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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Alicia Keys Ascendant; iPod Nation

Aired February 11, 2005 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everybody. Thanks so much for joining us tonight. Glad to have you with us.
Tonight, just two nights before the Grammys, we are all about the music.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): She's smart. She's beautiful. She's breaking all the rules. And what's more, the music industry loves her for it. My conversation with Grammy nominee Alicia Keys.

And there's one sold every two seconds.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We go to the gym and everyone has them on their arms.

ZAHN: A little machine that's about much more than just music is turning an entire culture on its head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The entire Mac thing is kind of a cult.

Tonight, the iPod nation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And we begin tonight with the Grammy Awards.

The stars will be out in full force on Sunday night in Los Angeles, along with the usual glitz and glamour. But this weekend, something will be different.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): For the first time in a long time, the music industry has something to celebrate on its biggest night. After dropping for three years, album sales are finally looking up. And with sales of online downloads also rising, the industry's biggest stars are shining a little brighter.

Chances are you'll see a lot of them in the first few minutes of the Grammys. The opening number will be a medley. But instead of a duet like last year's between Prince and Beyonce, this year, the show opener will have five groups of artists. Who said less is more?

The Grammy Award may be music's most coveted prize, but the trophies usually play second fiddle to the night's entertainment, among the highly anticipated, the first public performance by newlyweds Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez. J.Lo usually makes a pretty big impression at the Grammys.

Despite a flood of competition, the Grammys are still the king of all music award shows. Just being nominated, let alone winning, can help make or break a career. Queen Latifah will host the program. And if last year is any indication, about 20 million people will watch it. And if they like what they hear, they just might decide to buy a few million albums. Certainly, that is what the music industry hopes.

This year, 27-year-old rapper Kanye West, by his own admission, dominated the nomination.

KANYE WEST, MUSICIAN: My name up until Sunday is no longer Kanye. It's the face, the face of the Grammys.

ZAHN: He's up for 10 awards, including album of the year. Sadly, one of the night's biggest potential winners isn't here to enjoy it. The late great Ray Charles was nominated for seven Grammy Awards. He died this past June. Singer Alicia Keys could also be a big winner. She's nominated for eight awards this year.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And among those nominations, song and album of the year. Alicia Keys is something rare in music these days. She has managed to appeal to both hip-hop and country fans. And sales of her music get a big share of the credit for reviving the record industry.

Keys burst on to the scene in 2001. Her smoky voice and virtuoso piano playing have been winning over fans ever since then.

And I recently sat down with Alicia here in her native New York. And tonight, her story in our "PEOPLE IN THE NEWS" profile.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): She may be just 24, but Alicia Keys writes, sings and play the piano with the sure touch of a veteran. Four years ago, she stunned the music industry with her debut album, "Songs in A Minor" and the hit single "Fallen." The album sold five million copies and won five Grammys, a rare achievement for a debut effort.

(on camera): How have you dealt with this process of becoming an overnight sensation?

ALICIA KEYS, MUSICIAN: Well, I think the main thing is that it definitely didn't happen overnight. So, for me, personally, that helps me a lot.

The way the I dealt with just everything that was happening simultaneously I felt like, in effect, was really just keeping people that I loved and trusted and cared about around me.

ZAHN (voice-over): Most of all, her Italian-born mom, who raised Alicia on her own. They lived in a one-bedroom apartment in the rough-and-tumble neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan.

TERRI AUGELLO, MOTHER OF ALICIA KEYS: It was cozy. Every couple of years, Alicia used to tell me where she wanted to sleep, so we would make her bedroom accordingly. Sometimes, she had the bedroom. Sometimes, I did.

ZAHN: Mom was an actress. And by the time Alicia was in kindergarten, she, too, felt the lure of the limelight.

AUGELLO: They were doing "Cats." And I didn't know until I came to see the show that she was singing "Memories." And she was only 4. It was quite extraordinary.

ZAHN: Mother and daughter shared a passion for music.

KEYS: That was probably our best times for like on Sundays. I would climb up on the little stool and there were these shelves of records. And I would go through it and see Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis and just all kinds of old jazz records.

ZAHN (on camera): You tap into classical music.

KEYS: Definitely.

ZAHN: Rap, just about anything you hear.

