Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Early Photo Clues

Two of the rarest photos in my collection are the ones you see here. They're rare not because you don't see them often -- you do. They're rare because they are originals, not reprints. Each one came with info that helps to date them.

The first is the easiest.

A date is written on the back: 4-25-68. That doesn't necessarily mean that that was the date the photo was taken. It just means it wasn't taken any later than that. This is clearly one of the earliest publicity photos of the Jackson 5.

The next one was taken more than a year later.

I was very excited when I won this one in an auction because it looked like an early autograph. But when I got it, I saw that it had been pre-signed, and since then I've seen others with this exact same signature.

Still, there were some nice surprises in store. It was still encased in its original presentation folder, stamped "Teddy Powell Productions, 200 W. 57th St. New York, NY." A bit of googling revealed that Teddy Powell was a well-known Black promoter. I'm not sure what his connection was to the Jackson family -- perhaps he had help book them into the Apollo Theater, or some other East Coast venues.

Even better, a fan had written the boys' names and ages on the inside of the folder:

Michael, 10
Marlon, 12
Jermaine, 14
Toriano, 15
Sigmund or Jackie, 18

This was before Motown had changed their ages, so it's possible to determine that the notation was made between May 4 and August 29, 1969. The only East Coast performance I know of between those dates was their appearance on Miss Black America in New York City on August 22, 1969. I can't find a connection between the two of them, but I'll keep looking for clues.


  1. Fabulous! Keep sleuthing, the historian in me loves the details! Thanks.


  2. Never noticed that in the first photo the 'Y' in 'Johnny' is cut off. Also noticed they were using the numeral '5' before Motown came along. But that might have been because they couldn't afford anymore letters lol

  3. Good observations, Corey! That's the only time I've ever seen them use the numeral 5 instead of spelling "five" out before they went to Motown. And I bet it was an economic or space issue.

  4. Thanks for sharing these treasures. I see Detective J5C is hot on the trail of another discovery. Boy it's great to get to be the "Watson" in this relationship and go along for the ride!

  5. I see Jackie's missing a tooth, along with Michael. Toriano's mouth is closed as always so we can't see what he's missing. Man, this family had a lot of teeth out, and at all ages!

  6. Toriano is missing his front tooth in the earlier photo, but Jackie still has all of his. Jackie is missing his front tooth in the second photo. Interesting that Jackie and Tito both lost their right front teeth, and Jermaine's scar is over his right eyebrow. Those sure are consistent sports injuries.

  7. MJ misses his teeth on the left, until 1973-74, something like that ! ^^.

    Great website you've made ! I didn't comment on articles, but I want you to know that it is enjoyable to read about J5 years ! It's quite nostalgic even if I'm just 19 (and French) ! Just like I missed something, but thanks to you I'm like back in the 70's ! Thank you for doing this blog, so many things to learn ! =)

    PS : I put a link to your blog on mine, I hope you'll get more visitors !

    So this is aurevoir ! ^^

  8. Hi, Lil' Michaelette -- I remember you from the old J5 board. Welcome home! Glad to find your blog, too.

  9. Yes, I remember of you too ! Glad to see a blog about your knowledge of J5 era ! =)