Monday, January 16, 2017

Burlington County Times - Letters To The Editor

Newspaper is an arm of the horrible Democratic Party


January 15, 2017

I have been a subscriber to your newspaper for many, many years and, honestly, only read it for only local information. Today's (Jan. 11) headlines regarding President-elect Donald Trump are pure fake news.

Does the paper ever investigate its negative stories about our soon-to-be new president before printing them? Even on the editorial page, in a commentary column regarding our Constitution ("Can the Constitution save us from Trump?” written by Richard Cohen of the Washington Post); I have never once seen a headline that said, “Why is President Obama constantly attacking our Constitution?” Looks like the your newspaper totally agrees with him. I treat your newspaper as another arm of the horrible Democratic Party, like it was during the past election. I am a proud Trump “deplorable.”

Marcia Kavitsky

PhillipsPhiles PHLASHBACK: Joyce Kavitsky's Age 17 B.C.T. Letter To The Editor

Friday, January 13, 2017

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) American Impressionist Painter

IMAGE SOURCE: The Anthenaeum

A Morning Walk (1888)

Mrs. Violet Ormond, Artist's Sister.

IMAGE SOURCE: The Anthenaeum

Two Girls Fishing (1912)

The artist's nieces fishing while on a family trip in the French Alps.

Monday, December 05, 2016

They're Acting As Landlords


Posted: April 28, 1986

NEW YORK — On television, Barbara Bel Geddes plays Miss Ellie, matriarch of Southfork, the palatial ranch on the show Dallas. In real life, she's a South Bronx landlord.

In the movies, Christopher Reeve soars over Metropolis as the high-flying, highly paid star of the Superman films. In real life, he owns a piece of South Bronx real estate, too.

So do Sam Waterston, JoBeth Williams, John Gabriel, David Birney and Tuesday Weld.

The seven stars are among 17 wealthy limited partners in a newly renovated 71-unit apartment building on East 146th Street, called the Villa Alejandrina, under a federal housing program that entitled them to shelter chunks of their riches from the Internal Revenue Service.

None of the celebrities is a familiar face around the project, which opened in 1984 in a neighborhood of gutted rowhouses.

"Superman owns this building?" asked one skeptical tenant, who asked that his name not be used. "Sure he does, and he's gonna come flying over here any minute."

A Trip To England To Explore Filmmaking With The Stars

Posted: July 06, 1986

The ticket costs more than $6, but there will be a lot more to see than just a movie and lots more to eat than popcorn on the trip billed as "A Dream Journey into the World of Dreammakers."

Its a journey to England hosted by Richard Brown, professor of film at Vassar College, who has conducted a well-known film series for 15 years at New York's New School for Social Research. The trip includes a behind-the-sce nes tour of England's Pinewood Studio, a dinner tribute to the British film industry with Ben Kingsley as host and a luncheon with Christopher Reeve as its host.

But the best part is the voyage home, on the Queen Elizabeth 2, with these all-star seminars: "Funny on Film," taught by Robin Williams and Dudley Moore; "The 80s Actress," with Ellen Burstyn and Terri Garr; "The Artist as Producer," featuring Sydney Pollack and Michael Douglas as lecturers; ''Super Fame," discussed by the super-famous Richard Dreyfuss and Sally Field, and "Our Life Onstage," with Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson. That's a lot of stars, and if anybody can deliver them, it's Brown (although the brochure states clearly that the schedule is subject to change).

Prices for the Aug. 23-Sept. 1 film-fans extravaganza begin at $2,425. Information: Edith Schein, Personalized Travel, 666 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10103; 212-245-5175.


Boston's Faneuil Hall Marketplace, grandfather of such East Coast urban revitalization projects as Baltimore's Harborplace and New York's South Street Seaport, will celebrate its 10th anniversary in August with lots of special events.

Friday nights, there'll be dancing to free swing-band concerts; Aug. 23 and 25, the Boston Ballet will present a world premiere; artists will display works, and famous authors will sign books. The package is an enticement to visit Boston and the hall this summer.

Information: Allyson Reed, 617-523-1300.

Getting a quick $100 at 2 a.m. has become old hat with automatic teller bank cards. But did you know that your card might be able to get you money in Aiea, Hawaii, or Lufkin, Texas, or, where it might really come in handy, at Whiskey Pete's Casino in Jean, Nev.?

Those are the locations of a few of the 8,700 automatic teller machines in the United States and Canada that are hooked into the Plus System, and can provide cash from your bank account to your wallet, if your automatic teller has a Plus System logo on it.

You can get a directory of all the machines from your bank, or you can just dial 800-THE-PLUS and punch in the numbers of the phone you're using. The computer at the other end will tell you where the nearest machine is.

The Volvo Tennis Card can be a great racket for tennis players and fans, who should love the advantage of no-strings-attached discounts on merchandise and travel, for a $15 membership fee.

For instance, holders of the card can get four nights at New York's Halloran House Hotel and tickets to six sessions of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships at Forest Hills Aug. 26-Sept. 7 for as little as $265. Getting there can be cheap, too: Cardholders get 60 percent discounts on Eastern Airlines flights to New York during the Open.

Year-round, there are lots of travel bargains: discounts at Trump's Castle in Atlantic City, at the Registry Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., at Hilton Hotels and Club Meds all over the place and at lots of other tennis spots; lessons at Hilton Head Island, S.C.; discounts on car rentals, and free tickets to Volvo tennis events. And that's not to mention all the savings on tennis paraphernalia.

For information on obtaining the card, write Volvo Tennis Card, Box 938, Rockleigh, N. J. 07647, or telephone 800-372-7477, 201-767-4744 in New Jersey.

Advice you might never get if you didn't subscribe to Travel Smart (or read Travel Notes): Be careful when using the bathrooms in the new Delta 767s. The flushes are so powerful that they're "capable of removing hemorrhoids at a single woosh!"

Travel Smart provides lots of discounts and packages, and a good deal of advice. It's aimed at the middle market and costs $29 a year (12 issues). Sample copies (always a good idea) are $2 from Travel Smart, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. 10522.

The Canterbury Trust in America is sponsoring a trip this fall that combines historic buildings in England and France: an extensive tour of Canterbury, England, and its cathedral and Leeds Castle, then eight days in France visiting cathedrals, the great Benedictine monastaries and chateaux of the Loire. It's billed as a "travel-study" tour.

The price for the tour is $2,520, including just about everything (even drinks) but airfare to and from London. The tour runs Sept. 25 to Oct. 9. Information: Canterbury Cathedral Trust in America, 2300 Cathedral Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008; 202-328-8788.

It will be years before the trains will run to Atlantic City, but travelers can take Amtrak to Hershey Park and the Pennsylvania Dutch Country every other Saturday through Sept. 20 (the next trip is Saturday).

Prices for a day trip to Hershey Park are $54; for the tour of Pennsylvania Dutch country, $69. That includes lunch or dinner and all necessary entrance fees and entertainment. The train, which begins in New York and stops in Princeton Junction and Trenton, leaves Philadelphia's 30th Street Station at 9:25 a.m. and returns at 9:03 p.m.

Information: Railroad Passenger Services Corp., Box 652, Union, N.J. 07083; 201-687-2703.

Yo, mon, things should be cool running, as the Jamaicans say, when Black Uhuru, Yellowman, Burning Spear and Mutabaruka get together for Reggae Sunsplash '86 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, from Aug. 26 to 30.

They'll be joined by the Melody Makers, Big Youth, Beres Hammond, the Mighty Diamonds and lots of other reggae stars. It's all sponsored by the maker of Reggae rum and other distilled products.

There are packages including airfare, accommodations and admissions beginning at $499. Information: Sunburst Holidays, 800-223-1277.

Tv Tonight

Posted: September 12, 1986

Tonight's best bets are dated but excellent: the network premiere of Deathtrap and the zillionth repeat of Duel.


WINDS OF WAR (8 p.m., Ch. 6) - Part 4 of 6. "Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Pug / a dull Navy man ABC spent bucks to plug / and then this week when his story was brought back / the network saw the ratings and had a heart attack . . . Red ink / Misery." Robert Mitchum plays Pug. ABC repeat.

THE TWILIGHT ZONE (8 p.m., Ch. 10) - This is the last Twilight Zone to be shown on Friday nights. Later this month, the series moves to 10 p.m. Saturdays, which, with a more adult audience up for grabs, should make it a better show. Not that last season's Zone episodes were universally childish. Tonight's two stories - one about John F. Kennedy's assassination, the other about a poor couple with a tempting but terrible chance to strike it rich - would be perfectly suited to a later time slot. Lane Smith stars in the former, Mare Winningham and Brad Davis in the latter. CBS repeat.

