King Tut's Coming to Dallas, With Plenty of Junk to Sell! (Bong, Anyone?)

A hundred bucks for a hookah pipe? Please. The Gas Pipe's much, much cheaper -- and closer!

The new King Tut exhibit, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, opens Friday at the Dallas Museum of Art. To give the show a little kick in the hype department, because it clearly needs it, the museum opened its doors Wednesday morning to a press corps giddy at the chance to peek inside the tomb -- by which we mean "the gift shop." Of course, Unfair Park wasn't above stepping into the fray.

Suits from American Airlines and Northern Trust Corp. warmed up the crowd by predicting one million Tut fans would see the show before it closes in May. Local car dealer-philanthropist John Eagle broke it down for the hometown crowd, calling the exhibit Dallas's "cultural Super Bowl."

The headline speaker, Egyptian antiquities czar Zahi Hawass -- who's brought Tut's global cred back to the level of his late '70s Steve Martin heyday -- spooked the crowd with tales of how he'd been struck by the mummy's curse: His luggage got lost on his flight into Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. "Never fly American Airlines!" he joked, to the delight of all but the American Airlines marketing director seated behind him.

Tut's rolling roadshow includes artifacts from the pharaoh's tomb and the tombs of his family members. If you saw the Tut-ware when it came through town in the late '70s, museum staff wants you to know it's a different show this time around. Just don't go expecting mummies -- the real Tut is still back in Egypt, presumably waiting for all his stuff to come back.

Tickets are still available for the show, and our sneak preview slide show is here. --Patrick Michels