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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 28, 2009

This week's edition of Halloween themed blog entries continues with the weekly edition of the TUESDAY TIMELINE.  And while I'll readily admit that this entry technically is not really Halloween themed, the subject has some links to Halloween pop culture.  And besides, with the date being three days before Halloween, I think most of you will understand.

So, let's not waste any more time, shall we?  Let's check out some of the other events that was taking place on this date throughout history, shall we?

1492 - Explorer Christopher Columbus discovers the island nation of Cuba on his first voyage of the New World

1538 - The Universidad Santo Tomas de Aquino - the very first university established in the New World - is established

1707 - At least five thousand people in Japan are killed in the 1707 Hoei earthquake

1776 - British forces arrive at White Plains, attack, and capture Charleston Hill from America

1848 - Spain's first railroad opens, with service operating between Barcelona and Mataro

1886 - The Statue of Liberty is dedicated in New York Harbor by President Grover Cleveland

1893 - Tchaikovsky's "Symphony No. 6" debuts in St. Petersburg, only nine days before the composer's death

1918 - Czechoslovakia is granted independence from Austria-Hungary

1919 - U.S. Congress passes the Volstead Act, setting the stage for Prohibition to begin with the arrival of the new decade

1929 - Black Monday at the New York Stock Exchange - the market would crash just one day later

1940 - Greece officially joins combat in World War II following Italy's invasion of the country through Albania

1942 - The Alaska Highway construction is completed

1958 - Buddy Holly makes his last television appearance on "American Bandstand" - he would die in a plane crash three months later

1962 - The Cuban Missile Crisis officially ends following Nikita Khrushchev's orders to remove all Soviet Missiles from Cuba

1965 - The construction of the St. Louis Arch is completed

1980 - Five of the original Mouseketeers from "The Mickey Mouse Club" gather in Burbank, California for a 25th anniversary reunion

1995 - The Baku Metro fire in Azerbaijan kills 289 people, making it the deadliest subway disaster in the world

2007 - Country singer Porter Wagoner dies in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 80

Now, I hope you're ready for celebrity birthdays, because October 28 is filled with them!  Warm birthday wishes go out to Joan Plowright, Charlie Daniels, Carl Davis, Lenny Wilkens, Jane Alexander, Curtis Lee, Dennis Franz, Wayne Fontana, Telma Hopkins, Bruce Jenner, Annie Potts, Desmond Child, Bill Gates, Mark Derwin, Daphne Zuniga, Lauren Holly, Sheryl Underwood, Jami Gertz, Andy Richter, Julia Roberts, Ben Harper, Greg Eagles, Brad Paisley, Joaquin Phoenix, Dayanara Torres, Lauren Woodland, Justin Guarini, Matt Smith, Frank Ocean, Lexi Ainsworth, Jasmine Jessica Anthony, and Sierra McCormick.

I told you there was a lot of them today!

Well, in this edition of the Tuesday Timeline, we're not going to focus on a birthdate.  Instead, we're going to consider this...a swan song of sorts.

We're only going to go back five years in the past to October 28, 2009.  And, we'll get to that date in a little while. 

But first things first, I want to ask all of you reading this entry a question.  Don't worry.  It's not a difficult one...well, unless you were born after 2009, that is.

Where were you when you heard about the death of Michael Jackson?

I can tell you exactly where I was.  I had just gotten home from work the afternoon of June 25, 2009, and at that time, the news was all about the passing of Farrah Fawcett, who had died earlier in the day.  I was flipping through the channels around 5:30 that day when I happened to stumble across MuchMusic (Canada's version of MTV).  Now, it had been years since I watched that channel, but something in me felt the need to pause and watch.  If I remember correctly they were doing some sort of live request show or something that involved a large crowd of people and a host.  It was right at that moment that the female VJ - obviously in a lot of shock - had announced that Michael Jackson had died at the age of 50 years old.

It was certainly a shock, especially as someone who grew up listening to his music as I certainly had.  This was the guy who moonwalked his way to success.  The man who had several chart toppers in his five decades on this earth.  The man who single-handedly lead the music video revolution with hits such as this one - perfect for every Halloween party.

(I had to try and pin a Halloween reference in this piece somewhere.)

Of course, over the past five years, the investigation into Michael Jackson's death has played out like a synopsis found deep inside the pages of Soap Opera Digest, and I won't really go into details surrounding all of that.  There's been thousands of articles about the subject, and a quick Google search will introduce you to the key players in the trial and investigation.  Besides, this entry isn't about his death anyway.

Instead, this post is about a film that was released four months after his death.  A film that offered heartbroken fans all over the world a little bit of closure.  A final project that Jackson had been working on prior to his death.

