Thursday, December 30, 2010

Caught on Tape in Jacksonville, Florida

Midway through the Jackson 5's Holiday Tour, an ABC News crew caught up with them to get some footage for a news feature on the rising popularity of the Jackson 5. I've never seen the final report that was made in late December of 1970, but the raw footage has been circulating among fans for years.

It's kind of maddening to watch because it jumps from scene to scene, in no particular order. But, if you're patient, you can see some great live footage of the Jackson 5 in concert in Jacksonville on December 30, 1970.

Part 1 shows them in rehearsals with Suzanne Depasse, and then moves into their live performance of "It's Your Thing." After that there are a lot of quick cuts to scenes that will become familiar as the tape progresses (More of the sound check/rehearsal and their arrival at the Jacksonville airport) before getting back to some more live concert footage of them singing "Stand" and more extensive footage of "It's Your Thing." Then it cuts back to "Stand" again, followed by a lot of quick cuts. Are you getting the idea?

Part 2 opens with Jermaine singing his lead part from "I'll Be There." Then it moves into a group interview that seems to bore everyone but Tito to tears. (Michael interrupts at one point to ask how much longer they have to stay, and when the interviewer asks if there's anything they want to do, Jermaine replies "Split.") Next it cuts to them entering their rooms in a surprisingly seedy roadside motel, and staging a pillow fight for the camera crew. Then we get back to more "It's Your Thing/Stand" concert footage, with a really nice guitar solo by Tito. That's followed by the opening of "I Want to Take You Higher," which is considerably less polished than the version they would do five months later in Indianapolis for the Goin' Back to Indiana special.

The first 30 seconds of Part 3 show live concert footage of "Feelin' Alright," followed by nearly nine full minutes of sound-check and rehearsal, during which Marlon valiantly tries to balance a drum stick on its pointed end. It's nice to hear the instruments behind the under-miked vocals in this clip.

Part 4 shows the group arriving at the airport and being loaded into two cars, as their luggage is loaded into a truck. At the three-minute mark an interview with Joe Jackson begins. At the seven-minute mark, the film returns to the group interview, with their tutor, Rose Fine, demonstrating her teaching technique by asking the boys questions about their visit the day before to the Hermitage while they were in Nashville. Michael was impressed with the size of Andrew Jackson's tomb and asked if his whole family was buried with him. And Tito was obviously paying attention during the tour, as he tells his teacher that Jackson's wife "...was bad --she played." (True -- she was already married to another man when she married Andrew Jackson.) Mrs Fine obviously doesn't like the direction the lesson is going in so she tells them they've had enough for the day. near the end of this part, the interview turns to Michael, who clearly has no idea what the interviewer is trying to ask him. (Frankly, neither do I.)

More inane questions from the clueless interviewer open Part 5, e.g. "Where does your music come from?" At the 7:53 mark, Marlon tries the drum-stick balancing act with a lemon on a drinking straw, and then we watch nearly two full minutes of the Jackson 5 sitting around, flipping through magazines. Riveting.

Part 6 opens with more prompting from Mrs. Fine to demonstrate the the depth of the education she is providing them. At the 2:06 mark, we finally get a glimpse of the ABC news correspondent, who identifies himself as Scott Osbourne. He repeats his sign-off several times before he decides it's okay. (Granted, it's not easy to put "lo these many years ago" and 'soul brother" in the same sentence with conviction.) In the meantime, we are treated to "Walk On" int he background, followed by the a complete version of "The Love You Save," but with really terrible sound. We even get to see their stage exit at the end of the song. And then there's a delicious snippet of the ending of "Who's Lovin' You" that leaves us wanting more, as does a short clip from "Darling Dear."

The seventh, and final part, continues with live footage of "Darling Dear." At the :25 mark, we are treated to a bit of footage of the legendary dance competition between Tito and Ronnie Rancifer, the group's keyboard player. First up is Tito with some oddly spastic moves. Jackie plays the group's Sandman, moving him off the stage so Ronnie can take over with his clearly superior moves. it's nice to see both Tito and Ronnie catching a bit of the spotlight and having some fun.

Thanks, Zero93330, for making all these videos available so we can get a sense of what the Holiday Tour was like!


  1. someone else that did upload the Florida concert, they included I Want you Back and ABC. I find it interesting they opened up ABC kinda differently.

  2. Thanks for the link, Anon, it was great to see I Want You Back and ABC. It looks like we have bits and pieces of a complete concert. It was also nice to see the shot of the audience. There's one guy in the front row who looks mad, and then there's a woman who tells the camera man "Get that thing off me!" LOL.

    I had this on video years ago and after several minutes of blank tape at the end there was another few minutes of footage of the audience members streaming in, handing their tickets to the ticket taker. I don't know if no one had put this on YouTube because it's not interesting enough or because no one else ever played the tape to the end.

  3. Is it me or didn't I see some crystal clear footage of I'll Be There from this concert..........if they have that i wonder if they have the full concert in clear quality(without scene cutting).

  4. Are you sure the crystal clear footage wasn't from the Diana! special? They wore the same stage costumes when they sang I'll Be There on the special.

  5. Ok, this isn't the clip I saw but its close, but this link, around the 2:46 minute mark there's footage of the florida concert. Remember this isn't the exact one i saw.

  6. You have a good eye and memory, Anon! That does look like the Florida concert. Also you see at the beginning, Michael during the hotel room interview (wearing the gold shirt) that was also taken from the raw footage and is in crystal clear condition. Presumably, the original broadcast-quality footage resides at ABC.

    You know what we've never seen is the finished and edited news report that the Florida footage was filmed for.

  7. I absolutely adore these videos. Seeing how the brothers interacted on the road. And just the sweetness and happiness of Michael at this young age and start of his career.