People and Events

From staff and wire reports

It wasn't easy finding 50 pairs of old panty hose that technicians at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County felt they needed, but staff wives and some understanding friends finally came through.

It is not clear whether the ladies bought the explanation. It involved a Tyrannosaurus rex, long since dead.

The museum has the terrible-tempered lizard's skull, regarded as one of the finer dinosaur specimens around. Replicas are constantly sought by universities and other museums. A previous mold of the skull fell apart after stamping out only 14 castings, so the museum needed one a little more durable.

Senior technician Fritz Clark, recognizing that panty hose are frequently called upon to maintain strength and elasticity under trying circumstances, hit upon adding them to silicone or latex to make a mold that would stand up for a while.

Clark found that cheaper panty hose actually work better because the loose weave absorbs silicone-based rubber more readily. The method worked out all right in the creation of smaller molds for displays in the museum's 75th anniversary "Treasures of the Tar Pits" traveling exhibit. But the Tyrannosaurus rex skull required a lot more material.

Don't bother sending in your used panty hose. The museum staff says current suppliers are keeping up with the demand.

The owner of a Hollywood bookstore and gallery does not pretend that his current art exhibit is in good taste. "Our store specializes in bad taste," Brian King said. "No customer comes in here expecting a Catholic bookshop."

King, who said the shop called Amok on North Hyperion Avenue sells books on "murders, conspiracy, sleaze and Hollywood stuff," has on display several oil paintings by John Wayne Gacy, the 45-year-old Chicago man convicted in 1980 of the sex slayings of 33 young men and boys.

The pictures, done on Death Row in Menard Correctional Center at Chester, Ill., where Gacy awaits the outcome of appeals, are copies of 50 paintings. The gallery owner says they depict clowns, dwarfs, movie monsters and other things that "are referential to his way of life."

Since he opened the exhibit in early June with a party that featured a clown cake and the playing of another Death Row inmate's recording of "The Chair," King says he has sold about 25 pictures by Gacy at $100 to $150 apiece.

"The money doesn't go to him, so I don't feel bad about that," King says. "He gets a little for painting supplies, but the rest goes into a fund to handle lawsuits by families of the victims."

King says he learned that Gacy was painting in prison and wrote to him, offering to exhibit his work.

A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Corrections said that if Gacy's income from the sale of paintings "rises above a certain level, the state can confiscate it to recoup the cost of his incarceration." He noted that it costs $20,000 a year to keep on Death Row the man convicted of killing more people than anyone in American history.

Wilshire Division detectives had a tough one Wednesday. A woman came home from vacation to discover that her home had been burglarized. The only things missing: two Red-Eared Slider turtles that she had kept in an aquarium.

Police Lt. Ken Espiau said it looked like that was all the burglar wanted.

He couldn't explain that.

The woman was not identified.

In a probably unrelated situation, a Monterey Park paper included in its police blotter report the note that "a tortoise was seen running down the street in the 200 block of Keller Street. Police were told the turtle lives at that address and was returning home."

Cher's live-in boyfriend apparently doesn't take too kindly to enterprising photographers.

Robert Camilletti, 23, was arrested Wednesday after he drove his black Ferrari directly at Peter Brandt, 35, a photographer who had staked out the Benedict Canyon home Camilletti shares with the 42-year-old Oscar-winning actress and singer, police said.

Brandt wasn't injured, but his Honda suffered extensive damage after Camilletti rammed into it, police said. Camilletti was booked for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon at the Los Angeles Police Department's West Los Angeles Station.

Cher, who was home but did not witness the fracas, came to the station with an attorney to pick up Camilletti, authorities said. She posted $2,000 bail.

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