The innuendo is pretty clear. How much, to spend an eternity ... on top of the greatest sex symbol who ever lived? Hugh Hefner bought the crypt right next to Marilyn Monroe for $75,000, reportedly saying: "Spending eternity next to Marilyn Monroe is too sweet to pass up."
But it is being passed up by the guy who won the eBay auction on Monday. A Japanese man was the top bidder, with an offer of $4,602,100. This would have made it the most expensive piece of property in Los Angeles ever -- possibly in the world, really -- per square foot.
But several hours after being sent an invoice, he e-mailed the apology, "I am awfully sorry but I need to cancel this because of the paying problem."
Local news from across Southern California
Yeah, that's a doozy of a paying problem all right. Now they're looking at the backup offers.
I wrote about this last week; it seemed to me to have just the right balance of "eccentric" and "way too expensive to make sense" be the perfect burial place for Michael Jackson. But it appears the King of Pop is really for certain going to be buried at Glendale's Forest Lawn.
The story of how this all came to be is kind of charming, actually. Richard Poncher bought the crypt from Joe DiMaggio in 1954 when DiMaggio and Monroe were in the midst of a divorce, and Marilyn was very much alive. Remember -- while she WAS a star, she was still alive, so not nearly as iconic as she would turn out to be after her tragic death 8 years later at the age of 36. Poncher (click HERE to see the LA Times story, and Poncher's picture) had a much younger wife, who is selling the crypt he's in now -- 23 years after his death at age 81.
The LA Times says Poncher's widow, Elsie, started the bidding at $500,000 and hoped to pay off her mortgage of $1.6 million:
So although the plaque on Poncher's crypt reads: "To the man who gave us everything and more," his wife, Elsie, is hoping that he has just a little more to give. She wants to use the money to help pay off the $1.6-million mortgage on her 1 3/4 acre Beverly Hills home.
"I can't be more honest than that," she said. "I want to leave it free and clear for my kids."
There's part of this story that's my favorite, and it comes near the end. Poncher, who his wife says wasn't particularly enamored of Monroe, got into the idea that he'd be, well ... on top of her, gazing down at her, for eternity. Mrs. Poncher was game to make his dying wish come true, even if it was somewhat of a joke:
When he was dying, Elsie said, her husband approached her with a request. "He said, 'If I croak, if you don't put me upside down over Marilyn, I'll haunt you the rest of my life.' "
Right after the funeral, Elsie said, she told the funeral director of her husband's wish. "I was standing right there, and he turned him over," she said.
Now that's a great wife. And, as she said about her husband, he was "a helluva nice guy," so let's hope he lets go of this haunting thing and rests in peace, knowing his grand kids are well taken care of.