Pop King Visited Local Store

Michael Jackson never performed a solo concert in San Diego, but he did come here for other reasons. In 1995, he was given a music industry award at the San Diego Convention Center. While he was here, the King of Pop decided to do some shopping.

"His handlers called and said if could we close down so Michael could shop, but we didn't want to kick out other customers so we just said, No," Jan Tonnesen said.

Tonnesen has worked at Wahrenbrocks Book House on Broadway for 30 years.   He said Jackson's handlers agreed to a compromise by letting Jackson enter and exit through the back door.

"Suddenly four guys walked in, one went directly to the third floor, another went to the second floor, and I think they were armed," Tonnesen said.

Jackson and his then wife Lisa Marie Presley quickly followed the men.  "I asked if I could show her anything special and she said no I don't read, I think she was kidding," said Tonnesen.

Jackson spent about an hour in the store, walking up and down every aisle, and signing autographs for the few customers who were there.

"He wandered around and didn't say much, and he was dressed in black and had a red veil covering his face, he looked very pale," Tonnesen said.

Jan said Jackson was also very nice and a very good customer.  "He bought books about Italian architecture, kids books and he asked about books on Marie Antoinette."

Jackson and his entourage spent about $1,700.  But for Jan, meeting the King of Pop was priceless.  "It'll be a very good memory for me, that's for sure."

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