New video shows Jackson's head catching fire

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Jul 16, 2009 at 12:12 PM EST

The harrowing video shows Michael Jackson dancing down stairs for a 1984 commercial completely unaware that his head is inflamed, an incident said to have triggered his addiction to painkillers.

The "King of Pop" was making a Pepsi advert at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 27, 1984 when the horrific accident took place, caused by fireworks that exploded too early.

Jackson suffered severe burns to his hair and scalp. "He was never the same after the accident," Us Weekly said in a report accompanying the release of the video late Wednesday. The superstar died on June 25 aged 50 from an apparent cardiac arrest.

Jackson, 25 and at the height of his "Thriller" fame when the video was shot, made the commercial with his brothers with thousands of fans in the audience.

Still images of the accident had been released but the video had never been shown publicly before.

The first try appeared to go smoothly, the singer dancing down the steps in his signature moves, but the director ordered more takes.

It was the sixth take that went horribly wrong, the video showing Jackson facing the audience beneath a lighting rig when the fireworks exploded around him. He kept dancing and spinning, unaware that his hair and head were burning.

The flames went out when he twisted around as part of his routine. But others saw the accident and security guards rushed to the scene in a split second. His brother Jermaine turned to see Michael Jackson in trouble.

As Jackson emerged, it became clear his hair had burnt off.

Pictures were released at the time of Jackson being taken away in an ambulance, his head in bandages, but still holding up his trademark sequined white glove.

"To relieve the second and third-degree burns on his scalp and body (and later to help him tolerate multiple surgeries on the scorched spot on his head), Jackson was prescribed several medications -- which kicked off his addiction to painkillers and obsession with plastic surgery," Us Weekly quoted sources as saying.

Friends and relatives have said since Jackson's sudden death that he was addicted to painkillers.

Los Angeles police said Wednesday they were investigating Jackson's death, but would not confirm it was being treated as a homicide investigation, as reported by entertainment website TMZ.com.

TMZ, citing "multiple" law enforcement sources, said "the evidence points to the anesthesia Propofol (Diprivan) as the primary cause of Jackson's death" and that the Los Angeles Police Department was focusing on Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray.

The Los Angeles County Coroner's office subpoenaed the superstar's dermatologist Arnold Klein on Tuesday, seeking "additional medical records" from the physician's Beverly Hills office.




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