DEATHTRAP (9 p.m., Ch. 10) - For the network premiere of this intelligent mystery movie, director Sidney Lumet added one four-minute scene cut from the 1982 original. The real mystery, though, is why it took four years for Deathtrap to make it to the small screen. Dyan Cannon doesn't add much, but Christopher Reeve and Michael Caine are wonderful as playwrights who have what can accurately be called a love-hate relationship. Like Sleuth, it's a successful adaptation of a small-scale Broadway play. CBS.


DUEL (8:05 p.m., TBS) - VCR alert: If you don't already have this on tape, you should. It's the low-budget 1971 telemovie that Steven Spielberg made before hitting it big with Jaws, and it has a lot in common with that mega- hit. Dennis Weaver stars as a motorist chased by, and ultimately locked in battle with, the unbalanced driver of a huge, ferocious-looking truck. It's like Jaws on land, with the truck as the killing machine and Weaver as the quarry. The editing and camera angles on Duel are among the finest in any telemovie, and the movie - much of it without dialogue - is delightfully tense and thrilling.

THE MAX HEADROOM SHOW (11:30 p.m., MAX) - For the first time in Max's checkered (and funny-lined and latex-headed) history, he goes head to head with a female guest. The interview subject is Tracy Ullmann, the Paul McCartney protege who is more popular in England than here, but who fares better than any of Max's other guests this season. The studio audience, thank goodness, is all but ignored, and this edition suggests that Max Headroom is back on the right track.

History And Hospitality In New England

Posted: November 16, 1986

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — "I'll check again; it can't be right," I said, getting up from the table to find the maitre d'. We had been supplied with a rather wonderful menu and told that, as part of our weekend package here at the Orchards Hotel, we could choose anything we'd like for dinner.

"Anything - and as much as you wish," I was told again, and so we gleefully set out to chart a gluttonous culinary course.

The feeling, all in all, about our stay at the Orchards was of a weekend spent in cheerful satisfaction. This new hotel, set along the town's main street, is, nonetheless, a little outside the center of things and admittedly not in the prettiest of spots. But it is a pleasantly quiet, civilized retreat.

The place feels more like a spacious inn than a full-fledged hotel. It offers the sort of amenities found in larger establishments, including a fine restaurant, large, gracefully appointed accommodations, cable TV, a sauna and a pool. But it's relatively small (49 rooms, some, though not ours, with working fireplaces), and it has adopted the air of a New England inn, offering afternoon tea, Sunday afternoon concerts in a pretty courtyard and generally discreet, friendly service.

We went there on a two-night-three-day excursion: For roughly $300, we were offered not only our elaborate dinner but also two breakfasts, which were no less impressive. It was costly but seemed worth the price.

We traveled there during August, having spent a few days at nearby Saratoga Springs, N.Y., roughly an hour and a half to the west. Williamstown is surrounded by interesting places, among them Bennington, Vt., to the north and Lenox, Mass., and environs to the south, home during the summer to the Tanglewood Music Festival, the Berkshire Playhouse and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.

Williamstown is one of those places that looks good year-round. While we were there, the winding, tree-lined streets and apple orchards were wonderful places to take walks and set up a picnic. During the fall, the town becomes packed with leaf-watchers and college football fans; during the winter, it's a cozy, snowy getaway from the city, not far from various ski slopes, and during the spring, it's full of flowers.

Williamstown's worth the trip, wherever one stays. Even getting to the small, quintessentially New England town, tucked in the northwest corner of Massachusetts, can be a pleasure. Surrounded by several mountains, it is filled with clapboard houses, elegant churches and grand old college buildings all resting gently in a sloping valley.

The town was settled in 1765 near a line of forts protecting the colonies from the French to the north. It took its name from Ephraim Williams Jr., a commander of the region who died in battle and in whose will money was left for the town to start a free school. That school, by 1793, became Williams College, and pretty quickly the farming community took on an increasingly academic tone. The population grew slowly, from 1,000 in 1800 to 5,000 a century later.

The town fell in population after a railroad line through the area ceased operations in 1950, but now it's home to 8,700 residents, some of them still farmers, many of them teaching or attending college or one of the nearby prep schools.

Aside from its college, the place is probably now known best for its art museum and its summer theater festival, each of which is worth a special trip. We spent a good part of one day wandering through the Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute, one of the country's best small museums, with a broad collection and fine group of French Beaux-Arts, impressionist and post- impressionist paintings. There are an extensive art library in the museum and changing special exhibitions; during our stay there was a show of Winslow Homer sketches.

The rest of our days were spent peacefully wandering through town, up Spring and Water Streets, through small shops and good bookstores and into a few coffee shops. There's still a '60s feel to the town, and a couple of the places to eat display works of local artists on their walls. A trip to a food store along Spring Street supplied us with cheese, fruit, meat and bread, and off we went to picnic on the Williams campus, where we found a small hill overlooking a large open field and a duck-filled pond. A short drive out of town took us through lovely farm country and to several picture-postcard views of Williamstown and the surrounding hills.

The town itself is also filled with historical spots to visit, such as the 1753 House along Hemlock Brook and the 1765 Red Saltbox House on Main Street. And Williams College, one of the nation's prettiest as well as most academically distinguished campuses, is well worth a look around.

After our elaborate meal during our first night at the Orchards, we were in no condition to venture out, but the next evening we got seats for a performance of Sheridan's The School for Scandal at the Williamstown Theater Festival, justifiably one of the pre-eminent summer playhouses. There are always a good number of big-name actors who take the stage there (during this past season, for example, Christopher Reeve, Mary Tyler Moore, Richard Thomas and Stephanie Zimbalist), and the productions, our evening's included, have always been of reliably high quality. Local theater groups play year-round, and the college offers regular performing-arts events and films.

After breakfast the final morning, we checked out of the Orchards and headed off toward Boston, along Route 2, the old Mohawk Trail. Even if you're not planning to go in that direction, the trip, through beautiful rocky terrain, up a mountain or two and along a winding river, is worth a drive anyway, as part of a day trip.

It, like Williamstown itself, is New England at its most graceful and ingratiating.

'Superman' Is No Hero . . . Until The Last Reel

Posted: March 30, 1987

LOS ANGELES — It's a different sort of role for Christopher Reeve. There's nothing super about the movies' Superman in "Street Smart."

As he put it, "I'm interested to see if the audience will accept me as a weasel in the film. I don't think I begin to redeem myself until the last 10 minutes of it."

It feels a little unreal talking to Christopher Reeve. He is so tall, so handsome and so perfectly articulate that you begin to wonder if what is before you in this West Hollywood hotel room might not be a lifelike hologram representation beamed in from the planet Krypton.

A perfect cinema icon as Superman, he has sought in movie after movie to prove he can do other things. In "Somewhere in Time," "Monsignor," ''Deathtrap," and "The Bostonians," he has tried with varying degrees of success to burst out of that red-caped, body-length blue straitjacket. Nevertheless, the public seems to prefer him as the Man of Steel.

"Street Smart" is the latest in the series of roles he has taken to prove his point. And it's certainly true that the young magazine-writer-on-the-make he plays is no Clark Kent.

Consider: as Jonathan Fisher, he fabricates an article about a Times Square pimp, begins palling around with a real pimp whom he meets as a result of the article and allows himself to be intimidated by the pimp into testifying in his behalf, getting him off the hook on a homicide charge. There isn't much to admire about the young journalist until at last he turns on his tormentor and takes his revenge.

"The central character is not likable and definitely not a hero," Reeve said. "But he's like many people in their mid-30s, facing a dilemma of personal ethics vs. ambition. He's sort of lost, just getting along, but he wants to be famous. When he gets his opportunity, he takes it.

"I think there's an interesting parallel between the yuppie reporter and the pimp. In a sense, they're both victims. The reporter is a victim of the magazine he works for and his own ambition. The pimp is a victim of the streets. The movie is almost saying that journalism is pimping. I think that's valid."

Next, Reeve will turn to directing. "I want to direct because I think I have good analytical skills, and I certainly think I have the ability to work with actors, Reeve said. "People who come up through the cutting room or writing are often afraid of them. I'm used to collaborating. I'm used to thinking of them as the key element."

Reeve also hopes to produce. It's a hefty goal but, as the 35-year-old actor explained, "I've now put nearly 20 years into the business. I got my Equity card when I was 17 and started acting when I was 15 at the McCarter Rep in Princeton, N.J."

That's where he grew up. The product of a broken marriage, he felt himself pulled between two homes. "The theater was a third one," he said. "It was stable and non-controversial. It felt like an extended family to me because I was sort of adopted by many of the actors in the company. I needed a secure place to grow up, and the theater provided it."

Although Reeve went through Cornell University to satisfy his parents as an English major and a Music Theory minor (he plays the piano), he still had his eye on acting. He went on to Juilliard - and that, he said, was "a wonderful experience. To be suddenly turned loose in New York and have a whole city to explore - well, I was in clover."

