Prince at Age 11 – Archive Footage Accidentally Unearthed
It's been said that Prince is like a mythical creature. There's not much actual evidence to go on about his growing up in Minneapolis' Northside, until now.
Prince at 11
The story goes that the Production Manager for WCCO in Minneapolis, Matt Liddy, was looking through archive footage from 1970 when teachers in the area went on strike. He wanted the footage to use for the story of teachers going on strike in the same district just a few weeks prior, in modern times.
As he dug through footage, he came across an interview of some of the kids from the school where the teachers were striking. And there he was.
He then took the footage to everyone in the news room, not telling anyone who he thought it was. Everyone had the same reaction, "Prince!"
Normally, reporters ask the name of the people they're interviewing. Unfortunately, that didn't happen on this tape.
Just because the kid looked like Prince, however, they couldn't run a story on "we think this is Prince." They'd have to use their journalism skills and get down to the bottom of it.
WCCO reporter Jeff Wagner took over and dug through the tapes. One kid that was interviewed actually says his name unprovoked. Ronnie Kitchen. Wagner went on the hunt to find a Ronnie Kitchen, but kept turning up empty. He even tried to use an old yearbook picture of Prince as proof, but that still wasn't enough.
His next step was to go to a Prince historian of sorts in Kristen Zschomler. She had used her professional research skills to piece together Prince's life, even knowing that he was called Skipper as a child. She says that video of Prince's life as a preteen are almost non-existent, until she was shown the video that was discovered. "Oh, that's him, definitely," she exclaims when shown the video for the first time. She also confirms to the best of her ability that the school in the video is Lincoln Junior High School where he would have been enrolled at that time.
The evidence was there, but wasn't compelling enough. Wagner then went looking for someone who knew Prince as a kid.
Zschomler connected him to Terrance Jackson who knew Prince since kindergarten and even played in his first band, Grand Central.
Upon being shown the video, Jackson immediately recognizes Ronnie Kitchen and then excitedly says, "That is Prince! That's SKIPPER! Oh my God!"
That was his reaction to just seeing Prince. Wagner then let Jackson hear the video. This brought him to tears and flooded him with memories. He then tells of how Prince was already phenomenally playing guitar and keys by then, and how they used to compete between the two of them at how well they could play. It became their sport, even though both boys were athletic in their own right.
Jackson's wife Rhoda grew up alongside them, and said it was amazing to see and hear him that young.
The mystery of one of the most mysterious men in music was solved!
Watch the full news story, and the clip of Prince here:
As Wagner said to CBS Mornings, "I don't know why this is cool, but it is!"
For a little more in depth look at how it all came together, here's more info: