Jack in the box | Michael Jackson in Charlie Chaplin photos | Showbiz|michael jackson | News Of The World
JACK IN THE BOX
Amazing pictures uncover weird star’s macabre sense of humour
THIS is the chilling dress rehearsal carried out nearly 30 years before the main event.
On Tuesday, legions of fans will pay their respects at a memorial service and Michael Jackson's body will be buried in a solid bronze casket.
But today the News of the World publishes an astonishing series of bizarre photos - including one macabre shot of him playing dead in a COFFIN at London's famous Madame Tussaud's waxwork museum.
Other pictures that have never been seen before show the King Of Pop dressed as his hero CHARLIE CHAPLIN on a visit to Britain when he was 21.
One shot has Jacko in typical coy Chaplin pose with black bowler hat and cane. In another he is cowering in a corner between two brick walls.
As our main image shows, in Tussaud's Chamber Of Horrors he slipped into an empty wooden coffin.
To his right are the waxwork models of evil sisters Margaret Higgins and Catherine Flanagan, who were responsible for killing up to 17 people to cash in their life insurance policies in the 1800s. On his left is a mannequin of Catherine Webster, who was hanged in Wandsworth jail in 1879 for murdering her boss.
The pictures were taken by British photographer Tony Prime when the Jackson 5 visited the UK in 1979.
A pal of the photographer said: "Jackson was fascinated by anything weird. He absolutely loved it. When he saw the coffins he just leapt over the barrier and got in the empty one."
Prime was the only snapper with the Jacksons on a day they were doing interviews at London's Capital Radio station. It was there that a shy Jacko asked Tony if he was a Londoner because he wanted someone who could tell him where to buy the military-style jackets that were to become his trademark stage outfit.
Tony told him that there was a shop across the street from the radio station and took him there.
The singer then insisted his new friend come with him on a tour of London and both jumped into the white Rolls-Royce the Jacksons were travelling in. Jacko told Tony he was obsessed with Charlie Chaplin and asked him to show him where the comedian was born.
The snapper's pal added: "Jackson was fascinated by the life of Chaplin and wanted to know all he could about where the comic grew up.
"Tony told him he would take him for a drive around and point out various places related to Chaplin. Then all of a sudden Jackson said he wanted to get dressed up as Chaplin so they took him out and bought him the clothes and a cane."
Then, dressed as his comic hero, Jacko posed on the streets of Stockwell in south London where the silent screen legend was born in 1889.
He was so thrilled with the pictures he asked Tony if he could have a set. The pal added: "It was just one of those magical one-off moments.
"They shared a few fun hours together and the pictures show that, but Tony never heard from him again.