When Michael Jackson and his dancers leaned over at a gravity-defying angle for the “Smooth Criminal” music video, it was pretty cool. When he replicated the stunt for his live show, fans were flabbergasted. And MJ apparently thought the trick was worth protecting, ABC News reports: In 1992, he and two other inventors filed for a patent on it.
The trick? Each heel had a hole in it. When he wanted to tilt, a peg would rise from the stage, fill the hole, and let him lean about 45 degrees without falling. When he was straight again, the peg would contract back into the stage floor. The application notes that previous methods using wires were clumsy and couldn’t be used live. “Music entertainers and dancers are constantly searching for new and interesting elements,” the patent reads.