How the times have changed. By watching this gritty 1976 NBC newscast, Bushwick newcomers will quickly realize why some native New Yorkers still avoid this neighborhood and, in the meantime, pinpoint the real-life personas that inspired those goofy gangsters in Michael Jackson’s "Beat It" music video.
The supposedly undercover video takes place in "the eighty-third precinct, a battleground for the police and young street criminals," where a teenage gang called "The Devil’s Rebels" roams the streets at night … looking for trouble. (Watch out, they’ve got baseball bats!)
The camera crew follows these thugs as they drink in the streets, fight in the streets and then get roughed up by cops in the streets. It all makes for a wonderful portrait of mid-70s nightlife in a neighborhood that is "as much of rats, stray dogs and burned out buildings as it is of people," in the TV reporter’s opinion.