Camp Michael Jackson is World of Wonder’s moving documentary series that followed seven of Michael Jackson’s very devoted fans who waited outside the courthouse every day as he endured his trial for child molestation in Santa Maria, California. Glenn Gaylord, the doc’s co-director, remembers a particular moment during that hot summer.
“A definite standout moment while shooting Camp Michael Jackson occurred on the infamous “Pajama Day.” Remember? Michael was late for court because he was in the hospital due to severe back pain. Regardless, the judge ordered him to appear within 45 minutes or he would be arrested. Racing to get to the courthouse, Michael arrived wearing pajama bottoms, because that’s what he wore to the hospital. Needless to say, the fans lost their shit, worried that their idol could face real jail time when he was so obviously in pain. The fans pressed themselves up against the courthouse fence, screaming at the inequity of it all. “Unfair! Unfair!” they shouted. Our crew was caught in the middle of it all. Suzie, one of our subjects, collapsed onto the pavement, overcome with emotion. The blazing hot Santa Maria weather didn’t help matters. In a trial in which the fans felt Michael was unfairly targeted, this situation enraged them further. Suddenly, a fan base which up until now had become somewhat complacent, was mobilized like never before. It felt like the rebirth of a revolution. This was their Vietnam War protest, their Stonewall, their Prop 8 outrage. The comparison didn’t feel that farfetched. No matter which side of the fence you were on, there was no denying the message the fans sent out. They believed Michael was unfairly targeted because of his appearance. “Being different is not a crime!” they cried. This resonated with me, and I was able to look at the fans through a completely different lens. MJ’s PJs, as it were, was the turning point in how I viewed the trial and the fans who were there to stand up for our lost idol.”
The documentary is available for preview and purchase at Amazon.