Once out of Juilliard, however, he was just another actor, kicking around New York and hustling for parts. After a couple of false starts he was summoned to London by Alexander and Ilya Salkind to audition for ''Superman."

When they offered him the role, he had some misgivings, but "the gambler in me needed to take the dare that 'Superman' would work as a film in its own right. Besides, that cast - Brando, Hackman, and all those great English actors. I certainly thought they could make a legitimate movie out of it."

There was another, more personal, challenge in playing the part, Reeve recalled. "The physical description was detailed - all those pictures in the comics - but who knows what goes on in the mind of Superman? Well, I worked out two characterizations. I decided Superman would represent the side of me that would be everything in life I'd like to be. And as Clark Kent I'd take all my insecurities and exaggerate them for comic effect.

"That's how I did it, and I changed my view of acting with that. I believe the character plays you, rather than the other way around. Through the reality of you, the character says what he wants to say. That's why the great performers seem to be the characters they play. You don't know where one ends and the other begins."

Superman said what he wanted to say, and audiences listened - and watched - enthralled as America's favorite comic-book hero came to life. They loved him in "Superman." They loved him again in "Superman II." And they liked him in "Superman III."

Puffing visibly with pride, he said, "I'm probably the first actor to play a comic-book character who's maintained a legitimate career."

But it hasn't been easy. None of his movies outside the Superman series has been a hit. In fact, after declaring he was done with it all, he entered into negotiation with Cannon Films and Warner Brothers on "Superman IV" and made part of his price the production of "Street Smart." He also got them to agree to let him write the story for "Superman IV."

"I think this film is more personal than the others," he said. "The focus shifts to the Man of Steel's point-of-view, and we learn how he makes decisions. I wanted to get the fun back into it, but in the right way. I'm used to playing Supie by now."

Besides Christopher Reeve, "Superman IV" features series veterans Gene Hackman as arch-villain Lex Luthor and Margot Kidder as Lois Lane. Among the newcomers are Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor's punk nephew and Mariel Hemingway as the daughter of the editor and competitor for Superman's affections.

Buckingham Palace Says Cavalry Man Is Di's 'Disco Superman'

Posted: June 23, 1987

The British press was abuzz yesterday with reports of Princess Diana's ''disco superman," so-called because the two have been spotted lately dancing a lot and because the man resembles actor Christopher Reeve. The princess was seen with him Saturday night at a David Bowie concert in London where she alternately clapped and sang with the songs, chatted intimately with the man and once rested her head on his shoulder. It's not clear who the bloke is. He was first identified as investment banker Philip Dunne. But yesterday Buckingham Palace said he's Capt. David Waterhouse, 30, of the royal household's cavalry and a close friend of the younger royals. Royal watcher Nigel Dempster reported that two weeks ago Prince Charles left a society do early "in a huff" while Diana danced the night away with her superman.


Lynn Armandt, the other woman sailing on the Monkey Business with Donna Rice and Gary Hart, yesterday denied she had anything to do with the National Enquirer's story and photographs about the boat trip to Bimini. Armandt added that although Rice told everybody Armandt was responsible for the story, the aspiring model had never confronted Armandt with her suspicions. Appearing on Howard Stern's WYSP-FM (94.1) radio show, Armandt also denied Rice's charge that there was only one set of photos from the trip. She said that there were several sets and that Rice had passed them around freely. Armandt told Stern she was weary of working in a Miami beachwear shop and had come to New York to look for a job. "Something that's fun," she said. Before she left, a New York Post photographer was allowed in the studio, and Armandt posed on Stern's lap a la Hart and Rice in the Enquirer's cover photo.


Frank Sinatra, who got soaked performing in the rain Saturday night in Verona, Italy, has paid the price - he lost his voice and was forced to call off a concert last night in Milan. He's expected to be all right for tomorrow's appearance in Genoa. Refunds for the $192-a-seat Milan date were expected, instead of a rescheduling during Sinatra's three-week tour, which began June 13.


German socialite Princess Ira von Furstenburg yesterday angrily denied a weekend report that she'll marry Monaco's Prince Rainier by year's end. The Mail, a British newspaper, on Sunday attributed its story to von Furstenburg's son, Christoff von Hohenlohe. "I reject the irresponsible declarations made by my son . . . with whom I have for several years been forced painfully to sever all links," Furstenburg, 47, said in Venice. "I find the spreading of information about a marriage between myself and his highness Prince Rainier both deplorable and arbitrary. Our relations remain those of family and of strict friendship." A Monaco palace spokeswoman said the marriage reports are "completely erroneous and lack any foundation."


The August issue of Ms. magazine has come forth with its list of the 15 Dumbest Men in American, and there are few surprises. Among the winners are Lyndon LaRouche ("He can't tell his left from his right"), Gary Hart ("He can't tell his back door from his front"), Donald Regan, President Reagan, Republican U.S. Sen. John Warner of Virginia ("He's looks good, but can he type?"), Jim Bakker ("Is this what 'Love thy neighbor' means?") and Oliver North ("Take me to your leader").


Marlon Brando made a rare public appearance during the weekend when he attended a solar exposition in Phoenix. The actor was lured from his island retreat in Tahiti by the exhibition featuring an experimental cooling tower developed by his friend Carl Hodges. Brando, 63, told reporters: "I'm just a tag-along at the moment, just rubbernecking like you are. . . . I feel Chernobyl and Three Mile Island have made us adequately aware that we face planetary problems, because radioactivity doesn't have any friends or enemies anyplace. It just goes where it wants to go."


Warren Burger was admitted to Arlington Hospital in a suburb of Washington Sunday night suffering from chronic back pain. A hospital spokeswoman said yesterday it was not known how long the former Supreme Court chief justice will be there. Burger, 79, has had spasmatic episodes ever since boyhood, when he had polio. His latest bout of pain began June 15 on a trip to Winnipeg, Canada.

Porno movie superstar John Holmes, 44, has made his last film, according to his manager, because of surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his colon last October. Bill Amerson, who lives with Holmes in suburban Los Angeles, said during the weekend that his client was still recovering from the operation and was expected to enter the distribution end of the film business next month. He said Holmes, who claims to have had sex with 14,000 women during his 18-year movie career, is "not bed-ridden or dying."


Madonna is very big in Japan ($45 tickets to her Sunday concert were scalped for $700 apiece), but she's not very happy - too much attention offstage. Madonna says she can't jog or take in the sights like a normal tourist. "They'd line up, and there's this little wall of Japanese men," the singer said. "But the difference between the paparazzi here and . . . in America is that after they take your picture here they say, 'Sorry.' "

Superman Is Still Flying High Reeve Deserves Credit For The Man Of Steel's Fourth Success

Posted: July 25, 1987

The world is teetering on the brink of nuclear war and only Superman can save it. But the big story is something even more unthinkable: The Daily Planet is going tabloid.

And so, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace offers an amusing exercise in double jeopardy. While the Man of Steel is taking on Lex Luthor, arms dealers and a formidable opponent called Nuclear Man, and guiding missiles into the safety of deep space, Clark Kent has a newsroom nightmare of his own. A new publisher who makes media baron Rupert Murdoch seem like H. L. Mencken is storming through the city room and ordering up headlines that scream. The result: "Superman to Kid: Drop Dead."

Although some sloppy editing has given the plot a wrench instead of a twist toward the end, Superman is very much alive. The hallmark of the Superman films, which were launched with much fanfare in 1978, has been an easygoing, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. The mainstay - and his contributions have been consistently underrated - has been Christopher Reeve.

With free-wheeling directors such as Richard Donner and Richard Lester, who made the first three films, there was an anything-goes mood on the set. One might encounter everything from the overpaid solemnity of Marlon Brando as Superman's father to the gleeful camp of Gene Hackman's Luthor. Throughout, the constant has been Reeve. His presence has been a balancing act worthy of a Wallenda.

After the third Superman movie, Reeve swore on everything but a stack of Bibles that he would not return. When Hackman escapes from a prison to mastermind his latest plot in Superman IV, he says, "I had one thing on my mind - the end of Superman." Reeve felt the same way.

But his career away from the series has not taken flight - remember the penance of 1982's Monsignor? - and the prospect of folding a peace message into a pop entertainment with global impact tempted Reeve back.

However, the opportunity to say something we can all agree with doesn't turn Superman IV into a soapbox. And Reeve is the main reason. His Clark Kent is now a genuinely refined statement of klutzy diffidence, and he wears Superman's cape with the grace of long practice.

The best sequence in the film is not a set piece of spectacular action, but a double date in a hotel suite where Superman and Kent romance Lois Lane and Lacy Warfield, daughter of the nefarious publisher.

