Holidays

Watch ‘Thriller’ Zombies Take Over Andersonville

Watch ‘Thriller’ Zombies Take Over Andersonville

According to NPR.org:

In cities big and small this weekend, people will gather as they do every Halloween weekend, for an annual ritual. From Johnson City, Tenn., to Midland, Mich., zombies will emerge to re-enact … the “Thriller” dance. In addition to the annual Halloween gatherings, people are still making remixes of the song. And a quick search of YouTube reveals dozens of tribute videos.

Nearly 30 years after its debut, Michael Jackson‘s “Thriller” is still hugely popular. To put it in context, the same-name album had been out over a year and was the No. 1 selling album of all time, and videos had been made of two of its songs (“Billie Jean” and “Beat It”). After Jackson saw An American Werewolf in London, he contacted John Landis, who had directed that movie.

“Michael contacted me and he just wanted to turn into a monster,” says Landis in an interview with All Things Considered host Michele Norris. “And I thought about it and I thought, ‘No, I don’t want to do a rock video. They’re just commercials for records.’ But then I thought, ‘You know what, Mike? How about a theatrical short?’ And he said, ‘Sure.’ “

Unsurprisingly, Landis says that the dancers were not hard to come by because they all wanted to dance with Michael Jackson. But seemingly everyone wanted to be a part of history.

“Working with Michael Jackson at that time was really nuts. Fred Astaire came by, Gene Kelly came by, Jackie Kennedy came by, Marlon Brando came by, I mean, it was insane,” says Landis, laughing. “They really kind of felt privileged to be working with him. At that time, Michael was 20 years old and he was wonderful and full of beans — I mean, he was great. He did everything I asked. I remember when I wrote it, I said, ‘Mike, you know this line — I’m not like other guys — is gonna get a laugh.’ And he said [in falsetto voice], ‘Why?’ ‘Well, because Mike, you’re not like other guys and people will laugh.’ He said, ‘That’s OK.’ I mean, he really was terrific to work with.”

One thing you may not know about the theatrical version of “Thriller” is that the engineer Bruce Swedien and producer Quincy Jones wouldn’t let Landis have the original tracks for the song. Landis wanted to do a “movie mix,” which isn’t the same audio that you would hear on an album. So cinematographer George Folsey and Landis got into Jackson’s Rolls-Royce (with Jackson) and went to Studio City at 3 o’clock in the morning with a big suitcase.

“We took the reels off the racks, went out, drove across town to Todd-AO in Hollywood, duped all the tracks and then returned them,” says Landis. “The whole thing took an hour. If you watch the video — people never notice that the song is 11 minutes long. It’s the same original tracks totally recut and remixed. In fact, Vincent Price re-recorded the narration for me because I couldn’t use the record narration because it was mixed with a synth track. Mr. Price very graciously came in and redid it.”

Five Really Great ‘Thriller’ Dance Videos

  • The Original ‘Thriller’

    YouTube
  • Filipino Prison ‘Thriller’

    YouTube
  • Wedding ‘Thriller’

    YouTube
  • South Indian ‘Thriller’

    YouTube
  • Chattanooga Fire Academy ‘Thriller’

    YouTube

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Holidays

David Bowie Is Chicago

 

It's David Bowie Day In Chicago

Last week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared September 23rd (today) “David Bowie Day” in honor of the city’s connection with David Bowie Is, a career retrospective that is making its U.S. debut at the Museum Of Contemporary Art Chicago. The exhibition has already been displayed in London, Berlin, Sao Paulo, and Toronto, and will open in Chicago today. In In his proclamation announcing the celebratory day, Emanuel said that Bowie is “an undisputed global icon boasting a catalogue of 26 critically acclaimed albums” and that his “remarkable half-century career has bridged cultures and faiths while both transcending and fortifying the music, art, fashion & design, and theatrical canons.” Read the full proclamation below.

David Bowie Proclamation

The David Bowie Is exhibition will stay in Chicago until 1/4.

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Events

Chicago Guy Interviews Robert Downey Jr.- New Movie, The Judge

Social Chicago Host Jeff Conway interviews Robert Downey Jr. during his visit in Chicago at the 50th Anniversary of the Chicago International Film Festival, while promoting his new film ‘The Judge’, in theaters nationwide October 10, 2014. Beyond the film, Jeff & Robert discuss what Marvel fans can expect from ‘Avengers 2: Age of Ultron’ and his reaction to Vanity Fair cover revealing he’s the highest-paid actor in the world. Jeff also surprises Robert with a special Northwestern gift for his new daughter.

Host, Producer & Editor: Jeff Conway, Twitter @jeffconway
Director of Photography: Dana R. Griffin

“Social Chicago”
Hosted by Jeff Conway & Jillian Conley
Facebook.com/ItsSoChi
Twitter: @ItsSoChi

Special thanks to Allied Integrated Marketing

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