It was the first day of the estate sale of Dr. Arnold Klein, Botox pioneer and dermatologist to the late Michael Jackson.
Klein's former residence had been stripped and subsequently re-stuffed with his stuff; the skin doctor declared bankruptcy in January 2011, and he's been embroiled in lawsuits and controversy surrounding his spending habits and finances, his medical practice, and, in particular, Michael Jackson's death (Klein prescribed Jackson with the narcotic painkiller Demerol, for one). Munyon & Sons are selling his effects Wednesday through Saturday as agents of the U.S. Trustee Program, the federal agency that oversees bankruptcy cases, Will Munyon said.
The house on Windsor Boulevard is a big brick affair in a neighborhood called Windsor Square, where the median age is 38 and the percentage of widows is among the highest in L.A. County. There are tall palm trees, and a little after 8 a.m. there was already a long line of buyers and browsers outside the house — at least 50; the official start time of the sale was 8, but a bald man named Steve managing the crowd said, "There was already, like, 300 or 400 people here."
At 8:50, everyone started moving toward the door, and I moved with them because I trusted their instincts like I trust vultures to find a corpse. Everyone in line signed a liability waiver, including the young man with the white man's attempt at a high-top fade who had to sign it a second time because his name was initially illegible. A man standing ahead of me in line held an opaque binder with a script. Close to 10, I was waved inside.
Here's what I learned about the dermatologist while browsing through his stuff: