A bizarre collection of Jackson memorabilia lands in private hands—and throws light on Michael’s strange journey from Motown prodigy to the King of Pop and beyond
More pieces have been unearthed from the puzzle that is Michael Jackson. After the singer’s parents bungled a series of business deals and failed to pay storage, hundreds of boxes filled with items belonging to Jackson and his family—earmarked for a theme restaurant that never opened—were auctioned off. The lot eventually fell into the hands of New Jersey contractor Henry Vaccaro, 63, who found old stage costumes, Neverland souvenirs, MTV music awards and the like. As he dug deeper, Vaccaro—who last week sold the vast, varied cache to a foreign buyer for an undisclosed amount—discovered even more surprises, everything from a notepad with sketches of a face paired with different noses to X-rated videos and sex toys. Jackson said through his publicist he was concerned about the situation and hoped to recover the items.
One curiosity: A handwritten note to Michael’s late sister-in-law Dee Dee: “Please read this article about child molestation…to [Michael’s nephews] Taj, T.J. and Tarryle [sic]. It brings out how even your own relatives can be molesters of children, or even uncles or aunts molesting nephews and nieces. Please read. Love, MJ.”
Included in the memorabilia are a list of rules and membership cards described as the Rubberhead Club Portfolio for Michael Jackson. Among the club’s requirements:
All members of the Rubberhead Club must be idiots and act crazy at all times.
All members must read and know the story of Peter Pan fluently.
All members must be vegetarians and fast on every Sunday for good health.
All members must have the brain power of a 2-year-old child.
All members must watch at least two episodes of the Three Stooges every day.
Every member of the Rubberhead Club must take flying lessons at the Peter Pan School of Flying.
Graceland to Milan
Elvis had a lot going for him. Great hair. Great hips. And—it is now clear—a very strong pout gene. That famous lip look, passed on to daughter Lisa Marie, appeared again Feb. 25 and 28, on the runway of a fashion show, on the face of the King’s grandbaby Riley Keough, 14. Making her professional debut, the teen mannequin strutted on behalf of Dolce & Gabbana in Milan and apparently did okay. “She was very relaxed and having fun with the other models,” says an insider at the design house. “You would never have guessed it was her first show.” Riley, the daughter of Lisa Marie and ex-husband Danny Keough, signed with the elite New York modeling agency IMG last year and agreed to model exclusively for the fashion firm. Guess she’ll be going easy on the peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches.
WORKIN’ AT THE CARWASH
Forget girls in bikinis. How about George Clooney in a toga soaping your whitewalls? Yes, the actor is offering to wash cars—for cash. To raise money for his father’s congressional run, Clooney sent a handwritten note to potential donors asking for $500-minimum contributions in support of his dad, Nick Clooney, 69, the Democratic candidate for Kentucky’s 4th district. Finance rules prevent George, 42, from completely underwriting the campaign, so he resorted to a time-honored fund-raising method: His pitch promises that in exchange for donations, “I’ll wash your car every week until it’s paid off and Armor All the tires…in a toga.” (Sorry, random fans—the offer holds only for those who received the letter.)
Aramaic for Boffo
Here’s one jewel The Return of the King can’t claim for its crown: Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ set a record for a Wednesday opening with a stunning $125.2 million in its first five days, besting the third Lord of the Rings flick. Though many think the film is anti-Semitic—”People are outraged,” said one Hollywood insider—the movie’s success has also prompted talk of more religion-themed releases.
Robert Downey Jr.
Who knew? Robert Downey Jr. says his stimulant of choice these days is a well-brewed tea. Downey, 38, recently received the Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ Man of the Year award at Harvard University, where the star of Gothika and Chaplin chatted with Scoop on topics large, small and heavily caffeinated.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I’m really good with high-end teas, like oolong and dragon pearl. My secret is I add creamers and cinnamon. It turns it into kind of a dessert. If you need a jolt but you don’t want all the acid and oils of coffee, you put two or three teabags in and you’re going to be great.
Have you ever Googled yourself on the computer?
Oh, it’s been done in my presence and I found it rather exciting. In a voyeuristic way, of course.
You announced your engagement to producer Susan Levin last November. So, when’s the wedding?
Around next Christmas. Indio [his 10-year-old son] will be my best man.
Do you think about sending Indio here to Harvard in a few years?
Harvard would be a great place for him. He should do whatever he wants. But right now he’s heading toward a soccer scholarship. He’s very good.
Are you a soccer mom?
Oh, yes. I am a soccer mom in so much as I almost got kicked off the field. I haven’t gotten kicked off yet, but it is my intent.
Ever had a desire to attend Harvard yourself?
Why would I want to go anywhere but Harvard? I would have loved to have been involved in theatrics. Do they have architecture here? I would have loved to have studied art history. And English literature. I could have been a wordsmith.
What’s good about fame?
It’s nice to be able to get a table at restaurants.
Your idea of heaven?
I don’t have an idea of heaven. I just have an expectation of rest and reflection before you suit up and get going again.
Know anyone up there?
If I don’t run into Chaplin, I’ll be offended.
ON THE BLOCK
ZETA-JONES SLEPT HERE
PLACE: Swansea, Wales
SPECS: The childhood home of Catherine Zeta-Jones, in a coastal town known for its festivals, features four bedrooms and a portrait of the actress in the dining room. The family bought the house about 25 years ago with her father Dai’s bingo winnings. It’s within walking distance of the Clyne Golf Club, where Dai is still a member.