XIV Michael Jackson DANGEROUS warning 1991 and KEEP OUT 1988

Michael Jackson Dangerous

In 1991, Michael Jackson issued a warning on the DANGEROUS album cover about a dark and „dangerous“ industry behind the colorful facade of entertainment: DANGEROUS had Jackson put this on his album cover.

As soon as Michael Jackson had the opportunities, he warned in his aRt about exploitation, corruption, drug abuse and also death behind the colorful facade of the entertainment industry. Jackson warned about precisely that industry, which cost him his life in 2009.

Michael Jackson’s DANGEROUS album cover 1991, SONY Music Entertainment. Painter of the artwork named „King of Pop“ (acrylic on wood 82” x 74”) is Mark Ryden. The original of the painting is exhibited in the Paul Kasmin Gallery, 293 Tenth Ave., New York, NY 10001 source

The Jackson warning from 1988: KEEP OUT. NO TRESPASSING
The Jackson warning from 1991: DANGEROUS

In 1988 in his film MOONWALKER, Michael Jackson was hunted by a villainous „Mister BIG“. Drugs and money played a role in a sinister environment hidden behind a seemingly carefree artificial world. The hunt after Jackson ended for him in a dead end. Jackson was stuck in an arena where countless anonymous figures focused their attention on him. The spotlights were turned on him and the „performance“ of Michael Jackson began.
But before that, Jackson had crossed a border in the film MOONWALKER. A border that marked the transition to this industry behind the scenes.

Michael Jackson DANGEROUS warning 1991 and KEEP OUT 1988 MOONWALKER Industry www.partofhistory.de

Michael Jackson’s 1988 warning in his film MOONWALKER stated:
Keep Out. No Trespassing.
Jackson repeated the same warning on his album cover in 1991:

l.: 1988 MOONWALKER. Jackson warned about the industry behind the facade source
r.: 1991 DANGEROUS. Jackson warned about the industry behind the facade on his album cover. source

Michael Jackson DANGEROUS 1991 and 1988 MOONWALKER Industry www.partofhistory.de

l.: MOONWALKER 1988 Jackson’s industry in the movie source   
r.: DANGEROUS 1991 Jackson’s industry on the album cover source

And somehow Jackson’s 1988 walk through the industry in MOONWALKER 1991 also seems to be reflected in the DANGEROUS cover.

„KEEP OUT!“ and the industry „Michael Jackson“

Kind of Pop in LEAVE ME ALONE 1988

The industry „Michael Jackson“ in LEAVE ME ALONE, 1988 source

In his short film LEAVE ME ALONE, Michael Jackson depicted what an enormous industry operates around him and his persona as the „King of Pop.“

The „holy“ HOLLYWOOD is dangerous

Hollywood is also called the „dream factory“. A factory that produces dreams for the paying viewers and for some people symbolizes also „happiness and wealth“. The dream of being a star in this artificial world was also declared as „holy“ for some people. Michae Jackson sang a song about it, which was published posthumously under the title HOL(L)YWOOD TONIGHT.
Jackson did not release the song himself, but probably worked on it since the mid or late 1990s. The song is Jackson’s warning about Hollywood’s dangers and tells the story of a young girl, a runaway, who dreams of fame in the glittering world. Hollywood is the ultimate, religious goal for her. But what the young girl actually finds is the reality of prostitution and crime. The age of this young girl laments Michael Jackson painfully in the song:

She’s only 15!

The musical piece itself had Jackson open with a kind of sacred chanting of a church choir of young nuns. Hollywood, it seems, was with this symbolism declared a kind of „holy“ place of pilgrimage.

The sacred choir in the intro to HOLLYWOOD TONIGHT, Michael Jackson. source: SONY Music/Michael-Jackson-Estate

After the „church choir“ from the beginning of the song fades away, one can hear the marching girls at the end of the song, who are on their way to Hollywood.

The march towards Hollywood in the outro to HOLLYWOOD TONIGHT, Michael Jackson. source: SONY Music/Michael-Jackson-Estate

„Lipstick in hand …“.

Michael Jackson in HOLLYWOOD TONIGHT

Jackson’s main character in the song is hoping for a film career and prostitutes herself for it. Nothing in this narrative is an invitation to spend one’s life in this entertainment. Everything in Michael Jackson’s story warns about the dangers that await those who want to set out into this fictitious world.
Michael Jackson ends the song with a whistling, marching chorus reminiscent of the soldiers of the „River Kwai March.“ And so the number of girls marching towards Hollywood seems to have grown to army size. In Michael Jackson’s narrative, are they marching to a certain doom like all the other soldiers?

