Northern Ireland: “Leading Irish News cartoonist reveals Jackson Five roots”

A brilliantly tenuous link from the Irish News, about a cartoonist who once draw MJ. It includes the superb line right at the end:

Mr Knox said he “didn’t feel any huge emotion” when he heard of Jackson’s death but admitted searching for the cartoon on line.

This story has touched us all. Here’s the article in full as it’s not accessible online:

AT the height of Jackson-mania, children across the United States spent their Saturday mornings watching a cartoon series dedicated to five pop stars from Indiana.

To the strains of the hit song ABC, viewers on the channel of the same name watched as the Jackson Five, including a prepubescent Michael Jackson, morphed into their cartoon


Yesterday, as millions of people reminisced about their memories of the King of Pop, some watched again those old cartoons first broadcast in 1971 and now available on YouTube.

Belfast cartoonist Ian Knox (66) was among those logging on. But he did so for another reason – he was remembering his first job working on the cartoons for the one-time hit television show.

Now more likely to be drawing political figures like Ian Paisley or Martin McGuinness, he spent his first few years huddling over burgeoning images of Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael Jackson.

The exploding cottage industry created by the success of the Jackson Five came around just at the right time for Mr Knox, then a qualified architect living in 1960s London.

“The Beatles animated film The Yellow Submarine had just been and a lot of cartoonists were unemployed,” he said.

“I went around to the Dog and Duck pub where all the animators drank and asked if any of them had any work.

“That was where I heard about this Jackson Five cartoon.

“I was getting fed up with being an architect. I wanted to see if there were any jobs doing cartoon films and that was the one I got.”

He was given an animation test and after “being pushy and calling in to them every day”, he was given the job.

“We were in this factory in Soho and there were about 40 cartoonists working on it including layout, key animators, inbetweeners, tracers and painters,” he said.

“I was an inbetweener – there was an animator who drew all the figures in different positions and my role was to make the figure move from one position to the other.

“We drew on cell with chinagraph pencil and I remember it was very difficult to get the line to stick on the cell.”

Mr Knox admitted he had “never heard” of the group before starting on the cartoon and initially thought the young Michael Jackson was a female singer.

“At that time Michael was only the baby of the group and didn’t really star that much.

“The characters in the cartoon didn’t actually look very much like the real boys and we used to joke about that all the time.

“We worked on it for about nine months and then moved on to a cartoon on the Osmonds.

“I remember the funny thing was that all the voices of the characters were done by male actors.

“Even the female characters like the girlfriends or the mother were done by a man using a falsetto voice.

“It was good fun and I remember we all kept on being laid off and then re-employed, working in a factory loft one time and then a basement another.”

Now a leading political cartoonist – his work with The Irish News and BBC’s Hearts and Minds is hugely popular – Mr Knox is rather critical of his early work.

“It was just factory work really,” he said.

“The only bit that was any good was the beginning which was a dance sequence by the cartoonist Ginger Gibbons.

“The chief cartoonist, Oscar Grilo, was also very good and he used to do things like put crocodile heads on the Jackson Five.”

While the cartoons were first broadcast in 1971, decades later fans are still watching them on the internet site YouTube.

Yesterday nostalgic fans posted tributes to Michael Jackson beside broadcasts of the show on the site.

Mr Knox said he “didn’t feel any huge emotion” when he heard of Jackson’s death but admitted searching for the cartoon on line.

“People are remembering his early life and, in a way, his life has come full circle,” he said.

Thanks to Claire for this.

--Tagged under: Irish News--

--Tagged under: Northern Ireland--

This is quite a spectacular local link - to the extent that the story manages to link it to the local area despite Jackson NEVER HAVING BEEN THERE and only the POSSIBILITY THAT HE MIGHT HAVE DONE IN THE FUTURE, HAD HE NOT BEEN DEAD.

The music icon had planned to rent the manor in Kemnal Road for a year and use Biggin Hill airport to fly in and out of the borough.

Thanks to @Ryaneweir.

--Tagged under: Wandsworth--

--Tagged under: Biggin Hill--

Hmm, that’s odd - when I went to buy a newspaper today, all they seemed to be selling were oldspapers.

