Sitting beside Studio 54 co-founder Steve Rubell, Michael is interviewed by Jane Pauley about the famed New York City nightclub. Longtime friend Liza Minnelli and Broadway actress Lisa Mordente join them toward the end of the video.
From the Downtown LA Film Festival:
Narrated by renowned actor Robert Hooks, the film opens with the Jackson 5 being greeted by a group of dancers and drummers at the airport. The camera follows Michael Jackson and the family cinema-verité style on their first-ever visit to Africa, including live footage of their visit to an African market, classic live footage of the group spontaneously performing “Hum Along and Dance,” and extraordinary footage of the Jackson 5 performing on stage before a packed SRO audience at the height of their career in the mid-Seventies.
The history of the film is nearly as interesting as the footage itself, explains Jaymes A. Hines, president of Hines Media Group. “It was made by a group of African investors who ran out of money trying to finish the film. In 1982, the owner of this film, an international businessman (who wishes to remain anonymous), bartered with one of the original producers, acquiring a 16mm print of this rare documentary, in exchange for a rough diamond.”
Years later, the film’s owner reached out to Gregory Gates, Executive Producer of ImageNation Cinema Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to progressive media by and about people of color, to help him find a collector/buyer for the never-before-screened work. “The makers of this movie shared of our mission to unite throughout the African Diaspora using film and music,” said Gates. “We are extremely proud to help further their agenda, while honoring Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5.”
In 1973, “Ben” was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Original Song category for the movie of the same name. Michael performed the song live on stage in front of an audience at the televised ceremony.
The song went to #1 on the Billboard charts the year before, making Michael the third-youngest solo artist (along with Stevie Wonder and Donny Osmond before him) to achieve such an accomplishment.
Michael Tells: ‘I’m A Girl Watcher!’
Tiger Beat; September 1972
Have you ever had that weird feeling that someone was staring at you—watching your every move? If you have, you might discover that the someone is none other than Michael Jackson!
He was leaning against the tree, whistling a nameless little tune. The sky—so blue that it hurt the eyes to stare up too long. But that was all right because he wasn’t looking at the sky. His eyes were busy elsewhere!
Michael grinned to himself. There was nothing that could top what he was doing right now! Standing here so casually, with his thumbs stuck through his belt loops, no one could guess that he was practicing an art.