Michael Jackson, Date unknown.
Michael Jackson Tribute
Footprinting Ceremony
held on Thursday, November 3, 2011
Born: August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana
Died: June 25, 2009, in Los Angeles, California, age 50
Singer / Songwriter Michael Jackson was a complex man of many faces. Like others before him in the music business, Jackson branched out into film, television and "videos" to promote his recordings. With his passing in 2009, his family arranged to have Jackson's trademark glove, the handprints of his three children, as well as Jackson's own signature imbedded in the Forecourt. Say what you will, Jackson remains a potent force in our world.

Michael was the eighth of ten children born to Katherine and Joe Jackson. Both parents were musicians, so it was only natural that they should teach their children; Joe was a very stern taskmaster. A group of the boys was formed in 1964, and became The Jackson Five in 1965. The group won a talent contest and toured the "chitlin' circuit" as an opening act.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Michael Jackson Tribute Forecourt block. Executed by Unknown, Thursday, January 26, 2012. 60 x 39 inches.
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They played everywhere and anywhere they could get a gig. Finally, in 1967, The Jackson Five won a talent contest at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem New York. After making a few records for a Gary Indiana label, The Jackson Five signed with Berry Gordy and his Motown Records in 1969. The whole family moved to Los Angeles.

Huge hits followed: "I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save" and "I'll Be There." were only a few. The group appeared on The ABC Comedy Hour aired over ABC in March 1972, but Michael began to perform as a solo singer; he sang "Ben's Song" from Ben (released in June 1972) with Lee Montgomery, and did a duet with Roberta Flack of the song "When We Grow Up" in the Free to Be. . . You and Me special aired over ABC in March 1974. While making his first solo albums, he still appeared with The Jackson Five on shows like Soul Train (where they performed their hit "Dancing Machine") aired in syndication in October 1974.

Quitting Motown for Epic Records in 1976, the girls in the family joined the line-up, which was now called The Jacksons. Michael wrote many songs for the group. A seriously demanding concert schedule took the group all over the whole wide world.

In what many thought would be the beginning of a brilliant movie career, Jackson appeared as the Scarecrow in The Wiz (released in October 1978) with Diana Ross as Dorothy, but the film failed to win a large audience. It was while shooting The Wiz in New York, that Jackson became aware of what would eventually be called "hip hop," which would greatly influence the singer.

Jackson's very successful solo album Off the Wall was released in 1979, but was too early for it to have any videos (MTV would launch in August 1981). When Jackson's next solo album, Thriller, was released, it sold very well, but the release of Jackson's promotional videos like Michael Jackson: Beat It (released in March 1983), Michael Jackson: Billie Jean (released in March 1983) and especially Michael Jackson: Thriller (released in December 1983 and played in a 3D version at the Chinese in September 2018), push sales into the stratosphere. It remains the second top-selling album of all-time, with 33 million copies sold.

A promotional video documenting one of Jackson's most successful fund-raising events We Are the World: The Story Behind the Song was released in January 1985, and became an internationally huge seller. The musical film Captain EO (opened in September 1986 in specially constructed theatres at Disneyland parks) was a 17-minute 3D musical, written by George Lucas and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

In support of his 1987 album Bad, Jackson hired director Martin Scorsese to film the video of the title track, Michael Jackson: Bad (released in August 1987). In 1988, Jackson's autobiography, Moonwalker, was published, becoming a huge seller. A year later, a compilation video with new footage starring Joe Pesci as the bad guy Mr. Big, Moonwalker (released in June 1989), hit video stores and became a huge seller.

In support of the release of his next album, Dangerous, Jackson re-teamed with his Thriller director John Landis to film the video for Michael Jackson: Black or White (released in November 1991); a concert of the Dangerous World Tour was recorded as Michael Jackson Live in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour, aired over HBO in October 1992.

A biopic telefilm of the Jackson family story was released as The Jacksons: An American Dream with Angela Bassett as Katherine Jackson, aired over ABC in November 1992. Jackson performed at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena California, at the Superbowl XXVII Halftime Show aired over NBC in January 1993. The broadcast reached 133.4 million viewers in the US.

Jackson's marriage to longtime pal Lisa Marie Prestley in May 1994 was short-lived, ending in divorce in December 1995. Meanwhile, Jackson released a double album of "greatest hits" and new material, promoted with the video Michael Jackson: HIStory Teaser (released in June 1995); one of these new songs ("Childhood [Theme from Free Willy 2]") was written and performed by Jackson to be used in the film Free Willy 2 (released in July 1995). While on tour, Jackson married Debbie Rowe in Sydney, Australia, in November 1996. Rowe was six months pregnant with Michael Joseph "Prince" Jackson Jr, who was born in February 1997. Rowe gave birth to a daughter, Paris Jackson, in April 1998. Are you with us still?

Jackson did his own voice for six episodes of the animated The Lionhearts aired in syndicationin December 1998, with William H. Macy as Leo the M-G-M Lion; by this time, he and Rowe had divorced in October 1999. In February 2002 a son of Jackson's was born to an anonymous, artificially impregnated mother. His name bacame Prince Michael "Blanket" Jackson II.

He took a small role as Agent M in Men in Black II (released in July 2002) with Tommy Lee Jones. Another biopic, Man in the Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story was aired over VH1 in August 2004, and starred Flex Alexander as Jackson. Most people disliked it. Michael Jackson's last acting credit was as Agent M J in the spoof film Miss Castaway and the Island Girls shown at some film festivals and released direct-to-video in July 2005.

Since Jackson's death from cardiac arrest in 2009, there have been quite a number of documentaries released about the man and his musical accomplishments:

This Is It (released in October 2009) was filmed during preparations for another world tour by Jackson; the Cirque du Soleil Jackson tribute show was filmed as Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour aired over ARTE in France and Germany in March 2012; The 10 Faces of Michael Jackson aired over Channel 5 in the UK in February 2015.

Spike Lee directed the doc Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall aired over Showtime in February 2016. The documentary Leaving Neverland, aired over HBO in March 2019, has cast a dark cloud over Jackson's associations with young boys during his career.

The square to the right of the tribute block is indeed the signature and hand and footprints of Michael Jackson. The block was made at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas Nevada. In 1998, the Riviera wanted to start their own "walk of fame," so they started with the biggest star they could think of: Michael Jackson. The walk of fame never happened, so the 500 pound block sat in storage until 2011, when it was put up for auction. The Jackson Family was the winning bidder; they thought it only proper that this block should accompany the tribute block in the Forecourt.
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Michael Jackson Tribute Forecourt ceremony, Thursday, January 26, 2012. Placing their hands into the cement are Michael "Prince" Jackson Jr, Prince Michael "Blanket" Jackson II, and Paris Jackson. Behind them are unknown performers from the Cirque du Soleil show Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour.
Michael Jackson Forecourt block. Executed by Unknown. June 1998. 30 x 30 inches.
Riviera Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada. Michael Jackson ceremony, sometime in June 1989. An unknown cement artist places Jackson's hand in the cement. Photo courtesy of Nate D. Sanders Auctions.
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