by Jonathan Downie , USA
April 28, 2009
On April 24, 2009, I stepped into another world for a few hours as I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the public exhibition by Julien’s Auctions featuring the property from the life and career of Michael Jackson.
As I was walking down Wilshire Avenue in Beverly Hills, CA (USA), I began to see the black Julien’s Auctions banners, “The Collection of the King of Pop: Michael Jackson” and my excitement began to grow. Continuing along the fence, I then approached the first set of items in the exhibit - several vehicles parked in a parking lot. These included a white limousine, a Neverland Fire Truck, the black Cadillac from ‘Driving Miss Daisy’, some four wheelers and go-karts.
Then I continued up the walkway towards the next set of items many of which are featured in volume 1 of the auction catalog: Garden Statuary and Outdoor Furniture. They included many bronze and marble garden statues, patio furniture and outdoor clocks.
Now we walked up the stairs and approached the main entrance – which was the famous gates of Michael’s Neverland Ranch. This was certainly an important photo opportunity before entering onto the red carpet for the main event. Once we checked in with security and left our bags we were all set to enter the exhibition inside Robinsons-May. Of course cameras were allowed, and they encouraged taking lots of photos.
Across from the entrance was Michael’s 1999 Rolls-Royce limousine and across the way his massive 1997 luxury touring coach. Everyone was allowed to walk through it, so we did that first. It was so magnificent – from the white leather seating, marble counter tops, full bathroom and TV with media system. One could not have asked for more!
It was now time to enter the indoor exhibit - a world dedicated to Michael Jackson. In the first of three rooms, his 1992 Live Concert in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour DVD was playing on a giant screen in the center of the room. The main room contained the items shown in volume 5 of the auction catalog: Memorabilia From the Life and Career of Michael Jackson. Some of the first items which caught my eye, encased in displays to the left, contained gold broaches with various stones, a pair of rhinestone socks and hat, along with many of the multi-colored crystal gloves. Also in these displays were many of Michael’s awards, including his prestigious MTV Music Awards and American Music Awards.
It was hard to not find a wall in the huge room which did not have a gold record or award hung on it. That was very impressive. Additionally, various military jackets worn by Michael in public appearances throughout his career were put on display - bringing back many memories. Moreover, in another case there was the recognizable colored crystal glove display from the Ghosts video. Also contained within that display were some of the jeweled belts Michael wore on stage.
The center of the room contained some of the most memorable items. Positioned on a red velvet pillow, was for example the famous silver glove. This was truly remarkable to see so close. It was surrounded by Michael Jackson’s stage costumes from his entire career. Some personal highlights for me included the LA Gear suede jacket from the commercial, the silver body suit worn on the Bad Tour, the teal crystal jacket worn on the Victory Tour, the gold body suit from the Dangerous Tour along with many other memorable military jackets and stage attire.
The second room contained all of the items displayed in volume 4 of the auction catalog: Amusements, Arcade Games & Entertainment. There were so many arcade games to even list, but seeing many brought back some childhood memories. Also in this room was much of Michael’s Disney collection.
Then I went into the third and final room which contained the items displayed in volumes 2 and 3 of the auction catalogs. These were items from inside Michael’s Neverland home. Special highlights included some amazing artwork, such as the portrait of Michael Jackson dressed as a king. Other highlights were the magnificent wooden furniture and the massive marble chess board.
Overall I must say that Darren Julien and his team did a fantastic job displaying all of these items for the public. The exhibition was extremely professional and presented Michael Jackson with great respect and honor. It was truly a first class experience, and I hope that many other fans had the amazing chance to see all of this history in one place.