KEYS: Definitely. I feel blessed from where I grew up, because it was a very diverse neighborhood. You could walk down the street and you could hear salsa. You could her merengue. You could hear Biggie Smalls. You could hear Mozart. No one has to be a certain way. You can be yourself. And I love that about New York.

ZAHN (voice-over): And before her 10th birthday, Alicia found the key to her future.

KEYS: A friend of my mother's was moving somewhere else. And she had a piano and she couldn't take it. And she said, if you can move it out of this apartment, you can have it. And then, for my first time, I had this brown upright player piano.

ERIKA ROSE, CHILDHOOD FRIEND: Something about, it's magnetic. It draws her in. And no matter where we are, if she sees a piano, she goes directly to it. And she will just start playing, no matter what time of night it is.

KEYS: I did have a really great piano teacher. She was really about helping us to discover the things we loved about the piano, as well as of course the discipline that comes with studying. You have to -- there's no way around that.

ZAHN: Music teacher Aziza Miller would shape the young Alicia's trademark sound.

AZIZA MILLER, MUSIC TEACHER: I started a jazz improvisation class, vocal, that met after school. And you know how a lot of children, after school, are you kidding? I want to get out of here. But, again, her ambition and her drive and her love for the music, if you had to meet after school, she's there.

KEYS: Ms. Aziza really showed me the beauty of harmonies. And that was the first experience I had watching an individual really develop a song and make it sound the way they wanted it to and arrange it.

ZAHN: Alicia started performing at a community club in Harlem, where the man who's now her manager spotted her.

JEFF ROBINSON, MANAGER: She sang a song on stage. I'm like, OK, she's got a little twang to her, a little swagger. And then she sat down at the piano and started playing songs that she had written. And this girl's like 13, 14 years old, and she's already singing songs about the state of the world and what have you. And I was like, wow.

ZAHN: Intelligent and mature beyond her years, Alicia Keys was soon in great demand. At just 16, she was offered a scholarship to Columbia University and a $1 million deal by Columbia Records. She accepted both, but soon found out she couldn't cope.

KEYS: Everything was just upside down. It was all turned around. And I tried to make my classes late, so that I could do my homework in the morning and I would be at the studio all night. And it was just a wreck.

AUGELLO: I know she was sitting on the couch one day after class. And I knew that she had -- she had -- she had taken a leave. It broke my heart.

ZAHN: For a while, it seemed leaving college was the wrong move, as Columbia Records tried to make a teen pop star out of her, and she resisted.

KEYS: I was very depressed and very sad, because I felt like I was trying to do all these things. And I had this vision of what I could do and who I could be in my head, but it just wasn't coming into reality.

ZAHN: When we continue Alicia's story, how meeting a music legend gave her new inspiration and the experience in Africa that changed her forever.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Now that the countdown to the Grammys is on, with eight nominations, this weekend, Alicia Keys stands to enhance her blossoming reputation at what will be the 47th Grammy Awards. But five years ago, she was in a battle with her record label and her future seemed bleak.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): At the age of 17, Alicia Keys was resisting network executives' attempts to mold her into the Mariah Carey. In desperation, her manager reached out to other record companies and set up a meeting with industry veteran Clive Davis.

KEYS: I first walked in and he had all these pictures of all these artists that he worked with, and Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen and Santana. And he really understood music and he really cared about it.

CLIVE DAVIS, CHAIRMAN, BMG NORTH AMERICA: When you hear her voice, when you study the lyrics of her material, it's what I call a no-brainer. You just know that you're in the presence of somebody who could become an all-time great.

ZAHN: Newly energized, Alicia went back into the studio and, in the summer of 2001, reemerged with "Songs in A Minor." Soon, there was a real buzz about the girl who could play Tupac, '70s soul, and 18th century sonatas.

JOE LEVY, "ROLLING STONE": She could write and she could play the piano. And she couldn't just play the piano. She didn't just love Stevie Wonder. She knew her Chopin.

ZAHN: "Songs in A Minor" appealed both to kids hooked on hip-hop and moms who liked country.

LEVY: Alicia Keys is making music that looks 20 years, 30 years behind. It's trying to lead us into the future by saying, hey, we're coming here on the shoulders of giants.

(on camera): What is the trademark of the Alicia Keys sound?

KEYS: I would like people to be able to relate to it and identify with it and understand it and feel like it's their own.

ZAHN (voice-over): And plenty of people identified with "Songs in A Minor."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Grammy goes to Alicia Keys.

