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
22 hours ago