A recent Minneapolis teachers strike has unearthed a piece of film that had gone undiscovered for more than a half a century featuring a young boy who grew into one of the music industry’s biggest stars.
CBS owned station WCCO was looking to use 13 minutes of archival footage of a 1970 teachers strike to give context to a recent strike when WCCO production manager Matt Liddy stumbled across an interview showing a 10-year-old boy who looked eerily familiar. At the time the kid’s nickname was Skipper, but the world would come to know him by another name: Prince.
“I immediately just went out to the newsroom and started showing people and saying, ‘I’m not gonna tell you who I think this is, but who do you think this is?’ And every single person [said] ‘Prince,’” Liddy said.
There were two problems with the footage. The station couldn’t confirm the kid’s identity because the reporter never asked him his name and the station didn’t have the right equipment to hear the audio.
A historian figured out the film was shot at Lincoln Junior High School, where Prince went to school, so she put the station in touch with one of the Purple One’s childhood friends.
“That is Prince! Standing right there with the hat on, right?,” said childhood friend Terrance Jackson. “That’s Skipper! Oh my God!”
The station said when Prince began to speak on the film, “Jackson grew quiet, only saying ‘wow’ a few times softly. By the end of the video, he was wiping tears from his eyes and laughing again.”
“I am like blown away. I’m totally blown away,” said Jackson.
“He was already playing guitar and keys by then, phenomenally,” Jackson said. “Music became our sport. Because he was athletic, I was athletic, but we wanted to compete musically.
Here’s video of the WCCO story: