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Michael Jackson: The Cash Cow That Keeps On Giving

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It was quite a week for Michael Jackson in the news, and, at this point, it’s become a legitimate question to wonder when the non-stop cavalcade of garish headlines will come to an end. Most notably, there was the announcement that the private burial ceremony for Jackson will be held August 29th, which would have been his 51st birthday. When the date was announced earlier this week, the family’s spokesman said,

The Jackson family once again wishes to express its gratitude to Michael’s fans around the world for their support during these difficult times.” The spokesman might as well have added, “These difficult and profitable times.”

Jackson may be gone, but he’ll continue to be a cash cow for the foreseeable future. And the media, for its part, has been more than happy to devote coverage to the ever-growing lineup of people poised to take advantage of the situation. And the lineup isn’t pretty.

Obit Jackson

Randy Phillips, the president and CEO of AEG Live, the company behind the ill-fated London concerts, told the Associated Press that there is

“more than 100 hours of footage that could be turned into live albums, a movie and a pay-per-view special. He was our partner in life and now he’s our partner in death.”

Morbidity knows no bounds when it comes to making money. A feature-length film of the rehearsals is scheduled to be released in theaters in October and, just this week, LA District Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff approved a merchandise agreement that allows AEG  and merchandiser, Bravado, to sell trading cards, clothing and other memorabilia connected with the film.

The circus carnival of the singer’s death can be compared to Elvis Presley, but even then — there wasn’t talk of feature-length IMAX movie in his case. And Graceland wasn’t opened as a tourist attraction until five years after his death.

Neverland Ranch is still off-limits to the public, but for fans hoping for the MJ equivalent of Graceland, they’ll have to wait. However, there are some quickly-thrown-together attractions that might tide over the MJ diehards. By far the most enterprising of all the money-grubbers has been the  two women from Chicago, who started “The King of Pop Hometown Tour” in Gary, Indiana, where the singer and his nine siblings grew up.

Earlier this week, Denise Jordan Walker told the Associated Press:

To truly understand Michael you have to go where it all started, his beginning, their experiences in Indiana. They have this vision of Michael, he’s bigger than big. But he had to come from somewhere. He had to have dreams. Neverland could never have happened without Gary.”

And in what may be the most disturbing MJ related news of the week, Dr. Conrad Murray, who was Jackson’s private physician released a creepy YouTube video following a police raid of his home and office. In the video, he says he was “afraid to return phone calls” or use e-mail. He doesn’t look too worried to me. After all, he does have the tabloid bidding war to look forward to. Something tells me Access Hollywood’s check is in the mail.

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