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Liberace’s 15 Most Extravagant Possessions

While Liberace’s talents on the ivory keys made him famous, it was his showmanship that made him one of the world's highest-paid entertainers throughout the fifties, sixties and seventies. Here's a look at some of the extravagance that helped make a legend.

1. Singing In Style

You can’t expect someone as extravagant as Liberace to use a regular old microphone can you? He preferred glittering mics like this one.

[Image courtesy of Bobaloo Rox's Flickr stream.]

2. Music That Shined

One of Liberace’s many mirrored pianos, this 1945 nickelodeon piano was adorned with peacock feather designs and rhinestone trim.

[Image courtesy of Ethan Prater's Flickr stream.]

3. A Sparkling Image of Success

This Baldwin grand piano was one of Liberace’s favorites. It was adorned with rhinestones, but, as you can see, it is the mirror plate on the front that really makes it pop.

[Image courtesy of purpletwinkie's Flickr stream.]

4. Keeping It Old School

Liberace didn’t limit his extravagances to modern, custom-made items. This 1885 Pleyel art case grand piano is a perfect example of his vintage properties.

[Image courtesy of rbglasson's Flickr stream.]

5. A Rhinestone Roadster

Liberace loved anything that sparkled, particularly rhinestones. After creating a rhinestone piano and a sparkling sequin suit, the next logical step was obviously creating a roadster to match.

[Images courtesy of rbglasson's Flickr stream and bryanh's Flickr stream.]

6. Mirroring The Road

Liberace loved mirrors just as much as he loved rhinestones, so it was only fitting that he have a mirror-covered Rolls Royce Phantom, adorned with galloping horses, to match his mirrored piano. By the way, check out the awesomely appropriate vanity plate.

[Images courtesy of rbglasson's Flickr stream and CaDeltaFoto's Flickr stream.]

7. The VW/Rolls Royce Crossover

Another mirror-adorned car, this was a VW that was converted into a Rolls Royce by George Barris. Of course, the custom license plate is perfect yet again, reading, "VWRR JR."

[Image courtesy of bryanh's Flickr stream.]

8. All That Glitters

This 1972 custom gold-glittered Bradley fit right in with Liberace’s other outrageous autos. And, of course, it looked great with his matching golden suit.

[Image courtesy of rbglasson's Flickr stream.]

9. Like A Rhinestone Cowboy

There are two Liberace outfits that have become more famous than any others. This star-spangled shorts set, known as “The Drum Major,” is one of them. While you can’t tell from this photo, the arms of the blouse are adorned with fringe, ensuring it didn’t lose any glamor once he dropped the cape.

[Image courtesy of Rodny Dioxin's Flickr stream.]

10. The Drum Major’s Shoes

Not always wanting to wear the boots pictured with his sequined Americana ensemble above, these were another classy option.

[Image courtesy of ~BC~'s Flickr stream.]

11. King Neptune

This is his second-most famous outfit, known as his King Neptune costume. This ensemble weighed an amazing 200 pounds (just imagine how much the heavier fur-covered costumes must have weighed). If you’re wondering how one suit and cape combo could be so heavy, just check out the detail shot showing all the pearls, sequins and other adornments on the fabric.

[Images courtesy of Snarkygurl's Flickr Stream.]

12. A Truly Classy Throne Room

This velveteen toilet served as the guest bathroom for the Valentino Room in Liberace’s Palm Springs Home. Because nothing says class like a throne toilet.

[Image courtesy of Bob's World of Liberace.]

13. Bathing In Style

With its own private chandelier and marble columns, it’s hard to imagine a more opulent bath tub than this one from Liberace’s Las Vegas abode. I have to admit, of all his stuff, this is the one thing I would desperately love to own myself.

[Image courtesy of Bob's World of Liberace.]

14. The Fur The End All Furs

If you thought Princess Diana’s wedding gown had an outrageous train, then you'll appreciate this white llama fur coat with a 16’ train interspersed with rhinestones and sequins.

[Image courtesy of Bob's World of Liberace.]

15. The World’s Largest Rhinestone

After giving so much business to an Austrian rhinestone company, it was only natural for them to give Liberace a little thank you gift—in this case, the world’s largest rhinestone. They broke the mold after presenting it to him.

[Image courtesy of Bob's World of Liberace.]

