The Jackson 5ive
was a cartoon show from Rankin/Bass Productions
that starred (who else?) the Jackson 5. No, not the real ones
. It only lasted two seasons on ABC
(1971-1973), but who wouldn't love seeing Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and dear adorable little Michael
, in Saturday Morning Cartoon
form? The episodes employed plenty of slapstick
and clever one-liners, and you could be sure that you heard two Jackson 5 songs in every single episode. With a few exceptions
, these songs usually had nothing to do with the plot, so it was like they were in a musical.
Most of the episodes starred all five Jackson brothers in silly situations, but other episodes centered on Michael as the main character having a dream based on fairy tales and popular stories, along the way making friends with characters who looked a lot like his brothers. When Michael wakes up from his dream, the others don't believe him
when he tells them about it.Other Recurring Characters include:
- Ray and Charles: Michael's pair of pet mice. Their names are obviously a reference to the great R & B musician Ray Charles. It's impossible to tell them apart. They are very helpful.
- Rosie: A pink snake who, as it turns out, is responsible for the Jackson 5 becoming famous. Despite his appearance, Rosie is actually male; he is Bibbity-Boppity-Booed into Michael's male chauffeur in "Cinder Jackson", and is called a "he" in "Ray & Charles: Superstars". He is also a pet companion of Michael's. He is able to spell out cursive words with his/her body.
- Berry Gordy: The Jackson 5's producer. He isn't such an important character, but he's in at least 2 episodes.
- Hairy Godfather: This character only shows up in 2 episodes. His first notable role is in "Cinder Jackson", where he helps Michael get ready for the ball, and the second time he shows up is in "Hail to the Chief", where he grants Michael's wish of becoming Mayor. His catch-phrase is "Now hooooooooold on!"
- Band Toon
- Black and Nerdy / Gadgeteer Genius: Marlon is pictured as the smartest when it comes to machines, though Tito is the best with the car they drive in.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Michael, occasionally? He has the craziest imagination. Comes with being the youngest, I suppose.
- The Dark Age of Animation: Very much so.
- Expy: Rankin/Bass Productions follow up cartoon The Osmonds that copied the formula of J5 right down to using the same standard dance cycle.
- Green Aesop: A couple of episodes have the Jacksons sympathizing with the environment.
- Hey, It's That Voice!!: If you watch a few episodes, you'll notice that there's one voice that pops up in nearly every one. That voice is Paul Frees, a very prolific voice actor.
- Laugh Track
- Letters 2 Numbers
- Limited Wardrobe: Yes.
- Make a Wish: Often happens to Michael.
- Middle Child Syndrome: Jermaine. It's a shame he didn't have that strong a personality. Occasionally he dresses as a woman to help distract guards or something.
- Musical Episode: Every episode has two Jackson 5 songs.
- Rashomon Style: "Rasho-Jackson" has the brothers with different versions of what happened when they were late to a recording: They helped a female motorist with their spare tank of gas only to run out of gas themselves. Berry had them followed with a film crew, and the important details were: They ALL gave her the gas willingly as their hands were over the can, their gas tank had a leak and Tito had a hard time getting a ride to the gas station before Jackie got the others to push the car out of the way of traffic—and out of Tito's sight.
- Real Song Theme Tune: The opening theme was "ABC". The closing theme was "Mama's Pearl."
- Running Gag: You think the brakes stick a little?
- Team Pet: Ray, Charles, and Rosie.
- That Reminds Me of a Song: What happens twice in every episode.
- Whole Plot Reference: Popular tales such as "Cinderella", The Wizard of Oz, Treasure Island, "Snow White", Alice in Wonderland, and "Jack and the Beanstalk" are parodied quite successfully in this show. Michael is the central character while his brothers and pets play important secondary roles.
- You Have to Believe Me: Sadly, Michael's brothers don't take him seriously after he's had one of his crazy adventures.
- Youngest Child Wins: Michael.