Michael Jackson Attempted to Buy the Elephant Man’s Bones

In 1×18 The Third Lorelai arrives in Hartford. Known loving as Trix, the “reigning Lorelai” offers to set up a trust

Trix proposes a trust fund for Rory to pay for her education

fund for Rory. Given her grandmother’s vast wealth, Lorelai is worried what this large inheritance will do to her 16 year old daughter. While discussing this with her friend Sookie, Lorelai states “I don’t care if she buys a house, or a boat, or the Elephant Man’s bones.”

Lorelai isn’t mentioning hypothetical frivolous expenditures, but the very real attempt that Michael Jackson made to buy the Elephant Man’s bones from the London Hospital in 1987.

More than a hundred years after Joseph Merrick’s death, Michael Jackson attempted to buy his skeleton. Jackson was known to spend exorbitant amounts of money to get what he wanted, as demonstrated in the video below. However, the London Hospital, which cared for Merrick for the latter portion of his life, denied Jackson’s offer of $500,000. The hospital continues to keep Merrick’s remains for medical research purposes.

Born in 1862, Joseph Merrick developed physical deformities which affected his entire body. At this time it was common for people with abnormalities to become exhibitions in human oddities shows, this led to his moniker as The Elephant Man.

Merrick has been the subject of numerous plays, books and films which show his yearning to be “normal.” Joseph’s deformities, particularly his large head, caused great stress on his body, and required him to sleep standing up. Unfortunately, it is believed that Merrick’s death in 1890 was a result of him sleeping laying down, causing his head to suffocate his body while he slept.

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Barbara Hutton: The Heiress who spent $900 Million

In 1×06 “Rory’s Birthday Parties“, Emily and Lorelai go shopping for birthday gifts. Emily continues to suggest lavish gifts not suitable for her 16 year old granddaughter. This causes Lorelai to say “I’m shopping for Rory; you’re shopping for your imaginary granddaughter, Barbara Hutton.”

Barbara Hutton is best known as a frivolous heiress who lived extravagantly, married consistently, and ultimately died a pauper.

Barbara’s parents were both independently wealthy; her father, E.F. Hutton, started a successful brokerage firm, and her mother, Edna Woolworth, was the daughter of F.W. Woolworth.

Although known mockingly as “the poor little rich girl,” Hutton’s life was not without tragedy. Her mother committed suicide and the very young Barbara found her mother’s body. After Edna’s death, her father was too busy to care for her, and Barbara was shipped from relative to relative.

On her 21st birthday, Barbara inherited $50 million (approximately $900 million). Soon after, Barbara began the opulent lifestyle she became known for. Hutton had a particular affinity for expensive jewelry and amassed an impressive collection.

Barbara Hutton and the infamous Pacha ring

Hutton searched for love, marrying seven men including multiple members of European royalty. However, her most famous husband was Cary Grant; together they became known as Cash and Cary, but divorced after a few years of marriage. With the exception of Grant, all of Barbara’s husbands took advantage of her vast fortune and spent her money without regard.

Barbara experienced another tragedy when her only child, Lance Reventlow, died in a plane crash. When something, or someone couldn’t fill the void, Barbara turned to drugs and alcohol. With multiple divorces, and her growing dependency on narcotics Hutton’s seemingly endless fortune was dwindling.

In 1976, Barbara suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 66 with only $3,500 to her name.

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Mommie Dearest: The Crawfords and The Gilmores

The core relationship of Gilmore Girls is that of Lorelai and her daughter Rory. Critics of the show state that Lorelai is a bad mother due to her strong friendship with Rory. Therefore, it seems fitting that the first post in this blog discusses a famous mother-daughter relationship that was toxic, to say the least.

After Rory exclaims that she doesn’t want to go to Chilton, the pair get into a fight which causes Lorelai to say “Aw, you’re not going to give me the ‘Mommie Dearest‘ treatment forever, are ya?”

Mommie Dearest is the autobiographical book by Christina Crawford which was later adapted into a cult classic film of the same name. Christina is the adopted daughter of iconic film actress, Joan Crawford.

After her mother’s death, Christina published her novel which outlines the abuse her mother inflicted on her. The most well-known example of this abuse involved a wire coat hanger. Christina describes one evening when Joan barged into her room while she was asleep and threw open her closet doors. Upon finding a finding a wire hanger Joan went into a booze-filled rage, then beat her daughter with said hanger.

The film inspired by Christina’s book was intended to be a serious biopic, starring Faye Dunaway. But, the film became a campy hit, due to the overly acted scenes which lead the audience to laughter rather than the intended tears.

Since Christina released her novel a year after her mother’s death these reports were never verified. Christina succeeded in tarnishing her Joan’s image, at least to the younger generation more familiar with “Mommie Dearest” than with the woman who inspired it all. However, Joan got the last laugh, in her will she left nothing for Christina and her son Christopher “for reasons that are known to them.”

All Gilmore Girls episodes are available to stream on Netflix.

Research material was found in part from the podcast, You Must Remember This.

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