Since his death on June 25, 2009, late pop icon Michael Jackson has been showered with accolades and honors for his 40-plus-year musical career. But on Wednesday (December 30), one of Jackson's most enduring legacies, the pioneering 1983 dancing-ghoul-filled video for "Thriller," was inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
The Associated Press reported that the 14-minute mini-movie that revolutionized music videos and cemented Jackson's status as one of the most ambitious, innovative pop stars of all time, was one of 25 films that were inducted into the world's largest archive of film, TV and sound recordings.
The iconic video, directed by John Landis ("Animal House," "The Blues Brothers"), is the first music video named to the registry. It earned its spot because of the landmark nature of its achievements, which include Guinness World Record sales of over 9 million copies.
"Because of the way the recording industry is evolving and changing, we thought it would be good to go back to the development of an earlier seismic shift, which was the development of the music video," said Steve Leggett, coordinator of the National Film Preservation Board. "Thriller" had been considered for inclusion in the past, but Leggett said following Jackson's death, the time seemed right to add the video to the list.
The library works with film archives, movie studios and record labels to ensure that original copies of the works it enshrines for their enduring cultural, historical and aesthetic importance to U.S. culture are kept safe as well as acquiring copies for its own vault.
Among the other works entering the National Film Registry this year: 1979's "The Muppet Movie"; the 1957 sci-fi classic "The Incredible Shrinking Man"; Sergio Leone's epic spaghetti western "Once Upon a Time in the West"; 1938's "Jezebel," featuring Bette Davis' Oscar-winning performance; the 1975 bank-heist-gone-wrong movie "Dog Day Afternoon," starring Al Pacino; 1940's "The Mark of Zorro"; and the iconic "Little Nemo" from 1911, which mixed live action and animation and served as an inspiration for future animators, including Walt Disney.