More than 60,000 fans turned out for the concert which was hailed at the time by critics as “perhaps the most dazzling two hours of showmanship ever witnessed in Britain.”

This article would fail the Wikipedia “weasel words” test as it’s full of wooly phrases like “some critics say”.

Thanks to @ShinyBiscuit.

--Tagged under: Yorkshire--

--Tagged under: Yorkshire Evening Post--

We’ve changed the in-store CD! Quick, phone the papers!

Derby outlets of HMV and Tesco have witnessed a ten-fold increase in sales, whereas Asda, in Spondon, has seen a rise of 500%.

Yesterday the HMV store, in East Street, Derby, was playing Jackson hits in tribute to the star.

Thanks to @Alun.

--Tagged under: Derby--

--Tagged under: Derbyshire--

Bournemouth Echo got quite a coup They managed to talk a GLAZIER about Jackson. That’ll teach those bastards at the Bournemouth Post for getting all of that locally relevant news first.

Bournemouth glazier Nick Woods, a lifelong Jackson fan, did not believe the allegations but “I don’t believe Jackson helped himself, either,” he says.

--Tagged under: Bournemouth--

Apparently copying pasting message boards is news these days - though Cambridge News does go one further and talk about an online retailer’s sales figures… which are relevant as the retailer are based in Histon, presumably in Cambridgeshire.

Helen Marquis, head of music at Histon-based, said sales of Jackson’s albums leapt 15,900 per cent yesterday as fans snapped up tens of thousands of records in a day.

I wonder if the Jersey Evening Post quotes as a local source too?

--Tagged under: Cambridge--

--Tagged under: Cambridgeshire--

This is almost relevant and proper. ALMOST. It quotes a “close friend” of Jackson who’s godfather to his kids. The paper is at pains to point out it’s local relevance though:

One of Jackson’s closest friends is child actor turned osteopath, Mark Lester, who works and lives in Gloucestershire.

Cheltenham-based Lester, who shot to fame as a child star in Oliver!, praised Jackson’s children and said he would help in anyway he could.

--Tagged under: Gloucestershire--

--Tagged under: Cheltenham--

Like Burton (see below), Portsmouth have also taking the “reporting what some guy said” angle, and used three of the million people who had tickets to see Jackson at the O2 as quotes. They have gone a step further though, and interviewed who I assume in Jackson’s personal doctor, to get her analysis of what caused is death - conviniently she was a “friend” of one of the ticketholders:

Miss Taylor, who had just left HMV, Commercial Road, Portsmouth, added: ‘I went out and bought the only album I didn’t have, Dangerous. I also wanted to get the History DVD with his videos on but they have sold out already.’

Her friend Laura Simmons, 27, added: ‘It is very sad. I think all the surgery he had done might have caused him all the health problems.’

Four years of a journalism degree, right there.

--Tagged under: Portsmouth--

--Tagged under: The News--

This is amazing. The people in this article didn’t even meet Jackson. It is literally just a story about what some guy reckons. The angle is he’s a student doing a BTEC in music, which on the relevance scale is somewhere between having once listened to a Michael Jackson song and being a plastic surgeon.

Meanwhile, shock at the reclusive star’s death has also been felt in Burton and South Derbyshire, where many have cited Jackson as an inspiration.

Joseph Bird, 21, from Burton, who is completing his final year of a BTEC Music Technology course at Burton College, said he still could not believe that the star had died.

--Tagged under: Burton,--

--Tagged under: Derbyshire--

--Tagged under: South Derbyshire--

Here’s the memories of someone who worked at a hotel he stayed at, and wasn’t actually a fan of Jackson or anything. Great work, Glasgow Evening Times.

"His visit was one of the highlights of my time there. I was never a Michael Jackson fan, but was given tickets for the concert, which was electrifying. I was at Take That last week but he was easily better than them.

"It’s very, very sad that he’s died at such an early age."

--Tagged under: Glasgow--

--Tagged under: Glasgow Evening Times--

--Tagged under: Scotland--

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