Michael Jackson, „Lost Children“ and the real story behind

There is always more behind the art of Michael Jackson. Even if music critics don’t want to hear it. LOST CHILDREN is the name of the song that Michael Jackson released on his INVINCIBLE album in 2001. LOST CHILDREN is the song from Michael Jackson for

„all the lost children“

Michael Jackson, 2001 in LOST CHILDREN. 1

Music critics have been ridiculing the song, involved musicians have been distancing themselves, fans step back. Michael Jackson sang about children. But LOST CHILDREN is so much more.
Michael Jackson sampled children voices in LOST CHILDREN. If you listen, their laughter can be heard. There are counting rhymes hidden in the song and a child never gets tired of inviting the audience with the old announcement:

„Get ready folks! … 85, 90, 95, 100. Here I come, ready or not!“

Sample from the song LOST CHILDREN by Michael Jackson from 2001. 2

But when Michael Jackson released LOST CHILDREN in 2001, those children’s voices were already half a century old.
Michael Jackson took the children’s voices in LOST CHILDREN from a 50-year-old American series: „The Twilight Zone“, Episode „Kick the Can“ from 1962.

„This is me! This is me!“

Michael Jackson 1990 about the old man in „The Twilight Zone“ Episode „Kick the Can“ from 1962. 3

Picture from „The Twilight Zone“ Episode „Kick the Can“, 1962 Source

„When old people return to childhood, I have seen them, they become very playful and childlike. […] I relate very well to old people because they have those qualities of a child. Whenever I go to a hospital I always find a way to sneak into another room to talk to the old people. I just did it two days ago because I was in the hospital and they were so sweet and they just welcome you like a child does. They say, “Come in,” and we talk. They are simple and sweet. […] Old people and children are very much alike. They are carefree and play—free and simple and sweet. It is just a spiritual feeling. I don’t visit the old people’s homes as much as I have the orphanages. A lot of them get Alzheimer’s and they don’t recognize. But I have a great relationship with older people. I love talking to older people and they can tell you stories about when they were kids and how the world was in those days and I love that. […]

Michael Jackson in 2000 in conversation with a rabbi. 4

The inventor of the „Twilight Zone“ is Rod Serling. Serling’s personally delivered introductions at the beginning and the end of all episodes are legendary. They always have a moral that is thought-provoking. (Michael Jackson also used other parts of Serling’s narrations for another song from the INVINCIBLE album: THREATENED).

Michael Jackson and LOST CHILDREN or the search for the lost child within ourselves

Michael Jackson sang about his own childhood in his song and short film CHILDHOOD in 1995 and about the other LOST CHILDREN 2001. When Michael Jackson sampled the children’s voices from the „Twilight Zone“ for the song LOST CHILDREN this episode „Kick the Can“ is set in a home for the elderly.

left: Michael Jackson in CHILDHOOD 1995. right: „Kick the Can“ 1962 from „The Twilight Zone“. source and source

In LOST CHILDREN Michael Jackson quotes exactly that „Home for the aged“ as a symbolic terminus for adults and for everything lost that was once childlike and alive. Dead end retirement home. That ist the place of Michael Jackson LOST CHILDREN. A dying place. Rod Serling introduced this place to his audience in 1962 in the episode „Kick the Can“:

„Sunnyvale Rest, a dying place for ancient people, who have forgotten the fragile magic of youth. A dying place for those who have forgotten that childhood, maturity, and old age are curiously intertwined and not separate. A dying place for those who have grown too stiff in their thinking – to visit – The Twilight Zone.“

Rod Serling 1962 in „Kick The Can“ episode from „The Twilight Zone“. 5
The Twilight Zone Kick the Can 1962 sample Lost Children Michael Jackson 2001

picture: „The Twilight Zone“ Episode „Kick the Can“ from 1962. source Cited in Michael Jackson’s song LOST CHILDREN from 2001.

Searching for the the inner child or „the power to be a boy again at will“

Traditions instruct us that adults no longer should fly to Neverland, and so we are stuck in „Sunnyvale Rest,“ that dying place. But Rod Serling and Michael Jackson shared a mutual role model: James Barrie, author and 1901 the creator of the eternally young celebrity „Peter Pan“. Peter Pan is the boy who was brilliant enough to never grow up and lives on an island called Neverland. James Barrie introduced the place Neverland to his audience in 1901 with the following words:

„We too have been there; we can still hear the sound of the surf, though we shall land no more.“

James Matthew Barrie, 1901. 6

And also James Barrie:

Genius is the power to be a boy again at will.“

James Matthew Barrie, 1900. 7

In Rod Serling’s „Twilight Zone“ episode called „Kick the Can“ is also a genius among the old people who is full of excitement and joy. The old man called Charles is convinced that he has discovered the secret of youth: playing like children! At the home for the aged, Charles hears the voices of children playing „Kick the Can“ from the outside and he wonders if there isn’t some magic in these games.

