Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rare Film Footage of a J5 Photo Shoot

Thirteen-year-old Desiree Johnson shot silent super-8 film footage of the Jackson 5 when they came to her home for a photo shoot back in 1971. A portion of that video has now surfaced on YouTube, accompanied by strange new age music. It shows group members arriving, getting their costumes out of the car, eating sandwiches, playing with cameras and a little orange cat before settling down to pose for photos. Michael is especially boisterous, running and jumping from the moment he got out of the car, except for a few moments when he sat quietly inside and watched the action outdoors.

J5 fans will recognize all of the poses for the photos that were snapped that day, including the October 1971 Sepia cover, where you can see the tail of the orange cat next to Jackie's foot. I bought the complete home movie from Desiree herself many years ago and at the time, she indicated that this was the Maybe Tomorrow LP cover shoot, but there's nothing here or in the additional seven or so minutes I have (most of which is Jermaine eating a sandwich and then an orange, and Tito playing with the cat). Perhaps her father shot that at their home on a different day.

Here's Desiree's own description of the day from a September 1971 issue of Fave, as well as some of the photos that were taken.


  1. I had seen this footage on YouTube but am really happy you posted this to include the story behind the video. How wonderful that you own the footage!

  2. Beautiful story - can we get part two? Wow, a kitten at home AND the J5, can't get better than that. Her story doesn't have a lot of fluff in it, seems all true and genuine. I also liked back then how so many fans' favorites weren't even Michael, those two girls were Tito and jermaine nuts.

  3. Right on, equal time to Cats! I always wanted to know if there were more pics of Charlie, thanks. The pic of Sherrie and Jermaine is too sweet. This is the only place we can actually read those old teen mag stories, and I really appreciate it

  4. Part Two is about attending a J5 concert, I think. I'll scan it and post it when I get a chance.

    The writer had a huge crush on Jermaine. Roughly 4/5 of the film has the camera pointed at him.