10:46 AM EDT, July 7, 2009
Numerous vehicles under California Highway Patrol escort headed out from the parents' home in Encino shortly before 8 a.m. and arrived some 15 minutes later.
The body of Michael Jackson will be transported to Staples Center for today's public memorial service.
Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton has confirmed that the King of Pop's casket will be taken to the memorial in downtown Los Angeles. A heavy motorcade with the LAPD's SWAT team is expected to escort the coffin. There's also said to be a contingency plan to helicopter the body to Staples if any safety issues arise.
It was not immediately known whether fans would be able to view Jackson's body.
The memorial is slated to begin at 10 a.m. local time with a lucky group of some 8,750 fans who each won two free tickets to watch the event in person. Some will view the event on a big screen at the nearby Nokia Theatre.
Despite being told they have no chance of getting in, many fans without tickets are still flooding the area to pay their final respects and witness history in the making.
All major networks are broadcasting the event live. Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp. has also arranged to broadcast the service live at 88 movie theaters across the country, including in Los Angeles, Monrovia and Tulare. For a list of the theater locations, visit: www.cinedigm.com
The memorial is shaping up to be the largest celebrity send-off in entertainment history.
Police are out in full force -- even more so than the 1984 Olympics and the recent championship celebration for the Los Angeles Lakers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, according to the LAPD.
Some 3,200 Los Angeles police officers were being deployed for the day's events in an effort to control crowds in and around Staples Center.
The event is expected to cost the city nearly $4 million.
The city started its fiscal year July 1, and the city budget includes money for unanticipated events such as celebrity funerals, according to LAPD Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell.
McDonnell called crowd control the city's responsibility, but said "if anyone steps up who wants to defray the costs, they're welcome to do so."
A private funeral service was expected to be held for Jackson at Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills prior to the public service. It's believed he will be laid to rest at Forest Lawn.
No details of the service have been released and the family has not confirmed the location, but police and Caltrans have announced street and freeway ramp closures in the area.
Caltrans will close the eastbound Riverside Drive offramp from the Ventura (134) Freeway, along with the eastbound and westbound Forest Lawn Drive offramps. Forest Lawn Drive will be closed between the freeway and Barham Boulevard from 6 to 10 a.m. to accommodate funeral traffic, according to Richard French of the LAPD's media relations office.
On the eve of the memorial, Jackson's friends and family gathered at Forest Lawn, reportedly for a viewing of the pop star's body.
A small handful of cars was seen coming and going from the Hall of Liberty, a circular building at the cemetery that contains a 1,200 seat auditorium.
Among the people believed to be in attendance was LaToya Jackson.
A hearse was also seen backing up to a building at the Hall of Liberty complex. A few hours later, the casket was reloaded into the hearse and delivered to another nearby building, this time covered in a blue cloth.
Also on Monday, the Jackson family announced the participants for the public memorial:
The list includes, family friend Ron Boyd; Kobe Bryant; Mariah Carey; Andrae Crouch Choir; Berry Gordy; Jennifer Hudson; British singer Shaheen Jafargholi; Magic Johnson; Martin Luther King III; Bernice A. King; John Mayer; Lionel Richie; Smokey Robinson; Rev. Al Sharpton; Brooke Shields; family friend Pastor Lucious Smith; Usher; and Stevie Wonder.
According to posts on her Twitter page, actress and longtime Michael Jackson friend Elizabeth Taylor says she will NOT attend Tuesday's memorial ceremony.
Taylor says she was asked to speak, but she "cannot be part of the public whoopla," and also that "I cannot guarantee that I would be coherent to say a word."
This list is preliminary and subject to change. There will be no further information regarding the program.
Meantime, thousands of fans who won a raffle to attend the memorial service picked up their tickets and wristbands at Dodger Stadium Monday.
Tickets were being issued to only the person whose name was on the voucher, officials said. The vouchers were also scanned for authenticity.
An estimated 1.6 million people registered for the online lottery to attend the service.
The 20-hour registration period for tickets began at 10 a.m. Friday and ended at 6 p.m. Saturday.
A computer performed the random selection after the entries were "scrubbed" to eliminate duplicates and those submitted by auto-entry systems.
A total of 17,500 tickets were given out.
