Michael Jackson's Neverland 'Once upon a time'

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36

Back in 1983, Michael Jackson teamed up with Paul McCartney to record 'Say Say Say', and the former Beatle stayed at Sycamore Valley Ranch in California while the pair were recording the video. After visiting McCartney there, Jackson fell in love with the place and promised he would buy it some day. True to his word, the King of Pop acquired the ranch in 1988 for a purported $19.5 million (£15.2m).

The Thriller singer renamed the property Neverland after the magical island in Peter Pan, and set about creating his very own amusement park. Jackson had two railways and a station (pictured) built to complement the Tudor-style six-bedroom mansion that came with the property and installed a petting zoo and numerous amusement rides. 

Neverland had everything from a Ferris wheel and pirate ship ride to a carousel and bumper cars. Jackson hosted glittering events at the ranch, including the 1991 wedding of his close friends Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky. 

In 1995, Jackson and then-wife Lisa Marie Presley also hosted an event at the theme park attended by children from around the world. 

Michael Jackson
In 2003, Jackson was charged with child abuse and Neverland Ranch was turned upside down by police searching for evidence, but the singer was eventually acquitted on all charges. Jackson complained of feeling “violated” following the search and vowed never to live at the ranch again.

In 2006, Neverland shut down and most of the staff were sent packing. Up to his eyeballs in debt by this point, Jackson struggled to hold onto the property. Investment firm Colony Capital bought a majority stake in 2008 for $22.5 million (£17.8m), and the ranch's amusement rides were removed. 

Michael’s toys
Jackson had game rooms that anyone, kid or adult, would dream of having. He had life-sized action figures of popular superheroes, video games, arcade machines – including Zoltar, the fortune teller machine – and many collector’s items.
Some of these included the actual scissor gloves from the set of Edward Scissorhands, and an original Batman suit. And to top it all off, he kept a huge, lavish thrown – one that is fit for the King of Pop.

After Jackson's death in 2009, the ranch fell into disrepair and the property was put up for sale in 2015 with an asking price of $100 million (£79m). Despite lowering the price to $67 million (£53m), Colony Capital has been unable to offload the now renovated ranch and it remains unsold and unlived in. 

It is a pitiful reflection of the demise of the one-time King of Pop.

Copyright: Daniel Coughlin
Michael Jackson's Neverland 'Once upon a time' Michael Jackson's Neverland 'Once upon a time' Reviewed by E.A Olatoye on January 11, 2019 Rating: 5

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