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The Jackson 5ive (TV series): Wikis


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The Jackson 5ive
Jackson 5ive Title Card.PNG

Title Card
Format Animated series
Voices of The Jackson 5
Paul Frees (The J5's Producer/Additional voices)
Donald Fullilove (Michael)
Edmund Sylvers (Marlon)
Joel Cooper (Jermaine)
Mike Martinez (Tito)
Craig Grandy (Jackie)
Diana Ross (Diana)
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 23
Producer(s) Arthur Rankin, Jr.
Jules Bass
Running time 30 min.
Production company(s) Rankin/Bass Productions
Motown Productions
Original channel ABC
Original run September 11, 1971 – September 1, 1973

The Jackson 5ive was a Saturday morning cartoon series produced by Rankin/Bass and Motown Productions on ABC from September 11, 1971 until September 1, 1973; a fictionalized portrayal of the careers of Motown recording group The Jackson 5. ABC rebroadcast the series during the 1984-1985 Saturday morning season, which were also years when Michael Jackson had been riding a wave of popularity. The series was animated mainly in London at the studios of Halas and Batchelor, and some animation done at Estudios Moro, Barcelona, Spain. The director was Spanish-American Robert Balser.



Other than appearing in the introduction where actual photographs are shown morphing into animated cartoons, the actual Jackson brothers themselves—Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael—were unable to contribute to the show in any way due to scheduling conflicts. Only their music was used; however, during the music montages, a clipping of the Jackson 5 appearing in concert would air occasionally to blend in with the cartoon. Though Berry Gordy/The J5's producer did not provide the original voice (his character was voiced by Paul Frees) nor advertised his name, his character was frequently involved as the "adult figure" to the group. R&B/Pop singer Diana Ross contributed to voice her fictionalized self in the debut episode. The premise of the show is that the Jackson Five would have adventures similar to Josie and the Pussycats, Alvin & the Chipmunks or The Partridge Family, with the unique addition being that Berry Gordy, the manager of the band in the show's universe, would come up with an idea for publicity for the band, such as having to do farm work or play a concert for the President of the United States.



A specially recorded medley of four Jackson 5 #1 hits—"I Want You Back", "The Love You Save", "ABC", and "Mama's Pearl"—served as the show's theme song. Each episode would feature 2 songs by the Jackson 5. The songs were derived from their albums Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5, ABC, Maybe Tomorrow, and Third Album. In the newer episodes, from 1972–73, songs were derived from Michael Jackson's album Got to Be There and two songs from the Jackson 5 album Lookin' Through the Windows.


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 mice, Ray and Charles (alluding to singer Ray Charles), and his pet snake Rosie 'The Crusher'. Other than the mice chirping, the pets never spoke, but usually either attributed to assistance, mischief or joining the Jackson Brothers in performances on the show.

A scene from Rankin/Bass's The Jackson 5ive Saturday morning cartoon.


Season 1

"It All Started With..."

The pilot episode, introducing the five brothers, their pets, Berry Gordy and the apocryphal origin story of the Jacksons depicting Diana Ross as their discovering mentor.

"Pinestock U.S.A."

The Jackson brothers agree to play an outdoor concert similar to Woodstock, but learn that a team of cruel lumberjacks plan to level the forest where the concert is scheduled.


The Jackson brothers are accidentally drafted into the United States Army, where they play various pranks to avoid kitchen patrol and having their Afros cut off by a recruit with a razor.

"Mistaken Identity"

The Jacksons, out west driving to a tour date in Las Vegas, get sidetracked in an Old West town where they are mistaken for five ornery bandit brothers.

"Bongo, Baby, Bongo"

Michael Jackson finds himself the unwitting and reluctant adopted son of a female gorilla whose bongo-playing offspring is pet-napped by a malevolent clown for his circus act. The remaining Jackson brothers are forced to find ways to rescue Michael from the lovesick animal.

"The Winner's Circle"

Visiting a farm, Michael is tricked by a somewhat shifty farmer into accidentally trading the brothers' gold records for a lazy, unmotivated horse. When the brothers insult the horse and scold Michael, Michael insists he can train the horse to win an upcoming race, and does.


