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Michael Jackson fans flock to Burbank area memorial

July 07, 2009|By Christopher Cadelago

BURBANK – Hoards of fans surrounded the perimeter of the Forest Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuary in the Hollywood Hills this morning, waiting for a caravan of SUVs and limousines carrying the family of Michael Jackson.

The California Highway Patrol temporarily closed parts of the 405, 101, and 134 freeways for the procession. The eastbound Riverside Drive was also closed, as was both directions of the Forest Lawn Drive ramp.

Crowds outside Forest Lawn, which began gathering late last week, meandered around the sprawling facility in search of access. One young man could be seen balancing on a pipe over the LA River in an attempt to circumvent staggered police checkpoints.

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Allen Cook and Reginald James arrived via taxicab from San Bernardino shortly before midnight Monday. The pair failed to secure tickets to the public memorial at Staples Center, but wanted to still take part in some manner. However, the two were turned away from the main entrance.

“All I wanted was to see the gate,” said Cook, a 35-year-old rapper, dancer and entertainer who has drawn inspiration from the King of Pop. “When I was seven I got to stand backstage at one of Michael’s concerts. I didn’t get to see it like everyone else. I got to see it as he did, from his perspective.”

“We wanted to be here to celebrate his legacy,” he said. “To honor him.” 

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