Wednesday, September 21, 2022

THE JACKSONS TV SHOW - "Episode 01" (1976)

"The Jacksons" was a TV show that was on for two seasons or twelve episodes from 1976 to 1977, and makes for a perfect Weird Wednesday presentation for many reasons!
The Jackson 5 had recently parted ways with Motown Records, and their career was a bit on a wane, and I think this was Poppa Joe's way of trying to get them back into the mainstream, but they kind of missed the boat!

As for the family, the lineup was kind of quirky! Randy Jackson was the youngest brother in the family, and while he played congas in the band, he wasn't a real member until brother Jermaine dropped out in 1976, and stayed with Motown while the rest of the gang moved to Epic Records

After changing record labels, the group also changed their name to "The Jacksons" instead of "The Jackson 5" because as ridiculous as it might sound, Motown still owned that name.
Sigmund Esco "Jackie" Jackson is the oldest of the brothers.

Toriano Adaryll Jackson aka Tito Jackson, was the second oldest son, and was one of the founding member of the band. Tito performs these days as a damn fine blues musician, and you can check out his style right  HERE!!
Marlon Jackson was the fourth born son in the Jackson Family. He was born after La Toya. Besides being an original member, he has also been an actor and a Producer.

Michael Joseph Jackson was the fifth of the sons born, and is undoubtedly the most famous of the group!

This show follows the same tired format of variety shows of the era, and except for The Jacksons performing, could just as easily been hosted by Carol Burnett or Donny and Marie. Out of twelve episodes, only one featured another black performer, and that was Redd Foxx. Although there were a ton of awesome black performers during this period, many of them were on Motown Records, and that just wasn't gonna happen. In fact, that's why the last brother Jermaine never appeared on this show, because he was still with Motown.

This is Maureen Reillette Jackson, also known as Rebbie Jackson, the oldest of the Jackson Siblings, and maybe the least known of all the kids. Despite her Father's objections, Rebbie chose to have a family of her own, instead of being part of the Jackson ensemble, but she did appear on this show. After her kids got older, Rebbie did have moderate success as a recording artist is the 80's.

Here's La Toya Jackson,  the second oldest daughter! This variety show pretty much introduced La Toya to the world, and the rest is history.

Last but not least, here's little Janet Damita Jo Jackson, who was only ten years old at the time, and I don't think Janet needs any further introduction.

The guest star on this first episode of the show was Sonny Bono who looks like a guy right here that you wouldn't want to take any candy from.

One of the sketches included a version of Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover."

This way of leaving your lover was to "Buy her a plant, Grant," a woman eating plant!

The highlight or low point of this show, however you want to look at it, is a version of "Love Can Keep Us Together" by Captain and Tennille with Janet Jackson doing her impersonation of Tennille.

Sonny Bono performs, and the Jacksons are relegated to a second role as background singers.
Other less than soulful performers who appear on other episodes are the likes of Carroll O'Connor and Dom DeLuise etc.

The Jacksons keep it lively with lots of song and dance numbers, but they sure did manage to miss the mark with their musical guests. Can you imagine how cool this show would have been if Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Al Green, Parliament, Earth, Wind & Fire, or any other number of fantastic musicians who were around at the time would have appeared? This is a nice piece of television and music history, but unfortunately, that's about it !

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