ruled about 3,300 years ago
Associated Press Writer
LUXOR Egypt January 6, 2005 (AP) - A team of researchers briefly removed
King Tut's mummy from its tomb Wednesday and laid bare his bones for a CT
scan that could solve an enduring mystery: Was it murder or natural causes
that killed Egypt's boy pharaoh 3,000 years ago?
Tut's toes and fingers and an eerie outline of his face could be seen as
the mummy, resting in a box to protect it, was placed inside the machine
in a specially equipped van parked near his underground tomb in the famed
Valley of the Kings.
The 1,700 images taken during the 15-minute CT scan could answer many of
the mysteries that shroud King Tutankhamun's life and death — including
his royal lineage, his exact age at the time of his death — now
estimated at 17 — and the reason he died.
A simpler X-ray done 36 years ago showed bone fragments inside the skull
of Tut — who was buried in a "hurried" fashion in a glitter of
gold treasures, said Zahi Hawass, Egypt's chief archaeologist. But that
previous test wasn't sophisticated enough to determine if the bone
fragments signified a blow to the head.
The CT scan, in contrast, will provide a far more detailed,
three-dimensional view of the scattered bones and coverings that make up
CT imaging has been used for numerous Egyptian mummies in the past,
including one of famed 17 Ramses I. It also was used on the 5,200-year-old
remains of a Copper Age man found frozen in 1991 in a glacier in the
northern Italian Alps. In that case, CT imaging picked up what simpler
X-rays had failed to identify — an arrowhead in the iceman's body that
possibly killed him.
Hawass, part of the 10-man team that conducted Wednesday's tests, said the
results of the Tut scan will be announced later this month in Cairo.
A computer tomography of the head of
the legendary Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
"There are so
many stories about his death and his age," Hawass said. "Today
we will determine what really happened."
The removal of the mummy from its tomb — the first time in 82 years —
also showed that it's in bad condition, Hawass said, adding that Egyptian
officials will begin a "process of restoration to protect and
After the scan the mummy was returned to the tomb, where all restoration
will be done, he said.
The short life of Tutankhamun has fascinated people since his tomb was
discovered in 1922 by a British archaeologist, revealing a trove of
fabulous treasures in gold and precious stones that showed the wealth and
craftsmanship of the Pharaonic court.
A U.S. museum tour a quarter-century ago of Tut's treasures drew more than
8 million people. A smaller number of treasures — minus Tut's famous
gold mask — will again go on display in the United States starting June
16 in Los Angeles, after touring Germany and Switzerland.
The decision to allow the exhibit was a reversal of an Egyptian policy set
in the 1980s that confined most of the objects to Egypt, after several
pieces were damaged on international tour.
Archaeologists have long wondered if Tut was murdered. Hawass said one
factor was that the conditions of his burial in the tomb seemed
Tutankhamun ruled about 3,300 years ago and is believed to have been the
12th ruler of ancient Egypt's 18th dynasty. He ascended to the throne at
about the age of 8 and died around 1323 B.C.
reconstruction of Tut's head (BBC)
Tut's lineage also
has long been in question. It's unclear if he is the son or a half-brother
of Akhenaten, the "heretic" pharaoh who introduced a
revolutionary form of monotheism to ancient Egypt and who was the son of
The CT scan, conducted under rare cloudy skies in the valley on the Nile's
west bank, began with the removal of the wooden box that holds Tut's mummy
from underneath a stone sarcophagus in the underground tomb. Tourists to
the tomb see only that stone covering.
The box holding the mummy was then carried up stone steps out of the
vault. Coverings, which appeared to be insulation-like material, were then
pulled back. The blackened mummy, still resting in the box to protect it,
was then inserted into the CT machine.
The familiar Tut
brought from Germany, was donated by Siemens and National Geographic,
Egyptian officials had previously announced they were planning the tests,
but did not give a date or inform most media ahead of time. Hawass has
given exclusive rights to film archaeological events to certain media in
the past in return for financial assistance or research help.
The mummy had not left the tomb since the British archaeologist Howard
Carter excavated the tomb 82 years ago.
Carter's team damaged the mummy when they used sharp tools to prize off
the famous gold and blue mask.
The team of examiners included medical doctors who operated the machine,
senior antiquities officials and restoration experts.
Plans for the examination had raised a row among archaeologists and
officials in Egypt, who insisted the mummy not be taken from Luxor, and
that the research be done by Egyptians. The researchers originally planned
to move the mummy to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo for examination, but
altered that after the outcry.
Press reporter Haggag Salama in Luxor, Egypt, contributed to this report.
suggested that aliens caused the earthquake to try and
correct the "wobbly rotation of the Earth." The epicenter
the undersea earthquake is shown on this map. (Reuters)
HONG KONG January
6, 2005 (AFP) - Just 11 days after Asia's tsunami catastrophe, conspiracy
theorists are out in force, accusing governments of a cover-up, blaming
the military for testing top-secret eco-weapons or aliens trying to
correct the Earth's "wobbly" rotation.
In bars and Internet chatrooms around the world questions are being asked,
with knowing nods and winks, about who caused the submarine earthquake off
Sumatra on December 26, and why governments were so slow to act in the
minutes and hours before tsunamis slammed into their shores, killing
"There's a lot more to this. Why is the US sending a warship? Why is
a senior commander who was in Iraq going there?" whispered designer
Mark Tyler, drinking a pint of beer at a bar in Hong Kong's Wan Chai
"This happened exactly a year after Bam," said Tyler, referring
to the earthquake in Iran which killed 30,000 on December 26 last year.
"Is that a coincidence? And there was no previous seismic activity
recorded in Sumatra before the quake, which is very strange," he
said, nodding somberly.
After every globally shocking event -- from the bombing of Pearl Harbor to
the assassination of John F Kennedy, the death of Princess Diana and the
September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States -- conspiracy
theorists emerge with their own sinister take on events.
Banda Aceh before (top) and after the
tsunami hit. (AFP/ Digitalglobe)
This time the
Indian and US military are in the frame, while the governments of
countries from Australia to Thailand stand accused of deliberately failing
to act on warnings of the impending earthquake or the tsunamis it
unleashed around Asia.
Among the more common suggestions is that eco-weapons which can trigger
earthquakes and volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic
waves were being tested. More outlandish theories include one that aliens
caused the earthquake to try and correct the "wobbly rotation of the
Scientists give such theories short shrift.
"This was a natural disaster," said Dr Bart Bautisda, chief
science research specialist at Philippine Institute of Volcanology and
Seismology, debunking the idea that an "eco-weapon" could be
used to cause an earthquake or such large-scale tsunamis.
"You would need a very huge amount of energy. It's impossible. A
billion tons could not do it," Bautisda said.
He said wave activity might be able to be triggered very close to the
scene of a giant explosion, but the effect would be a tiny fraction of the
tsunamis which traveled thousands of kilometers (miles) at the speed of a
jet after tectonic plates shifted off Sumatra.
A seismic graph. The undersea earthquake and the
tsunamis it triggered killed more than 165,000
people as the massive waves slammed across the
Indian Ocean. (AFP/ Sam Yeh)
to cause vibration, but not sufficient to cause disruption," he said.
"We can tell the difference between an artificial explosion and an
earthquake," Bautisda said. "The mechanisms are different."
Scientific evidence, however, cuts little ice with many conspiracy
The Internet -- which has proved invaluable in dealing with the disaster
by aiding rescues, providing witness accounts from bloggers and allowing
grieving relatives to comfort each other through chatrooms -- is abuzz
with more sinister explanations.
The Free Internet Press, which claims to offer "uncensored news for
real people", has an article saying the US military and the State
Department received advanced warning of the tsunami, but did little to
warn Asian countries.
America's Navy base on the Indian Ocean jungle atoll of Diego Garcia was
notified and escaped unscathed, it said, asking "why were fishermen
in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand not provided with the same warnings?.
Tsunami reality: young Indonesians carry
plastic containers filled with motor oil
collected from a oil facility on the sea side
of Banda Aceh. (AFP/ Choo Youn-Kong)
"Why did the
US State Department remain mum on the existence of an impending
catastrophe?," author Michel Chossudovsky pondered.
because fishermen in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand don't have multimillion
dollar communications equipment handy," said one respondent as
readers posted angry replies.