„We played them as children. And the moment we stop, we grow old. But maybe, just maybe, if we keep playing, we can keep the magic. We can stay young.“

The old man Charles in „The Twilight Zone“ episode „Kick the Can“ from 1962, sampled in Michael Jackson’s LOST CHILDREN from 2001. 8

The old man Charles initially placed all his hopes on his son who was supposed to free him from the old people’s home and thus put somehow an end to his aging. And Peter Pan too flew back to his mother in James Barrie’s story in 1901 to remain a little boy forever. But his mother, in the course of time, had closed Peter’s window to the nursery forever. In „Kick the Can“ from 1962, it’s the other way around and the father wants to return to the (grown-up) son, but the son also denies him to return to his youth just like Peter Pan’s mother. Artist Rod Serling created the reversed Peter-Pan-situation in the dying place of the home for the aged called „Sunnyvale Rest“.
Like the rebellious Peter Pan, old Charles rebels against the established order in „Kick the Can“ in 1962. He has to go back to the old people’s home, but there he thinks, questions, becomes curious and rediscovers the secret of youth, which is playing. Charles wants to play the children’s game „Kick the Can“ again.

„All the boys were grown up and done for by this time; so it is scarcely worth while saying anything more about them …

James Matthew Barrie, 1911. 9

picture: Twilight Zone 1962 episode „Kick the Can“ Quelle

Also under Rod Serling’s direction are playing games and fantasy the keys which open the door to eternal youth. Serling shares this philosophy with James Barrie and Michael Jackson. But „Kick the Can“ cannot be played alone. A lot of people have to take part, a whole society has to remember to bring the inner child back to life. For outsider Charles the biggest challenge is to convince the home residents of this philosophy and to fill the „dying place“ with new life. The old man achieves the impossible, he mobilizes the old people in „Sunnyvale Rest“. They wake up.
In the early 1990s Michael Jackson makes a statement about the story in „Kick the Can“:

„That schould be Peter (Pan)!“

Michael Jackson, in the early 1990s about the old man Charles from „The Twilight Zone“ episode „Kick the Can“. 10

Charles and Peter are leaders. So are James Barrie and Rod Serling and Michael Jackson.
In „Kick the Can“ the old man Charles tries to convince his hardened, stubborn friend and roommate of the magical theory that old can turn to young again and that there is a „lost child“ in every old person. But Charles had no success:

„Old people need their rest!“

The friend and „adult“ antagonist to old Charles in „The Twilight Zone“ episode „Kick the Can“ from 1962. 11

But Charles is not like other guys. Charles, like Peter Pan, does not follow the rules of society. He starts a revolution in the home for the aged until the rest of the elderly follow him. And Charles is right: while playing the game, the old people turn back into the children they once were. First mentally, spiritually and in the end even physically. While playing, the old people, these „lost“ children, fly into Neverland. It seems they disappear into Neverland at the end of their lives? To this place ‚With No Name‘?

„Where kids are playing and people are laughing and smiling/and nothing to fear.“

Michael Jackson, 1998 in his song PLACE WITHOUT NO NAME. 12

What remains is the question of whether this moment of the new beginning was preceded by the death of the older people.

The lost children by Michael Jackson from 2001 are residents of a home for the aged from 1962

Michael Jackson dedicated his music to the LOST CHILDREN in 2001, quoting the same old people who discovered the magic of youth by playing like kids again in Rod Serling’s „Twilight Zone“ episode „Kick the Can“, 1962:

Get ready folks! … 85, 90, 95, 100. Here I come, ready or not!“

The voices from the old people from the home for the aged who have turned into children in the 1962 „Twilight Zone“ episode „Kick the Can.“ Featured in Michael Jackson’s 2001 song LOST CHILDREN. 13

Michael Jackson also described in the song LOST CHILDREN the slowly transformation of the old people who rediscovered their childhood: Jackson first leads a choir of adult voices. Buried in the choir of adults, almost inaudibly quiet, like „ … the roar of the surf …“ these playing children can be heard:

Get ready folks! …“

The voices from the old people from the home for the aged who have turned into children in the 1962 „Twilight Zone“ episode „Kick the Can.“ Featured in Michael Jackson’s 2001 song LOST CHILDREN. 14