ZAHN: Five Grammys and recognition of long years of teamwork.

KEYS: Whoa. Whoa.

ZAHN: The success of "Songs in A Minor" opened up the world for the 20-year-old, but also in ways she never expected.

KEYS: I went to South Africa right after my first tour. And I really met a lot of kids who were raising themselves and who were dealing with living with AIDS, who were raising their younger brothers and sisters, 4 and 5 and 6 years old. And they were only 14. I came home and I just didn't feel like the same person anymore.

ZAHN: She became and remains a fund-raiser and advocate for AIDS sufferers in Africa, organizing benefits and doing TV spots.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)

KEYS: There is a way for you to help. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Despite the demands of touring and huge expectations for her follow-up album, Alicia Keys likes to keep a low profile.

KEYS: A perfect day for me would be able to come home, get a great rest at night in my bed, put on my little slippers and mess around the house.

ZAHN: And keep her private life private, whatever the rumors. The Gossip columns have linked her with several stars, most recently Usher, because of their hit duet.

KEYS: It was kind of funny, actually. They would tell that we would go places we had never been; we had been doing things we never did.

ZAHN: The title of her second album, "The Diary of Alicia Keys," was not accidental.

KEYS: I have kept a book of words since I was 9 years old, all the way up until now. I still write, you know? It's been my voice. It's my way to really express what I feel, the way that I can tell my secrets.

ZAHN (on camera): Do you hear music all the time?

KEYS: Definitely. Sometimes, I'm like -- it has to just be quiet. It has to be quiet for a minute. So I'll just shut everything off. And, suddenly, I do start hearing all types of rhythms and sounds and chords or songs.

ZAHN (voice-over): Like her debut, "The Diary of Alicia Keys" has won praise from fans and critics alike.

MIMI VALDES, "VIBE": I think, when she did the first album, she sort of stumbled on to her style and was still trying to figure it out. With the second album, she nailed it.

ZAHN (on camera): And I know you think that there's another chapter ahead for you, where your songs will become more political.

KEYS: I just want those songs to be able to really talk about what's going on in the world, beyond our own little boxes of whatever.

ZAHN: So you want to be provocative?

KEYS: Yes. I love that word.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And I think she knows how to nail provocative. Alicia Keys is slated to star in a movie to be produced by Halle Berry, the real-life story of a piano prodigy who had to battle racism. And her first book of poetry is now out. And she's already working on her third album. A couple of other Grammy notes. Tomorrow on "PEOPLE IN THE NEWS," we'll profile both Shania Twain and LL Cool J, both of whom are up for some big awards.

So, you an Alicia Keys fan by now? Well, stick around. We're going to save you a trip to the music store.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's small and has a lot of music.

STEPHANIE HULL, THE BREARLEY SCHOOL: We would love to use it more for the history department.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: The history department? Well, these days, they're mixing apples and just about everything else.

The iPod nation straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Well, gizmos don't often change the world, but we're witnessing a mini-revolution with one right now. Apple's iPod music player came out in 2001. And now those sleek little boxes with white headphones are just about everywhere. One prediction, that 23 million of you will have been sold -- or will own one by the end of the year.

But it's not just about music, as Tom Foreman explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To grab hold of the hottest selling computer gadget on the planet, you must move fast. A polished beautiful and some would say downright sexy iPod is sold every two seconds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's sleek. It's modern.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's small and has a lot of music.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm really used to using it.

GREG JOSWIAK, VICE PRESIDENT, IPOD MARKETING: We have sold now over 10 million iPods. Hard to walk down any street now and not see white headphones coming out of people's ears.

FOREMAN: On the surface, this darling of the tech world is simply a hyper-charged music machine, a portable computer hard drive capable of recording and playing 10,000 songs, 21 days of nonstop music.

(on camera): The problem is, unless you're a radio station, you don't own that much music. So, the rapidly expanding cult of Pod is coming up with all sorts of ideas about what to do with that extra space.

FOREMAN: At the Brearley School in New York, students study foreign languages on iPods. Now they can hear any time how they sound compared to a native speaker of French or Chinese.

HALLEH BALCH, STUDENT: And that helps us with like hearing other people speak and hearing how we're supposed to be pronouncing things.

HULL: We would love to use it more for the history department. There are quite a few applications in the sciences. I can see this expanding to many other departments in the coming year.

