Considering the day’s news, I thought we’d take a quick look at Michael Jackson’s place in the history of Orange County cinema, via ”Captain EO”, at Disneyland’s Magic Eye Theater.
Opened in the Spring of 1984, the Magic Eye Theater was designed as a multimedia cinematic attraction in Tomorrowland. Located near “Space Mountain”, the theater had an understated exterior, that gave little hint as to the large auditorium that stood within the complex. Featuring 3-D projection and multi sense special effects, the theater ran “Magic Journeys”, until September 18, 1986, when Michael Jackson’s ”Captain EO” debuted. Clocking in at seventeen minutes, the $17,000,000, sci fi musical, was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and executive produced by George Lucas. With performances of the songs “We are here to change the world” and “Another part of me”, the film was reminiscent of the extravagant music videos Jackson had become known for, but with the added experience of Disney’s imagineering (in addition to 3-D, physical effects were tied in to key scenes). While initially drawing large crowds, the film ultimately followed Jackson’s career curve, experiencing waning business by the turn of the decade. “Captain EO” was quietly discontinued in the late 90′s and replaced by “Honey, I shrunk the Audience”.
While ”Captain EO” finished out it’s run playing to sparse audiences, who often found humor in the film’s timely, but unintentional, subtext, there has long been an underground effort to revive the film. Whether “Captain EO” will ever see the light of day again remains to be seen, but, for those who managed to see the film in it’s heyday, there remain the memories of an over the top cinematic experience, from an individual that was equally bigger than life.
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