July 7 2009 12:00 AM

Mourners half filled a local theater to watch Michael Jackson's memorial broadcast.

The theater filled with clapping and cheering as the casket, carried by pallbearers each wearing one sequined glove, appeared on the screen. One woman yelled, “All right, Michael” as the late star’s coffin was carried to the front of the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

NCG Lansing Eastwood Cinemas' showing of Michael Jackson's memorial service had people crying, and some wearing tribute shirts. The free event, which drew around 80 in its first hour, drew a wide variety of ages, from the very young, to those who followed Jackson's career from the beginning.

Jennefer Robinson, a home health aid, was at the memorial with her family. She fell into the latter category.

“I was raised on Michael,” Robinson said. “I'm a child of the 1970s. He was the first guy to break the — I don't want to say racial barrier, but he was really the first black artist on MTV. He means a lot to me.”

Sandra Combs was another longtime fan who said she grew up with Jackson. As she spoke about him, clutching a tribute magazine she purchased after his death, her eyes began to tear up.

“He was never prejudiced,” Combs said. “He was raised right. He meant the world to me, and now he's gone too soon.”

Before the event began, there was an area cordoned off for a snaking line that never arrived, as only one row of people was there for the viewing.

Once allowed access to the theater, people waited over half an hour for the memorial to begin, first watching video of the outside of the basketball arena, then switching inside as Smokey Robinson read notes from Diana Ross and Nelson Mandela. After that, the camera stayed focused on a recent image of Jackson before his death, his cheekbones high, his nose and chin narrow, with his name, the years he lived, and “King of Pop” written next to it.

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