FOREMAN: The applications go on. Kathryn Cornelius is an artist buying an iPod with photo storing capabilities.

KATHRYN CORNELIUS, ARTIST: Easy for me to have my portfolio on that while I'm -- who knows who I could run into and show my work to.

FOREMAN: And Internet sites such as Podcastalley.com, you can find hundreds of audio shows recorded by amateur Podcasters to be downloaded and listened to on iPods, music shows, movie reviews.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I picked it up on DVD the other day. And I just cannot get this film out of my head, so I watched it again today.

FOREMAN: And the first Podcasting hit, "The Dawn and Drew Show," the often risque talk of a real couple in Wisconsin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "The Dawn and Drew Show."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, Chrissy (ph), we want to talk to you about what it was like to be in jail, all right?

FOREMAN: All this has spurred the creation of 400 accessories for the little iPod, who compels his followers to buy, buy, buy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I enjoy every single feature. I never have a problem with it.

FOREMAN: Critics complain that the rechargeable battery must be replaced by a technician. Competitors say their mock Pods offer better sound quality. But everyone watching the tech business knows little Pod sets the pace.

SETH JAYSON, MOTLEY FOOL: Basically, if you want to compete with Apple on this thing now, you have got to have an iPod knockoff. You can't do something much different. So it's changed the world that way.

FOREMAN: In 1956's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," space aliens took over people's bodies and minds using giant seed pods.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Where do they come from?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: The victims looked the same as they always did. They were just different.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: They're here already! Jonesy (ph)!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: And so it is with modern Pod people. You may not know it, but they are among us. They are everywhere. And their numbers are growing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Oh, man, Tom Foreman really has me frightened now.

Thanks to the success of the iPod, the price of Apple computer stock has nearly quadrupled in the last year. And today, the company announced a stock split.

Coming up in a minute, we are going to leave behind the world of iPods and stock splits for a place you can only get in if you're dead or on your way to fix a fax machine.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Today the U.S. brushed off North Korea's demand for one- on-one talks. The north has announced it has nuclear weapons, another example of the in-your-face brinkmanship it practices everywhere but especially right on its border with South Korea. Martin Savidge shows us more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): South Korean soldiers prepare for battle in the DMZ. It is a fight where the only weapon is a pair of eyes and the only thing shot is a glance. Soldiers who serve on the southern side are hand-picked to be imposing. The minimum height for Americans is six feet. South Koreans must be at least 5'8 inches. That's two inches taller than average in their country.

South Korean guards stand in a martial arts stance their bodies only half exposed to the north, making them less of a target. Across the way, the North Korean soldiers are said to be the best fed in a nation that has suffered years of famine. But a number of them still look gaunt and drawn. They often stand sideways, facing each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason for that is if one of those soldiers decides he wants to defect, the other soldier's duty is to shoot that soldier and prevent him from defecting. SAVIDGE: Tensions rise during official meetings on the DMZ as more guards come out. North Korean soldiers occupy a nearby building which American soldiers have called the monkey house, referring to how the guards inside peek out. U.S. officers suspect the building houses heavy weapons which are outlawed under DMZ rules. Looking for possible violations of the armistice is a favorite pastime of both sides here. Cameras sprout almost everywhere adding eyes that never blink.

The weather may change, but not the dangerous game. American soldiers bring their own level of psychological warfare. Unlike the South Koreans they prefer not to wear sunglasses to hide their eyes, they don't wear rain coats in the rain or winter coats in the snow believing that projects weakness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's almost a demonstration of your mental and physical toughness always out here.

SAVIDGE: Whether the American tactic earns North Korean respect isn't clear. But U.S. soldiers believe they have earned something else.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd say they hate us. You can see it in their eyes when they look at us.

SAVIDGE: At Pam Moon Jang (ph) if looks could kill the body count on both sides would be high. Crossing the military border dividing North and South Korea is rarely advisable, mainly because you could get shot. But on Conference Row at Pam Moon Jang over three days we watched three ways it can be done.

First, you could be dead, as was the case of a North Korean swept down a rain swollen river, his body ending up in the south. The pallbearers never crossed the line. Instead, only the casket makes the journey, passing from southern into northern hands. The second way is to be a tourist. Building T2 is used as a neutral meeting place between North Korea, South Korea and the United States. The border runs right through the middle of it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Over there is North Korea and right now I'm here in South Korea side.

SAVIDGE: With just a few steps, visitors can rightfully earn the boast, they were in the North. North Korea has its own tours and both sides share the same room just never at the same time. To make sure there is no conflict, South Korean guards first inspect the room before their tours go in. The North Korean entry door must be locked from the inside. One guard braces himself against the wall while hanging onto the second, who throws the lock. This is done to prevent North Korean guards from trying to grab a South Korean guard.

Now if you think that was interesting, wait until you see what happens next. The third and most unusual way to cross the border: the repair job. Last year, to improve communications between the two, North Korea was given a fax machine. Prior to that, the only way they could talk was over this old Russian field phone. But every now and then the fax machine needs to be serviced. That's what has U.S. soldiers doing the unthinkable, stepping over the line into North Korea.

If not for the seriousness of the situation, it might sound like a joke. How many men does it take to fix a North Korean fax machine? Five. One to repair it, another to translate and three to guard. Several minutes later, the fax is fixed and the Americans step back.

In the DMZ, life is sort of a new twist of an old saying. When it comes to crossing the line, the only thing certain are death and faxes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Martin Savidge reporting. He filed that back in 2003. Now, instead of going toe-to-toe over North Korea's nukes, the White House wants to re-open talks with both Koreas and their neighbors, China, Russia and Japan.

No matter whose side they're on, all soldiers have one thing in common and not just on Valentine's Day, love letters home with a difference, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Pencil and paper, laptops and e-mail. The tools may change but the sentiments never do. Courtesy of our Alex Quade, an early Valentine from the front lines.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEX QUADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): August, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Marine Major Tim Parker's last minutes with his family. He's about to deploy to Iraq leaving behind his wife and eight children. Yes, eight.

Tim plans to write home every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's important for my family to know what I'm doing over there and why we're over there, that I'm not just abandoning them back here for a seven-month vacation.

QUADE: Letters he hopes will help them understand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think some of the young ones have a realization of how long seven months is.

QUADE: Tim's wife, Joan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The letters are going to be good. He can gear them to child-friendly letters and let us know what he's doing when he's away and we're going to be doing the same thing.

QUADE: 8-year-old Timmy looked forward to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I don't feel alone and I know he's going to come back soon.

QUADE: The letters will explain why he's gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's important that they know later on why we made this sacrifice.

QUADE: October, near the front lines of Fallujah, Tim is keeping his promise. A quick e-mail to wife, Joan. Then, his daily letter to the kids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My family, I know it's tough for me to be away, there's so much to do in the house and your lives and now your mom has to do it all without me. As tough as this deployment has been and will be, I want to tell you all a story about something we did that will hopefully make you understand why I have to be gone.

The other day it was discovered a young girl the same age as Katie had been shot in the foot. When it was brought to our attention, we coordinated to have her operated on and save her foot. She's recovering here right now on the base. If we were not here she might have lost her foot.

I miss you all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I miss you. I love you all. Help your mom out as much as I can and I'll be home as soon as I can, love Dad.

Did you like that letter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

QUADE: Their letters tell him what he's missing.

T. PARKER: My son is playing his first season of football, my oldest son. And I'm missing that. I'm not there to go to the practices with him and see his first game. And you know, that's tough. My daughter, my oldest daughter is doing band. And you know, sharing, being a family.

QUADE: E-mail photos mark the holidays away from home, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. They write of baking cookies. He writes of his makeshift Christmas tree. Holiday barbecue, roasting marshmallows.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To know what they're going through is important to me.

QUADE: Fourteen-year-old daughter, Katie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's important to me to get letters from him.

QUADE: New Year's. After dealing with January election in Iraq, Tim gets an urgent e-mail from Katie. She wants to get her ear pierced again.

"I really want just one hole," she writes, "two if you let me and I mean it. It would only be on my ear and not on my lip or eyebrow. Please, I really want another hole in my ear."

Dad's answer, no.

A light moment during deployment.

T. PARKER: Obviously, everything is bermed up here for our safety.

QUADE: Tim doesn't write about everything.

T. PARKER: Some of the stuff we do over here is dangerous. I don't see any need to overly worry them about things that have already happened and I'm fine about.

QUADE: February. Six months have passed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is actually, this is all e-mails. I get at least one a day from him, usually, unless he's, you know, out in the field.

