wiz-movie-posterMichael Jackson was only 20 years old when he made his film debut in The Wiz. The first song that the King of Pop sings, ‘You Can’t Win’, was originally written for the stage version for the Winkies to sing to Dorothy about the futility of escaping from Evillene. The song was cut from the stage version of the musical during previews but was included in the film as the Scarecrow’s song.

Motown Productions bought the rights to the stage show with the intent of having Stephanie Mills reprise the role of Dorothy. However, Diana Ross lobbied intensely for the role. Despite the fact that everyone (including Motown head and former lover Berry Gordy) believed that she, being 13 years older than Mills, was too old, she insisted that the role of Dorothy was ageless. She also said she would be able to guarantee Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow if she was cast.   –IMDB

Michael Jackson’s Make-Up Artist for “The Wiz” Michael R. Thomas recalls memorable experiences with Michael on and off the set:

Every morning I began Michael’s make-up by applying a bald cap to keep his hair, which was in very small braids, in place. Next I would apply the foam-latex pieces: a forehead piece, two cheek pieces, a nose piece (which was supposed to look like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup wrapper), a chin piece and a neck ruffle. They went on in the morning and had to be maintained during the day.

To remove the make-up at the end of the day, I would stand behind Michael, lift the back of the bald cap and peel it up over his head. The cap and the foam-latex appliances would come off pretty much all in one piece.

But then I’d duck down behind his chair so he couldn’t see my reflection in the mirror, put the make-up (which now looked like a spooky mask) on my hand, slowly raise it up behind his head and jiggle it, going, “OOODLE-OOODLE-DOOODLE-DE-OOOOHHH!” He would laugh like crazy, as if it were one of the funniest things he’d ever seen. I really enjoyed his childlike sense of humor; I could say or do any dumb thing and it would get a big laugh. I would then remove the remainder of his make-up, glue and adhesives and that would be it. We’d go home and get ready for the next day’s shooting.   -Read more: http://www.truemichaeljackson.com/true-stories/stories-from-the-wiz/

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