Friday, June 26, 2009

The Day 80's Pop Culture Died

If you read my previous entry, you know that yesterday I sold one of my favorite 80’s icons, a stuffed Alf I had sitting around for the past twelve years. Later that day I was saddened, though not surprised, to read that Farrah Fawcett, herself a 70’s/80’s icon (thanks to “Charlie’s Angels”) had passed away after a struggle with cancer. Then last night my husband broke the news to me that Michael Jackson had died.

My sister was the big fan in our family. Not only did she have fan buttons, but she glued sequins all over one of my mom’s old white gloves to make her own personal Michael Jackson glove. The zippered jacket she got as a birthday present from my aunt was her most prized possession during the height of his popularity in the 80’s. I have a picture of her wearing it unzipped with a white shirt and a skinny red tie underneath. We used to tease her mercilessly about her devotion. I remember her watching the 1984 Grammy awards with the same kind of interest she now dedicates to “Dancing with the Stars” or “American Idol.”

As kids we owned most of his music on cassettes. We probably all loved “Thriller” the best, especially the video!

One of my favorite Michael Jackson-related memories is the episode of “Silver Spoons” with Alfonso Ribeiro (before he was Carlton and a Tom Jones fan in “Fresh Prince”). He was playing Rick’s new friend, who, in an effort to be popular, told everyone he knew Michael Jackson (this was actually true since he danced in a Pepsi commercial with him). He hired an impersonator to come to a local restaurant, who ends up getting mobbed and Alfonso eventually confesses it was all a lie.

Speaking of Michael Jackson impersonators, my parents saw one once in California and managed to get a few good pictures. They thought he was the real thing until someone clued them in that it was only an impersonator. Judging by the photos, I guess I can see how they might have gotten confused, though I doubt the real Michael Jackson would have gotten that dressed up just to walk down the street, not to mention he probably wouldn’t go out in public unless he was incognito.

Say what you will about his fall from grace. He was still a record breaking rock legend who, at least in my book, will always share a pedestal with Elvis and the Beatles.

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