But more and more, under Michael Jackson’s leadership, the choir of these adults, the „lost children“, is being transformed into an actual choir of children. The voice of the forty-year-old lead singer Jackson, who would be dead eight years later, becomes part of the young choir, while at the same time the children’s play becomes more and more prominent:

Get ready folks! …85, 90, 95, 100 …“

The voices from the old people from the home for the aged who have turned into children in the 1962 „Twilight Zone“ episode „Kick the Can.“ Featured in Michael Jackson’s 2001 song LOST CHILDREN. 15

Until, in all clarity, only one thing remains at the end of LOST CHILDREN:

„Here I come, ready or not!“

The voices from the old people from the home for the aged who have turned into children in the 1962 „Twilight Zone“ episode „Kick the Can.“ Featured in Michael Jackson’s 2001 song LOST CHILDREN. 16

Michael Jackson’s LOST CHILDREN from 2001 and the musical Peter Pan from 1976

In LOST CHILDREN, song number 14 on the INVINCIBLE album, adults find in Michael Jackson’s musical way to the lost children within themselves. In the song Jackson is telling the moral of „Kick The Can“ and makes the connection to the philosophy around Peter Pan. About a musical from 1976.
In 1976 Mia Farrow played the leading role in a musical about Peter Pan. Jackson is reported to have loved the play and wanted to adapt it. His wish did not come true but at least in his short film about CHILDHOOD he played Peter Pan like Mia Farrow did in 1976.

l.: 1976, Mia Farrow as Peter Pan in the musical Quelle  r.: 1995, Michael Jackson as Peter Pan in CHILDHOOD Quelle

There is a scene in the „Peter Pan“ musical from 1976 in which three children pray in the evening before they met for the first time Peter Pan. The prayer of these children is sung. And the children’s sung prayer in the 1976 „Peter Pan“ musical is similar in rhythm, melody and text to Jackson’s LOST CHILDREN from 2001.
Which makes Jackson’s LOST CHILDREN somehow a prayer for all grown-up „lost children“ who „have forgotten the fragile magic of youth“.

„There are souls out there that are lost. People who have disappeared and have never been found again.“

Michael Jackson, 2001. 17

„Childhood“ or the fountain of youth as the aRt of special thinking

Rod Serling’s „Kick the Can“ is a lesson in life. So is Michael Jackson’s LOST CHILDREN. Jackson’s LOST CHILDREN had a predecessor who already asked the same question on the same topic in the song CHILDHOOD 1995:

Look within you heart then ask: ‚Have you seen my childhood?'“

Michael Jackson in CHILDHOOD, 1995 18

And a very confident Michael Jackson had already established in 1992:

Deep inside, you know it’s true/Just find that child, it’s hiding in you.

Michael Jackson, MAGICAL CHILD. 19

Michael Jackson’s invitation to look out for the child in our hearts is buried in the story of the world star who had no childhood.

„Maybe the fountain of youth isn’t a fountain at all. Maybe it’s a way of looking at things – a way of thinking.” 

The old man Charles in „Kick the Can“, 1962, Twilight Zone. 20

The old man who concluded in 1962 a dialogue with these words in the episode „Kick The Can“ opened up a whole new world with them.

„This is me!“ Michael Jackson in 1990 about an old man in a home for the aged.

„I am Peter Pan!“

Michael Jackson 2003. 21

Michael Jackson tried to explain himself to the world and everyone thought of a cartoon character in green tights.

„This is me! This is me! This is me!“

Michael Jackson excitedly referred 1990 to an old man who lived in a home for the aged but remained young in spirit.

picture: The old man Charles in „Kick the Can“, Twilight Zone 1962.
„This is me! That should be Peter [Pan]!” Michael Jackson 1990.

In 1980, just 21 years old, Michael Jackson had become an adult according to the law. But already at that age he distanced himself with his special way of looking at things:

„[…] Grown – ups are really nothing but children who have lost all that real magic by not noticing and digging and finding out. I believe in that deeply.“

Michael Jackson, 1980. 22

Michael Jackson about the LOST CHILDREN in „Kick the Can“

Around the year 1990, Jackson got excited about the Twilight episode „Kick the Can“ in preparations for a Peter Pan musical project:

