THE JACKSON 5IVE (1971)
a Saturday morning cartoon series produced by Rankin/Bass and Motown Productions on ABC from September 11, 1971 to October 14, 1972; a fictionalized portrayal of the careers of Motown recording group The Jackson 5. The series was rebroadcast in syndication through Worldvision Enterprises during the 1984–1985 Saturday morning season, during a period when Michael Jackson was riding a major wave of popularity as a solo artist. The series was animated mainly in London at the studios of Halas and Batchelor, and some animation done at Estudios Moro, Barcelona, Spain and Topcraft, Japan. The director was Spanish-American Robert Balser.
Why was it special?: IT WAS A CARTOON STARRING ONE OF THE MOST BELOVED MUSIC GROUPS OF THE 70′S
Take another look at that intro. We’ve got a cartoon produced by 2 American companies with production assistance by Great Britain, Spain, and Japan. It took multiple companies spread out across 5 different countries -I say 5 because I definitely think Canada had some sort of hand in this- to bring us the animated adventures of the Jackson 5.
So many people were involved in this and yet it still appears to have the budget of your below-average Hanna-Barbera cartoon. It’s all here; we’ve got limited animation, repeated frames of animation, flat backgrounds, and audio that sounds like it was made in a poorly insulated sound booth. Hilariously, Rankin-Bass actually boned it worse than Hanna-Barbera ever could by including a poorly mixed in laugh track with the show.
For some reason at the time, a lot of cartoons had laugh tracks like live action sitcoms. I guess this was done to evoke a sense of realism in the cartoons but I don’t know. Rankin-Bass included a laugh track they made themselves but they didn’t put a whole lot of thought into how it was implemented so there were multiple instances where the wrong laugh would be played at the wrong time. There’s numerous instances of unintended hilarity where a small joke or a quip from one of the characters would be met with a laugh like it was the funniest thing ever uttered by human beings.
You know what the though, despite the lazy production I know for sure that this is an instance where nobody watching cared. I can understand why because if I was a kid growing up in the 70′s I would’ve been absolutely stoked to see the Jackson 5 in any capacity. They did all they could to make us believe this really was the Jackson boys; copying their mannerisms, their family dynamic, and capturing their likenesses for what it’s worth. What probably sold people the most on this cartoon was the fact that due to the partnership with Motown Records, they were to play songs by the group during the show, and they played a lot of songs.
I believe the music is worth the price of admission… well that and Michael but that goes without saying.
It’s a bad cartoon but something enjoyable to kids who were big fans of the Jackson 5.
- Because Michael Jackson owned many pets in real life, a few pets were added as extra characters to the cartoon. They included Michael’s pet rats, Ray and Charles (alluding to singer Ray Charles), and his pet snake Rosey ‘The Crusher’ (who is male).
On January 15, 2013, DreamWorks Classicsreleased The Jackson 5ive: The Complete Animated Series on DVD and Blu-ray in Region 1 for the very first time. The 2-disc set features all 23 episodes of the series. For the remastered print (The Jackson 5ive: The Complete Animated Series), the mono soundtrack was replaced the stereo soundtrack in the song, the rest of scene was kept the mono soundtrack.
The one thing that’s most polarizing to me is what’s the deal with the title? The Jackson Five-ive? I know how they wanted us to pronounce it but it’s still confusing.
What’s also confusing is the complete absence of any of the other Jackson family members particularly, ahem, Janet Jackson, and La Toya Jackson. That’s pretty lame guys.