OFFBEAT: ‘The Jackson 5ive’ Saturday cartoon show finally on DVD

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jan 21, 2013 in Rat News | Subscribe

Since I was born in 1970, “The Jackson 5ive” animated show aired before I was old enough to be a fan of Saturday morning cartoons.

Forty years after it left the airwaves in 1972, it has finally been released on DVD.

The series was produced by Rankin/Bass and Motown Productions and broadcast on ABC from Sept. 11, 1971, until October 1972.

Though I knew the show offered a light-hearted fictionalized portrayal of the careers of The Jackson 5 Motown recording group, what I didn’t realize is that young Michael Jackson and his brothers Marlon, Jackie, Jermaine and Tito, didn’t lend their voices to their cartoon likenesses.

“Jackson 5ive: The Complete Animated Series” became available from DreamWork Classics Tuesday and the DVD collection is priced at $32.99. It includes all 23 of the episodes, which contain 46 original songs.

Since the series was animated mainly in London at the studios of Halas and Batchelor, with some animation done at Estudios Moro, Barcelona, Spain, the brothers were not able to participate in studio voiceovers since they were on performance tours.

Many of the episodes surround their adventures with their “unnamed” producer, obviously based on Berry Gordy, and his publicity stunt ideas.

There is one real voice to listen for in the premiere episode.

The first show includes a cartoon cameo appearance by the boy’s mentor Diana Ross, with the singer providing her own voice for her character likeness. The first episode also includes Michael and his brothers performing the song “Goin’ Back To Indiana.”

Even though the Jacksons did not lend their voices for the scripted dialogue, they did do all of the singing for the songs showcased in each episode. There’s also plenty of references to young Michael’s array of pets, a nod to his passion for exotic animals even at an early age. Many episodes include scenes with Michael’s pet rats, Ray and Charles and his pet snake Rosie the Crusher.

While the show accurately depicts the brothers living in Hollywood during this time of their early career, no mention is ever included about their parents Joe and Katherine.

However, in Episode 15 of the first season, which originally aired Dec. 18, 1971, and is titled “Jackson Street, U.S.A.,” it centers on the family returning to their hometown of Gary, Ind., to be honored. The mayor of Gary declares a street in town will be renamed “Jackson 5 Boulevard,” and invites the Jackson brothers to perform on the declaration day.

The Jacksons plan to touch down in the city square by means of a hot air balloon. But a mishap sends the balloon soaring past and out of the city. And as it turned out, the group’s final album together was called “2300 Jackson Street.”

The DVD set, which is also available on Blu-ray for $39.99, is available in stores or online.

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