Director Sidney J. Furie's Superman IV will not supplant the second Superman film, which Lester took over from Donner amid much acrimony and publicity, as the best in the series. But it's good fun and its heart is in the right place.

This time, Superman is everywhere as he elects to rid the world of nuclear arms. Everyone but Lex thinks that this is a capital idea, leaving Hackman to round up some designer genes culled from Superman's hair to create a superhuman rival.

While the supermen slug it out, the circulation wars continue on the streets of Metropolis and Jackie Cooper gets to play an over-my-dead-body editor fending off the excesses of the rampaging publisher. Of course, Superman saves the world, but the real news is that there's still some life in the series.


Produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, directed by Sidney J. Furie, written by Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal, photography by Ernest Day, music by John Williams, distributed by Warner Bros.

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Superman-Clark Kent - Christopher Reeve

Lois Lane - Margot Kidder

Lex Luthor - Gene Hackman

Lenny - Jon Cryer

Lacy Warfield - Mariel Hemingway

Parent's guide: PG.

Showing at: Area theaters.

Superman's Saga: Will It Go Iv Ever? Man Of Steel Continues His Never-ending Battle

Posted: July 27, 1987

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace," an action drama starring Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Jackie Cooper, Mariel Hemingway and Margot Kidder. Directed by Sidney J. Furie. Screenplay by Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal. Running time: 86 minutes. A Warner Brothers release. At area theaters.

A recurring feature on the old "Saturday Night Live" was a mock panel discussion show called "What If?", in which various experts would discuss such pressing hypothetical questions as "What if Eleanor Roosevelt could fly?" and "How would World War II have turned out if Superman was German?"

The makers of "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace" have gone that query one better. What if, they ask, Superman decided to eradicate all nuclear weapons from the world? The answer, as presented by the movie, turns out to be fairly predictable and a good deal less interesting, come to think of it, than seeing Eleanor Roosevelt defy gravity.

Until now, as fans of the saga will know, Superman had always avoided involving himself in the political matters of Earth - part of the legacy handed down to him by his Kryptonian forefathers. But, given the crisis that threatens global civilization as the film begins, there's no time for fine points. As the Daily Planet (recently bought and tabloidized by a Rupert Murdoch-type sleaze magnate played by Sam Wanamaker) puts it in a headline, ''Summit Kaput: World at Brink." Nuclear war is close at hand, and Superman (played as always by Christopher Reeve, who has by now perfected the white-bread winking sincerity) gathers up all the world's missiles and hurls it deep into the sun.

Into the breach steps arch-villain Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman), back in the series after missing out on "Superman III." He not only fills the arms vacuum by restocking the world's nuclear stockpile, but he also creates, through some fancy genetic engineering, a fellow dubbed "Nuclear Man" (Mark Pillow), a blond behemoth equipped with enough solar energy to melt the Man of Steel into ingots.

"Superman IV: The Quest for Peace" lasts less than 90 minutes, and it may strike some devotees of the series as a little sketchy. Yes, all the elements we've come to expect are there - lots of flying (none by any First Ladies, sad to say), a couple of knock-down-drag-outs in outer space, a message, and some light comedy with Clark Kent and Margot Kidder's Lois Lane (there's one clever sequence involving a quick-change double date among Lois, Clark, Superman and the publisher's daughter (Mariel Hemingway), who can't see Supe's appeal but has a crush on Clark).

But - and maybe it's precisely because we have seen it all before - it's hard to escape the conclusion that all the originality and excitement have been drained from the series. Which brings up the most terrifying "Whatif?" of all: What if the Superman series never ends?

Parental guide: Rated PG. Suitable for children.

'Gardens Of Stone,' And More Heroics Of The Man Of Steel

Posted: November 29, 1987

A drama about war and a film about an adventurous search for peace were among the new arrivals at video stores last week.

GARDENS OF STONE (1987) (CBS/Fox) $89.98. 112 minutes. * ** Not fertile soil for Francis Coppola, who directs a version of Nicholas Proffitt's excellent novel about life on a domestic Army post during the Vietnam War. Lacks the conviction one might expect.

SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE (1987) (Warner) $89.95. 90 minutes. * ** The world is teetering on the brink of nuclear war, but the big story is that the Daily Planet has gone tabloid with headlines like "Superman to Kid: Drop Dead." The plot has more wrenches than twists, but Gene Hackman and Christopher Reeve do keep some life in the series.


BEYOND THERAPY (1986) (New World) $79.95. 93 minutes. ** Ho-hum farce based on Christopher Durang's stage play. Comic neurotics Jeff Goldblum and Julie Hagerty play two therapy-dependent singles who meet each other through the personals and create a marriage of the maladjusted. Glenda Jackson co- stars as Goldblum's self-involved shrink. Tom Conti is Hagerty's obsexed analyst. Robert Altman directs.

BORN OF FIRE (1987) (Vidmark) $79.95. 84 minutes. Peter Firth and Suzan Crowley star in the tale of supernatural adventure. A young man, searching for the truth about his father's mysterious death, is drawn into battle with an evil being called the Master Musician.

THE COP AND THE GIRL (1987) (World) $79.95. 94 minutes. A Dirty Harry-style cop meets an 18-year-old girl who flees after stealing his gun and his car. His pursuit takes many twists and turns.

DEADLINE (1987) (Virgin Vision) $79.95. 100 minutes. Drama about a journalist covering a foreign war, this one in Lebanon. Offered an exclusive interview with an elusive PLO leader, the journalist later realizes he's been duped into talking with an impostor who spewed out a pack of lies. To save his reputation, he sets out to get to the truth. Christopher Walken, Hywel Bennett and Marita Marschall.

MAN FACING SOUTHEAST (1986) (New World) $79.95. 105 minutes. * ** In American movies, the arrival of an alien from another world rarely leads to an intelligent discussion of life on this one. Eliseo Subiela's powerful and disturbing film, however, recasts a shopworn theme in a Buenos Aires lunatic asylum where a brilliant patient claims to be from another planet and raises questions his burned-out doctor would rather not face.

NECROPOLIS (1987) (Lightning) $79.98. 76 minutes. A New York detective investigates a series of brutal attacks, unaware that the 300-year-old devil cult that has committed them is already on his trail.

SLAVEGIRLS FROM BEYOND INFINITY (1987) (Urban Classics) $79.95. 80 minutes. After escaping from their captors, a group of women crash-land on a strange planet, only to be pursued anew.


A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN (1945) (Playhouse) $59.98. 128 minutes. ** ** Dorothy McGuire, Joan Blondell. A young girl copes with an alcoholic father and imminent poverty in this adaptation of the Betty Smith best seller.

GORDON'S WAR (1973) (CBS/Fox) $79.98. 90 minutes. * ** Paul Winfield, Carl Lee, David Downing, Tony King. One of the best of the ghetto exploitation pictures; Winfield is a Vietnam vet who recruits an urban commando team to go after drug pushers.

LA RONDE (1950) (The International Collection) $29.95. 97 minutes. ** ** Anton Walbrook, Serge Reggiani, Simone Signoret, Danielle Darrieux and Odette Joyeux. A slick, witty film from director Max Ophuls about an adulterous chain of romantic liaisons.

SUMMER INTERLUDE (1950) (The International Collection) $29.95. A ballerina at the peak of her career discovers her dead lover's diary. In a series of flashback sequences, she painfully recalls their summer romance that ended in tragedy. Directed by Ingmar Bergman. With Maj-Britt Nilsson.

THE TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE (1933) (The International Collection) $29.95. 120 minutes. ** ** BW '33. German. Rudolph Klein-Rogge, Otto Wernicke. From his underground lair, a wily supercriminal plots revenge. Beautifully eerie, stylized images.

TORMENT (1944) (The International Collection) $29.95. 90 minutes. ** ** BW '44. Swedish. Mai Zetterling, Stig Jarrel. Boy and girl in love are persecuted by their schoolmaster. Early Ingmar Bergman script.

WESTFRONT 1918 (1930) (The International Collection). $29.95. German anti- war drama. German soldiers in the trenches try to hold their position against a tank attack of French soldiers. The confrontation leads to death on both sides.


THE CHRISTMAS COAL MINE MIRACLE (1977) (Playhouse) $59.98. 97 minutes. Kurt Russell, Melissa Gilbert and John Carradine star in this drama set in 1951. A rebellious miner leads his peers in protest against the dangerous working conditions to which they are regularly exposed.

FRIENDLY FIRE (1979) (CBS/Fox) $59.98. 147 minutes. Carol Burnett, Ned Beatty, Sam Waterston, Dennis Erdman, Timothy Hutton. Emmy-winning TV drama based on the true story of a rural couple's struggle to learn the truth about their son's death in Vietnam.

THE NATIVITY (1978) (Playhouse) $59.98. 100 minutes. Madeline Stowe stars as Mary, and John Shea portrays Joseph in this TV-movie version of the story of Christ's birth. Jane Wyatt co-stars.

