Mike Frantz thinks he made a little history last weekend. But he can't be certain until he hears from the Guinness Book of World Records. It seems the Walcott, Iowa, steel plant executive and scuba diving enthusiast spent part of Sunday under 17 feet of water in a rock quarry, carving a jack-o'-lantern face into a 1,028-pound pumpkin. The existing record, set just last year, is 995 pounds. So why would Frantz doubt that he'll be rewarded with a listing? Because his pumpkin already was overripe when he began, and as it broke the surface of the water it caved in.
Peter Vita, on the other hand, is sure of his status. He already has been informed by the Guinness folks that he'll be listed in their next edition for his achievement: 81 consecutive years of service as a barber in Port Chester, N.Y. He uses the same techniques with which he began in 1922 and has no plans to quit. There has been one change, however: His price has risen over the years from 25 cents to $12.
You see their licensed merchandise in souvenir shops, their music in record stores, movies inspired by their writings in the theaters. Their estates each took in at least $5 million last year. "They" are celebrities with the highest posthumous incomes, according to an annual list compiled by Forbes magazine. Forbes's top 10, and their respective 2002 earnings (in millions):
1. Elvis Presley, singer $40
2. Charles Schulz, "Peanuts" car toonist 32
3. J.R.R. Tolkien, author, "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy 22
4. John Lennon, musician 19
5. George Harrison, musician (tie) Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, children's author 16
7. Dale Earnhardt, stock car racing champion 15
8. Tupac Shakur, rap artist 12
9. Bob Marley, singer/songwriter 9
10. Marilyn Monroe, actress 8