tonight on "nightline." not guilty? the american student convicted of murdering her roommate in italy could go free. amanda knox returns to court today. the prosecution fights back hard. we're there with the knox family as they hope for their daughter's release. the girls from pan am. gorgeous, glamorous and girdles? >> are you wearing your girdle? >> a ticket back to the glory days of air travel with an unexpected breed of undercover jet setters. and "jersey shore," the
musical. gym, tan, laundry, the situation, all put to song. ♪ of the jersey shore good evening. i'm cynthia mcfadden. we begin with new developments in the case of amanda knox, the american woman currently serving a murder sentence in italy. knox was an undergraduate just beginning a year abroad when she was accused of killer her english house mate. she's been behind bars ever since. now comes an appeal which has her family hoping she might be released. abc's elizabeth vargas reports from italy. there is so much at stake in that courtroom. >> reporter: cynthia, so much is riding on this appeal.
the rest of amanda knox's life and the reputation and livelihood of the controversial prosecutor at the heart of this case. he continued today to accuse amanda knox of murder. she was convicted of stabbing her roommate to death four years ago but with much of the evidence in doubt now, there's mountsing pressure to set amanda knox free. looking more tense and serious than ever, this morning the d se her way into the court for the last round of the appeal trial. her family has gathered in the hopes that amanda will finally be freed. the imposing lead prosecutor, julian no mignini showed the courtroom a slide show including slide shows of meredith kercher's slashed body. he appealed to the jury to uphold justice. after court, knox's parents said the first day went as well as they could have expected. >> it's emotionally draining
because we worry about amanda. >> reporter: for her family, this is the culmination of a 46 month ordeal. >> we're bringing extra bags so we can write her things home. >> reporter: they have made the 6,000 mile trip to italy nine times. her mother hopes this will be the last. finally, freedom may only be day as way. >> we always told amanda she was going to get out of here. that we were here for her. she was not alone. she had to survive, and she did. >> reporter: amanda knox came to perugia to study italian four years ago. weeks after her arrival, meredith kercher was brutally killed. amanda and her boyfriend raphael la sollecito were later arrested. they were convicted of murder
after a year long trial in 2009. knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison. sollecito to 25 years. the verdict devastated her family. >> guys, move. move! >> anger. and just disbelief on how a judicial system could even come up with a verdict like this. >> this is completely unjust and i'm in complete shock. >> how will you continue to do this, kurt. this has cost you a fortune. >> we'll figure it out. she will not be left here. >> reporter: two years later, they are hopeful. for the first time this epic legal battle seems to be going their way. >> we've always known amanda is innocent. the light has always been on at the end of the tunnel. now it's shining even brighter. >> reporter: during knox's appeal, the two court appointed
experts reviewed key dna evidence used to convict them. a kitchen knife the prosecution claims has knox's dna on the handle and kercher's on the blade and the bra clasp with dna on the hook. the critique blasted the collection and the testing raising serious questions about the prosecution's case. >> those two experts have conclusively determined that the evidence was likely compromised, likely contaminated and that the testing that has actually employed on the alleged dna fell below internationally accepted standards. >> reporter: another blow for the prosecution, a homeless man was shown to be confused about what date and time he claims to have seen amanda knox. >> one of the main witnesses against amanda knox, a heroin addict who turned out to be totally incorrect in everything he said. he admits that he was high at
the time and doesn't remember much. >> reporter: also absent is an explanation for the lack of any dna from amanda knox in the bedroom where the crime occurred. there was plenty of evidence, but it all pointed to this man, rudy guede, the third person convicted in the murder. >> his dna is all over the room where that young woman was killed. bloody hand prints on the wall. bloody footprints. his dna is everywhere inside and outside of meredith's body. >> reporter: guede admits he was in the bedroom that night and initially told police knox and sollecito were not there. today ma nene pleaded with the jury of two judges and six citizens not to give in to media pressure to acquit amanda knox or to be swayed by the criticism of the prosecution's handling of the evidence. for now, knox's family has gathered to wait. this week, her father visited her in prison for what he hopes is the final time.
>> she's calm inside because she knows she's innocent, but it's the jitteriness of what's going to happen when we get into the court of law and what will they decide her life will be. >> reporter: form the prosecution will continue its closing arguments convinced of their case, they're actually asking for a harsher sentence, life in prison. next week, the defense gets its shot and amanda knox will have the final say. a judge and jury can decide within days. cynthia? >> thank you, elizabeth. it's a case we will continue to follow. just ahead, a time where air travel was alluring and the stewardesses weren't always what they seemed. [ male announcer ] people don't make a list of websites
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in these days of baggage fees and sardine seats, it's hard to imagine a time when flying was actually a pleasure. a new abc series, "pan am" harkens back to such a day. 1963, a time before civil rights and equal rights had fully flowered. the cold war was just heating up, but there was a certain hope and promise in the air. we've got a special boarding pass taking us backstage at "pan am." ♪ >> reporter: the glory days of air travel. >> roomniness extends to the powder rooms. >> reporter: when the seats were spacious, the meals were lavish and the passengers felt glamorous. >> we thought we had been mistaken for mr. and mrs. park avenue. >> reporter: it was a fabulous party at 35,000 feet where everyone got caviar, even in
coach. hosting it all the flight attendants. the most iconic, the pan am girls, who were beautiful but were required to speak a foreign language, leaving a techny colored dream, where a new adventure began. and now the pan am stewardesses of 1963 are landing on network television, to satisfy a growing nostalgia for the kennedy era. >> i'm always like where are my gloves. >> reporter: christina ricci leads the jet set. you weren't even born in 1963. >> my mother was modeling around this time. i think my first sort of images of beauty were those images, my mother's images. i think that there's one period where you are always drawn to.
