Although local Minneapolis news stations all too often fail to hire dedicated Prince archivists as core members of their teams, WCCO, a regional CBS affiliate, has managed to unearth important video documentation of a pint-sized His Royal Badness completely by accident.
While looking through old footage of an April 1970 school strike for a story about a similar work stoppage from last month, WCCO production manager Matt Liddy spotted a portrait of The Artist as a young man. In order to verify Liddy’s discovery, anchor Jeff Wagner set out on a mission to find corroborating details that would cement the fact that the little kid in the video is, in fact, a pre-mononymic Prince Nelson.
The child appears on the camera just long enough to provide some clues, but doesn’t state his name, which makes it tough to be sure if it’s actually him. Determined to back up their findings, WCCO and Wagner restore audio from the video, try to track down a fellow student, compare the footage with a school photo of Prince in fifth grade, and head to a Prince fanatic’s home in order to show her the footage.
After stating that videos of pre-teen Prince are “almost nonexistent,” she watches the clip with the kind of joy that comes from discovering seemingly vanished home movies. One of Prince’s friends (and a former bandmate) is even more struck by seeing old pals and hearing the voice of “Skipper from the North Side” in the video.
Wagner takes that reaction for confirmation and we’re assured that the kid in blue who says teachers ought to strike and “get some more money because they work extra hours for us” is, indeed, Prince.
Hopefully, as a result, WCCO will now have the appropriate motivation to spearhead a new Prince research division—a team of archaeologists in purple pith helmets and ruffled silk uniforms dedicated to unearthing further material from Minneapolis’ past.
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