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Local broadcasters and Michael Jackson

If I seem to have a Michael Jackson fixation, it’s only because the best way to generate traffic on this blog is to post about current stuff. Alas, Jacko’s death has made him larger than life and fodder for endless blogging. In the future, though, I will try to limit my Jackson posts to only what’s relevant.

In Beeville, Texas, the South Texas town I grew up in, Michael Jackson was the rage in 1983, 1984 and 1985. And again in 1987 when he released his album Bad. I’ll never forget watching the Grammy Awards, seeing Jackson win practically every award and hearing his surprisingly high-pitched voice as he gave one speech after another. I believe he even thanked his parents for bringing him into the world. This was also around the time he suffered burns from an accident while filming a Pepsi commercial. He wore sunglasses during the Grammy’s and then briefly took them off.

The next day, a local radio station in Beeville, the DJs decided to have fun with something like “Make Fun of Michael Jackson” day. They took turns imitating Michael Jackson and even speaking with a voice that deepened, suggesting Jackson took hormones to make his voice high. And, of course, some called in to complain.

Today, NBC, ABC and CBS are all running live broadcasts of Jackson’s memorial. You’d think Jackson was a former president. Last I saw before switching over to Rick Bayless’ cooking show, Queen Latifah was memorializing Jackson.

Looking at this send-off reminds me of how polar opposite things can be. When actor Richard Mulligan died of cancer in 2000, he left behind two requests: his bodies was to be cremated and no memorial service was to be performed. Granted, Mulligan didn’t have an iconic musical career where he sold more scores of millions of albums, but in his own right he was a very respected actor—both on screen and on the stage.

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