As 11:30 approached, Governor Chris Gregoire, Larry Phillips, Richard Conlin and members of the Pacific Science Center's board of trustees took their seats on a stage in the Pacific Science Center planetarium. The lights went down. Ethereal music played in the background. It was almost vomit-inducingly cheesy.
As historic announcements go, this ain't half bad.
But then a disembodied voice filled the room. "Ancient Egypt," it boomed. Images of pyramids and pharaohs filled the ceiling. OH MY GOD, THE KING TUT EXHIBIT IS COMING!
Memories of my awesome second grade Ancient Egypt unit came flooding back and instantly all cynicism was gone, replaced by giddy excitement.
Okay, it's not actual reanimation of the dead, as we speculated earlier might be necessary to justify baiting reporters with a press release saying only that Gregoire would "announce an event of historic proportions" (especially if you're leaking it early to the Times). But this is about as close as you can get without a witch doctor.
Take a note Mike McGinn, if you're going to string the press along with non-announcements forcing them to show up at a press conference, you deliver pharaohs, not a levy proposal.There's a lot riding on King Tutankhamun's boyish shoulders, arriving (sans the actual mummy) at the Science Center in May 2012 and staying through Jan. 2013. Gregoire and her companions dwelt on the potential boost to the Seattle and regional economies as tourists fork out cash for hotels and meals and King Tut merch.
The pharaoh was last in Seattle in 1978 on a previous tour that resulted in international disputes between Egypt and the world over how the artifacts were treated. But with the success of recent shows in Toronto and San Francisco, the Science Center sought to have the most famous ruler of ancient Egypt brought here.
At one point, Gregoire, never the strongest public speaker, went off script, saying a little breathlessly: "This is a really big deal."
Yes it is. And even if this announcement doesn't quite rise to the level of Columbus' discovery or the polio vaccine, you'd have to be awfully jaded to not be at least a little excited.
And to really get you in the mood, Steve Martin's tribute to King Tut: