In 1974, we started getting regular teasers about a movie the Jackson 5 were scheduled to make with Raymond St. Jacques. The movie was called Isomon Cross and Sons and was to have been set in 1850. St. Jacques was set to direct and star in the movie, and the Jackson brothers would play his sons and provide the music. Joe Jackson would produce the movie.
Soul Teen had the most extensive coverage in their August 1974 issue.
Bad, bad, bad idea all around. The Jackson 5 as slaves? Randy and Janet singing duets in the movie? Oh, my, I would love to have been a fly on the wall when this news landed on Berry Gordy's desk. In fact, I wonder if Gordy had gotten wind of these plans before the formal press conference the Jackson family held with St. Jacques to make the announcement, which was covered in 16 magazine.
Hazel does look a little worried in the photo on the first page, and I don't think it's about whether teen readers will like her new hairdo.
Both Soul Teen and 16 mentioned that there was a little problem with the Jacksons making the movie: they had such a busy concert schedule there wasn't time for movie making. 16 also mentioned that none of the Jacksons had ever been on a horse, and the film was a western. (Huh? Was this a film about slaves of Black cowboys?)
There was another little problem with the plan that neither magazine mentioned: none of the Jacksons could act, as evidenced by the TV comedy sketches that they painfully worked their ways through. They were endearing, to be sure, but even a mega-fan like me has to admit they were pretty bad as actors. St Jacques must have had an ulterior motive for proposing this project to the Jackson family. If he'd wanted some real actors, he could have gone to Robert Hooks and Sons.
And did anyone notice that the 16 article also mentions the album that never was -- the infamous Stevie Wonder-produced J5 album? Now that is a project that should see the light of day.