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Memorial 'bordered on a miracle'

It could have been chaos, but the Staples Center service was instead a well-planned balm for grieving fans.

July 08, 2009|Harriet Ryan and Andrew Blankstein

Portions of the 10, 101, 134 and 110 freeways were closed to the public during parts of the day to accommodate the Jackson funeral procession, which consisted of five Rolls-Royces, two Cadillac Escalades, 10 black Range Rovers and a hearse.

The memorial started late after the family was delayed in arriving at Staples Center from a private service at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. In other big televised events, such a delay could create programming havoc, but the producers had made no promises to the networks about an ending time, and the memorial unfolded as they had planned.

Afterward, the family attended a reception at the Beverly Wilshire hotel, where they told their publicist they felt the memorial had gone well.

"They were very emotional, but everybody seemed very, very pleased," said family spokesman Ken Sunshine.

As he drove home later Tuesday, Ehrlich said it was difficult to say exactly what had made the event run so smoothly. There was the checking of egos at the door, the desire of performers to pay tribute to a man they admired, the hard work and long hours.

And, he allowed, "There is just an awful lot of luck involved."





1 billion

Highest estimated number of people worldwide who watched the memorial service on TV.


Number of L.A. police officers deployed for the public memorial and a private service at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

$3.8 million

Los Angeles' estimate of the cost for security and logistical support.


Number of movie theaters across the country that showed the service live.

1.6 million

Requests for tickets to the memorial service.


Tickets given to the public for the service.


Tickets distributed by the Jackson family.


Arrests reported by LAPD


Source: Times reporting

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