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This Is It! The Biggest (Secular) Dead Guy Ever!

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Today is This Is It Day in Los Angeles. All the theaters at the swank new multiplex downtown are devoted to the premiere of Michael Jackson's new posthumous movie, a lovely, gift-wrapped sausage made up of everything they could find on the floor after the Grade A beef left the factory. A host of the dead man's stuff is also going to be sold today, including gloves, jackets, psychotically reverent oil paintings of the royal duke himself, gloves, vehicles, and gloves. Sixty percent of all Fandango activity is now said to be dedicated to fans going online for tickets to the picture, which will run in London for almost as long as he was supposed to.

His management company AEG, as you recall, scheduled that never-ending gig in a vain attempt to recoup some of the money they had sunk into the King of Pop. I will always believe that it was the pressure of knowing he had to go out and do that job that drove the sleepless, terrified entertainer to what was, in effect, an assisted suicide. But AEG has to be happy now. You can almost feel the money gushing into their pockets. And given the state of his debt load, I believe it's quite possible that his handlers will get to keep it all, with a little left over on the side for the kids, for optical reasons.

Yes, when This Is It and associated projects are through, it's quite clear that Michael Jackson will take his place as the most successful dead man of all time, leaving aside a number of religious figures who continue to generate significant revenue each year for their associated organizations.

Prior holders of the crown include:

-- Elvis, who continues to attain in death the kind of annual financial performance that often eluded him in life;

-- Lenin, whose embalmed body was on display in the Kremlin for decades;

-- Shakespeare, who died so long ago that, while his plays have produced better ROI than most hedge funds, unfortunately makes nothing for himself and his heirs.

Alive, Michael Jackson was a problem for the guys at AEG. Dead? He's the best investment in the history of the business. You can almost hear them thinking, "Hey! Why didn't we think of this sooner?" Who knows? Perhaps they did.