for me it was the '60s. >> reporter: our trip to the set made clear there is no better place to play dressup than in the pan am wardrobe closet. ann crabtree showed us some of her treasures. i think the stewardess hats, what about that? >> they're all right here. >> reporter: the look wasn't just about the uniform. it was about uniformity. all the girls had to be young, single and look the same. they were height and weight requirements. you couldn't be shorter than 5'2" or taller than 5'8". you couldn't weigh more than 138 pounds. pan am even assigned underwear. >> look at this. you know, there's no joking around. that is a bullet bra. it gives you a whole different shape and the girdle, which is, you know, a means to many funny lines. >> reporter: the girdle plays an important role in the program.
>> it has its own role in the show. >> is that necessary? >> reporter: no jig willing down the aisle for these girls. under those tight skirts and bullet bras were young women longing for adventure. with pan am, they got to see the world. >> morocco, thailand, hong kong, japan, saudi arabia, russia. >> reporter: one of those young women was nancy. >> it's adapted for our needs. >> reporter: who is now an executive producer of the show. >> i you happened to walk by the pan am building and there was a poster that said our stewardesses know their way around the world better than most people know their way around the block. >> reporter: it's important to remember the times. >> there were few options for women. >> it didn't matter if you went to an ivy league school. >> when you consider the options of sitting at a desk or going to see the world, it was a dream
come true. >> reporter: pan am stewardesses flew into destinations where few went. those girls had the perfect cover. >> are you ready for your first assignment? >> no. >> 3 d, we need you to detain him in customs. >> reporter: one of the women in the program is recruited to work for the state department as a spy. did that happen to you? >> i'll never tell. it was real that there were spies in pan am. >> did you know any of them? >> i did. >> what kinds of things were the women asked to do? >> it was really more to facilitate learning, hearing, seeing, being. >> reporter: but it wasn't all foreign policy. there were lots of interesting men. >> the professors who would tell you about the archaeological
digs taking place or the very handsome french count who invited me to tour paris. >> reporter: it's that sense of adventure and endless possibility that permeates the show. it seems people are really interested in the '60s right now. why do you think that is? >> with this huge preponderance of reality shows, i think people want a little mystique, a little camelot, a little we're not going to give it all away at once magic. >> reporter: that 1960s magic is alive and well on the set of "pan am" where they've created every last period detail. maybe it's less about the clothes than about where they can take you. >> we went to kabul regularly. we would hike, go to damascus or to karachi. all of this was available to us. it just changed our lives, i think, forever. >> better buckle up.
the reality series, "jersey shore" is synonymous with too much tan and too few manners. there's one thing no one expects to come out of the characters' overactive mouths. singing. john berman introduces us to "jersey shore," the musical and that's a sign of the times. ♪ >> reporter: how can you outparty this kind of party? how can you outsmoosh a smoosh? how can you outoutrageous a night on the "jersey shore." >> make them sing and dance.
♪ on the jersey shore >> reporter: this is the musical version. ♪ gtl every day >> reporter: a parody entitled "jersey shoresical" and it's fricking funny. ♪ >> reporter: it's the brain child of these two men. the big question is why? >> why not? i think it's got the themes in it. you've got the love triangles and the couple that can never figure it out. it lends itself to a musical very easily. >> dan plays ronnie and sam plays sami. the star crossed lovers on the sh
show. this is their fight from season three. this is that fight set to music and bleeps ♪ take you [ bleep ] >> reporter: the stage version has all your favorite guidos and guidettes. achieved with an uncanny amount of tanning makeup and enhancement. you've got to admire the situation for doing this all without makeup. >> absolutely. i can act like i have abs. >> reporter: on tv, jwoww is a woman, on stage, she's not entirely. it definitely adds a different perspective. tv. >> you grow some balls all of a sudden. >> reporter: and the musical manly version. but nothing perhaps is more surprising than the depiction of the show's most infamous character, snooki, so drunk, so far gone, she got arrested after
falling all over a beach. >> get the [ bleep ] off. >> reporter: on stage we learned -- >> she just wants to be loved. she wants to be married and have babies. that's something people can identify with ♪ doesn't have to be clever as long as he knows the way ♪ ♪ to my heart >> reporter: this parody is not performed out of malous or ridicule but out of love. >> how much would you give them to perform in the show. >> that's my dream. >> do you think any of them could sing? >> it doesn't matter. >> reporter: i'm john berman for "nightline" in new york. >> finally tonight, our program night, monday marks the debut of a new abc series "the chew" at 1:00 p.m. eastern. thanks for watching abc news. "good morning america"