"Maybe rescuers will find Elvis and the gunman from the grassy
knoll," jibed another, referring to those who believe Elvis Presley
is still alive and that former US president Kennedy was shot by someone
other than Lee Harvey Oswald.
The India Daily's website joined the conspiracy theorists noting, "it
seems the whole world decided to fail to do anything together at the same
time. Are we missing something?
"Can it be that all the government agencies knew what was happening
but were told not to do anything? Who told them? Or is this just a tragic
coincidence?" wrote Sudhir Chadda, a correspondent.
contacts have been reported with the South Asian Governments especially
sightings have been rampant over the region affected," Chadda wrote.
"Some in Nicobar Island say that it was an experiment conducted by
the alien extra-terrestrial entities to correct the wobbly rotation of the
earth. And some of the Indian scientists are actually seeing that wobbly
rotation of the earth has been corrected since the massive underwater
earthquake and Tsunami."
In Hong Kong, Tyler laughed at the alien idea, but remained convinced
humans had a hand in this disaster. "Wait and see. There will be a
lot more to come out," he said.
This Chandra image shows two vast cavities - each 600,000 light
years in diameter - in the hot, X-ray emitting gas that pervades
the galaxy cluster MS 0735.6+7421 or MS 0735 for short. (NASA)
Explosion in the Universe!
X-ray Center News Release
January 5, 2005 - Astronomers have found the most powerful eruption in the
universe using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. A super massive black
hole generated this eruption by growing at a remarkable rate. This
discovery shows the enormous appetite of large black holes, and the
profound impact they have on their surroundings.
The huge eruption was seen in a Chandra image of the hot, X-ray emitting
gas of a galaxy cluster called MS 0735.6+7421. Two vast cavities extend
away from the super massive black hole in the cluster's central galaxy.
The eruption, which has lasted for more than 100 million years, has
generated the energy equivalent to hundreds of millions of gamma-ray
This event was caused by gravitational energy release, as enormous amounts
of matter fell toward a black hole. Most of the matter was swallowed, but
some of it was violently ejected before being captured by the black hole.
"I was stunned to find that a mass of about 300 million suns was
swallowed," said Brian McNamara of Ohio University in Athens.
"This is as large as another super massive black hole." He is
lead author of the study about the discovery, which is in the January 6,
2005, issue of Nature.
Astronomers are not sure where such large amounts of matter came from. One
theory is gas from the host galaxy catastrophically cooled and was
swallowed by the black hole. The energy released shows the black hole in
MS 0735 has grown dramatically during this eruption. Previous studies
suggest other large black holes have grown very little in the recent past,
and that only smaller black holes are still growing quickly.
"This new result is as surprising as it is exciting," said
co-author Paul Nulsen of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics,
Cambridge, Mass. "This black hole is feasting, when it should be
Radio emission within the cavities shows jets from the black hole erupted
to create the cavities. Gas is being pushed away from the black hole at
supersonic speeds over a distance of about a million light years. The mass
of the displaced gas equals about a trillion suns, more than the mass of
all the stars in the Milky Way.
The rapid growth of super massive black holes is usually detected by
observing very bright radiation from the centers of galaxies in the
optical and X-ray wavebands, or luminous radio jets. In MS 0735 no bright
central radiation is found, and the radio jets are faint. The true nature
of MS 0735 is only revealed through X-ray observations of the hot cluster
"Until now we had no idea this black hole was gorging itself,"
said co-author Michael Wise of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
in Cambridge, Mass. "The discovery of this eruption shows X-ray
telescopes are necessary to understand some of the most violent events in
The astronomers estimated how much energy was needed to create the
cavities by calculating the density, temperature and pressure of the hot
gas. By making a standard assumption that 10 percent of the gravitational
energy goes into launching the jets, they estimated how much material the
black hole swallowed.
Besides generating the cavities, some of the energy from this eruption
should keep the hot gas around the black hole from cooling, and some of it
may also generate large-scale magnetic fields in the galaxy cluster.
Chandra observers have discovered other cavities in galaxy clusters, but
this one is easily the largest and the most powerful.
