Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Vintage Video: Michael Jackson Injured On the Set of a Pepsi Commercial

On this date in 32 years ago, January 26, 1984, Michael Jackson was filming a Pepsi commercial when the pyrotechnics went off too early, setting his hair on fire.

Jackson and his brothers had partnered with Pepsi in November 1983, signing a $5 million contract, the highest amount paid for a celebrity endorsement to that date. The campaign, which was schedule to run in late 1983 and 1984, was built around the "New Generation" theme and include tie-ins throughout all of the activities of Michael and his brothers.

On January 26, 1984, the group was filming a commercial for director Phil Dusenberry at the Shrine Auditorium that involved the brothers lip-syncing on a stage while pyrotechnics went off around them. A full crowd was on hand and witnessed the third take when things went horribly wrong. An explosion was triggered too soon and Michael's hair caught on fire. While it was quickly extinguished, he suffered second and third degree burns to his scalp and, as can be seen in the video, much of his hair was missing on part of his head.

Michael sued Pepsi who settled for $1.5 million which he donated to the Brontman Medical Center in Culver City, CA which now houses the Michael Jackson Burn Center.

The following video appears to be a multi-generational copy but you can still clearly see the accident and the resulting injury.