Only in Hollywood can a yard sale for a minor celebrity escalate into a hyperventilated national entertainment event.
That's what happened this weekend at the rented home of actors Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott off Mulholland Drive in Studio City. Blowing out the past to make a fresh start, the newlyweds opened their house to all comers and offered their possessions for sale Friday and Saturday.
The everything-must-go "Tori Spelling Dazzling Studio City Estate Sale" quickly reached feverish proportions that, even by Hollywood standards, teetered on the surreal. Ten TV news helicopters hovered overhead and camera crew trucks blocked the road, resulting in traffic jams, resulting in angry neighbors, resulting in a police response. The paparazzi prowled Dona Lisa Drive angling for a glimpse of the couple inside their home.
Outside, legions of die-hard fans and publicity seekers converged, as well as ordinary people eager to possess a sliver of fame. Three fans of the 1990s television show "Beverly Hills, 90210" -- which featured Spelling -- caught a flight from Boston to shop at the sale. Perez Hilton, the gay activist blogger and celebrity lampooner, and his entourage came for a piece of the action.
"We were the top news story all day in the entertainment capital of the world," McDermott said Saturday.
Not that the couple object to publicity. The entire event was videotaped for Spelling's VH1 reality show, "So NoTORIous," which is loosely based on Spelling's life, except the program is scripted, in which the main character's mom is portrayed as having an out-of-control shopping addiction.
She is the daughter of the late Aaron Spelling, producer of such hits as "90210," "Dynasty," "Melrose Place" and "Charlie's Angels." He left his wife, Candy, about $300 million, while Tori reportedly received less than $1 million.
The official reason given for the sale was that McDermott and the pregnant Spelling plan to open a bed-and-breakfast inn and raise their child outside Los Angeles. They have been looking at sites in Ojai, Temecula and Idyllwild.
Inside the house, everything was for sale: wine glasses, jewelry, dresses, cabinets, lingerie, china, a dominatrix whip, paintings, plush toys, vases, sofas, wine bottles, roller skates and a rubber duck. However, Mimi LaRue, Spelling's 13-pound pug, which she sometimes dresses in chiffon and pearls, was not for sale.
There were memorabilia from "90210" -- they sold fast -- as well as items from "So NoTORIous" -- they barely sold at all. Also sold were memorabilia of Spelling's wedding to actor-writer Charlie Shanian, whom she divorced after two years when she fell in love with Canadian actor McDermott, who divorced his wife and married Spelling in Fiji in May.
One person paid $25 for Spelling's plastic Starbucks mug -- evidently a fair exchange considering the cup retained a smear of Spelling's lipstick and came with her autograph. An antiques dealer paid $1,600 for a set of vintage Louis Vuitton luggage, figuring he could resell it for more.
By garage-sale standards, prices were largely haggle-proof, though people could pay with a credit card and leave with their loot packed in Tori Spelling Estate Sale bags.
Grace Ferrer of Long Beach and Lucy Castano of Los Feliz purchased two colorful glass bottles signed by Spelling for $10 each, as well as a tube-like dress, a Gucci shoe bag, a book with a brass dog atop it and a seashell.
"She's a celebrity, so you expect to find good brands" of merchandise, Ferrer said.
As many as 300 buyers stood in line for up to three hours as security personnel allowed only 20 shoppers in the house at a time. Film crew guy Patrick "Trainwreck" Gilman managed the queue, collected phone numbers of females and had people making coffee runs for him. Security officials had printed up 100 numbers for potential buyers but quickly ran out as the line snaked up the sidewalk and down the block.
Kim Pappas celebrated her 27th birthday waiting on the sidewalk outside the house. She said she used to watch "90210" and felt compelled to purchase something -- anything -- for herself and the people on her Christmas shopping list. "I just feel I need to buy something. It's my obligation to the '90210' era," Pappas said.
Heather Fill of Marina del Rey marveled at the spectacle as she waited in line before entering the house Saturday afternoon.
"I'm just intrigued. No one else's yard sale would get this much press," Fill said. "My yard sale never got picked up on 'Access Hollywood.' Only in L.A.!"