson was concerned about the video’s content. Branca, desperate to mollify his client, invented a ruse. “I said, ‘Mike, did you ever watch Bela Lugosi in Dracula ?’ He goes, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘Do you know that he was a devout Christian?’ I was just making it up. And I said, ‘Did you ever notice there were, like, disclaimers on those movies?’ He goes, ‘No.’ ‘So, Michael, before we destroy this film, let’s put a disclaimer on it saying that this does not reflect the personal convictions of Michael Jackson.’ ‘Oh!’ He liked it.” Problem solved. Says Landis, “You know, what’s wonderful about Michael—this is where genius comes in. No matter how wacky something was, it always had some amazing benefit. That disclaimer caused a lot of talk, and it generated a lot of interest.

The A-list turned out for the premiere at the 500-seat historic Crest Theatre: Diana Ross, Warren Beatty, Prince, Eddie Murphy. “I’ve been to the Oscars, the BAFTAs, the Emmys, and the Golden Globes, and I had never seen anything like this,” remembers Landis. Ola Ray looked for Jackson before the lights went down and found him in the projection booth. He told her that she looked beautiful, but refused her entreaty to come sit in the audience. “This is your night,” he told her. “You go enjoy yourself.” Landis warmed up the audience with a new print of the Mickey Mouse cartoon “The Band Concert.” Then came “Thriller,” with its sound mix cranked up to top volume. Fourteen minutes later the crowd was on its feet, applauding and crying, “Encore! Encore!” Eddie Murphy shouted, “Show the goddamn thing again!” And they did.

SOURCE: The Thriller Diaries

Tags: , , ,

2 Responses to “Happy Halloween to Michael and MJ-777 Readers!”

  1. Dialdancer says:

    Eliza’s work and the group are amazing.

    Treated the Halloweenies to the music from Michael’s Ghosts.
    I think they enjoyed I know I did.

  2. Christine says:

    Happy Halloween !
    I am very proud to be part of this wonderful group,Sunflowers for Michael, since May 2010, and also part of your silent readers 😉
    Thank you Seven !
    (from FRANCE)