QUADE: Joan e-mails a Valentine about caring for their eight children alone. "It's the nature of living in a big family and one of my biggest heartaches right now with you gone," she writes, "giving them equal time and attention, assuring them all that they are loved."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's play the quiet game. You sit up here, and we see who can be quiet the longest, OK?

QUADE: Tim writes back, "My love, you are more than I could have ever hoped for as a bride, mother of our children, best friend and partner for life. Having eight children is no ride. Being married to a Marine makes it tougher."

Joan replies, "We'll be glad to have you home. We all will."

The letter writing has kept this family close, despite the distance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can hold these.

T. PARKER: It's been very important. I mean, you know, lets them know why I'm here, why I'm investing this time away from them. Lets them know, you know, what we're doing is important. More than that, you know, it still makes me feel part of the family, and I think it makes my wife and kids, you know, still know I'm part of the family. It's, you know, it's kind of like an umbilical card back to them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there's a letter from daddy.

T. PARKER: I'm thinking of them and I love them and I'll be home as soon as I can be. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: That was Alex Quade sharing that remarkable family story. Major Tim Parker should be back from Iraq sometime this spring.

It's the bewitching hour. We're just about 15 minutes away or so from Larry King. He's coming up shortly.

What do you have cooking up for us tonight, Larry?

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Bewitching?

ZAHN: Yes. It's the bewitching hour, you know that last quarter hour when we're moving closer and closer to the top of your hour. You changed your color scheme tonight. Off the lavender, back into the red.

KING: I thought bewitching was midnight.

ZAHN: Well, we refer to it as the top of your hour.

KING: Why quibble. I'm so happy to be bewitched by you.

ZAHN: Well, thank you.

KING: You're welcome.

Anyway, remember Gary Condit? Sure you do. Congressman Gary Condit lost his bid for reelection. His daughter Katie and his son Chad will be with us tonight. There's a major lawsuit going on. He is suing the famed author and columnist, Dominick Dunne. We not only have the Condit children on. We, as well, have portions of the depositions of both Mr. Dunne and former Congressman Condit. You'll be seeing segment of that in quite an hour ahead at 9 p.m. Eastern. It should be extraordinary.

ZAHN: It should be pretty tense at points of that hour, too.

KING: You're not kidding and it's bewitching.

ZAHN: It will be, at the top of the hour. Thanks, Larry. Have a good show.

KING: Bye, Paula.

ZAHN: You know what you're going to miss this week? The opening of Christo's Gates this weekend, 23 miles of those great orange posts and orange blowing in the wind here in New York.

KING: Where are they going to be?

ZAHN: All over Central Park. It's going to be phenomenal. We'll show you on Monday what it looks like when they finally unfurl the fabric.

KING: Thanks, doll. Have a good weekend. ZAHN: You, too. Have a good show.

Obsessing over political scandals is nothing new.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MALKA KORNBLATT, WATERGATE BUFF: I ate, slept and lived Watergate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: No wonder they call her the Watergate grandma. We'll meet her in just a minute. Maybe she knows who Deep Throat is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: For almost 30 years now, we've all wondered about the identity of Deep Throat, that mysterious, anonymous source in the Watergate scandal. Now, with Deep Throat reportedly near death, we may soon find out. But maybe no one wants to know more than the woman you're about to meet.

Here's Judy Woodruff.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": Malka Kornblatt, your typical Florida grandmother. Well, sort of.

KORNBLATT: I ate, slept and lived Watergate.

WOODRUFF: Spring, 1972, divorced, living in St. Louis, raising four sons, teaching at the university. Then, in June, five men broke into the Watergate Hotel and Malka Kornblatt life changed forever.

KORNBLATT: I said to myself, "Aha, Richard Nixon is guilty." And I began collecting everything I could three days after the break- in.

WOODRUFF: She devoured the newspapers.

KORNBLATT: It was like living in a novel. A mystery story. That every day one little piece of information unfolded after another.

WOODRUFF: But it was a lonely obsession.

KORNBLATT: I had nobody to talk to. I mean, I knew of nobody else in all of St. Louis that, you know, was following it the way I was.

WOODRUFF: Until July of 1973, when the whole world was watching.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did the president know and when did he know it?

