tonight on "nightline." beyond the velvet rope. as this socialite pair is condemned by congress for sneaking into the white house, a look at how one man crashes the world's most exclusive parties. but not everyone is laughing. plus, barbie's world, and the competitors trying to knock off the reigning queen. with christmas on the way, we step inside the big business of dolls, and the all-out toy war. and, overexposed. lindsay, paris, britney. what happened to the golden age of paparazzi? the market for celebrity snap shots has take an nose dive. see why, in tonight's "sign of the times."
>> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, martin bashir and cynthia mcfadden in new york city, this is "nightline," december 3rd, 2009. >> good evening, i'm cynthia mcfadden. we begin tonight with more fallout from those white house party crashers last week at the state dinner. tareq and michaele salahi now the focus of a criminal investigation. on capitol hill today the head of the secret service admitted sloppy work allowed the salahis direct access to president obama. several members of congress fumed that neither the couple, nor the white house social secretary came to testify today. the question remains, how did they pull it off? bill weir gets inside scoop from a man who calls himself the best party crasher around. >> reporter: the salahis were definitely on the list today. >> the committee of homeland security will come to order.
>> reporter: they had place settings at table number one. but through their lawyer, america's most infamous schmoozers sent their regrets to the committee so their names will be on a subpoena. >> no one from the secret service prevented them from entering. >> reporter: white house social secretary desiree rogers declined an invitation to explain why she wasn't working the door that night, which left the director of the secret service to take the bullet all by himself. >> how in the world could this couple get past the secret service? >> terrorists only need to be successful once. we have to be successful all the time. >> their entry into the white house is unacceptable and indefensible. >> reporter: mark sullivan says three agents are now on paid leave as punishment for waving the salahis through the first checkpoint, after seeing their names were not on the list. >> i'm about to throw the ball and you're watching plum tv.
>> reporter: as vineyard owners, the salahis spent years hobnobbing from aspen to the beltway. >> my two minutes of fame. >> reporter: their wedding featured almost 2,000 guests and a supreme court justice. michaele passed herself off as a former washington redskins cheerleader. she wasn't. but for years, team alumni took her at her word. >> i think that this is somebody who probably needs some help. trying to figure out who she is. >> reporter: sally quinn has monitored the cream of washington society for decades, and says they're not the state dinner type. >> i think this desperate need for recognition has taken her way over the top. and her husband, as well. >> reporter: so, unfounded or not, this same convincing sense of entitlement was apparently the key into the most closely watched house in the world. >> this couple has pioneered a new way to breach security. >> reporter: well, let's not give them too much credit.
>> i think that they went in with a bum rush and the celebrity jam. >> reporter: alex mamlet is a self-professed former professional party crasher. >> yeah, i'm supposed to be here, i just went out for a minute. >> reporter: and he recognizes basic yet effective techniques in the salahis approach. >> if you have a camera crew with you, you are not going to get questioned. what the salahis did, by having an overexuberant sense of confidence and the camera crew, they dumbfounded the security. >> reporter: as an aspiring filmmaker who could never get into parties, he began making document rips about crashing them. >> the more security at a party, the easier it is to get in. if there's one person guarding the door, they know, they have to check every single person that comes in. if there's two people guarding the door, they often assume that you are checking in with the other one. >> reporter: over the years, he studied the dark arts of
counterfeiting. >> i found blue newspaper and i created a fake wristband. >> became a master of disguise. >> i found that if i dress up at a chef and carry a live lobster, i've never been turned down. >> reporter: and catalog different types of diver shuns. >> caught you sleeping. there's the bait and switch, run and gun, i'm with the band, ticket stub, back door, and the chicken monkey. you're going to see here, there is a move i do often, which is having a half-filled glass in your hand. that way people think you are already inside this is me getting into the v.i.p. tent at the -- >> reporter: so you travel with a glass -- >> always have a half-filled glass in your hand. that's -- party crashing 101. >> reporter: he taught himself to read upside down. all the better to spot an unchecked name on the clipboard.
he enjoyed oceans of true sushi and fittingly, crashed the premiere of "wedding crashers." >> i want you to meet a real man. >> we're going to get drunk. >> reporter: and for a show on vh1, he e valded an army of french security to stroll the red carpet at cannes with nicole kidman. judge him if you must. but no one ever got subpoenaed by congress for that. and beyond the sobering security implications of gate crasher gate, kid protocol is also offended by their motivation. he says he always did it to break down the v.i.p. cast system and strike a blow for the common man. while the salahis are out to prove they're anything but common. >> everyone should have a certain level of entitlement. people should feel they deserve to rub elbows with a certain, you know, cast above them. but i think the salahis have a little bit of a sense of
entitlement -- it one thing to get into a v.i.p. party, it's a whole other thing to sneak into the white house. >> reporter: kid protocol hoped to end the documentary by being famous and have a fabulous party open to all crashers. it didn't happen. but with a possible reality show deal, the salahis may still have a tented celebration in their future. who will come? that's another question. >> no one will ever take them seriously again. maybe they will be big tv reality superstars, i don't know. but i think that in trying to get into the world that they clearly wanted to belong to, this is exactly the wrong way to go for them. >> reporter: i'm bill weir for "nightline" in new york. >> crashing the white house is no joke. bill weir reporting. when we come back, it may be a barbie world, but this christmas, the top dog has got
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we tur we turn now to a toy story. perfect for the holiday shopping season. over the last half century, barbie has been the undisputed queen of dolls. reinvented for each generation of little girls. barbie has ruled. but while she may wear the crown, there are others giving her and parent eczema tell a run for their money this year, as brian rooney now reports. >> reporter: take a look at the barbie display inside the big toys "r" us in new york. a two-story house of barbie. domes in every imaginable outfit. barbie beach doll, bash bee b l balleri ballerina, bride barbie and the latest line, bash bee fashionista. put them all together, and she's the multibillion dollar barbie.
the cash queen for little girls. >> they love anything that sparks their imagine nation. barbie allows girls to dream of a world of possibilities. from becoming a dentist to a doctor to a movie star to a rock star. or a mom. >> we're heading over into hair and face. >> reporter: what might be difficult for them to imagine, though, is what it would be like to actually be in the business of designing, manufacturing and selling dolls to girls like themselves. 3 to 10 years old. because people in the doll business aren't playing around. this is the enormous barbie design center in california. this is all barbie? you got one cube call after another -- >> that's right. >> everybody is working on something barbie? >> everybody is working on something barbie. it could be a doll, it could be an accessory, it could be just her shoes, it could be just her hair. ♪ bash brbie, you're beautiful ♪
>> reporter: barbie has dominated what is now a $3 billion a year doll business. but with so much money to be made, some new entrips have hit the scene. the liv dolls, four characters described as bffs, best friends forever. >> the most realistic dolls out there. she has real glass yils. >> reporter: moxie girl, the comeback doll for one company who suffered a crushing defeat. >> moxie girlz is about self-expression, energy. >> reporter: and it says some mack see to go up against barbie. >> when they buy a doll for $10, they think it's easy. it's not. >> reporter: what does this sell for? >> anywhere between $10 to $29. >> reporter: the business of making nice girl dolls was shaken up by the introduction of the britney spears doll in 1999. a plastic rendition of bear naval sexuality.
followed shortly after by the introduction of mga entertainment's busty bratz doll, which grabbed a slightly older market of girls 6 to 9 years old and hit a half billion dollars in sales one year. but mattel sued for copyright infringement and after years of litigation, won the rights to the bratz doll, which they take over the first of the year. they have a reputation for playing rough. >> i think any industry that has intention and innovation at its core is going to be incredibly protective and secretive. >> reporter: when it gets down to it, that was a giant, bitter court battle over a little girl's doll. >> well, it was a giant court battle over a little girl's doll but big business. >> reporter: most of the time the battle is fought in design studios and marketing meetings. these dolls need fashions designed and made only for them.