Chandra X-ray Center - http://cfa-www.harvard.edu
Clumps in Galaxies
University News Release
lensing image of galaxies (yellow to red) and haloes
from clumped dark matter (blue). (Yale)
New Haven January
6, 2005 - Hubble Space Telescope data, analyzed by a Yale astronomer using
gravitational lensing techniques, has generated a spatial map
demonstrating the clumped substructure of dark matter inside clusters of
Clusters of galaxies (about a million, million times the mass of our sun),
are typically made up of hundreds of galaxies bound together by gravity.
About 90 percent of their mass is dark matter. The rest is ordinary atoms
in the form of hot gas and stars.
Although little is known about it, cold dark matter is thought to have
structure at all magnitudes. Theoretical models of the clumping properties
were derived from detailed, high resolution simulations of the growth of
structure in the Universe. Although previous evidence supported the
"concordance model" of a Universe mostly composed of cold, dark
matter, the predicted substructure had never been detected.
In this study, Yale assistant professor of astronomy and physics
Priyamvada Natarajan and her colleagues demonstrate that, at least in the
mass range of typical galaxies in clusters, there is an excellent
agreement between the observations and theoretical predictions of the
Using gravitational lensing made it possible for the observers to
visualize light from distant galaxies as it bent around mass in its way.
This allowed the researchers to measure light deflections that indicated
structural clumps in the dark matter.
"We used an innovative technique to pick up the effect of precisely
the clumps which might otherwise be obscured by the presence of more
massive structures," said Natarajan. "When we compared our
results with theoretical expectations of the concordance model, we found
extremely good agreement, suggesting that the model passes the
substructure test for the mass range we are sensitive to with this
"We think the properties of these clumps hold a key to the nature of
dark matter -- which is presently unknown," said Natarajan. "The
question remains whether these predictions and observations agree for
smaller mass clumps that are as yet undetected."
Co-author on the study, funded by Yale University, is Volker Springel,
MPA, Garching, Germany. Other collaborators include Jean-Paul Kneib, LAM -
OAMP, Marseille, France, Ian Smail, University of Durham, U.K., and
Richard Ellis of Caltech.
Priyamvada Natarajan: http://www.astro.yale.edu/priya
Mickey Rooney's Ass
Versus Janet Jackson's Tit
versus Janet's tit (AP)
AP Television Writer
LOS ANGELES January 7, 2005 (AP) - Mickey Rooney's bare end zone won't be
part of the Super Bowl advertising blitz, Fox TV said Friday. The network
rejected a cold remedy commercial that includes a brief shot of the
84-year-old actor's behind, said Fox Sports spokesman Lou D'Ermilio.
"Our standards department reviewed the ad, and it was deemed
inappropriate for broadcast television," he said.
The commercial for
the over-the-counter product Airborne is set in a sauna and depicts Rooney
panicking when someone coughs.
His towel drops as
he rushes out, revealing his rear.
revealed at half-time
wasn't affected by fallout from last year's Super Bowl halftime show on
CBS, which included a flash of Janet Jackson's breast, D'Ermilio said.
"Our standards and practices haven't changed," he said.
The Federal Communications Commission levied a $550,000 fine against CBS
parent company Viacom over the Jackson incident. Viacom is contesting the
Rooney, whose films include the Andy Hardy series and "National
Velvet," said he was disappointed by Fox's move and hoped the network
"I would never do anything that's in bad taste. ... I've been a
family entertainer all my life," Rooney told The Associated Press.
"We're not selling sex, we're selling a health product."
a family entertainer
all my life," Rooney told AP.
Mickey is shown here with Judy
Garland in the 1930s.
Rooney and his
wife, Jan, are touring nationally in a stage production, "Let's Put
on a Show."
Rider McDowell, co-owner of Carmel-based Airborne Inc., also defended the
ad Friday: "There's nothing titillating about this spot, nor was
there intended to be a sexual aspect to it."
The company has filed a complaint with the FCC to try to reverse Fox's
decision, although McDowell said it was somewhat understandable
"given the prevailing climate of censorship about nudity on
wearing a pasty! Or is
that a Borg nipple implant?
In a Jan. 3 letter
to the commission, attorneys for Airborne argued the ad is not indecent
and asked the FCC to either order Fox to run the ad during the game or ask
Fox to provide more information on why it rejected it.
An FCC spokeswoman told USA Today that the commission, which responds to
complaints after a broadcast, would never issue such an order, the
newspaper reported Friday.
Given that it would cost $1.2 million to air the 15-second ad during the
Feb. 6 football championship game, the company won't spend that kind of
money if it can't be assured maximum effect, McDowell said.
"We had to come up something sensational that would leave people with
a lingering buzz or chuckle," he said. "To edit that out would
be to emasculate the ad somewhat."
Housewives UK Triumph
LONDON January 7,
2005 (Reuters) - The darkly comic "Desperate Housewives" has
become a quick favorite in Britain, where it debuted as one of the most
popular U.S. imports in UK television history. With 24 percent of TV
viewers tuning in to watch the program on Channel 4 Wednesday night, the
hourlong soap about the secret lives of suburbanites scored a higher share
of TV watchers than such favorites in Britain as "Friends,"
"Law & Order," "The Simpsons" and "Sex and
"Band of Brothers," the 10-part military drama from Steven
Spielberg and Tom Hanks, drew a bigger audience share than
"Housewives" upon its BBC2 premiere in October 2001.
Then, 25 percent of
UK viewers, who are keen watchers of World War II programs, tuned in.
"Band of Brothers" was broadcast on Time Warner Inc.'s HBO cable
channel in the United States.
While 4.6 million viewers watched the first episode of "Desperate
Housewives" and 5.6 million watched "Band of Brothers,"
fewer people were watching television on the more recent night, handing
Channel 4 the relatively large market share.
In a very different era of television watching, the debut of the soap
opera "Dallas," which portrayed the backstabbing ways of oil
magnate J.R. Ewing and his family, lured 12.2 million viewers to the BBC
in 1982. The market share was not available.
For Channel 4, which has been seeking more ratings hits to compete with
the publicly funded BBC and to keep audiences from migrating to digital
channels, "Desperate Housewives" surpassed its imports of
"ER" and "Friends." Both eventually found large and
The company spent a large sum to acquire "Desperate Housewives,"
according to TV industry executives, but Channel 4 has not said how much.
It also had a big marketing budget for the program.
"We are delighted to start the year on such a high note," a
Channel 4 spokesman said.
"ER" debuted in 1995 with a 22 percent audience share and about
5 million viewers and "Friends" the same year had an 8 percent
share and 1.7 million viewers for its first episode.
"Desperate Housewives" also has served as a tonic in the United
States for the ailing ABC network, owned by Disney. It was the network's
most watched series debut in eight years with 21.3 million viewers.
An ITV spokeswoman said that "L.A. Dragnet" has had the
strongest debut of its U.S. acquisitions, while Channel Five pointed to
U.S. crime shows "CSI" and "Law & Order" as
consistent favorites that also began well.
BSkyB's Sky One scored a ratings hit with the debut of the Miami-set
plastic surgery drama "Nip/Tuck" last year and it was the first
to bring "The Simpsons" to the UK, but did so about a decade ago
when only a small percentage of households had satellite television.
None of those programs, however, had a higher market share than
"Housewives" when they were first shown.
(right) as River in Joss Whedon's
space western (Mutant Enemy)
Hollywood January 7, 2005 (Sci Fi Wire) - Summer Glau, who reprises the
role of the mysterious River in the upcoming Firefly movie, Serenity, told
SCI FI Wire that fans will finally learn some of the secrets behind her
In the short-lived Fox SF show Firefly, on which the movie is based,
viewers knew only that River was a genius who had been surgically altered
by mysterious forces for unknown reasons.
"We were setting up all the characters," Glau said in an
interview. "We were going back into the past and trying to set up
each storyline for each character. And my character was just getting
finally learn some of the
secrets behind her character.
"And now, in
the film, you're really going to see an explosion of what's really going
on with River. It’s going to be exciting."
In one scene shot on a Universal Studios soundstage last August, Glau and
her stunt double filmed a sequence in which her character fights a bar
full of bad guys—and more than holds her own. During
a break, Glau said that she's pleased that her character figures
prominently in the film.
"I'm very happy," she said. "I'm in a lot of it."
