Thursday, January 27, 2022

‘The Jackson 5ive’ Cartoon Series Turns 49 Today. Watch the Pilot Episode. [EUR Video Throwback]

jackson 5ive 2
The Jackson 5ive

*On this day in 1971, a Saturday morning cartoon starring The Jackson 5 premiered on ABC. Creator Motown Productions had two main goals for its fictionalized portrayal of the group, showcase their music and milk their superstar status. In the program’s short run, they managed to do both.

The roles of Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael were voiced by actors. The real siblings were simply too busy touring. However, Diana Ross voiced her own appearance in the pilot episode, and Marlon was voiced by none other than Edmund Sylvers, the lead singer of fellow musical family The Sylvers.

Jackie and Marlon Jackson Reveal Who Voiced The Jackson 5ive Cartoon

With the title spelled “The Jackson 5ive,” each episode followed the group’s various adventures alongside Michael’s pet mice Ray and Charles, and his snake Rosie. The pilot episode was loosely based on the group’s origin story, complete with their “producer” Berry Gordy, voiced by white actor/comedian/impressionist Paul Frees. See his vast array of voice characters [some of them considered racist by today’s standards] below.

In the cartoon version of the Jackson 5’s origin story, Ross discovered the siblings when they had to save her from Rosie, who had slithered into her dressing room. The episode goes on to show their struggle to get discovered in Motown.

The group’s only tangible contributions to the show were the live photographs each member took that morphed into their cartoon likeness during the show’s title sequence, and posing for promotional photos that were used as posters and print ads to advertise the series.

The show’s theme song was a medley of the group’s No. 1 hits: “I Want You Back,” “The Love You Save,” “ABC,” “I’ll Be There” and “Mama’s Pearl.” The early 1971 episodes included two Jackson 5 songs each, from one of four albums: “Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5,” “ABC,” “Maybe Tomorrow” and “Third Album.” In later shows from 1972, eight songs were pulled from Michael’s solo album “Got to Be There” and two songs came from the Jackson 5’s “Lookin’ Through the Windows.”

The show ran for about a year before it was cancelled on Oct. 14, 1972.

Below is the pilot episode that aired on September 11, 1971.

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