hand painted eyes and hair as real as they can make it. hair is huge. spin masters liv dolls have replaceable wigs. >> girls love to play with hair. style it, change it, cut it. >> reporter: no matter what configuration, barbie is barbie. but the competitors have to be given a name, like katie or alexis, and, a personality. she has to be a skateboarder or a rock musician. sassy or serious. >> she lives for fashion. >> reporter: she has to have a story. little girls want to know who their doll is. >> because they relate to them as friends, right? so they want to know who their friends are. >> reporter: they come in a variety of skin shades and ethnic representations for girls around the world. >> you can actually pose, change and rearrange. >> reporter: and movable joints. the liv doll has 14 movable
joints. barbie has 12, giving kick to a dance video. >> you won't give it a movable ankle? >> there are certain rules to barbie that will always be. >> reporter: but all the doll makers have to be flexible in other ways to compete. they've gone on the internet with dedicated websites that have james and stories. the liv girls have a closet. buy an outfit, and it can appear in your doll's computer closet. >> singing always makes me feel so much better. >> reporter: they have daily diaries. keeping up with what little girls like requires constant research. they study magazine layouts. mga's dolls come with comment cards the ceo takes home every night for bedtime reading. >> a 6-year-old writes, again, what is your favorite feature, her clothes. >> reporter: mattel invites girls over to play in a room
with a two-way mirror. >> i like this one, the doctor. >> reporter: we put together a little research group of our own to show them the latest dolls. first thing we learned is that we should have taken them out of the packaging first. >> i can't open mine. >> reporter: they don't make this easy. >> mine's done. mine's the pretty girl. >> reporter: the only thing i don't like about the moxie girlz, they have exaggerated features. >> i like her because she skateboards. i think that's cool for a doll. >> reporter: we learned that figuring out what little girls like is best left to professionals. >> today, what seems to appeal is something that's more wholesome, something that, hopefully moms and girls can agree is appealing and not have to have it be cool because you're mom doesn't like it. >> reporter: the upstart liv dolls and moxie girlz are
expected to earn $35 million to $45 million this year. a good start. but when you look in the that new york store, they don't have nearly the shelf space of barbie. their stories have yet to play out. what happens when the bratz girls come back under the mattel label? will barbie always be the girl everyone else wants to be? one thing's certain. these girls will never be friends. this is brian rooney for "nightline" in los angeles. >> oh, never say never. when dolls square off. brian rooney, playing with dolls, and reporting. when we come back, it's a perfect storm, as the recession takes dead aim at the paparazzi in tonight's "sign of the takes dead aim at the paparazzi in tonight's "sign of the times." oçoçoçoçoçoçoçoçoçoçoçoçç now your chase card let's you make your own payment plan for what you charge. introducing blueprint. blueprint's free and exclusively for chase customers. for a big purchase, there's split.
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but the astounding sums fetched just a few years ago have taken a nose dive. for nick watt, the paparazzi recession is a "sign of the times." ♪ >> reporter: those were the days. 2007, the paparazzi were all fired up. >> got to deal with the bodyguards and security, you have to deal. >> reporter: paris got into a fight. >> she came out to the airport with her whole face, like, swollen and bruises. >> reporter: "us weekly" and "people" were flying off the shelves and the paps were getting fat. wannabes flocked to l.a. to photograph the actors doing stupid stuff.
fast shutters and fast cars. oh, yeah. >> back then, you know, for just somebody walking on sunset boulevard, you know, it was, you know, you could get a couple thousands off of just that one photo. >> reporter: and britney spears shaving her head? this shot was worth about 300 grand. but if she did it today, you'd only get 100 grand for it. may 2007, lindsay lohan passed out, 150 grand. these days? you'd get less than half that. an olsen leaving yoga? back then, ten grand. these days? maybe six. what happened? well, perfect storm hit the paparazzi. first up, the recession. magazine circulations fell and along with them, the bloated photo budgets. but it goes deeper than that. >> some of these stars just become so known that they devalue themselves. >> reporter: i'm even getting bored of lindsay lohan.
i used to think she was cute. i am so over her. >> just so many photos of her every day of the week doing every little task that she's, you know, she's worth far less than she was, you know, three years ago. >> reporter: so, gone are the days of paps driving range rovers. >> oh, that sound? there's something wrong with the car, actually. it's wear and tear. >> reporter: because, well, there are just too many paparazzi now scrabbling around for some pretty meager scraps. >> i could be ashley tisdale here but jennifer aniston could be at the four seasons, you know, and i'm here and there's a bigger story just two blocks down. >> reporter: and suppose the darlings of 2007 just ain't what they used to be. >> everyone is kind of so boring right now. i mean, nicole richie has two kids. paris isn't in jail anymore. britney's sort of under control. >> reporter: they're under
control and a bit more savvy. media goliaths like this man, who caught celebs in the act now and vises them how to manage the snappers at their heels. >> i see it actually as a very exciting future for our business. >> reporter: but listen, the million dollar shot is still out there. what about robert pattinson getting hot and heavy with a lady? >> him kissing a girl tomorrow, i guarantee you i'll have a quarter million in my back pocket in an hour. more? >> prince william and a new girl, prince harry and another girl. the money is still there. >> reporter: prince william and a guy? >> i'm not sure. that would be good picture. >> reporter: that very prospect, the dream of the well-known being caught doing the unexpe unexpected will keep these guys at it. >> this is what i do. this is what i'm good at, you know? i can pi't picture myself doing
anything else. >> reporter: this business ain't going away. >> oh, there she goes. >> reporter: it just might not be as glamorous as it once was. i'm nick watt for "nightline" in london. >> the search for the next it photo. nick watt reporting. when we come back, is amanda knox guilty of murder? awaiting the verdict in italy, but first, here's jimmy kimmel with what's coming up next. jimmy? >> jimmy: thanks, cynthia. on the show tonight, music from honor society, ashley greene and jake gyllenhaal, from the movies. so stay up and participate.