Michael hears on the radio that a beautiful black actress is holding an event in Gary, Indiana, but he is forbidden to see her. Crestfallen, he sulks in his bedroom but is soon greeted by an Afro-crowned "Hairy Godfather" fairy who grants him a wish to see the star. He sneaks to the ball regardless and dances with the celebrity.

"The Wizard of Soul"

The Jackson brothers wander into a Wizard of Oz storyline where each brother plays a familiar Wizard of Oz character. Together they journey to find the "Wizard of Soul", who if located can change them back to their real selves and transport them home.

"The Tiny Five"

The Jacksons are shrunken to miniature size and have to avoid large household perils to reverse the mishap that miniaturized them.

"The Groovatron"

The Jacksons tour themselves to exhaustion and long to take a break. Marlon, depicted as a gear-head genius, builds an Afro-wearing musical robot titled "The Groovatron" to stand in for them for future performance dates. However, a shifty salesman named Sam Sham witnesses the successful maiden performance of the robot, kidnaps it, and sends it on tour on its own, replacing The Jacksons and selling out instead of them. The brothers scheme at once to kidnap their robot back before their careers are destroyed.

"Ray and Charles: Superstars"

Ray and Charles become envious of the success of their owners and decide to become stars on their own. Discovered by Hollywood, the two mice become superstars overnight and soon refuse to speak to one another.

"Farmer Jacksons"

"Jackson Island"

"The Michael Look"

When stranded without his stage clothing in a travel mishap at Heathrow Airport in London, Michael unwisely consults two envious Pearly Kings threatened by his success who use the opportunity to plot to discredit him. The two Pearlies conspire to trick Michael into dressing in shabby patches and rags for his royal performance, but once he is seen on Carnaby Street, his look becomes a British fashion sensation.

"Jackson Street, U.S.A."

The Mayor of Gary, Indiana, declares a street in town will be renamed "Jackson Street", and invites the Jackson brothers to perform on declaration day. The Jacksons plan to touch down in the town square by means of a hot air balloon, but a mishap sends the balloon soaring past and out of the city.


In eerie precognition of future events, "Rasho-Jackson" depicts the Jackson brothers becoming alienated after an argument by their stalled car and refusing to perform with each other ever again, all becoming "The Jackson Ones". Intended to parody the Japanese artistic film "Rashomon", the episode predicts how the Jackson phenomenon would end in twenty years. Berry Gordy is depicted bringing the brothers back together again.

"A Rare Pearl"

The Jacksons swear off girls after a series of romantic mishaps but immediately fall in love with an attractive female flight attendant, named Jacqueline Pearl, on their next tour flight. Jacqueline shuns all interest in the brothers and recruits her muscular football player older brother to give the Jacksons the scare of their lives when they pursue her at home.

Season 2 (billed as The New Jackson 5ive Show)

"Who's Hoozis?"

The Jacksons are scheduled to perform at an outdoor concert (similarly to the events of the episode "Pinestock U.S.A."), but when Michael discovers a talking "blues bird" (a play on "blues" and bluebird) and learns the jazz-musician voiced bird and his nest, containing an egg soon to hatch, are in danger from bulldozers scheduled to tear down the concert park, Michael investigates. He learns a wealthy magnate named Hoozis owns the building overlooking the endangered park, and at once moves in to interfere. Hoozis is patterned after eccentric U.S. millionaire Howard Hughes.

"Michael White"

When he bumps his head in a bicycling accident, Michael dreams he is a storybook prince hiding in a tiny cottage where his brothers are dwarf-sized and warn him not to eat the poisoned apple a visiting crone soon offers. Naturally, Michael bites the apple and immediately collapses as though dead.

"Groove To The Chief"

Michael fantasizes what it would be like to become Mayor of Los Angeles.

"Michael In Wonderland"

Michael accidentally knocks himself unconscious and dreams he is in Wonderland, where he encounters soul and funk-related versions of Wonderland's famous characters.

"Jackson and The Beanstalk"

Michael comes across magic beans that grow a beanstalk outside his and his brothers' Indiana apartment. When he climbs to the top, he wanders a fabulous land and encounters the giant.

"The Opening Act"

External links


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