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Jim Henson's Labyrinth Is Being Adapted Into a Stage Musical
Henson Company
Henson Company

More than 30 years after its cinematic debut, Labyrinth could be hitting the stage. In an interview with Forbes, Jim Henson's son and Henson Company CEO Brian Henson shared plans to transform the cult classic into a live musical.

While the new musical would be missing David Bowie in his starring role as Jareth the Goblin King, it would hopefully feature the soundtrack Bowie helped write. Brian Henson says there isn't a set timeline for the project yet, but the stage adaptation of the original film is already in the works.

As for a location, Henson told Forbes he envisions it running, "Not necessarily [on] Broadway, it could be for London's West End, but it will be a stage show, a big theatrical version. It’s very exciting."

Labyrinth premiered in 1986 to measly box office earnings and tepid reviews, but Jim Henson's fairytale has since grown into a phenomenon beloved by nostalgic '80s kids and younger generations alike. In the same Forbes interview, Brian Henson also confirmed the 2017 news that a long-anticipated Labyrinth sequel is apparently in development. Though he couldn't give any specifics, Henson confirmed that, "we are still excited about it but the process moves very slowly and very carefully. We're still excited about the idea of a sequel, we are working on something, but nothing that's close enough to say it's about to be in pre-production or anything like that."

While fans eagerly await those projects to come out, they can get their fix when the film returns to theaters across the U.S. on April 29, May 1, and May 2. Don't forget to wear your best Labyrinth swag to the event.

[h/t Forbes]

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10 Wild Facts About Westworld
John P. Johnson, HBO
John P. Johnson, HBO

The hit HBO show about an android farm girl finding sentience in a fake version of the old West set in a sci-fi future is back for a second season. So grab your magnifying glass, study up on Lewis Carroll and Shakespeare, and get ready for your brain to turn to scrambled eggs. 

The first season saw Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and her robotic compatriots strive to escape bondage as the puppet playthings of a bored society that kills and brutalizes them every day, then repairs them each night to repeat the process for paying customers. The Maze. The Man in Black. The mysteries lurking in cold storage and cantinas. Wood described the first season as a prequel, which means the show can really get on the dusty trail now. 

Before you board the train and head back into the park, here are 10 wild facts about the cerebral, sci-fi hit. (Just beware of season one spoilers!)

1. IT’S NOT THE FIRST TV ADAPTATION OF THE MOVIE.

Though Westworld, the 1973 film written and directed by Michael Crichton, was a hit, its 1976 sequel Futureworld was a flop. Still, the name and concept had enough cachet for CBS to move forward with a television concept in 1980. Beyond Westworld featured Delos head of security John Moore (Jim McMullan) battling against the villainous mad scientist Simon Quaid (James Wainwright), who wants to use the park’s robots to, what else, take over the whole world. It would be a little like if the HBO show focused largely on Luke Hemsworth’s Ashley Stubbs, which just might be the spinoff the world is waiting for.

2. THE ORIGINAL GUNSLINGER HAS A CAMEO.

Ed Harris and Eddie Rouse in 'Westworld'
JOHN P. JOHNSON, HBO

The HBO series pays homage to the original film in a variety of ways, including echoing elements from the score to create that dread-inducing soundscape. It also tipped its ten-gallon hat to Yul Brynner’s relentless gunslinger from the original film by including him in the storage basement with the rest of the creaky old models.

3. QUENTIN TARANTINO, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, AND MANY OTHERS COULD HAVE REBOOTED IT.

Speaking of Brynner’s steely, murderous resolve: His performance as the robo-cowboy was one of the foundations for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s turn as the Terminator. Nearly 20 years later, in 2002, Schwarzenegger signed on to produce and star in a reboot of the sci-fi film from which he took his early acting cues. Schwarzenegger never took over the role from Brynner because he served as Governor of California instead, and the reboot languished in development hell.

Warner Bros. tried to get Quentin Tarantino on board, but he passed. They also signed The Cell director Tarsem Singh (whose old West would have been unbelievably lush and colorful, no doubt), but it fell through. A few years later, J.J. Abrams—who had met with Crichton about a reboot back in 1996—pitched eventual co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy on doing it as a television series. HBO bought it, and the violent delights finally made it to our screens.

