Funny Business with Jane Wells

Elvis Has Left The Building, But His Scent Remains

Wanna smell like Elvis? Joan Crawford? Nixon? I mean, smell like them when they were alive?

A Beverly Hills perfume company claims you can, sort of. My DNA Fragranceclaims it has come up with a "scientific" way to take DNA material from dead celebrities and turn it into fragrances. The company already manufactures what it calls custom fragrances based on an individual buyer's DNA, but now it's gotten access to the genetic codes of stars like Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Katherine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Albert Einstein, and Michael Jackson.

(Quick question: is slapping on an Einstein aftershave really the direction you want to go in? And Joan Crawford scares me.)

A three-ounce bottle of each fragrance costs $60. My DNA Fragrance is even working on scents based on Abraham Lincoln (makes you smell honest?), Richard Nixon (makes you smell dishonest?), and Stymie Beard from The Little Rascals (makes you smell like buckwheat?).

How is this even possible? The company says it has joined forceswith John Reznikoff, "the world's pre-eminent historical hair collector." Reznikoff apparently has quite an extensive collection of dead-celebrity hair, from which the company extracted the necessary DNA.

Here's a video of Reznikoff's work:

He says his sample of Einstein's hair is a clipping the great theoretical physicist "gave a gentleman on a cruise ship." Reznikoff says he once sold a single strand of it for $10,000.

The New York Daily News reports experts are skeptical that much useful DNA can be gleaned from old hair, but that's not really the point, is it? I mean, isn't the point that someone is trying to make a perfume based on cellular material from dead people? And someone is going to buy it? Am I missing something?

The company admits buyers are not getting an actual piece of celeb DNA inside every bottle. "I can't go into our secret process, but we base the fragrance on the genetic code,"'s Dr. Diva Verdun told the newspaper. That's probably a good thing. You apparently don't really want to smell like Elvis. "I did a little research on Elvis, and he actually had really bad body odor," Dr. Verdun says. "So we don't want to clone him in any way or create a fragrance that actually smelled like him. DNA has nothing to do with bodily functions. There's no way it can stink."

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