You know it must be holiday season in Tabloidland when all those dirty secrets about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer start to surface. With the Globe claiming that singing cowboy Gene Autry "hated" Rudolph's theme song and had to be persuaded to record the Christmas classic, the National Enquirer weighs in with a "surprising revelation": "Rudolph is a girl!" According to "top university reindeer expert" Maria Berg, male reindeer have already shed their antlers by late December, meaning that the nine antler-topped reindeer traditionally seen with Santa on Christmas Eve must be female. As the Enquirer explains, the "disclosure tears the wrapping off the widely held myth that Kris Kringle's sleigh is pulled by burly, macho reindeer." Since she wasn't aware that such a myth even existed, much less that it was widely held, Keeping Tabs wonders whether those crazy kids at the Enquirer were indulging in a rare moment of self-mockery. And we can't stop wondering: Just what does it take to become a "top" reindeer expert these days?
In keeping with the holiday spirit, recent tabloids have been filled with tales of celebrity shopping excursions that amount to stories about people spending outrageous sums of money very quickly. The Enquirer, for example, has Jack Lemmon dropping a cool $100,000 on antiques in less than an hour. Not to be outdone, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell is said to have "plopped down 10 grand" on Prada ski outfits a mere "two minutes after she tried them on."
Our favorite--and most flowery--account of lavish celebrity spending comes from the Globe's Charlene Tilton, who reports that Leonardo DiCaprio and "two flamboyant guy pals" were recently spotted perusing the sheets and towels at Los Angeles' Beverly Center. "After poring over dozens of colors and styles," Tilton reports, "the fussy fellas finally agreed on over $8,000 worth of luxury linens and a dreamy down-filled comforter and duvet cover for Leo's master bedroom." The Star, meanwhile, maintains that Jerry Seinfeld's new fiancee, Jessica Sklar, "isn't wasting any time" spending her intended's $250 million fortune. Sklar is said to have "zigzagged through each department" of New York's Bergdorf Goodman, where she "breathlessly scooped up $10,000 worth of shoes," a feat that earned her the nickname "Hurricane Jessica."
Bergdorf's apparently weathered the storm, though; the Star reports that Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston--who are, respectively, the former and current loves of Brad Pitt--bumped into one another there while shopping for cashmere shawls. Star columnist Janet Charlton treats the outing as a competitive event. "Gwyneth won this round," she explains. "She spent $12,000 to Jennifer's $4,500." We're pleased that Her Gwyneth-ness had the opportunity to splurge; no doubt she had to recover from the traumatic experience of being promised a Beverly Hills shopping spree by new boyfriend Guy Oseary, only to have him take her to Niketown, where (according to the Star) she "settled" for $400 worth of sneakers. Paltrow is lucky, however, that she did not have to go bargain-hunting with Michael Jackson's soon-to-be ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, whom the Star spotted "loading up on economy size gallons of peanut butter, grape jelly, mayonnaise and cooking oil" at the "Smart and Final" discount store.
Let's see: got the reindeer, the presents ... how about a few angels? Julia Roberts, says the Enquirer, insists that her dead father "gives her heavenly advice every day!" while the Globe claims that Felicity star Amy Jo Johnson's late mother is now her guardian angel, "watching over [her] and guiding her to showbiz success."
Indeed, celestial guidance appears to be Hollywood's latest must-have accessory. The Enquirer reports that Cher has been having heart-to-hearts with her late ex-husband, Sonny Bono, while the Globe says a Los Angeles psychic claims she "regularly" relays career advice to actor Robert De Niro from the great beyond. The late John Belushi, for instance, is said to have "specifically encouraged" De Niro to star in Analyze This, while the trio of Lenny Bruce, John Huston, and lyricist Alan Jay Lerner have all been trying to tell the Oscar winner to "make more comedies and musicals."
But it's not all business with those ghostly folk. The spirit of "Mama" Cass Elliot has been known to turn on the StairMaster and move jewelry around in her old home, according to the Enquirer. Once, says current owner Dan Aykroyd, the ghost even "crawled into bed" with him. "I just nuzzled up to whatever it was and went back to sleep," he explains. (And for anyone left in the dark by the Enquirer's high fallutin vocabulary, they helpfully provide a "Fast Fact" box, which explains that "a ghost is a dead person's spirit.") Aykroyd might want to compare notes with ER star Noah Wyle, whose home is reportedly haunted by the ghost of its famous former owner, director John Derek. Or perhaps he should take a cue from Ally McBeal's Lucy Liu, who the Enquirer says once "did more than snuggle with a spook ... she claims she actually had sex with one." "It was sheer bliss," Liu is quoted as saying. "I felt everything. I climaxed. And then he floated away." Wow. We bet Scrooge never tried that with Jacob Marley.