Hollywood is DANGEROUS. After Michael Jackson’s death in 2009, his estate released a music video for his song HOLLYWODD TONIGHT without Jackson’s creative input. And thus Jackson’s former warning turns into a video with the cheesy story of a young woman who sets off for Hollywood and immediately swims in good spirits on the wave of success. (Or dreams of it).
The posthumous rendition of HOLLYWOOD TONIGHT is thus an invitation, while Jackson’s original song is a warning. Even Jackson’s accusatory shout-out in the song, „She’s only 15!“, is deleted without replacement upon its release by his estate in 2010. Changing Michael Jackson’s HOLLYWOOD TONIGHT like that and turning it into the opposite becomes somehow Jackson’s message in itself. 1
Jackson did not formulate an invitation in the song, but a warning. Jackson warned of the dirty industry behind the colorful illusory world and of exploitive Mr. BIG’s behind the scenes. Jackson’s advice after three decades of show business was therefore:

Not to trust everybody. Not to trust everybody in the industry. There’re a lot of sharks.

Michael Jackson, around 2000. 2
Michael Jackson Dangerous Coverwith childstar McCuly Culkin and Michael Jackson.

Not everyone survives Hollywood. Childstars managed by their own parents survive even less often. It seems to be hell. See Michael Jackson’s DANGEROUS album cover from 1991.

The childstars McCauly Culkin and Michael Jackson on Jackson’s DANGEROUS Cover from 1991. Manager of the children was respectively their own father. source

Skulls can only be detected by those who want to look more closely

Michael Jackson DANGEROUS 1991 and 1988 MOONWALKER Industry  skull death www.partofhistory.de

On Michael Jackson’s DANGEROUS album cover from 1991, a complicated machinery works behind the colorful facade of this Factory of Dreams. A system that runs at full speed. Jackson depicts the system as dirty and sinister. Only those who take a closer look can recognize skulls in the structure of the industry.

A skull in the DANGEROUS industry of Michael Jackson. Painted by Mark Ryden. source


Michael Jackson DANGEROUS warning 1991 and KEEP OUT 1988 MOONWALKER Industry www.partofhistory.de

The sign „DANGEROUS“ on Jackson’s album cover is reminiscent of a sign from another amusement park: „DISNEYLAND“. But Jackson’s sign reads DANGEROUS. That means nothing more than „KEEP OUT! NO TRESPASSING!“. That’s a warning.
When Jackson took us viewers to the same place in 1988, it wasn’t a painting, it was a movie then.
In 1988 in MOONWALKER, Jackson ignored the warning not to step into the industry behind the scenes. An artist’s interference in the behind-the-scenes business of entertainment was forbidden territory. Not just in MOONWALKER. No trespassing! „KEEP OUT! NO TRESPASSING!“ it said in 1988. „DANGEROUS“ it says on the album cover and has the same meaning.

l.: 1991 behind the facade on DANGEROUS source
r.: 1988 behind the facade in MOONWALKER. Keep out. No traspassing. source

The artist Michael Jackson and the DANGEROUS industry in MOONWALKER

Like DANGEROUS, MOONWALKER from 1988 is superficially colorful entertainment and at the same time superstar Jackson’s autobiographical tragedy in several acts.
MOONWALKER starts with Jackson’s current career in the late 1980s, looking back at his success as a child star and his mega-successes as an adult. As for the future, MOONWALKER shows Jackson’s influence on future generations as children imitate him in the BADDER segment.
In the SPEED DEMON act, Jackson shows what dealing with fans means when the police must intervene and Jackson flees from his followers into the desert.
In the act LEAVE ME ALONE, Jackson presents us what dealing with the media means in the entertainment park MICHAEL JACKSON.
In the act SMOOTH CRIMINAL, Jackson tells us about violent crime and a powerless police apparatus, and this time presents us with organized crime using the example of Chicago’s underground scene of the 1930s.
Jackson connects all acts of MOONWALKER with a background story of child abduction, mafia, drug trafficking, brutality and reminds us of great entertainers of the past.

In the beginning was… the field of dreams. A Garden of Eden

Michael Jackson Moonwalker 1988 Field of Dreams Dangerous Cover 1991 Paradise www.partofhistory.de

In 1988 the movie MOONWALKER, just like the 1991 painting DANGEROUS, opens with the bright light of paradise and shows a playful, joyful mood around Jackson, who is in each case dressed in red. A Field of Dreams. A garden of Eden:

l.a.r.: The sunny, playful, innocent paradise in MOONWALKER, 1988. Jackson (in red) is surrounded by children. source
m.: The sunny, playful paradise in DANGEROUS, 1991. Jackson (in red) is surrounded by children…. source

Jackson 1988. Crossing the Line in MOONWALKER

Moonwalker 1988 with border and sign: KEEP OUT.

In MOONWALKER, the paradise field of dreams turns into a nightmare as Jackson crosses the border into the bottomless depths of a dark world. A border is marked by a river.

l.to.r.: The end of paradis – „KEEP OUT! NO TRESPASSING!“ – the border is marked by a river at the entrance to hell in MOONWALKER, 1988 source

Jackson 1991. Crossing the Line in DANGEROUS

Dangerous Cover with border in the middle. www.partofhistory.de

A border that meanders like a river also marks the barrier between paradise and hell on DANGEROUS. The border between the kingdom of the sun and the kingdom of darkness. From day to night. From life to death. From ENTRARE to EXITUS.


Backstage: Jacksons DANGEROUS Industry in MOONWALKER

Michael Jackson DANGEROUS warning 1991 and KEEP OUT 1988 MOONWALKER Industry www.partofhistory.de

In MOONWALKER, Jackson took us at hand and guided us from the sunny paradise with artificial flowers behind the gloomy scenes of this amusement park. In 1991, he takes us along the same path through the industrial darkness of DANGEROUS.

l.: behind the scenes in MOONWALKER source
r.: behind the scenes on DANGEROUS source

Additionally the painter of the DANGEROUS cover of 1991:

„The painting depicts Jackson looking out from behind a mask over the entrance to an amusement park.

Mark Ryden 3

In MOONWALKER, the „Mr. BIG’s“ systematically manipulate the world in the hidden industry behind the scenes. With „Bucks and Drugs“. Money. Mafia. Jackson describes the entertainment industry unflatteringly as a „system“ even in 2003. 4
Manager characters like Mr. BIG rushed Jackson through half of MOONWALKER’s plot, propelling him at the end into the spotlight of a packed arena. 5

An army of faceless spectators awaits the star’s performance in the arena of MOONWALKER.
But the concert is canceled.
Despite all the pressures imposed by the leading Mr. BIG’s, which do not even stop at beatings, Jackson refused and flies away from the arena into the darkness.

Moonwalker 1988 michael jackson departure

Michael Jackson has left the building.

Jackson’s departure concludes Moonwalker. „Michael Jackson has left the building!“ source

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  1. HOLLYWOOD TONIGHT. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjGtTUfPcI4
  2. Jackson, Michael, Ratner, Brett, interview, 1999/2000, „Not to trust everybody. Not to trust everybody in the industry. There’re a lot of sharks. And record companies steal. They cheat. You have to audit them. And it’s time for artists to take a stand against them, because they totally take advantage of [artists]. Totally. They forget that it’s the artists who make the company, not the company who makes the artists. Without the talent, the company would be nothing but just hardware.“ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvKwAXSVRU8
  3. Ryden, Mark, „Michael Jackson On The Wall“ catalogue to the exhibition, London., 2018.06., „The painting depicts Jackson looking out from behind a mask over the entrance to an amusement park.“ ,Thames & Hudson, page 57, npgshop.org.uk/products/michael-jackson-on-the-wall-hardcover-catalogue
  4. Wiesner, Dieter, Michael Jackson – Die wahre Geschichte, 2011, „…Don’t let the system come between us.“ Michael Jackson left this voice message Dieter Wiesner’s telephone., Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, München, page 325
  5. 1_note: MR. BIG, the centerpiece of the film MOONWALKER is part of SMOOTH CRIMINAL. The choreography, the set and Jackson’s clothes are based on the 1953 musical BANDWAGGON with Jackson’s idol Fred Astaire. The director was Vincente Minnelli. The theme is the highs and lows in entertainment. Fred Astaire’s opponent in BANDWAGON’s segment GIRL HUNT BALLETT is also a criminal named „MR. BIG“

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