11,000 tickets were for the Staples Center, and 6,500 were for the nearby Nokia Theatre, where fans will watch the service on big screens, according to AEG President Tim Leiweke.
The odds of getting a ticket were about 1 in 183.
To avoid potential reselling of tickets, a single distribution center was used.
Winners won't know which venue they will be allowed into until they arrive at the tribute.
Sellers on eBay quickly offered tickets with starting bids of $200 to $500. One auction had several bids and was up to $15,000 Monday.
Organizers were considering how to distribute any unclaimed seats, but had not immediately decided on a plan.
A coalition of youth and civil rights groups in Los Angeles urged the ticket winners to donate to charities and social causes that Michael Jackson supported during his life.
Only people with a valid ticket and an unaltered wristband will be allowed into the service. Wristbands that have been ripped, taped or tampered with will be voided.
The streets around Staples Center will be closed to prevent people without tickets from trying to attend, police said.
Businesses in the the area closed off -- bounded by Olympic and Pico boulevards and Flower and Blaine streets -- will be allowed to stay open Tuesday, but only ticket holders will be able to make purchases. It was unclear whether street vendors would be allowed into the area.
Seeking to discourage massive throngs of people, officials said that there would be no funeral procession and that no one would be allowed inside a large area around Staples Center unless they had a ticket and a wristband, a media credential or could prove they live or work there. Police are asking people who don't have Jackson tickets or other valid reasons to stay out of the downtown area Tuesday.
The ceremony will not be shown on Staples Center's giant outdoor TV screen, and there will be no funeral procession though the city, officials said.
A public memorial at Staples Center is fitting, especially since the King of Pop finished his last rehearsal at the arena the night before his June 25 death.
Jermaine Jackson expressed concern that the Staples Center wouldn't be big enough for his little brother's public memorial.
"There's no place even big enough. We talked about the Washington Monument, we talked about the Coliseum. We talked about a lot of places," Jermaine said, "There are 20s of thousands just from the UK."
Officials said the Jackson family has arranged for a worldwide pool feed of the service for fans to watch on every network.
ABC, CNN, MSNBC and E! Entertainment are among the networks that have already announced plans to offer live coverage of the memorial.
Anderson Cooper, Larry King and Don Lemon will be the anchors for the CNN coverage. ABC is sending anchor Charles Gibson to Los Angeles for the story, and CBS anchor Katie Couric will also be on hand at Staples Center.
Original speculation about a memorial and funeral service had focused on Jackson's former home at Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County, but a family statement said no such service was being planned there. Jermaine Jackson said Thursday that he would like to see Neverland Ranch as his brother's final resting place.
Jackson specified no plans for a funeral or wishes for his remains in his 2002 last will, filed in a Los Angeles court last Wednesday.
Jermaine Jackson also said the family intends to have a series of memorials around the country, though no further details have been released.
Road Closures and Public Transportation Info:
Parking for ticket-holders will be offered in the Staples Center and Nokia Theater garages, and plans for overflow parking will be finalized Sunday or Monday.
As of 11 p.m. Monday, the area bounded by Flower Street to the east, Olympic Boulevard to the north, Pico Boulevard to the south and Blaine Street to the west will be completely closed. It will remain closed until after the service Tuesday.
The only entrance into the Staples Center area will be at Figueroa and Pico, Rayner says. Between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday, there will be no access in or out of the area.
Two ramps to the 110 Freeway will be closed -- the southbound ramp at Olympic Boulevard and the northbound Pico Boulevard ramp.
Metro bus riders traveling through downtown on Monday and Tuesday should expect delays and route changes due to street closures being enacted for the memorial service.
Metro will begin re-routing buses in the immediate vicinity of Staples Center on Monday, and will enact more extensive route changes Tuesday. Passengers who get on or off buses in the area bounded by 7th Street, Alvarado Street, Washington Boulevard and San Pedro Street will have to walk to one of those streets to catch a bus.
Regular weekly schedu8les for Metro rail services aren't expected to be disrupted, but the Metro Blue Line Pico Station, north of the Metro Blue Line Grand Station, may be closed for an undetermined period on Tuesday.
Metro officials warned riders to plan ahead for delays and route detours.
Additional information on affected bus routes and Metro changes in the downtown area is available by calling (800) 266-6883, or at www.metro.net.