Friday, January 12, 2007


What's the most amazing testament to man's ingenuity? Some might say the pyramids at Giza or the Great Wall of China. Personally, I lean towards the Sphinx. Unfortunately, due to political reasons, I percieve that my life ambition to visit the Sphinx will probably never be realized. However, something similar is coming to me.

The King Tut exhibit is on loan from the Cairo Museum and is currently being shown around the U. S. Next month, it will begin an eight month stint at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute.

Whether you're a fan of Egyptian antiquities, history, art, or have a fascination for gold or you're simply a dreamer--this exhibit has something for you.

The last time King Tut visited the U. S. was in 1978-1979. During the fall of '78, I was attending the now defunct New York School of Gambling. The school was on West 32nd Street in Manhattan and faced the side of Macy's where Ticketron was located. Everyday the line for King Tut tickets went out the door and extended a full city block to 7th Avenue and probably further. I neither had the time nor the inclination to wait but I checked the length of the line everyday. Finally, on a stormy morning in early October, I looked out the school's window and there was no line. I ran over and got the earliest availability: THE FIRST WEEK OF JANUARY.

The tickets were sixty cents each. It sounds like something from the depression but that 60c isn't a misprint. When you check the Franklin Institute or King Tut web-site you'll see that the price is $27.50 for adults (Mon. - Thur.) and $32.50 on weekends. They didn't specify what ages qualify for the children's price.

In addition to the date, each ticket in 1978 had an assigned time. I remember freezing my butt off because we weren't permited into the waiting room until 20 minutes before "show-time." After being allowed in, we were lead into a large "holding cell." There were ten or so long rows that ran the length of a great hall. I'm guessing there were 200 people minimum waiting with me. An announcement was made and we were told that there were two rooms and that we would get 15 minutes to wander around room-one until we got "herded" into the second viewing area. After another 15 minute period, we could have all the time we wanted in the *gift shop.

Yes it was cramped quarters, (certain parts of the exhibit drew the bulk of the crowd). Yes I felt hurried. But, because I have a great appreciation for Egyptology, I enjoy history and art and am fascinated with gold treasure as well as being a dreamer, it was without a doubt the greatest thing of its kind that I ever saw.

I have been to the Hearst Castle, I've seen the Hope Diamond, the Mona Lisa, the English crown jewels, the Sistine Chapel, the Palace at Versailles and the Taj Mahal (in Atlantic City) and I still say when you consider all the variables, the King Tut collection is number one.

Hopefully, they'll manage the crowds better and let you linger now but I must warn you, I did see specific times on the tickets. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to taking my wife and son and hope to see you there. If you do go, please make comments here, so the others readers can share your experience.

* Back in 1979, I browsed the King Tut gift shop. There were many inexpensive trinkets but there were also authentic looking replicas, displayed in museum-like glass cases. These baubles ranged in price to over a thousand dollars. It was like seeing the highlights over again.
I was admiring the details of the famous gold funerary mask (see photo above) when two old-biddies (oops, that what we called senior citizens when I was 23), what I meant was, I was standing next to two women and one says, "I'm surprised that they're selling these, when they run out, there'll be nothing left to see."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I visited your web-site and WOW you are very creative. I once worked on a King Tut project with my daughter and I'd love to visit Egypt...your screenplay sounds spooky. I put your site on my favorites and will check it on Mondays when you put on fresh stuff.