Over the weekend, amidst the veritable orgy of Michael Jackson memories being peddled by the television gurus, one gem stood out which illuminated what a great gift this young man once possessed. I am referring to the wondrously fun film "The Wiz" in which Jackson starred with the horrendously miscast Diana Ross. His entire performance was effortless, buoyant and filled with a joy that I never saw again in his work. It was clear that he took enormous pleasure in stepping outside the box into which he had been put as a member of the Jackson Five and his dancing was easily up to a par with that of the professional dancers who comprised the chorus in this film. Subsequent work of Jackson's tended to be repetitive and lacklustre, again, my opinion. Every dance move was either derivative or a mirror of someone else's creativity. Even his singing voice in "The Wiz" was fuller bodied and more melodic than in subsequent performances.
What a damned shame that his miserable childhood and his despicable troll of a father sullied what might have been a shining and life affirming gift in this tormented and fragile young man.