WOODRUFF: The next summer. KORNBLATT: The House Judiciary Committee was going to begin the impeachment hearings, and I just picked up and left and went to Washington D.C.

I went to the Howard Johnson's, across the street from the Watergate, and I -- I asked if I could have the burglars' room. I watched the events happening on the television there, right from -- I had the feeling, I am right here where it all happened. I did something perhaps I shouldn't have done; I kept the key.

WOODRUFF (on camera): To room 723, Watergate.

KORNBLATT: To the burglar's room.

WOODRUFF (voice-over): She headed for Capitol Hill, and she scored her prize possession. What is it? Let's take a little trip. To the bank vault.

KORNBLATT: Oh, wow.

WOODRUFF: Where Malka keeps her most valuable items: transcripts of the Watergate hearings, signed she says, by every single member of the congressional committees.

KORNBLATT: To track down 38 congressmen and seven senators, one person, I don't know how I did it.

WOODRUFF: Back at home, Malka reflects on her Watergate heroes: among them the reporters who broke the story wide open.

KORNBLATT: Both Woodward and Bernstein had tremendous, tremendous courage to do that. You know, it's like, you know, you're looking up to God and you're saying, "God, you're wrong and I'm going to show you." These two young men.

WOODRUFF: Another hero, the secret source, a man who one recent report says may now be at death's door.

KORNBLATT: There was lies and lies and lies and lies. And in the middle of all those lies, there was somebody who cared about the truth. And that was Deep Throat.

WOODRUFF: Who is he, she's wondered, pouring over old obituaries, ruling out the dead.

KORNBLATT: Fred Larue. So he can't be -- he can't be Deep Throat.

WOODRUFF: Her pick?

KORNBLATT: Henry Kissinger had a reason to be Deep Throat, because Richard Nixon treated him so badly in the administration and overrode him on all kinds of issues.

WOODRUFF: She calls him the last piece of the puzzle. But enough is enough. KORNBLATT: I don't think they should wait until he's actually dead. I think that would be wrong. I think they should do it now, I think they should say who Deep Throat is right now, so we can all say, thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: I guess you'd all have to agree, a grandma with a very unusual mission.

Now, Woodward and Bernstein have repeatedly said they will reveal Deep Throat's name but only after he dies.

When we come back, the late night comics tackle Valentine's Day. Don't forgot everybody, Monday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: A reminder, Valentine's Day on Monday, your last reminder. Your job this weekend will be much easier: getting ready. If you haven't yet, here is some advice from Conan O'Brien.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN": A lot of guys like to propose on Valentine's Day. They choose Valentine's Day to propose. One popular way of doing this is to hide an engagement ring in the bottom of a champagne glass and let their girlfriend find it. That's one of the ways to do it.

Here's a tip. While it's important to be creative about where you hide the ring, there are some places you should definitely avoid. All right. We're going to tell you a few, such as avoid putting the ring in a litter box, just not a good idea. Or a jet engine, probably not the way to go. Or the worst idea, inside your other girlfriend's mouth. It's just not something someone wants to see. It's not good.

All right. Now here's another tip for all you guys out there. Guys, don't feel bad if you can't afford the same kind of gifts wealthy celebrities give their wives or girlfriends. All right? You're just not going to be able to compete with wealthy celebrities.

For example, last Valentine's Day, George Clooney gave her girlfriend a caviar toilet. Unbelievable. Wow! Audience not amused, just horrified.

Shaquille O'Neal served his girlfriend breakfast on the actual Mona Lisa. It's pretty amazing.

And Microsoft chairman Bill Gates gave his wife the people of Japan. Just a strange -- it made her happy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: OK. I got engaged on Valentine's Day and none of that stuff happened, for the record. At the top of our show, we told you a lot about Alicia Keys. She is nominated for eight Grammys, including the coveted song of the year award. But before we go, we want to let you know about the other songs nominated in that category. Here's a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Great crop of songs this year. That's one thing to look ahead to on Sunday night, the Grammys. But if you're traveling to New York this weekend, you may want to check out Christo Gates. This is going to be an amazing thing for all of us to experience. Twenty- three miles of gates. And what you're not seeing right now are pieces of orange fabric that will unfurl from some 5,000 gates. The artist Christo spent $20 million on this project, and we're all going to get to see it for 16 days straight. Hope you'll join us to take a peek at it.

Thanks for joining us tonight. Have a great weekend.

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