Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thirteen and NOT thrilled

Are you old enough to remember a time before MTV? If you are, then you might remember Friday Night Videos. And you will probably remember that Michael Jackson was a dominant presence on the scene.

Any youngun's reading this, take notes. There actually was a time before MTV. A time where you had to get up to change channels on the television, using a knob. And there were only 3-5 channels to choose from, depending on how good your antenna was. Many of them were even in color, and no we did not have to fight off the dinosaurs to get to the tv. Shut up.

I have to get something out of the way here, a little confession of sorts. I loved Michael Jackson when I was 12 and 13. Loved him! To the point of obsession. The record Thriller came out less than 3 weeks before my 12th birthday. I never owned the record, but a lady I babysat for did. After I put her kid to bed, I would play that record over and over and over until it was time to go home. Her record player was in her bedroom, and I would dance around her bedroom, or just lay on her bed and listen to the wonder and magic that was the music of Michael Jackson.

One of my sisters worked at Dairy Queen, and for my 13th birthday she made me an ice cream cake with Michael Jackson on it. I only let people eat the outer edges of it, NO ONE was allowed to cut into his face! I saved that shit in the freezer in the basement so no one would be tempted by it. (As a funny side-note, when I checked on it months later I found that my brother had cut into the middle of it and literally eaten Michael Jackson's face. I was not amused at the time. And by not amused, I mean complete hissy fit. Asshole!)

Right around the time of my 13th birthday, the video for Thriller was set to come out on Friday Night Videos. This was a HUGE deal! The network built up the suspense for weeks. Everyone talked about how it was set up like a movie, the dancing and special effects were unbelievable, the budget was astronomical, nothing like this had ever been done before! I was foaming at the mouth in anticipation.

The big weekend came, and it turned out to be a weekend that I spent at my father and future step-mother's house. Which meant I got to spend the evening at a bar watching them drink. I remember begging my father to make sure we were back to his house by 11:30 so I could see the video. He didn't make any promises, but said if we weren't home he would make sure one of the tv's in the bar was tuned to the right station so I could see it.

The thing was, if you missed it the first time, you really missed it. There was no re-cap an hour later. If you were lucky, you might see it the following week on the next episode of Friday Night Videos, but you would be the only kid in eighth grade for that whole week who didn't see it.

I kept asking what time it was at the bar with my father. First it was 11:00, then it was 11:40. By the time the bartender turned the television to NBC, it was over. I had missed what I deemed to be one of the biggest events of my formidable years.

I have obviously never gotten over it, and blame this one single event for everything that has gone wrong in my life since then...

If you have 14 minutes of your life to waste, clicky the linky.

Thriller on youtube


Scope said...

Oh, I remember Friday Night Videos. Wasn't a big MJ fan. I remember watching it more for The Car's "You Might Think".

I don't think I saw the full cut of "Thriller" until college.

But, as a reporter for my college newspaper, I did watch the world premier of "Bad". I remember writing that "B.A.D." stood for "Boring And Dull

Venom said...

Never mind Scope - it's no shame to have loved Michael. That was before he lost his mind and started really carving his face up so, how we were to know.

If you love him now, well....

He was a good singer and a good dancer. Too bad he evolved into a train wreck.

Dr Zibbs said...

He was great.

chaos37 said...

God, that really sucks, I don't remember knowing anything about this! I also didn't know he was keeping you out all hours in a friggin bar at the age of 12! What a couple of jackasses, it makes me mad even though it's 25 years later. Although why I'm suprised by that makes no sense either.

Gwen said...

I was a huge Michael Jackson fan. Thriller was the very first cassette tape I bought for myself. I spent the next year wearing my headphones and signing along to PYT.

I wasn't allowed to stay up late enough to watch FNV so I would wait until my parents went to bed and then sneak back downstairs. I would drape a blanket over the TV and myself so the light wouldn't wake anyone up.

Cora said...

I think I was about 10 when Thriller came out. It was the biggest thing EVER!!!! I mean, seriously, it was all we talked about for months. Everyone was trying to do the dance and there was a waiting list at the video store to rent the video when it came out. I remember the day it was our turn to rent it and all the neighborhood kids came over and we were all ogling it in my living room. I knew girls with MJ posters on their bedroom walls with lipgloss kisses speckled all over his face. If you had told me back then when MJ would become, I never would have believed you. NEVER.

kate said...

Oh yeah, that was a BIG deal!! You should blame everything on having missed the debut of Thriller! To a thirteen yr. old girl, that was HUGE. Baaaaad parent.

Those early days of MTV? Magical.

Angie said...

I have not seen the whole video in forever! I got a little sick of the dance when everyone and their brother was doing the dance at their wedding and posting the video on you tube. Still love the song though. Doesn't everybody?

JoJo said...

I'm so sorry you missed it. I remember how important those TV special events were when I was a the year I pitched a huge temper tantrum in Hyannis b/c we wouldn't be home in time for Charlie Brown Christmas, and my father yelling at me that it'd be on again next year. He might as well said "It'll be on again long after you are dead". lol

I loved Friday Night Videos; I never missed started when I was in college. I'm sure we saw the debut of Thriller but I don't really remember for sure.

Although I do wonder...your brother carved out Michael's cake face around the time Michael himself started having plastic surgery. Maybe you actually had a "Michael Jackson voodoo cake" and didn't know it.

And by the way you young whipper snappers, I also remember watching TV shows that came with the tag line, "NOW IN COLOR!!!!" lol

Scope said...

I wasn't so much trying to diss Micheal or his music, but rather state that as an 18 year old guy raised on the Eagles, Southern Fried Rock, and Country, Mike was a little off my radar. I remember "Billy Jean" on FNV, but can't say I cared much one way or another.

Paige said...

Oh yeah, I so remember the Friday Night Videos. In junior high, the highlight of slumber parties was watching FNV. I think I was in 6th grade when Thriller came out. That was serious business.

I also remember the controversy over MTv when it first came out--not all my friends were allowed to watch it. What was that about?