A SMOKY MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS (1986) (Playhouse) $79.98. 94 minutes. Dolly Parton, Lee Majors, John Ritter, Bo Hopkins, Anita Morris. Depressed about the approaching holidays, a woman heads for a Tennessee mountain cabin, where she finds seven runaway orphans hiding out.

TV'S BEST ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN (1987) (Warner) $29.98 each. 60 minutes each. Two volumes, each containing two episodes from the 1950s TV series Adventures of Superman. The first includes "Superman on Earth" (1951), the pilot episode, which traces the Man of Steel's first exploits on Earth, and ''All That Glitters" (1958), the final installment of the series, in which Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen also take on super powers. The second includes ''Crime Wave" (1951), in which Superman wages war against organized crime in Metropolis; and "The Perils of Superman" (1958), a spoof on movie cliffhangers.


BARNES & BARNES: ZAGABEE (1987) (Rhino) $19.95. 60 minutes. Barnes & Barnes, the kooky novelty music duo popularized by syndicated radio's Dr. Demento and various "morning zookeepers" on radio stations around the country, are featured in a collection of conceptual clips based on their songs, including "Fish Heads," "Love Tap," and "Party in My Pants."

CELEBRATING BIRD: THE TRIUMPH OF CHARLIE PARKER (1987) (Sony) $29.95. 58 minutes. Documentary about one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time.

THE REAL BUDDY HOLLY STORY (1987) (Sony) $29.95. 90 minutes. Hosted by Paul McCartney. Documentary about the influential '50s rocker, singer of such hits as "That'll Be the Day," "Peggy Sue" and "Every Day." Traces Holly's career from the time he learned to play guitar to his death with Ritchie Valens in a 1959 plane crash.


PLANNING YOUR WEDDING: THE EXPERT'S GUIDE (1987) (Fox Hills) $29.95. Made- for-video instructional guide on the dos and don'ts of wedding planning, offered by a panel of experts. Topics include: gown and formal-wear selection, floral arrangements, catering, music, location, hair style and makeup.


THE PHILADELPHIA BIG 5: A HISTORY OF PALESTRA PANDEMONIUM (1987) (3M) $29.95. 60 minutes. Sportscaster Al Meltzer is the host of this look at the Big 5 from its formative years through its frenzied adolescence to the unique basketball institution it has become. It can be ordered by calling 1-800-328-5727.


** ** Excellent

* ** Good

** Fair

* Poor

(Videos with no stars were not reviewed by The Inquirer.)


Posted: December 10, 1987


Since that rich, egg-noggy Yuletide feeling is starting to steal over us, this seems like a good time to point out in all fairness and common humanity that celebrities, particularly actors, aren't always getting divorced or arrested. Here are a clutch who are into good works: Dennis "McCloud" Weaver runs a California charity called Love Is Feeding Everyone; Christopher "Superman" Reeve just went to Chile in support of 78 actors and directors who've been threatened with death by right-wingers there; Peter Jennings helps out in a New York men's shelter; Madonna entertains children at a New York cancer hospital; Diane Keaton fox-trots with the old guys at a home for the aged; Garry Trudeau volunteers for a soup kitchen; and Loretta Young does what she can for a women's center on L.A.'s skid row.


Multinational good guy/rocker Bob Geldof of Band-Aid and Live-Aid, meanwhile, has told the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa he'll pay $3 million worth of Ethiopia's debts to the United States if the Reagan people will stop withholding aid to the country's starving because they're governed by Marxists.

'The Front Page,' Wired For Cable

Posted: March 04, 1988

There are movie remakes - such as The Untouchables - that are total rethinkings of the source material, inspired and fresh.

Then there are movie retreads - such as Unfaithfully Yours. Think of them as old tires customized for use in "new, improved" star vehicles.

And then there are movie blowouts, such as Switching Channels. Quick, call the automobile club! Better yet, an ambulance!

This shrill, garish and moronic denigration of the theme of His Girl Friday (itself an irreverent remake of everyone's favorite newspaper saga, The Front Page) is as much fun as a highway accident. One who enjoys Switching Channels' overlit, underdirected overacting must have the soul of a rubbernecker.

Switching Channels sloppily updates Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's city- room comedy by situating it in the newsroom of a Chicago cable-network station.

You know it's cable because the station is surrounded by a 72-person-place setting of satellite dishes, but then you're confused because all the dialogue is about newspapermen. And because slinky anchorwoman Christy Colleran (Kathleen Turner) is the station's only reporter.

Her news director and ex-husband is "Sully" Sullivan (Burt Reynolds), who sends her on vacation, where she meets billionaire Blaine Bingham (Christopher Reeve) and becomes engaged. When she returns to Chicago, Sully manipulates it so that Christy realizes she is married to her job and that to wed anyone else would be bigamy.

In the maladroit hands of director Ted Kotcheff, the tone is forced rather than farce, the pacing furious rather than fast. Not even the three fine actors - who are distinguishable only by the ugliness of their hairpieces - can make this creaky vehicle hum.

For those who care about provenance, Switching Channels is the fourth film incarnation of The Front Page. The excellent original (1931) starred Adolphe Menjou as the snaky editor Walter Burns, and Pat O'Brien as star reporter Hildy Johnson. The remake His Girl Friday (1940), possibly the funniest and inarguably the fastest comedy ever made, had Cary Grant as Burns, Roz Russell as Hildy and Ralph Bellamy as Hildy's spurned fiance.

Billy Wilder remade a so-so Front Page in 1974, casting Walter Matthau as Burns, Jack Lemmon as Hildy and Susan Sarandon as his luckless fiancee. What's next? an all-teen version starring Ricky Schroeder, Drew Barrymore and Emmanuel Lewis?


Produced by Martin Ransohoff, directed by Ted Kotcheff, written by Jonathan Reynolds, based on The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, photography by Francois Protat, music by Michel Legrand, distributed by Tri- Star Pictures.

Running time: 1 hour, 45 mins.

Christy Colleran - Kathleen Turner

John L. Sullivan 4th - Burt Reynolds

Blaine Bingham - Christopher Reeve

Roy Ridnitz - Ned Beatty

Ike Roscoe - Henry Gibson

Parent's guide: PG (obscene hand gestures).

Showing at: area theaters.

The Front Page Bounces Back Via Satellite 4

Posted: March 04, 1988

The old Hollywood axiom, "If it works, beat it to death," is the stake to the heart of "Switching Channels."

In what must be a big-budget Hollywood record, "Switching Channels" gives us the fourth film version (not to mention several stage remakes) of the Ben Hecht-Charles MacArthur classic, "The Front Page" (the second of which was the 1939 hit, "His Girl Friday"). This one smacks of the all-new-and- improvedness generally associated with laundry detergents that have changed their green crystals to blue.

Burt Reynolds - looking as honey-charming as ever at age 52 - plays John L. Sullivan IV, the Adolphe Menjou-Cary Grant-Walter Matthau part, here revamped as the news director of a satellite TV operation based in Chicago. Kathleen Turner (seen here for the first time this year with all her clothes on all the time) is Christy Colleran, the Pat O'Brien-Rosalind Russell-Jack Lemmon tougher-than-Tide reporter. Christopher Reeve, as Blaine Bingham, is the rich and beautiful sex object who wants to take Christy away from her beloved guts and gore.

If you've ever seen any of the previous incarnations of the plot, you'll find that "Channels" director Ted Kotcheff and writer Jonothan Reynolds go to great lengths to be true to the earlier movies. It makes you wonder: if these guys are so good and creative at updating a 1920s newspaper comedy to a satellite TV format, how come they couldn't make their own original flick?

The answer may lie in a young newsie's response to Reynolds' line to Turner that they are "like Huntley and Brinkley." The kid screws up his face and asks, "Who are they?" If you can't remember Huntley and Brinkley, chances are you've never seen any of the earlier "Pages," so maybe "Channels" will look original to you.

Reynolds is properly dastardly-dashing as Turner's ex-husband-now-just-boss who entreats her to take on just one more story before she marries Reeve, the sporting-goods entrepeneur hunk she met on vacation.

The just-one-more-story is the execution of meek Ike Roscoe (played by the king of meeks, Henry Gibson), who murdered a drug dealer who had killed Roscoe's son. That dealer was actually a cop, so Roscoe was railroaded to the chair by unscrupulous DA Roy Ridnitz (played by the prince of unscruples, Ned Beatty), who's trying to unseat the most oblivious of governors (Charles Kimbrough) in the worst way possible.

There is as much slapstick and pleasantly idiotic one-linery as a Saturday night audience can stand. Reeve's dotty-but-yuppie Bingham is much like his ''Superman." "God, your hair looks amazing in the moonlight," he tells Turner. "So does yours," she answers, much to his (and our) agreement. Reynolds has a flunkie go out and kick a 25-foot satellite dish to get better reception. TV reporters put on makeup constantly while fat, old and ugly newspaper reporters spit and pick their noses.

