Vanity Fair has poisted an excerpt on its website from “Elizabeth Taylor’s Closing Act” by Sam Kashner that is appearing in the magazine’s June issue. According to the piece, Taylor and Brando were in New York for Jackson’s self-congratulatory 30th anniversary shows at Madison Square Garden that took place Sept. 7 and 10, 2001.

You might remember the concerts. Or, more specifically, you probably remember seeing video clips of Brando rambling on about everything and anything while seated onstage at the beginning of each night’s show. According to Vanity Fair, Jackson’s original plan was to have Taylor and Brando flank the stage while he celebrated his three decades in show business, but both stars declined.

Jackson’s second night at MSG was on the eve of the day the entire world changed when al-Qaida terrorists flew two airline jets into the World Trade Center towers. By the time the three were ready to return to California, the federal government had grounded all flights private and commercial.

So the three celebs did what most travelers did in the days immediately following 9/11. They got in a car and drove. But not before Jackson tried to use his star power to get his private jet exempted from the flight ban.

Vanity Fair quotes a former Jackson employee as saying they made it as far as Ohio and that Brando insisted on stopping at every KFC and Burger King they happened to come across. Which, if true, is pretty amazing if only because you’d think one of those fast-food employees would have mentioned it to the press in the years since September 2001.

Also pretty amazing is the rebuttal issued by one of Taylor’s friends and assistants. Speaking anonymously, the source said Taylor stayed behind when Jackson and Brando decided to motor across the country and that she “went to a church to pray, and she went to an armory where people were who couldn’t get home or who’d stayed behind to look for the missing.”

The source also claimed Taylor eventually went to Ground Zero where the actress met with first responders. Again, like the story claiming the three stopped at every KFC and Burger King along the way, you’d think someone would have mentioned seeing Liz Taylor appearing at Ground Zero during the first few days following 9/11.

But wait! There’s more!

More as in Taiwanese computer-generated animation depicting the entire episode.

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