Originally published on April 3.
MINEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Deep in the WCCO film archives there are hundreds if not thousands of opportunities to travel to the past. And on one drum the treasure lay hidden, untouched, 52 years.
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Date: April 1970. Minneapolis public school teachers have gone on strike.
WCCO has resumed the film to offer the context of a teachers ’strike that took place in the same area just last month.
When WCCO Production Manager Matt Lydie learned that the 13-minute video had been restored from film in 1970, he decided to take a look at it.
“I grew up in Minneapolis, so all I was interested in was looking at the cool old buildings from where I grew up. Did I recognize my old school? Did I learn any landmarks? ” Said Lady.
His curiosity turned to a revelation when he saw a reporter interviewing children as teachers picketed in the background near the school. And there was, in particular, one young boy who answered a question that did not allow Lydia to agree.
“I immediately went out to the editorial office and started showing people and saying, ‘I won’t tell you who I think it is, but who do you think it is?’ And every single person [said] “Prince,” said Lidi.
SEE YOURSELF: 1970 footage
We didn’t have the proper equipment to listen to the film. A specialist helped us to remove the sound. Then we heard the boy speak after we were asked about the teachers ’strike. With a smile when friends surrounded him, the boy, who looked about 10 years old, said, “I think they should get a better education too, because, um, I think they should get more money because they work, they have to be working extra hours for us and all that. ”
It looked like a children’s version of Prince Nelson, a Minneapolis child who would have become an international music icon. But there was one question. The journalist never asked to name the child.
“We didn’t get him to say, ‘I’m Prince Nelson,'” Lidi said.
This marked the beginning of our investigation. Just before the interview with the boy, who looked like a prince, another young boy spoke. He charismatically called his name without even asking. His name was Ronnie Kitchen.
We spent the whole day looking for phone numbers and addresses, trying to find Ronnie Kitchen, who would be at least 60 years old. In the video 52 years ago, he looked like a teenager. But the phone numbers and addresses we found were dead ends.
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How about a picture? A photo from the yearbook in which Prince was a fifth-grader appeared on the Internet. There were similarities in facial structure, but in the interview we found, Prince would have been a sixth grader. We needed an expert who led us to Kristen Jomler. She is a professional historian and archaeologist who explores the properties and attractions around twin cities. She is also a devoted fan of Prince, who wanted to make sure other fans knew well where he grew up in Minneapolis, where he attended school, mostly his life before he became a superstar.
“They called him Skipper,” she said, showing us a family photo of the Prince as a child. “I wrote a great paper describing his historic journey from the north of Minneapolis to Paisley Park and the world.”
The document has more than 100 pages.
Jomler said the video with Prince as a teenager is almost unheard of in the public eye.
“As for the video, I don’t know anyone. This does not mean that they do not exist, but I do not know anyone, ”she said.
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Soon in an interview we showed her a video from the 1970 strike. She gasped as a boy who looked like the Prince entered the frame, then a smile formed and then she struggled to compose a phrase when the video was over.
“I think it’s him, definitely. My God. Yes, I think it is definitely the Prince, ”she said.
Another element of the video caught her eye in the background.
“It’s definitely similar to Lincoln High School, where he attended school in April 1970,” she said.
Jomler then showed us what was supposed to be a photograph of the Prince in the sixth grade of the same school year strike. We compared this to a video of the strike. The hair was in place.
“In his manners, eyes and everything that looks like him,” she said.
Despite the evidence, we still needed someone who knew the Prince as a child. Zhomler connected us with Terence Jackson.
“We’re in kindergarten at John Hay Elementary School in northern Minneapolis,” Jackson said.
He is a childhood friend and former neighbor who was also in the Prince’s first band, Grand Central when they were teenagers.
“My God, it’s the Kitchen,” Jackson exclaimed as the video began, immediately recognizing Ronnie Kitchen as a teenager. “This is a prince! You’re standing here in your hat, right? This is Skipper! Oh God! “
He whirled with laughter. Then the prince began to speak. Jackson fell silent, only a few times quietly saying “wow.” By the end of the video, he wiped the tears from his eyes and laughed again.
“I’m both amazed. I am absolutely surprised, ”he said when childhood memories flooded in.
“By that time he was already playing guitar and keyboards, phenomenal,” Jackson said. “Music has become our sport. Because he was athletic, I was athletic, but we wanted to compete musically. ”
Next to them grew Jackson Rod’s wife. She also couldn’t help laughing when she saw the Prince and then heard him talking to the 11-year-old boy.
“It’s just amazing to see him, so small, so young, and hear his voice,” Roda said.
Our mystery regarding one of the most mysterious people in music has been solved. Just a young urban kid, years before he put his city and its sound on the map.
“He’s a prince, he’s the skipper of the north side,” Jackson said.
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“I think just seeing the Prince as a young child at a nearby school, you know, really helps him become attached to this connection to Minneapolis,” Jomler said. “Even if they are instant glimpses of what Minneapolis meant to him, what he advocated when he lived in Minneapolis, it just helps to understand that he had a symbiotic connection with his hometown.”