Video from Michael Jackson's Pepsi commercial shows singer's hair ...

Remembrance Of Things Past: Michael Jackson Burned In Pepsi Commercial- January 27, 1984.

Michael Jackson’s Thriller album released in late 1982 was still riding high in early 1984. Thriller spent 22 weeks at #1 on the album charts in 1983 and it would start 1984 at #1 and stay there until mid-April. It was an album that wouldn’t go away.

In the fall of 1983 Michael and his brothers The Jackson Five signed a $5 million dollar deal with Pepsi which included Michael doing Pepsi commercials. This one filmed on January 27th was supposed to be pretty routine. Michael would appear at the Shine Auditorium in Los Angeles in front of 3000 fans- it would be a concert environment. On the sixth take- with Jackson dancing to his greatest song “Billie Jean”- Jackson was too close to the pyrotechnics display which went off too soon. The fireworks set him on fire and he received second degree burns to his scalp and lost some hair. His jacket also caught on fire. His head was immediately bandaged and he was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he would be treated. He was later sent to Brotman Memorial Hospital’s Burn Center- in Culver City, California Jackson would undergo treatment to hide the scars. His hair never did properly grow back and this led to his wearing wigs. More seriously the pain he suffered from the burns reportedly led to a prescription pill addiction. There would be a law suit and a settlement out of court- the $1.5 million that Jackson received was donated to Brotman Medical Center where the burn center would be named the Michael Jackson Burn Center.

I am not sure when the Michael Jackson story started to turn bad/sad. Would things have turned out as they did- if this event hadn’t happened? I have always thought his greatest success the Thriller album led to his demise and early death.


  1. That video is awful to watch.
    I always thought Michael was doomed from the beginning with his father and how he had no childhood to speak of… The Thriller success and this couldn’t have helped. He could have never topped Thriller. Those happen only once to an artist usually.

    • It doesn’t always happen like this but the child star thing doesn’t work out that often in the long run at least it seems that way- for every Ronny Howard there seem to be a number of sad stories- of course Michael is an extreme case.

    • If you see television shows from the 50s and 60s that seems to be the case…I was talking about it the other day to someone…the one show that all the kids (though they were not huge stars) seemed to grow up normal is…fittingly the Waltons. I’m sure there are more.

    • A comment on a comment you made the other day- about Andy and inconsistencies- you are right i never thought of that in 1961 i doubt there were any visionaries thinking that in 60 years these shows will be daily re-runs – they were making a show for the moment.. good point you made.

    • That doesn’t make it any easier for us the viewers though! lol. Once syndication became huge I think they started to watch stuff like that more.

    • I think you are right. Opie’s friends too- some appeared in an episode or two never to be seen again.. A lot of holes in that show – we’re all of Opie’s grandparents gone? Yes I think since Chuck Cunningham- it’s gotten better- if someone leaves the show etc- they cover it somehow nowadays.

    • The older shows that I thought kept more or less the same group of people together really well was Leave It To Beaver and Bewitched (NOT counting the two Darrins).
      I agree…after the Chuck disappearance, it did get better.

    • I read on Leave It To Beaver- the reason why Theodore’s friend Larry disappeared was- the boys mother was really overbearing- and they just got rid of the character. I don’t recall any explanation- Beav just got new friends.

    • That is sad. He didn’t appear in too much more. The boy that played Whitey had a awful sad story.

      I really missed Larry when he left…he got Beaver in trouble but wasn’t mean about it. Gilbert was a little jerk at times.

    • They kid who played Gilbert- grew up to become a documentary film maker. I read a story on him a while back- he’s done over 40 of the PBS Frontline episodes.

    • Wow I didn’t know that. I’m glad he was so successful.
      I was watching it a few months ago and I knew I knew the face of a kid…it was Tim Matheson which really surprised me. I then saw him in Bonanza. I didn’t realize he was in so much so young.

    • I’ve gotten into a habit of seeing someone in a show and wondering- what happened to him- sometimes it’s not good- like Paul Pfieffer becoming Marilyn Manson!… I think I can recall seeing a young pre-Otter Tim Matheson also in some shows-but it didn’t strike me at the time who it was…I think I saw where Jerry Mathers turned 72 the other day..yikes.

    • 72…man that just isn’t right. They are frozen in time for all of us…lol Paul Pfieffer and Manson. Love those urban myths…that post you had the other day covered so many of them.

    • Someone who always seems to be out there- say Paul for example- you don’t notice as much their aging–but when someone kind of disappears for decades then you hear their age or see them and can’t recognize them.. kind of a shock.

    • One example is when I did a post a while back on Jan Smithers…she was out of the spotlight for years and then I saw here now. Nothing wrong with her but she went from 30 something to 70 years old…it was shocking.

    • I can’t recall seeing her from the time WKRP left the air until fairly recently either. Yes he age more than doubled in that time. I guess that’s better than the alternative!

  2. Wow, this post certainly led to a major thread about child stars!

    But getting back to Michael Jackson’s accident, I’ve long felt that pyrotechnics are far too dangerous to be used in shows. Remember the horrific nightclub fire at a Great White show in Rhode Island in 2003 that went terribly wrong, resulting in a fire that killed 100 and seriously burned 230 others?

    • I agree there is no reason to put people in danger by using that stuff. I had forgotten the total number killed/ burned in that Great White show- I knew it was a large amount but forgot it was that many. Terrible.

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