"Channels" isn't a bad movie, but still, if you're thinking of going to see it, why not just rent either version of "The Front Page" or "His Girl Friday" and give some classics an even break.


SWITCHING CHANNELS: A comedy starring Burt Reynolds, Kathleen Turner and Christopher Reeve. Directed by Ted Kotcheff. Screenplay by Jonothan Reynolds. Running time: 105 minutes. A Tri-Star Release. At area theaters. Parental guide: Rated PG. Less gutter language than most flower shops, let alone newsrooms.

Superman's Greatest Hits Look, Up In The Sky . . . It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's . . .

Posted: March 24, 1988

Years before Christopher Reeve donned cape, trunks and curl - before he was even born - Superman was alive and well and stopping crime in Metropolis and around the galaxy.

Any Baby Boomer worth his or her weight in Hula-Hoops can recall George Reeves, who played the Man of Steel in The Adventures of Superman, which ran on television from 1953 to 1957 and which caught on with yet another generation when it was syndicated in the '60s. Reeves still can be seen confounding evildoers on cable and smaller stations, making it easy to assume that he was the first celluloid version of the superhero.

In fact, Superman's screen origins predate Reeve and Reeves. But until recently, samplings of Superman's early days were difficult to find. Now, as part of Superman's 50th-birthday celebration, Warner Home Video has released a number of rarities on videocassette.

Superman, the creation of Cleveland natives Jerry Siegel and Joel Shuster, debuted in Action Comics No. 1 in June 1938. (His actual birthday is given as Feb. 29, 1938 - of course, there was no such date on Earth, but maybe on Krypton?) Ten years later, he made his live-action debut in a 15-chapter theatrical serial simply called Superman.

To say that this serial was light years away from Star Wars would be an understatement. A project of noted schlockmeister Sam Katzman (Rock Around the Clock), it was shot on a microscopic budget. Nevertheless, it proved so popular that two years later, Katzman filmed a sequel, Atom Man vs. Superman. Both have recently been released on video and, if only for their historic and camp value, are worth a look.

A former dancer named Kirk Alyn played the Man of Steel in both serials, taking a straightforward, no-nonsense approach. When Alyn frantically changes from his natty three-piece suit to S-emblazoned costume, his voice seems to drop at least an octave to a heroic baritone. You expect to hear him intone, ''Here I come to save the day!" like Mighty Mouse.

The first chapter of Superman begins with the now familiar account of the hero's origins - how he was sent into space by his parents from the dying planet Krypton, how he was reared on Earth by benevolent Ma and Pa Kent and how he journeyed to the big city to assume the identity of Clark Kent, a reporter for the Daily Planet. The next 14 chapters are devoted to Supe's battle with the evil Spider Woman, who has spun a web of crime around Metropolis with a deadly reducer ray.

Spider Woman is essentially a one-evil-trick villain, a shortcoming that Katzman remedies in Atom Man vs. Superman. Atom Man actually is Superman's arch nemesis Lex Luthor wearing an oversize helmet with sparkles. Luthor throws all sorts of diabolical curves at the hero. Superman is turned invisible and has to fight one of Luthor's cronies in outer space! Luthor controls a robbery ring across Metropolis! And - Great Caesar's ghost! - Luthor persuades Lois Lane to quit the Daily Planet for a job at a TV station!


But although the action is worth exclaiming, the filmcraft leaves much to be desired. Superman deflecting rapidly fired bullets off his chest is the most elaborate special effect used here. Otherwise, there's a lot of stock footage of floods, tornados and other natural disasters. And when the celebrated strong man flies up, up and away, he turns into a jerky animated figure.

Yet Siegel and Shuster's original theme remains intact in these serials - Superman is seen fighting for Truth, Justice and the American Way. And, though budget restrictions make for the chintziest Man of Steel excursions ever produced, they are, surprisingly, often the most fun.

In 1951, George Reeves zoomed onto theater screens in Superman and the Mole Men, which also was filmed for pennies and was used as a pilot for the TV series.

The Mole Men are midgets with fake, fuzzy eyebrows and rubbery bald-head pieces. When they pop out of a freshly tapped oil well to infest a small Western town, the frightened locals want the little creatures strung up, but Superman and Kent, pleading equal rights for Mole Men, want to protect the furry fellows. Amazingly, the film is consistently engaging, and, at only 67 minutes long, it's ideal for kids 10 and under.

Throughout his run as Superman, Reeves, a former boxer and journeyman actor who appeared in Gone With the Wind and From Here to Eternity, interpreted the hero with a punchier style than his predecessor. Rugged, affable and a tad overweight, he was looser and more likable than the arch Alyn. Saying that he modeled his Clark Kent after the newshounds of The Front Page, Reeves once said that he "wished to make Superman a natural extension of Clark's courage, not a Walter Mitty-type fantasy projection."


After Mole Men, Reeves took his Superman from the large to the small screen, and Warner Home Video has released four hour-long volumes of TV's Best Adventures of Superman. Watching these today, one notices a greater emphasis on Kent and his relationship to his alter ego than on the Man of Steel himself. A great deal of time also is spent on the newspaper angle and the adventures of Lois Lane, photographer Jimmy Olsen and editor Perry White.

Plots concerning absent-minded scientists, Midas-minded thugs and crippling Kryptonite formulas were commonplace, and, because of tight budgets, stock footage is used ad infinitum, but exceptions can be found in the episodes entitled "Crime Wave" and "All That Glitters."

"Crime Wave," which appears on Volume 2 of TV's Best Adventures, takes an unusually hard-hitting crime-drama approach, as Superman tracks down the mysterious criminal who is No. 1 on the most-wanted list. The show features a whirlwind montage of screeching police cars, tabloid headlines and Superman bashing a crook with his steel knuckles.

"All That Glitters," showcased on Volume 1, actually was the series finale. It's presented on the tape as it was filmed - in color - which makes for a jarring contrast to the shadowy film noir look of earlier episodes.

Reeves directed this lighthearted episode, in which Jimmy Olsen gets sandbagged (literally) and envisions he has superpowers like his idol. The episode - and, appropriately, the series - ends with this bit of dialogue between Jimmy and Clark:

Jimmy: "Golly, Mr. Kent, you'll never know how wonderful it is to be like Superman."

Clark: "No, Jimmy, I guess I never will."

Each volume of TV's Best Adventures includes a theatrical Superman cartoon from the early 1940s. These 10-minute marvels are the work of Max and Dave Fleischer, the animation geniuses who created the classic Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons of the 1930s. Their Superman adventures are mini-masterpieces, gorgeously colored and meticulously drawn. Although they've been available on video previously in various collections, it's unlikely they've ever been presented in such glorious, pristine quality.

But these are the Supermen of yesterday - for today's generation of superfanatics, the Man of Steel is personified by Christopher Reeve.

Producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind originally considered the likes of Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and Robert Redford for the lead in their 1978 epic Superman - The Movie. Instead, they settled on the relatively unknown Reeve, whose handsome, chiseled features, strapping physique and good-natured, self-effacing air would become the complete Superman.

Of course, this Superman had luxuries not afforded the others. There was the budget - in excess of $30 million. Top writers, such as Mario Puzo, Robert Benton and David Newman, were recruited to work on the script. The able Richard Donner directed the expensive, eclectic cast, which included Marlon Brando and Margot Kidder, with Gene Hackman as the hammy Lex Luthor. And there were a multitude of elaborate special effects, an eerie, stylized production design and a stirring score by John Williams. It was the first time the superhero got first-class treatment in Hollywood.

Superman - The Movie is a triumphant, witty fantasy true to both its comic book origins and the time in which it was made. It opens with a recap of Superman's otherworldly beginnings on Krypton and then whisks viewers to Middle America for Clark's youth with Ma and Pa Kent. When the film hits Metropolis, contemporary twists are introduced - Lois Lane is a spunky, liberated woman, and Lex Luthor is involved in dastardly real-estate deals.

Superman II, released in 1980, takes a pulpier approach. In this action- packed adventure, Supe wrestles with three superbullies, led by the outrageous General Zod, who destroy midtown Metropolis. Credit must be given to director Richard Lester and his distinctive, satiric style; although many purists detest this entry, others consider it the greatest Superman story ever told.

Superman III (1983) is the most interesting and most disappointing of the modern series. Admirably, Kent develops a personality conflict with his true identity, which leads to an incredible tug of war between Superman's brawn and the reporter's brain. Unfortunately, Richard Pryor's role as a corrupted computer whiz was conceived for one of his lesser comedies.

