The Jackson 5 want you to eat your Alpha-Bits

I’m suspending my random column this week to share this little tidbit from my (and maybe your) childhood.

Michael Jackson’s stellar entertainment career all but eclipsed his former life as a child wunderkind.  As soon as Thriller hit, many folks forgot about his previous incarnation as a highly combustible impish pixie, all hot splits and high-tenor vocal explosions, on Motown.  But kids my age will remember that baby Michael and his brothers, as The Jackson 5, were more than just a little family soul band from Gary, IN.  They were real-life super-heroes with a fast-paced Saturday morning cartoon show, fighting supervillains, swearing off yucky girls forever, and making sure we learned our ABC’s and ate our Alpha-Bits.  In other words, they were the COOLEST!

Now I suppose they still do this sorta thing with downloads, but pffft…gimme a break.  NOTHING was as cool as the free, one-sided, cardboard Jackson 5 record that came pressed on the back of Rice Krinkles cereal.  Yes, Rice Krinkles…you know your Mom bought them, and she also bought Hydrox cookies and RC Cola and you gobbled them up, right?  Anyway, the record had a number carelessly stamped in or near a small circle placed next to the runoff groove, and that number indicated what song was etched onto the box.  First you had to wait to finish eating the whole box of cereal (which was next to impossible; patience may be a virtue, but it’s sheer torture to a seven-year-old), then carefully cut out the record.  I remember not wanting to slice through young Michael’s sternum.

Needless to say, these were top-quality pressings of the utmost fidelity.  My copy featured “ABC.”  I had to tape a 50-cent piece to the top of the record to keep it from slipping wildly all over the turntable, and it sounded like it was being broadcast over a Dixie-cups-&-string telephone.  But who cared?  My friends & I jumped around like maniacs to the tinny, bassless sound of our boundless hero and his band of brothers.  Kids’ll be kids.

Thanks for the memories, Michael.  Rock on.