4. IT COSTS $40,000 A DAY TO VISIT THE PARK. (AND THAT’S THE CHEAP PACKAGE.)

Thandie Newton and Angela Sarafyan in 'Westworld'
HBO

In season one, Logan (Ben Barnes) revealed that he’s spending $40,000 a day to experience Westworld. That’s in line with the 1973 movie, where park visitors spent $1000 a day, which lands near $38,000 once adjusted for inflation. Then again, we’re talking about 2052 dollars, so it might still be pricey, but not exorbitant in 2018 terms. But a clever Redditor spotted that $40,000 is the minimum you’d pay; according to the show’s website, the Gold Package will set you back $200,000 a day.

5. BEN BARNES BROKE HIS FOOT AND DIDN’T TELL ANYONE.

Once Upon a Time’s Eion Bailey was originally cast as Logan but had to quit due to a scheduling conflict, so Ben Barnes stepped in … then he broke his foot. The actor hid the injury for fear he’d lose the job, which is why he added a limp as a character detail. “I’m sort of hobbling along with this kind of cowboy-ish limp, which I then tried to maintain for the next year just so I could pretend it was a character choice,” Barnes said. “But really I had a very purple foot … So walking was the hardest part of shooting this for me.”

6. THE CO-CREATORS RICKROLLED FANS OBSESSED WITH UNCOVERING SPOILERS.

Eagle-eyed fans (particularly on Reddit) uncovered just about every major spoiler from the first season early on, which is why Nolan and Joy promised a spoiler video for anyone who wanted to know the entire plot of season two ahead of its premiere. They delivered, but instead of show secrets, the 25-minute video only offered a classy rendition of Rick Astley’s internet-infamous “Never Gonna Give You Up,” sung by Evan Rachel Wood with Angela Sarafyan on piano, followed by 20 minutes of a dog. It was a pitch-perfect response to a fanbase desperate for answers.

7. IT FEATURES AN ANCIENT GREEK EASTER EGG.

Amid the alternative rock tunes hammered out on the player piano and hat tips to classic western films, Westworld also referenced something from 5th century BCE Greece. Westworld, which is run by Delos Incorporated, is designed so that guests cannot die. Delos is also the name of the island where ancient Greeks made it illegal for anyone to die (or be born for that matter) on religious grounds. That’s not the only bit of wordplay with Greek either: Sweetwater’s main ruffian, Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro), gets his last name from the Greek eschaton, meaning the final event in the divine design of the world. Fitting for a potentially sentient robot helping to bring about humanity’s destruction.

8. JIMMI SIMPSON FIGURED OUT HIS CHARACTER’S TWIST BECAUSE OF HIS EYEBROWS.

Evan Rachel Wood and Jimmi Simpson in 'Westworld'
HBO

In season one, the show’s many secrets were kept even from the main cast until the time they absolutely needed to know. Jimmi Simpson, who plays timid theme park neophyte William, had a hunch something was funny with his role because of a cosmetic change.

“I was with an amazing makeup artist, Christian, and he was looking at my face too much,” Simpson told Vanity Fair. “He had me in his chair, and he was just looking at my face, and then he said something about my eyebrows. ‘Would you be cool if we just took a couple hairs out of your eyebrows, made them not quite as arched?’” Guessing that they were making him look more like The Man in Black, Simpson said something to Joy, and she confirmed his hunch. “She looked kind of surprised I’d worked it out,” he said.

9. THE PLAYER PIANO MAY BE AN ALLUSION TO KURT VONNEGUT.

One of the show’s most iconic elements is its soundtrack of alternative rock songs from the likes of Radiohead, The Cure, and Soundgarden redone in a jaunty, old West style. In addition to adding a creepy sonic flavor to the sadistic vacation, they also may wink toward Kurt Vonnegut’s first novel, Player Piano, which deals with a dystopia of automation where machines do everything for humans, leading to an entrenched class struggle. The show’s resonant elements are clear, but Westworld also mentions that the world outside the theme park is one where there’s no unemployment and humans have little purpose. Like The Man In Black (Ed Harris), the protagonist of Player Piano also longs for real stakes in the struggle of life.

10. THERE ARE TWO JESSE JAMES CONNECTIONS.

Anthony Hopkins and Jeffrey Wright in 'Westworld'
HBO

Anthony Hopkins’s character Dr. Robert Ford is an invention for the new series, and he shares a name with the man who assassinated infamous outlaw Jesse James (a fact you may remember from the aptly named movie The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford). The final episode of the first season flips the allusion when Ford is shot in the back of the head, which is exactly how the real-life Ford killed James.

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