Last year's Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is the latest of the big- screen Supermen, and if its critical reception and box-office returns are any indication, it may do more harm to the series than a case of Kryptonite.

Promising story possibilities abound: A media mogul has transformed the Daily Planet into a gossipy tabloid. Nuclear weapons threaten the world. Lex Luthor has called on a glow-in-the-dark gladiator to corral the Man of Steel. Then there are the girl problems.

Yet even with Margot Kidder and Gene Hackman back after sitting out Superman III, most of the prime opportunities are sadly botched. Cannon Films' use of dull, shadowy cinematography and junky special effects has sapped the Man of Steel movies of much of their earlier strength - in some flying sequences, you can see the strings that suspend Superman.

It makes one long for the days of Kirk Alyn.

Two Comedies With Star Power - As In Three-star Power

Posted: September 29, 1988

A likable comedy and a satirical comedy with serious overtones are the best bets among the many new videos this week.

HIGH SEASON (1988) (Nelson) $79.98. 95 minutes. * * * Jacqueline Bisset, James Fox, Irene Papas, Kenneth Branagh. An amiable lark of a movie starring that amiable lark of an actress, Jacqueline Bisset, set on the Greek isle of Rhodes (vividly shot by Oscar winner Chris Menges). Writer-director Clare Peploe offers an arch, breezy comedy about rampant tourism and true love, punctuated with moonlight swims and balalaika rave-ups and populated by a fine group of actors.

SCHOOL DAZE (1988) (RCA/Columbia) $89.95. 114 minutes. * * * Spike Lee, Larry Fishburne, Giancarlo Esposito, Jane Toussaint. From Lee, maker of She's Gotta Have It, a fresh and sassy interpolation on the theme of Revenge of the Nerds. At a mythical black campus called Mission, there are the jocks, light- skinned dudes worried about the right fraternity. Then there are the politicos, dark-skinned fellas worried about human rights in South Africa. The factions confront each other in this serious comedy about black racism, a film that makes up for in content what it lacks in continuity.


THE ADVENTURES OF PICASSO (1978) (New Star) $59.98. 88 minutes. Gosta Ekman, Bernard Cribbins, Wilfred Bramble. Slapstick silliness, made in Sweden, that purports to be a biography of Picasso but is more of an excuse for weird impersonations of people, such as Ernest Hemingway and Alice B. Toklas.

BLADESTORM (1988) (Mogul) $59.95. 90 minutes. Cameron Mitchell. Sword-and- sorcery action as a fierce warrior sets out to avenge the death of his family.

BODY SLAM (1987) (Nelson) $79.98. 90 minutes. Dirk Benedict, Tanya Roberts, Captain Lou Albano. An unsuccessful manager of rock-music acts hits on an idea for new success: a traveling rock-wrestling show. Co-stars some of pro wrestling's most popular personalities, including Rowdy Roddy Piper, the Wild Samoan, the Sheik and "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.

THE HEREAFTER (1988) (Mogul) $59.95. 90 minutes. Low-budget chiller about the dead returning as zombies to terrorize the living.

THE HOUSE ON CARROLL STREET (1988) (HBO) $89.99. 111 minutes. Kelly McGillis, Jessica Tandy, Jeff Daniels, Mandy Patinkin. McGillis stars as a photography editor who has just been fired in 1951 because of allegations linking her to Communism. Trying to learn who was behind her firing, she stumbles into a political conspiracy involving Nazi war criminals and sets out to expose it with the help of an FBI agent (Daniels) who has been assigned to follow her.

ILLEGALLY YOURS (1988) (CBS/Fox) $79.98. 94 minutes. Rob Lowe, Colleen Camp. Romantic comedy about a young man who, called for jury duty, discovers that the woman on trial for murder is a girl he has secretly loved since grade school.

KATIE'S PASSION (1988) (WesternWorld) $79.95. 90 minutes. Rutger Hauer, Monique van de Ven. Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop) directed this story of a young girl, who, born in poverty in 19th-century Holland, climbs the social ladder by becoming a wealthy man's mistress.

MASQUERADE (1988) (CBS/Fox) $89.98. 91 minutes. * * Rob Lowe, Meg Tilly, Kim Cattrall. Irresistible trash. How can you dismiss a film in which Lowe, that prime hunk of veal, is served up raw, his skin the airbrushed orange tone of a centerfold? Here, he's a slippery gigolo who seduces repressed heiress Tilly in this Hitchcockian romantic thriller. As directed by Bob Swaim, the film looks like Playgirl meets House and Garden.

NIGHTMARE AT NOON (1988) (Republic) $79.95. 96 minutes. George Kennedy, Wings Hauser, Bo Hopkins. A small desert town becomes the site of a bizarre experiment when a substance placed in the water supply turns the inhabitants into raving murderers. Kennedy stars as the sheriff trying to control the impossible situation.

NIGHT SLASHER (1980) (Unicorn) $59.95. 87 minutes. Jack May, Linda Marlowe. Lurid horror fare about a serial killer stalking prostitutes in London.

SCARECROWS (1988) (Forum) $79.98. 80 minutes (R-rated version); 88 minutes (unrated version). Ted Vernon, Michael Simms, Richard Vidan. A gang of bank robbers, chasing a renegade member who has fled with its loot, lands its stolen plane in a barren cornfield inhabited by bizarre supernatural creatures.

SHE'S HAVING A BABY (1988) (Paramount) $89.95. 106 minutes. * * Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth McGovern. John Hughes' glib but diverting burlesque about young marrieds takes it as a given that boys will be boys but fatherhood will make a man of you, an assumption no one beyond 14 believes. Bacon is engaging as the Jack Lemmonish Everyboy; McGovern is wasted as the world's youngest matron. Manipulative, melodramatic conclusion destroys any good faith the film has established.

SHOOT TO KILL (1988) (Touchstone) $89.95. 109 minutes. * * Sidney Poitier, Tom Berenger, Kirstie Alley. Thirty years ago, Poitier was shackled to Tony Curtis in The Defiant Ones. He is not chained to Tom Berenger in Shoot to Kill, but links to the past are there. And so are signs of progress. Here, yet again, are two men of vastly different backgrounds and skills who are thrown together in perilous circumstances, and their shared adversity transforms mutual dislike into grudging respect and eventually friendship. Poitier is an urbane FBI man and Berenger his reluctant guide in survivalism as they search the Canadian Rockies for a psychopath who has joined a fishing party guided into the wilderness by Berenger's girlfriend (Alley).

SWITCHING CHANNELS (1988) (RCA/Columbia) $89.95. 108 minutes. * Kathleen Turner, Burt Reynolds, Christopher Reeve. You've seen movie remakes - such as The Untouchables - that are total rethinkings of the source material, inspired and fresh. And you've seen retreads - such as Unfaithfully Yours - that are like old tires customized for use in "new, improved" star vehicles. Switching Channels, a so-called remake of The Front Page, is a movie blowout. Call the automobile club and an ambulance!

VICE VERSA (1988) (RCA/Columbia) $89.95. 97 minutes. * * Judge Reinhold, Fred Savage. How often have you come out of a movie muttering, "The guy who dreamed that up must have the brain of a 10-year-old?" Maybe supernatural forces made the Hollywood executive switch bodies with his prepubescent son. There can be no other explanation for the current fashion for invasion of the body-switchers. The redeeming element here is Judge Reinhold, who is far better than this silly film deserves.

ZELLY AND ME (1988) (RCA/Columbia) $79.95. 87 minutes. * * Alexandra Johnes, Isabella Rossellini, Glynis Johns. Director Tina Rathborne's feature debut, set in 1958 Virginia, is as fragile and tragic as its heroine, Phoebe, an 8-year-old orphan stunted by an oppressive grandmother (Johns) and nurtured by her beloved nanny (Rossellini). In order not to be punished, the child must learn how to dissemble her feelings and behave as Grandmama wants. To grow, she must express her rage and accept punishment. It's a compelling dilemma, but as Phoebe, young Johnes is too honest an actress - and child - to be a convincing dissembler.


CITY IN FEAR (1972) (Unicorn) $59.95. 105 minutes. Lana Wood, Cheri Caffaro, J. Herbert Kerr Jr. Dated indictment of "the establishment" as whites and blacks battle in a politically corrupt city. Originally titled A Place Called Today.

A DAY IN THE DEATH OF JOE EGG (1972) (RCA/Columbia) $69.95. 106 minutes. * * * * Alan Bates, Janet Suzman, Elizabeth Robillard. This story about the parents of a spastic child was more effective on the stage, but it retains much of its power on film. Some of the brave and buoyant humor seems cruel.

THE DETECTIVE (1954) (RCA/Columbia) $69.95. 91 minutes. Alec Guinness, Peter Finch, Joan Greenwood. Guinness stars as Father Brown, G.K. Chesterton's clerical sleuth, on the trail of an international art thief.