Even so, Glau admitted that it took a moment to reacquaint herself with
River and the Firefly universe, which is set 400 years in the future.
"I was very nervous," she said. "I
hadn't played River for a year and a half."
"I was so
close to her in the beginning and through the whole series, and then when
I came in for my first read-through with the entire cast, I was shaking
and sweating and I was really scared. And then after the first few days,
it felt like I'd never left."
Serenity, written and directed by Joss Whedon for Universal, opens
Lois and Lex -
and Kate Bosworth (Chip East)
Casts Lois and Lex
LOS ANGELES January 7, 2005 (Hollywood Reporter) - Superman has found his
Lois Lane and his Lex Luthor.
Kate Bosworth is in negotiations to play the Man of Steel's plucky fellow
reporter, and Kevin Spacey is set to play the superhero's nemesis in Bryan
Singer's Superman movie for Warner Bros. Pictures.
The comic book movie would reunite the two actors, who currently appear in
Spacey's "Beyond the Sea" as Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin.
The casting of Lane was a long process that ultimately rested on a
chemistry test between the actress and Brandon Routh, who is playing
Superman, sources said. Bosworth reportedly beat out the likes of Claire
Danes, Linda Cardellini and Michelle Monaghan.
Sources said Singer wanted Spacey early on but that the Oscar-winning
actor's commitment to London's Old Vic Theatre, where he is artistic
director, caused scheduling snafus on the road to making a deal. Spacey,
who is in rehearsals for "National Anthems" at the Old Vic, will
do a limited run of "The Philadelphia Story" at the theater
before moving to the Superman movie, which has a March start date.
LOS ANGELES January
7, 2005 (AP) - Late punk guitarist Johnny Ramone is being immortalized
with a bronze statue at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Ramone, co-founder and guitarist of The Ramones, was 55 when he died of
prostate cancer on Sept. 15, 2004, at his Los Angeles home. The statue is
near the grave of bandmate Dee Dee Ramone, who died of a drug overdose in
The Johnny Ramone monument, created by artist Wayne Toth, shows Ramone
playing his Mosrite guitar and it features the words, "If a man can
judge success by how many great friends he has, then I have been very
successful — Johnny Ramone."
Ramone's widow Linda will unveil the statue Jan. 14 during a two-hour
afternoon public ceremony featuring testimonials from friends. Johnny
Ramone was cremated and his wife has the ashes, spokesman Jason Padgitt
Hollywood Forever is the final resting place for hundreds of Hollywood
icons, including Rudolph Valentino, "Ten Commandments" producer
Cecil B. DeMille and Bugs Bunny voice Mel Blanc.
The Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
Clones On The March
Hollywood January 3, 2005 (Sci Fi Wire) - NBC has picked up Book of
Daniel, a one-hour religious-themed pilot from Titus creator Jack Kenny,
contingent on casting, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Joan and God
The darkly comedic
drama, which Kenny wrote on spec, centers on an Episcopalian minister and
father who finds himself conversing with a hip, modern Jesus who helps
navigate family problems, church politics and even his nagging reliance on
prescription painkillers, the trade paper reported.
Kenny is executive producing Book of Daniel, along with Flody Suarez (8
Simple Rules). Kenny's spec script impressed NBC to take the rare step of
buying a finished script not developed through the network's traditional
Book of Daniel will be produced through the peacock's studio sibling, NBC
Universal Television Studio, the trade paper reported.
[So it begins. Soon there will be TV characters talking to God, Jesus,
Moses, Mohammed and Buddha - all on opposing networks. Bah! Humbug! Ed.]
Spector's Transcript "One-sided"?
AP Special Correspondent
LOS ANGELES January
7, 2005 (AP) - Phil Spector's defense attorneys Friday denounced the
release of grand jury transcripts in which witnesses quoted the record
producer as saying he accidentally shot actress Lana Clarkson to death in
his mansion and then changed his story to suggest she committed suicide.
Attorney Bruce Cutler said the transcripts offered a one-sided view of
evidence in the murder case.
"Much of it contains lies, half-truths and slanted testimony and is
biased, prejudicial and unfair," Cutler said in a telephone interview
from New York.
The transcripts portray an apparently inebriated Spector out on the town
with two other women before he took Clarkson home. They also show his
mansion had an arsenal of 11 guns, all registered to him and many of them
fully loaded, but that the .38-caliber revolver that killed Clarkson was
not registered to him or to anyone else.
Cutler said the lack of gun registration is important to Spector's
defense, as is the absence of motive for the shooting.
"Does it make any sense?" Cutler said. "She was a stranger
Details of Spector's gun collection and of his activities in the hours
before Clarkson's death emerged in the transcripts released at the request
of The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times after a legal battle in
which the defense sought to keep them sealed.
Testimony by homicide detective Mark Lillienfeld contained the information
about 11 guns found in the master bedroom and in Spector's office.
Under questioning by a prosecutor, the detective said Clarkson was killed
by a shot from a Colt Cobra .38-caliber revolver. Lillienfeld said he ran
a check on the gun and found no record of a registered owner and that he
was unable to trace the weapon to any owner.
Most of Spector's guns were in holsters, the transcripts showed, and the
detective testified that a blood-smeared holster found in a bureau drawer
next to Clarkson's body would have fit the gun that killed her.
Phil had an arsenal of 11 guns, all registered
to him and many of them fully loaded, but
the .38-caliber revolver that killed Clarkson
was not registered to him or to anyone else.
Cutler said the
defense investigation found that Clarkson was a member of the Beverly
Hills Gun Club and an expert markswoman.
Spector, 64, who created rock 'n' roll's "wall of sound"
recording technique, is charged with murdering Clarkson at his Alhambra
mansion known as "the castle" in 2003. He is free on $1 million
Alhambra police Officer Beatrice Rodriguez testified that right after
Spector was handcuffed he said, "What's wrong with you guys? What are
you doing? I didn't mean to shoot her. It was an accident."
That statement was not tape-recorded by detectives who later taped
everything Spector said. Prosecutor Douglas Sortino told the grand jurors:
"He changed his story and now he claimed to two separate officers at
two different times ... that Lana Clarkson had blown her own brains out,
that she had committed suicide."
Spector's chauffeur, Adriano De Souza, testified he brought the couple to
the producer's mansion and waited outside in the car. At 5 a.m. he heard a
sound like a pop, he said, and Spector came outside minutes later holding
"I think I killed somebody," he quoted Spector as saying.
Other New ABC Pilots
LOS ANGELES January 6, 2005 (Zap2it.com) Pilots from "Lost"
creator J.J. Abrams's company and writer-director Rod Lurie ("Line of
Fire") are among four projects that ABC ordered Thursday (Jan. 6).
A drama about the salespeople at a high-end real-estate firm and a crime
show from one of the authors of the bestseller "The Rule of
Four" snagged the other two pilot orders, the showbiz trade papers
report. The Lurie project and the cop show, which will be executive
produced by John Wells ("The West Wing"), had previously
received preliminary approval.
Abrams will serve as an executive producer on "What About
Brian?," which sounds like it has more in common with
"Felicity" than "Lost" or "Alias." The title
character is a guy in his 30s who finds himself the lone remaining single
in his circle of friends. Feature writer Dana Stevens ("City of
Angels," "Life or Something Like It") is writing the pilot
and will also executive produce.
Lurie's "Commander in Chief" is about the first woman to be
elected president of the United States. The two-hour pilot will focus on
the president's family and her job in equal measure.
The real-estate project, called "Westside," comes from
"Jake 2.0" creator Silvio Horta, who's executive producing with
Steve Pearlman and Andrew Plotkin. It will aim for a darkly comic tone
similar to that of FX's "Nip/Tuck" as it depicts the highly
competitive home-selling market in Los Angeles.
The Wells production is called "The Evidence" and offers a twist
on the forensics procedural by working backward to deconstruct a crime
after all the evidence is in hand. It was written by "Rule of
Four" co-author Dustin Thomason and Sam Baum ("Life's
Work"), who are executive producing with Wells.
LOS ANGELES January 6, 2005 (Hollywood Reporter) - In its first
collaboration with TV producer David E. Kelley, the WB Network has
greenlighted the quirky drama pilot "Halley's Comet."
In the tone of Kelley's "Ally McBeal," the project centers on a
young cancer survivor who navigates her way through medical school,
friendship and love.
