In case you were wondering, there is other crypt news developing here in Tinseltown besides speculation over where and when Michael Jackson will be entombed in Glendale.
Last Friday, August 14, spritely widow Elsie Poncher announced to the Los Angeles Times that she would be selling her late husband's currently still-occupied crypt in order to pay off the $1.6 million mortgage on her Beverly Hills home.
While this sounds like a hard luck recession-related story, it's not. Here's why.
Entreprenuer Richard F. "Freddie" Poncher, who died in 1986 at the age of 81, is entombed in the crypt directly above the final resting place of Hollywood icon, Marilyn Monroe, at Westwood Memorial Park.
And in a tech-savvy twist, Mrs. Poncher put the crypt up for sale that same day via the mega-popular Ebay auction site with a starting bid of $500,000.
As of this posting, there are three-and-a-half days left to go on the ten day listing. So far, 18 unique bidders have placed 24 bids that is currently topping out at a whopping $4,601,200.
Beflowered MM just below Mr. Poncher and to the right of
the pre-need purchased crypt of Playboy Hugh Hefner
Mr. Poncher is legend among those who frequent Westwood because he was entombed face down in his casket. As revealed by Mrs. Poncher in the Times story, he told her on his deathbed "If I croak, if you don't put me upside down over Marilyn, I'll haunt you for the rest of your life."
Least you think this is a Hollywood tall tale, I can assure you that it's not.
I know the trustworthy mortician who did the flipping. Over the years he has regaled me more than once with the story, at my request to re-tell it because it's so freaking fantastic.
"I would never had said a word about him being face down, except that Mrs. Poncher made it cocktail conversation," explains the Mortician to the Stars, as we'll refer to him here. He's now working in pre-need sales outside of the Los Angeles area after 40 years in the business here, living a quieter life and would like it to stay that way.
"I was the funeral director mentioned in the news story," MTTS confirmed to me yesterday. "I knew from the beginning that he was to be face down over Marilyn."
Here's MTTS's eyewitness account, with his permission, on how the scenario played out:
"After the service, we ushered everyone out of the chapel. We moved the casket behind the divider, out of sight. We took him out of the casket (he was slightly built) and turned him over, toupee and all.
"We moved him back into the chapel and opened the casket for the immediate family so they could see that we had indeed fulfilled his wishes. We then walked him over the crypt for the committal and entombment."
Mrs. Poncher told the Times that her husband purchased two crypts from Joe DiMaggio during the baseball great's famous 1954 divorce from Monroe. This was news to my friend.
"Mr. Poncher purchased the crypt from the cemetery inventory, not from Joe," he told me. "He also only purchased one crypt. Where this phantom crypt is that she plans to move him to is a mystery to me."
The bidding ends next Monday, August 24 at 12 noon.
8/25/2009 Up-Update: Sold! Or is it? Bids pour in, and out, for crypt above Marilyn Monroe's. (LA Times) Thanks for the link, Mark!
A special thank you goes out to friend and fellow blogger, Noemi Martinez, for translating this page for her Spanish language her readers!