The Accident that Sparked Jackson's Addiction

Never-before-seen footage of Michael Jacksons Pepsi commercial accident, filmed in L.A.s Shrine Auditorium on Jan. 27, 1984.Courtesy
Never-before-seen footage of Michael Jackson's Pepsi commercial accident, filmed in L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium on Jan. 27, 1984.

Never-before-seen footage of a 1984 commercial shoot shows Michael Jackson's hair accidentally catching fire, an incident that would lead to a decades-long addiction to sedatives that may have played a role in his death last month.

The raw footage shot for a Pepsi commercial on Jan. 27, 1984 at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium and obtained by Us Magazine, shows Jackson descending a flight of stairs when the pyrotechnics on stage go off early and engulf the singer's head in flames.

Never-before-seen footage of Michael Jacksons Pepsi commercial accident, filmed in L.A.s Shrine Auditorium on Jan. 27, 1984.Play

At first Jackson – wearing a sequined shirt, jacket and signature glove – continues to dance unaware as flames and smoke emanate from his hair. As the fireball grows around his head, he is set upon by members of the crew who tamp out the flames.

In the video, one can easily observe a large red bald spot in the center of Jackson's head after the flames have been extinguished.

Jackson suffered second- and third-degree burns to his scalp and the back of his head, prompting him to begin using and then abusing painkillers, he would later admit.

US magazine, which contains pictures of the incident, hits newsstands Friday. The magazine also suggests that the accident kicked off Jackson's obsession with plastic surgery. The magazine has not said how it obtained the Pepsi footage.

Police investigating Jackson's June 25 death have confirmed that his home was filled with powerful prescription drugs including the painkillers Oxycontin and Demerol and the hospital-grade anesthetic Diprivan.

The then 25-year-old Jackson was taken by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

"Michael is quite shocked. He's fortunate that there were no injuries to his face," Dr. Steve Hoefflin told reporters at the time of the accident. "At this time I don't think skin grafts are necessary."

Hoefflin is now retired and could not be reached by ABC

"Within two weeks of the fire, Michael was back on his feet and in good spirits," Jay Coleman, the agent who repped Jackson when he cut the deal with Pepsi, told ABC

Coleman was not at the shoot, but said the accident made front-page news and the ads were run on the television news weeks before they officially ran as paid spots beginning in February 1984.

Coleman said he did not believe the accident spurred the singer to begin abusing drugs, but a decade after the fire Jackson, himself, said it did.

In 1993, in a statement denying allegations that he had molested a child, Jackson admitted he was hooked on prescription drugs since the accident and would enter rehab.

"I remain out of the country. I have been undergoing treatment for dependency on pain medication. This medication was initially prescribed to sooth the excruciating pain that I was suffering after recent reconstructive surgery on my scalp," the singer said at the time in a statement.

Friends and associates of Jackson have said they routinely tried to stage interventions to help the singer kick his habit, but they were routinely rebuffed or pushed away.

"[Friends and family] were very, very scared about these things and we talked together how can we take care of this, but it was very complicated," said Deiter Wiesner, Jackson's former business manager.

A senior law enforcement official confirmed to ABC News that Jackson was "heavily addicted" to the painkiller Demerol and received "daily doses" of OxyContin. His body was found covered in track marks consistent with intravenous drug use.

It has been widely reported that in addition to Demerol and OxyContin, Jackson also abused the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and the antidepressant Zoloft in the months before his death.

In 2002, Jackson was ordered to undergo a medical examination after he failed to show up in a California courtroom in a trial over breach of contract because the pop star said he had a spider bite.

Marc Schaffel, a former associate of Jackson, however, said it was not a spider bite but a problem caused by a broken IV needle.

"He had the IV stuff back then," Schaffel previously told ABC News. "It wasn't a spider bite. It was an IV he pulled out his leg. The needle broke off."

Police have confirmed that several doctors who treated Jackson and are believed to have prescribed him drugs are being questioned or will be questioned.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Corner subpoenaed Jackson's medical records from Klein and said they were questioning several other physicians as well.

"We are not investigating the doctors. We are investigating the death of Michael Jackson and we are contacting all of his doctors," Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter told reporters.

Klein's lawyer Bradley Boyer said his client was cooperating with the investigation.

"Dr. Klein has been and is continuing to cooperate with Mr. Winter's office and their investigation into the death of Michael Jackson," Boyer said.

The coroner would not name the other doctors who his office has subpoenaed. Authorities confirmed they are questioning several physicians who treated Jackson in the past, including Murray, the cardiologist who was in Jackson's home when he died.

"Dr. Murray continues to cooperate with the investigation," said Miranda Sevcik, spokeswoman for Murray's lawyer Edward Chernoff. "We have no information about this being a homicide investigation," she added.

Sevcik said Murray "did not prescribe or administer Oxycontin or Demerol" to Jackson, but would not rule out Diprivan.

"We have not addressed the use of Diprivan," Sevcik said. She added, "LA investigators asked us not to share any information about any substance – food, drink, or otherwise that Jackson may have taken."