There was just one catch.  It wasn't supposed to be a film.  Rather, it was supposed to be a concert tour.

Well, okay.  I suppose "tour" isn't the right word to use, considering that the "This Is It" concert series was set to take place in one and only one venue.

The announcement for the series of concerts came in March 2009 at London's O2 arena.  At least seven thousand people gathered to hear Michael Jackson's big announcement.

The announcement was that he would be setting up residency in London to perform a series of fifty concerts exclusively from the O2 Arena in London.  Furthermore, it would be his final concert performances in London, stating that "when I say this is it, it really means this is it."

Hence the concert series being entitled "This Is It".  It was designed to be Michael Jackson's retirement from performing concerts.  It was unknown at the time whether he would stop recording music at that time, but as far as performing live, he made it perfectly clear that these shows would be some of his last.

Let me say this.  The promotion of this tour was unlike anything ever seen in the world of rock music.  After all, this was to be his first concert event in twelve years.  In fact, there was a commercial that aired on the British television channel ITV (seen above) that lasted an entire block of commercials, and cost roughly one million pounds to create.  The "This Is It" tour was already touted as Michael Jackson's ultimate comeback, and was one of the most anticipated concert events of 2009.  When tickets became available for sale to the public, internet servers crashed due to the influx of people wanting to purchase the tickets online, and almost 200,000 tickets were sold in just a couple of hours!

The "This Is It" tour would begin in July 2009 and conclude in late February/early March of the following year, and if the London concerts were a huge success, then there was also the possibility of expanding the tour to North America, Asia, Europe, and Australia, making it his final world tour.  It certainly looked like 2009 would become the year of Michael Jackson.

And it was...for all the wrong reasons.

As we all well know, Michael Jackson died eighteen days before the tour was to kick off on July 13, 2009, leaving everything in disarray.  All fifty concert dates were obviously cancelled, and fans who had purchased tickets received a full refund (or they could choose to keep their tickets as a very expensive souvenir of what was supposed to happen but never came to be.)

Now, you might think that would be the end of the "This Is It" story.  But alas, it wasn't quite least not just yet.

Even though Michael Jackson had died, there remained a lot of footage that was shot while Jackson was rehearsing for the big tour.  At least one hundred hours of footage filmed during the spring of 2009 existed, courtesy of Kenny Ortega, the choreographer and director of the "This Is It" concert tour. 

Initially, the footage shot by Ortega was only for his own use, and he made it clear that none of the footage shot was to ever be seen by the public.  Of course, this was before Michael Jackson's death.  After he passed, the decision was made to splice together the footage into a nearly two hour concert film showing fans all over the world what they might have expected to see had the "This Is It" concert tour went off as planned.

With Columbia Pictures and AEG Live backing the project, the film "This Is It" was officially released on October 28, 2009 for what was initially supposed to be a two-week engagement.  However, this run was later expanded to accommodate the demands of Jackson's fans.

If the concert series couldn't go on as planned, the movie was the next best thing.

Mind you, not everybody saw it that way.  Many people called out AEG Live for seemingly exploiting Jackson's death for profit.  Some even believed that Jackson wouldn't have wanted this film to be released at all because of the fact that it was all rough footage that wasn't meant to be seen.

However, despite the negative criticism of the film, it still did fantastic at the box office.  Thirty thousand movie tickets were sold in London the first day they became available.  The film had record breaking screenings in Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco.  The first weekend that the film was in theatres, it grossed $101 million alone.  By the time the film ceased airing in theatres, it had made a total of $261,183,588 worldwide.

But all profits aside, the concert video was quite good.  I have watched it myself, and was blown away by the performances that he performed in the film.  In fact, have a look at a couple of clips from the movie that I've posted below.

And to think that this was just from the rehearsal periods.  It's hard to say what the actual concerts would have been like, but if the rehearsal periods were this good, I can only imagine the finished product to be amazing.

So, I suppose in a way, "This Is It" was Michael's final contribution to the world of concert.  Maybe it wasn't the way he wanted it, and I certainly didn't think he expected to die just before he kicked off his final concert performances.  But in a way, it was a brilliant way to remember him and honour him.  In the end, he did set out to do what he had hoped for.

And I suppose Michael Jackson's legacy just keeps on giving.  In May 2014, an album of songs recorded before his 2009 death was released entitled "Xscape".  And, well...I figure that posting a song from that album is a wonderful way to close out this Tuesday Timeline entry.



  1. Could you do a review a on Passions And why its called The worst daytime drama ever Why did never resolved its story lines