Geoff Carter of Your Souvenir Guide takes us back to 1986 with his reminiscence of Captain EO’s opening night.
We cracked wise about Michael Jackson as the line rolled up Main Street, past the building that would become Star Tours (“Get ready for the ULTIMATE THRILL EXPERIENCE!”) and into the Magic Eye Theater, recently converted from the Space Mountain Stage. We talked shit about Michael Jackson even as we put on our 3-D glasses and the Magic Eye Theater darkened to an enveloping canvas of stars. We snickered nervously as Jackson entered the film and issued an unconvincing ultimatum (“We’re goin’ in”).
I don’t actually recall whether I ever saw Captain EO in the parks (though, of course, YouTube is my friend). I visited Disneyland just once during its run, in February of 1989, so it’s possible I did, and that the memory’s just slipped away like so many other odds and ends (was I really supposed to have already forgotten so many things by my 40s?). My then-girlfriend was quite the Michael Jackson fan, so I’ll bet we went.
Watching Captain EO today brought on the inevitable nostalgia for a time that never happened, a carefree and optimistic late 1980s. (Well, at least that time never happened for me.) And I do love the Supreme Leader, even if only because she feels a bit like an early (and unfortunately less creepy) version of the Borg Queen.
But I can’t quite support the petition drive to bring back Captain EO to the parks. No, it’s not just the fact that Michael Jackson has been accused of some horrible things….it’s the fact that the movie hasn’t aged particularly well, and I’d rather see Disney investing on moving forward rather than backward.
And really, when I reminisce about Michael Jackson, I wanna go farther back. The Jackson 5 ABC was the first real album I owned, and I can’t help but mourn a little for the way this glorious, golden-voiced child’s life (and death) seem to have turned out.