There was probably just one screening room in 1990s America — and maybe on the planet — where a triple feature might have included a Judy Garland flick, a movie about troubled adolescent boys and a Nazi documentary like “Hitler’s Children”.
Its unlikely location, according to a report in the New York Post, was the Neverland Ranch, the sprawling Santa Barbara home of one Michael Jackson.
A former video distributor named Norman Scherer revealed to the Post that he’d been approached in 1995 “by a New Yorker looking to place big orders for a ‘famous’ client — as long as he could be discreet.” The New Yorker turned out to be Scott Shaffer, Jackson’s longtime personal assistant. “I knew what [Jackson] wanted,” Shaffer told the Post.
What the late King of Pop craved was “Nazi documentaries, as well as Judy Garland TV specials and dramas depicting troubled boys in dysfunctional families,” according to the Post. As for the Hitler flicks — which included such gems as “Nazis — Of Pure Blood,” “Oasis of the Zombies” and “Hitler’s Children” — Scherer assumed that the singer just loved the military garb and lockstep marching.
Jackson “displayed the tapes along the walls of his video vault” at Neverland, Scherer told the Post. “Michael Jackson was a very special client to me,” Scherer said. We can only wonder what kind of material Jackson started downloading once the web made movies more easily accessible.
Scherer, for his part, seems to have left the days of Nazi videotapes behind. While he didn’t return the Forward’s e-mailed interview request, the serial entrepreneur’s LinkedIn profile lists him as owner of businesses including tour operator KidsNYC, video search engine Cliparama and online shop Clothing Machine.