“There’s a good movie you gotta see!” Michael says, excitedly. “It was on ‘The Twilight Zone.’ It has so much heart! And it reminds me of Peter. Called Kick the Can. Gotta see it! Next time we meet, I’m showing you!” He laughs at the thought of it, brimming over with enthusiasm. “It has heart about it! That should be Peter!” […] You’re gonna like it!” He beams. “It’s got heart!” he shouts. “You gotta see it!” He lowers his voice and says slowly, “It’s wonderful!” Snapping his fingers for effect, “It has in it what Peter should have! Oh and it’s beautiful in the end!” […] “Kick the Can?” “Mm hm…Mm Hmmmmm!” he says with emphasis. The room grows silent again. Suddenly, I hear a little giggle. I look over at Michael—he is smiling broadly, staring at me like a kid with a big secret. “What?” […] He whispers, “You got to see Kick the Can!” […] “It’s great! When I saw it, I loved it! And I thought, ‘This is me! This is me! This is me!’

Michael Jackson, 1990, about Rod Serlings „Twilight Zone“ episode „Kick the can“ from 1962. 23

When Michael Jackson built his residence Neverland in California in 1990 he found the following words:

„I love to bring out the child within each of us! I live fo these moments, and wish I could bringt out the child that exists within everyone!“

Michael Jackson, 1990. 24

And Michael Jackson also in 1990:

„Peter Pan is about digging for that child inside of everyone, and playing with its emotions.“

Michael Jackson, 1990. 25

James Barrie’s „Peter Pan“ is like a grown man’s grief over his lost childhood. And it seems Michael Jackson’s LOST CHILDREN is the hope that adults can reclaim their lost childhood.

Michael Jackson, the lost children and Never-Neverland

The older we get and the further we adults move away from our childhood the more we yearn to bring that childhood back – at least that childhood that exists in our wishful thinking, which we yearn for as adults. So the older we get the stronger is the longing for Neverland because with every day we realize how far away we have moved from it.
As a child we had the chance to live in Neverland and we had the luxury to deny Neverland. A luxury that we as adults can no longer afford.
Perhaps even the eternal boy named Peter Pan had always been an adult. Maybe he is part of us adults who are afraid to die. We, who are aware of the fear that we may never enter our personal Neverland before we lose that very life.
Neverland is the nostalgia, our dreams, escapism. Neverland is the only place where we learn to fly. Neverland was born out of imagination and longing of adults who realized that this land could only exist with the help of children. Writer James Barrie needed the children to remember as an adult what they called childhood. Barrie, who in his own childhood had by the death of his brother been forced to leave the natural Neverland of his childhood too soon. Barrie shared these circumstances with Michael Jackson, who had spent his entire childhood earning money for the family. And to entertain us adults.

Get ready folks! … 85, 90, 95, 100. Here I come, ready or not!“

in Michael Jackson’s LOST CHILDREN quoted from „Kick the Can“, the „Twilight Zone“ episode from 1962.

„Ready or not, here I come!“ That allusion had a sense of humor, since Michael Jackson unfortunately must have known what critic he was exposing himself by singing a song about lost children.

Michael Jackson and the story behind Lost Children Twilight Zone Kick the Can 1962 - www.partofhistory.de

Klick here for the video about Michael Jackson’s LOST CHILDREN and „Kick the Can“ on YouTube.

I want my work to help people rediscover the child that’s hiding in them.“
Michael Jackson, 1992

We have to heal our wounded world. The chaos, despair, and senseless destruction we see today are a result of the alienation that people feel from each other and their environment. Often this alienation has its roots in an emotionally deprived childhood. Children have had their childhood stolen from them. A child’s mind need the nourishment of mystery, magic, wonder, and excitement.
I want my work to help people rediscover the child that’s hiding in them.

Michael Jackson, 1992 26
Michael Jackson Dangerous Cover - I want people to rediscover the child that's hiding in them www.partofhistory.de

