He may be the self-appointed King of Pop (the moniker is right there in the HIStory CD booklet), but Michael Jackson isn't the only one wearing the crown. Boylan's Original Birch Beer, born a-bubbling in 1891, also calls itself the King of Pop, and, according to company president Ronald Fiorina, has done so since the 1970s. It was past president Frank Fiorina Ron's grandfather who came up with the slogan, which appears on the neck of every bottle of the company's Original Birch Beer (it manufactures two other varieties as well).
Has Boylan Bottling Co., which employs 20 people in its Haledon, N.J., plant, ever considered challenging His Royal Shyness' rights to the throne? ''Definitely not,'' Fiorina says. ''We feel that the two products would never be confused. He's in music and we're in soft drinks.'' The soda man says he and his staff had a big chuckle when Jackson began using their slogan in the late '80s, and were only momentarily concerned that he was associated at the time with another, slightly larger soft-drink company.
Jackson did not return phone calls about his carbonated counterpart. But Fiorina has a message for Michael. Even though Pepsi and the singer parted company after his 1993 brush with scandal, Fiorina is game to link the two monarchs. ''If you hear he's looking,'' the bottler says, ''have him call me.''
Egomaniac of the Week
Even though disappointing sales of HIStory rained on his parade, Jackson's delusions of grandeur have reached whale-size proportions. In ads for Free Willy 2, his ''Childhood'' song credit reads, ''written and performed by King of Pop.''