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A requiem for Michael 'Captain EO' Jackson

With all of the mourning that has been taking place for Michael Jackson in the week since his death, I have to wonder one thing.

Does anyone remember "Captain EO," the short, 3-dimensional film that Michael Jackson and Anjelica Houston did for the Walt Disney Company's Epcot Center back in the mid-1980s?

It was produced by George Lucas, and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. James Horner, the guy who wrote the soundtrack for "Titanic" and "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn," did the score for "Captain EO."

Jackson was the singing-and-dancing title character, and honestly, the plot was forgettable. But it was a special-effects flick (just like everything else involving George Lucas), and it was Michael Jackson in "space," so that made it a cool film.

And, of course, this was the mid-1980s, so Michael Jackson-mania was still at its highest peak.

In other words, there was a long line to get in to see the movie.

Remember, this was the guy, who Fox TV set up an entire night around, for the sole purpose of premiering his "Black or White" video in 1991.

I still remember this movie, largely because Jackson was in it, and he, somewhat convincingly (to a then-8-year-old), interacted with the oddball, puppet characters.

Granted, it is not easy to make it look exciting when you're acting opposite glorified muppets (this was the pre-computer-images days).

So, that's what sticks out the most about Michael Jackson to me in the wake of his death. "Caption EO."

Now, we hear that a fair in Iowa is going to have a Michael Jackson butter statue. Well, it's unusual, but art can be made out of anything. That's all I can say about that.

One of the things about Michael Jackson, and the influence he has had on music, videos and pop culture in general, is that, while lots of people are copying his moves and style, the operative word there is "copying."

You can copy someone, but you can't ever become them.

If you look at some of these people who are using his moves on stage, you'll notice they aren't doing it just right. When Michael Jackson did those moves, he made it look so fluid and flawless.

When he was on stage, it was like there was a dancing-and-singing Greek god, who came down to Earth, and said "OK, everybody stop and watch this, and see if you can do it, too."

I won't single out any musicians who try to copy Michael Jackson today, and just don't do it right, because there are too many to name only a few.

But when you watch them, it's all so mechanical. It's like they are thinking too much about it.

I guess what I'm getting at is that, while it's OK to follow in his footsteps, please don't think you are Michael Jackson in a younger body, because you aren't.

There will never be another Michael Jackson.

The reason why he is so great is because he was different from what came before him, and his talent continues to tower over everyone who has come along since.

In other words, there had better not be a "Captain EO II."

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.