With only 17,500 fans allowed to attend a memorial for Michael Jackson at L.A.'s Staples Center or a live screening of the event at the Nokia Theatre across the street, a few die-hard fans of the King of Pop may decide to head east to Palm Springs.
The owner of Elvis Presley's former home in Palm Springs announced Sunday he wants to invite 100 Michael Jackson fans to watch the televised service at his property on Tuesday.
"It just seems fitting -- pay respects for the King of Pop at the home of the King of Rock-n-Roll," said Reno Fontana, 56, who, with wife Laura bought the 5,500-square-foot Spanish ranch-style estate in 2003. "We're not going to charge admission or anything like that. This is free."
Since Jackson was married for a time to Lisa Marie Presley, hosting Jackson mourners on Tuesday seems like the right thing to do, Fontana said.
"We heard Jermaine Jackson say on Larry King he hopes there will be tributes for Michael across the country," Fontana said. "This is our little way of contributing what we can."
Fontana said anyone interested in watching Tuesday's Jackson tribute at the Elvis Estate in Palm Springs should write a brief essay of 100 words or less and e-mail it to email@example.com.
"We'll pick the best essays out of the bunch," Fontana said. "We really don't know what to expect."
Dubbed "Graceland West" a few years ago by The New York Times, the "Elvis Estate" on West Chino Canyon Road was commissioned in 1946 by the Jergens family, who made their fortune in skin lotions and other skin care products, Fontana said.
The architect, Albert Frey, is renowned for his contributions to a style known today as "desert modernism." He also helped design some of the buildings for the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
Presley owned the Palm Springs home from 1970 until he died in 1977, Fontana said. At that time, Graceland and the Palm Springs home were the only properties Presley owned, he said.
When first completed in the late 1940s, the home was about 3,500 square feet, Fontana said. Presley added an entertainment room and a separate private bedroom for himself in 1974, after he divorced Priscilla Presley, Fontana said.
Presley recorded eight songs for RCA at the home in 1973, Fontana said. The better-known titles included "I Miss You," "Sweet Angelyne," "Spanish Eyes," and "Are You Sincere?"
The Fontanas bought the home in 2003 for $1.25 million, Fontana said. Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported the Fontanas were trying to sell the home for $17 million.
Now they are seeking a partner to invest $8 million for a half-interest in the property, Fontana said. The Fontanas maintain a Web site for the property, which they advertise for tours and rentals.