The pilot will be written by Andrew Kreisberg ("The Simpsons").
Kelley will serve as an executive producer with Jonathan Pontell, who will
direct the pilot.
In other pilot pickup news, Fox has given a thumbs-up to "House of
Payne," from writer-producers Bill Chais ("The Practice")
and Jeff Rake ("Boston Legal"), while CBS has given a
cast-contingent order to the medical drama "3 Lbs."
"House of Payne" centers on a successful lawyer who has a
nervous breakdown and teams up with a mentally disturbed lawyer with an
anger problem. Together, the two represent people with all kinds of
issues, not just legal ones.
"3 Lbs." revolves around brain surgeons. Peter Ocko, another
"Boston Legal" producer, wrote the script.
[Sounds like the same old same old to me. Ed.]
Bullet on USA
in Stephen King's Riding the
Bullet - 2004 (Freestyle Releasing)
5, 2004 (Sci Fi Wire) - USA Network locked up a six-year exclusive deal
for the supernatural film Stephen King's Riding the Bullet, which debuted
last year on only 100 screens before being pulled for lack of box office,
For a license fee of about $1 million, USA has blown out any pay TV window
so that it can start playing Bullet in a double run Jan. 23, followed by
three more plays within the next 10 days, the trade paper reported.
Bullet, based on King's e-book of the same name, stars Jonathan Jackson as
a man who's obsessed by the prospect of his own death and that of his
mother (Barbara Hershey). It opened in mid-October in a few test markets,
averaged only $1,010 a screen and was pulled, the trade paper reported.
A USA spokesman told Variety that the network does not regard the movie's
failure in the theaters as a gauge of its eventual cable TV performance.
[Maybe USA should rerun in Kingdom Hospital, another Kingly flop which did
better than Bullet. King is OK, but oversaturated. How many King books /
movies can you summarize without cheating and looking up the title? Ed.]
and Nip/Tuck Nominated by PGA
LOS ANGELES January 7, 2005 (Reuters) - "The Incredibles," an
animated film about a family of superheroes, was a surprise pick on
Wednesday when the Producers Guild of America announced its nominations
for its best movie of the year award.
Also nominated for the awards presented on Jan. 22 were comedy hit
"Sideways," boxing drama "Million Dollar Baby," epic
"The Aviator," about eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes,"
and "Finding Neverland," about the man who created "Peter
movies seldom are given the same respect as live-action films, the
selection of "The Incredibles," one of the year's big box office
draws, was a surprise.
Richard Gladstein, the producer of "Finding Neverland," told
Reuters he was also surprised by the inclusion of "Incredibles"
because the Producers Guild of America only has one film award for best
film production compared with other groups' awards that honor music,
special effects or animation.
For example, the Oscars, which are the U.S. film industry's top honors,
has a separate category for best animated film.
Gladstein said that his own film "was not a very expensive or
elaborate film, so I imagine what got to them was the content and the
emotion of the film, as opposed to extravagance."
"The Incredibles" has been a huge hit for Pixar Animation
Studios Inc and The Walt Disney Co, raking in more than $250 million at
U.S. and Canadian box offices. That trounces the other films against which
it competes. "Sideways," for example, has taken in $22 million
in the same markets.
Awards and nominations from industry associations like the Producers Guild
often help narrow the choices for Oscars, the U.S. film industry's top
honors. Many of the group's members also belong to the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars.
The Oscars will be given out on Feb. 27, and next on the awards watchlist
in Hollywood will be the Directors Guild of American nominations on Jan. 6
and the Screen Actors Guild nominations on Jan. 11. The Screen Actors
Guild, or SAG, represents U.S. film and television actors.
The Producers Guild also gives awards to TV shows, and in the category for
best drama, long-time hits "The West Wing," Mafia show "The
Sopranos," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "Six
Feet Under," about a family of undertakers, compete with relative
newcomer "Nip/Tuck," about two plastic surgeons.
Among the TV comedy nominees was "Arrested Development," about
the family of an imprisoned real estate developer which earned U.S. TV's
top award, the Emmy, this past September. It will go up against "Will
& Grace," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Scrubs,"
and "Sex and the City."