picture: detail DANGEROUS album cover 1991 Michael Jackson. Painter: Mark Ryden

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Quellen

  1. Michael Jackson, Song „Lost Children“, Album INVINCIBLE 2001, SONY/Epic, MJJ.
  2. Michael Jackson, Song „Lost Children“, Album INVINCIBLE 2001, SONY/Epic, MJJ.
  3. Michael Jackson in Craviotto, Darlene, An Agoraphobic’s guide to Hollywood: How Michael Jackson Got Me Out of the House, 2011, Front Door Books.
  4. Boteach, Shmuley. The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul in Intimate Conversation, Vanguard Press. Kindle-Version.
  5. Serling, Rod, The Twilight Zone – Episode“ Kick the Can“, Rod Serling; George Clayton Johnson. 09.02.1962/04.12.2014, CBS, Koch Media GmbH, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0734583/
  6. Barrie, James Mathew, 1901 about „Neverland“ in „Peter Pan“.
  7. Barrie, James Matthew, Tommy and Grizel, 1900/1912: „What is genius? It is the power to be a boy again at will.“, https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/11901; Copyright © Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children’s Charity
  8. The Twilight Zone – Episode“ Kick the Can“ -(dt. Titel „Kinderspiele“), Rod Serling; George Clayton Johnson. 09.02.1962/04.12.2014, CBS, Koch Media GmbH, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0734583/
  9. Barrie, James Matthew in „Peter Pan“, 1911.
  10. Craviotto, Darlene, An Agoraphobic’s guide to Hollywood: How Michael Jackson Got Me Out of the House, 2011, Front Door Books.
  11. The Twilight Zone – Episode“ Kick the Can“ -(dt. Titel „Kinderspiele“), Rod Serling; George Clayton Johnson. 09.02.1962/04.12.2014, CBS, Koch Media GmbH, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0734583/
  12. Jackson, Michael, Song, Place Without No Name, 2014, „Where kids are playing and people are laughing and smiling/and nothing to fear […] This is the place where no people have pain […]/ his place is filled with love and happiness/so why in the world could I wanna leave?“-Jackson himself didn’t release this song but has apparently been working on it since 1998. In 2014 the song was released on the album „Xscape“ and advertised a car brand. But there is a lot of reason to believe that „Place Without No Name“ is Jackson’s wordplay for „Neverland“. The „Neverland“ as a „place with no name“.
  13. Serling, Rod, „The Twilight Zone“ episode „Kick the Can“, 1962 sampled in Michael Jackson‘ song LOST CHILDREN from 2001.
  14. Serling, Rod, „The Twilight Zone“ episode „Kick the Can“, 1962 sampled in Michael Jackson‘ song LOST CHILDREN from 2001.
  15. Serling, Rod, „The Twilight Zone“ episode „Kick the Can“, 1962 sampled in Michael Jackson‘ song LOST CHILDREN from 2001.
  16. Serling, Rod, „The Twilight Zone“ episode „Kick the Can“, 1962 sampled in Michael Jackson‘ song LOST CHILDREN from 2001.
  17. Jackson, Michael, News of the World Interview 2001, 04.11.2001, „I’m saying there are souls out there that are lost. People who have disappeared and have never been found again. I remember when I was a little kid, I was in a department store with my mother. I was no more than five, I think. I turned around and she was gone. I’ll never forget the feeling. I felt my world was ending. So imagine really, really being lost. It’s like Armageddon of the brain.“, thesilencedtruth.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=132:2001-news-of-the-world-newspaper-interview&catid=38:interview&Itemid=72
  18. Jackson, Michael, CHILDHOOD – Album: HIStory – Past, Present and Future Book I, 14.06.1995, Sony Music.
  19. Jackson, Michael, Dancing the Dream – part 2 MAGICAL child, 1992, „[…] If you could for one moment know/This spark of creation, this exquisite glow /You would come and dance with me /Kindle this fire so we could see /All the children of the Earth /Wave their magic and give new birth /To a world of freedom with no pain /A world of joy, much more sane/Deep inside, you know it’s true/Just find that child, it’s hiding in you.“, Doubleday an imprint of Transworld Publishers, London.
  20. Serling, Rod, The Twilight Zone – Staffel 3 – Episode „Cick the Can“, Dezember 2014, Koch Media GmbH, DVD.
  21. Jackson, Michael 2003 in „Living with Michael Jackson“, Granada TV.
  22. Michael Jackson, „Michael in Wonderland„, Demorest, Steve. 01.03.1980, »So many people think certain things are childlike, but grown – ups are really nothing but children who have lost all that real magic by not noticing and digging and finding out. I believe in that deeply.”, Melody Maker/Music Newspaper, Seite 28/29
  23. Craviotto, Darlene, An Agoraphobic’s guide to Hollywood: How Michael Jackson Got Me Out of the House, 2011, Front Door Books
  24. Swinson, Robert E. „Rob“ Swinson, Maker of Dreams – Creating Michael Jackson’s „Neverland Valley Park“, 2013, Walsworth Publishin Company, Marceline, Missouri, Seite 26
  25. Michael Jackson in Craviotto, Darlene, An Agoraphobic’s guide to Hollywood: How Michael Jacksson, Front Door Books.
  26. Jackson, Michael, DANCING THE DREAM, 1992/1993 Doubleday an imprint of Transworld Publishers, London/Goldmann Verlag Bertelsmann, „On Children of the wordl“

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