The recent death of Michael Jackson was a shock to the system for a lot of fans, including those within the Vancouver Canucks organization.
For many of us the past 40 years have unfolded to the soundtrack of The Jackson 5 and the King of Pop; "ABC" reminds us it's I before E except after C and that 2 plus 2 makes four, Halloween isn't Halloween without hearing "Thriller" and good luck successfully partying a night away without "Billie Jean" or "Beat It."
Jackson's classic hits will live on forever, as will the intrigue and mystery surrounding the photograph below, which Chelsey Perrella, Image Resource Coordinator & Copy Editor for the Canucks Creative Team, found in the archives last week.
We can confirm that Stan Smyl is on the left and Mario Lemieux is on the right, but is that really the real Michael Jackson about to drop the puck during a ceremonial faceoff?
To borrow a line from the X-Files, the truth is out there. Canucks.com reporter Derek Jory set out on a mission to discover it, although we'll leave you to form your own conclusions.
THE PICTURE IS REAL, THAT'S THE KING OF POP
-The Canucks hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Pacific Coliseum on November 16, 1984 and beat them 7-6.
-Michael Jackson's Victory Tour stopped in Vancouver to play three shows on November 16, 17 & 18 at BC Place.
-It's highly unlikely the Canucks would have had a Michael Jackson impersonator take part in a ceremonial faceoff the same day that Jackson is in town. That screams trickery and just doesn't add up.
-The Canucks Creative Department has the original printed picture in its possession, which virtually eliminates the involvement of Photoshop.
-MJ is wearing all his customary items: aviator-style glasses, heavily festooned black lamé jacket, single white glove and patented leather shoes - he's legit.
-Some will argue that the infamous white glove is being worn on the wrong hand and that the left mitt is in fact it's proper home. Yes, Jackson did wear it on his left hand on March 25, 1983, when he performed live on the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever TV special, but according to Julien's Auctions, who conducted a live auction of Jackson's possessions in April of this year, the true gloves sold were right handed.
THE PICTURE IS FAKE, THAT GUY'S A LOOK-A-LIKE
-According to a ticket stub from the Nov. 16 concert that stuffed_with_fluff has for sale on eBay, Jackson and company were scheduled to hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Assuming the Canucks/Penguins game began around 7 p.m., Jackson wouldn't have had enough time to get from BC Place to the Pacific Coliseum and back in time for the start of the show.
-MJ is sporting his signature military jacket, but a quick Google search of Jackson pictures shows that the middle sash is almost always running from his left shoulder to his right hip. In this picture the sash goes from right to left. I smell a fake.
-Why was there no red carpet rolled out to greet the biggest musician on the planet? The King of Pop agrees to take part in a ceremonial faceoff and the Canucks welcome him by making him shimmy his way across the ice in dress shoes? That doesn't make sense at all - the Canucks are much classier than that and Jackson's entourage would have demanded red carpet treatment.
-Why does no one remember this happening? Both Stan Smyl, the Canucks captain standing close enough to elbow Jackson, and Norm Jewison, the former Canucks public relations director who most likely scheduled the appearance, have no memories of this taking place. Jewison took his wife and daughters to see Jackson when he was in town that week, but has no recollection of MJ dropping the puck. Fishy.
After a ton of emails and phone calls, extensive Internet research and even a trip to the library, we're no closer to determining if this is really the real Michael Jackson.
If you have any insight into this photo or just want to weigh in on whether that's really the King of Pop or not, we'd love to hear your thoughts.
The truth is out there...