THE GREAT LOVER (1949) (RCA/Columbia) $69.95. 80 minutes. Bob Hope, Rhonda Fleming, Roland Young. Hope is in typical form as the leader of a Boy Scout troop that is taking a trip on an ocean liner. Along the way, he meets the lovely Fleming and is implicated in a murder committed by Young.

MANBEAST (1955) (Rhino) $59.95. 72 minutes. Jerry Warren, Rock Madison, Virginia Maynor. Grade-Z horror flick about a debutante who, climbing the Himalayas in search of her missing brother, is led by her evil guide into the clutches of a gang of abominable snowmen.

STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET (1960) (RCA/Columbia) $69.95. 117 minutes. Kirk Douglas, Kim Novak, Ernie Kovacs, Barbara Rush, Walter Matthau. Douglas stars as an architect who falls for Novak, although he's married to somebody else.


TOUGH STUFF (1988) (J2) $19.95. 45 minutes. "Plyometrics" workout to develop power and speed. Among those demonstrating the technique: actress Tracy Scoggins, the Los Angeles Raiders' Marcus Allen, boxer Carlos Palomino and volleyball ace Randy Stoklus.

TEEN STEAM (1988) (J2) $19.95. 45 minutes. Alyssa Milano leads teen viewers through entertainment, fitness and comedy segments in this made-for-video magazine.


SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: GET THE FEELING - WINNING (1988) (HBO) $14.99. 60 minutes. The third in a projected four-part series produced by Sports Illustrated. The title is a little misleading, because it covers not only great winning traditions, such as four-time Olympic gold medalist Al Oerter, but long losing streaks, such as the Columbia football team, which has lost 43 straight games.


BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1987) (Republic) $19.95. 100 minutes. Two episodes - the pilot and the season finale - from last season's surpise hit starring Ron Perlman as the elusive, mysterious Vincent, who lives in a strange underground world beneath New York City, and Linda Hamilton as crusading lawyer Catherine Chandler. Included with the video is an autographed photograph of Perlman as Vincent.

CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT, VOLS. 1-2 (1988) (Rhino) $19.95 each. 60 minutes each. The all-American freedom fighter from 1950s TV returns in these compilations from the old show, which include the original commercials. Volume 1 features two adventures: "Deadly Diamonds" and "The Frozen Man." Volume 2 contains ''Mission to Mexico" and "Million Dollar Diamond."

LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS (1988) (GoodTimes) $9.95 each. 45 minutes each. Four collections of wealth and luxury, compiled from the annals of the TV show. Individual titles are The Money Makers, The World's Most Exotic Vacation Resorts, Celebrity Homes and Playthings of the Rich and Famous.


JOHN F. KENNEDY: THE COMMEMORATIVE VIDEO ALBUM (1988) (CBS/Fox). $19.98. 110 minutes. Walter Cronkite, Harry Reasoner and Dan Rather are the hosts for this documentary chronicling the life and death of JFK. Included: an overview of his days in the White House and his childhood.


YOUR ALCOHOL IQ (1988) (J2) 45 minutes. As a public service, Anheuser-Busch and J2 Communications are offering this cassette to video stores as a free rental (the tapes are not for sale). Part of a drive by Anheuser-Busch to promote responsible drinking, it features TV personalities and experts discussing ways to drink without getting drunk. Among them: Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker of L.A. Law, Patrick Duffy of Dallas, Allyce Beasley of Moonlighting, Marla Gibbs of 227 and Lisa Hartman of Knots Landing.


MPI HOME VIDEO has released an unusual group of marked-down horror films, packaged in an unusual way. Called "The Karloff Collections," it consists of two sets of Karloff's spooky films, each packaged and sold for one price. The four-film set - Alien Terror, Corridors of Blood, Cult of the Dead and Dance of Death - is $79.95. There's also a set of two films - The Haunted Strangler and The Torture Zone - for $39.95.

NELSON ENTERTAINMENT has announced an enormous price reduction on films from every era and genre. Included: Amityville II: The Possession (* '82), The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (* * * '83), The Best of Times (* * * '86), Blade Runner (* * '82), The Brood (* '79), Burke & Wills (* * * '87), Came a Hot Friday (* * * '85), Carnal Knowledge (* * * '71), Children of the Corn (* '84), A Chorus Line (* * '85), The Cotton Club (* * * '84), The Day of the Dolphin (* * '73), Defense of the Realm (* * * '87), The Dirt Bike Kid (* * '86), The Dunwich Horror (* * '70), Eddie and the Cruisers (* * '83), The Emerald Forest (* * * '85), Escape From New York (* * * '81), The Evil (* * '78), Final Exam (* '81), Fire and Ice (* * '83), The Graduate (* * * * '67), Half Moon Street (* * * '86), The Highest Honor (* * '84), The Hit (* * * '84), The Howling (* * * '81), Kiss of the Spider Woman (* * * '85), Labyrinth (* * * '86), The Lion in Winter (* * * * '68), The Manitou (* '78), Mausoleum (* '83), Murder by Decree (* * * '79), The Name of the Rose (* * '86), Never Too Young to Die (* '86), The Night Porter (* '74), The Onion Field (* * * '79), The Producers (* * * * '68), The Quest (* * '86), River's Edge (* * * * '87), The Ruling Class (* * * * '71), Scanners (* * '81), Sid and Nancy (* * * * '87), Silkwood (* * * * '83), Slumber Party Massacre (* '82), The Sure Thing (* * * * '85), This Is Spinal Tap (* * * * '84), The Trip to Bountiful (* * * '85), Trouble in Mind (* * * '85), The Whistleblower (* * '87), Working Girls (* * * '87) and Zulu (* * * '64). All these titles are now available for $19.98.

The same company is offering a second group of films at an even lower price -$14.98: Attica (* * * '80), Avalanche (* '78), The Baltimore Bullet (* * '80), Bikini Beach (* * '64), The Black Marble (* * '80), Carbon Copy (* * '81), City on Fire (* '79), The Comeback Kid (* * '80), Don't Drink the Water (* * '69), Eat My Dust! (* * '76), Galaxy of Terror (* '82), High Risk (* * '81), Hopscotch (* * * '80), Horror Planet (* '82), The Jericho Mile (* * * '79), Lady Frankenstein (* '72), A Little Night Music (* '77), Losin' It (* * '82), Marciano (* * '79), Old Boyfriends (* '79), Pray TV (* * '82), Rabbit Test (* * '78), She's in the Army Now (* * '81) and The Vampire Lovers (* * '70).

REPUBLIC HOME VIDEO has reduced six well-known films to $19.95: The Bells of St. Mary's (* * * '45), Champion (* * * '49), The Grass Is Greener (* * * '61), It's a Wonderful Life (* * * * '46), Marjorie Morningstar (* * '58) and Miracle of the Bells (* * '48).

WESTERNWORLD VIDEO has announced price reductions to $19.95 on six less- than-savory titles in the horror genre: Attack of the Beast Creatures, Blood Orgy of the She-Devils, The Body Beneath, The Corpse Grinders, She- Devils on Wheels and The Worm Eaters.


Supernatural thrills in THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, tough-guy action in Afghanistan in RAMBO III and marvelous Disney animation in CINDERELLA.


* * * * Excellent

* * * Good

* * Fair

* Poor

(Videos with no stars were not reviewed by The Inquirer.)

In N.y., 2 More Shakespearean Star Vehicles

Posted: March 22, 1989

NEW YORK — A bracingly disorienting production of The Winter's Tale and a flat-footed account of Measure for Measure are the newest essays in the Shakespeare-with- stars phenomenon that has diverted New York theatergoers this season.

Mandy Patinkin and Christopher Reeve play the childhood buddies in The Winter's Tale at the New York Shakespeare Festival's Public Theater. Len Cariou is the dropout Duke of Vienna in Measure for Measure at the Mitzi Newhouse Theater, downstairs at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater.

The tonic effect of The Winter's Tale is due to a refusal to take the play entirely seriously. This latest in Joseph Papp's "Shakespeare Marathon" presentations makes one of Shakespeare's stranger dark comedies into a vehicle of addled mirth.

Nothing in the production seems quite right. The costumes (late 18th century, big on velvet) look as if they have come out of an old trunk - and, in fact, they do. At the beginning of the play, the whole wardrobe is fished from a trunk and distributed by a harlequin figure that keeps popping up in the course of the action.

This suggestion of grown-ups engaged in a night of play-acting sets the prevailing goofus tone, which sweeps away all the improbabilities of a story that swings wildly from outrageous cruelty in a royal palace to simple-minded rustic merriment to sudden supernatural intervention. The director, James Lapine, comes from Broadway and the musical Into the Woods, another piece of child's play for adults. It might be objected that Lapine dodges the play's meaning instead of defining it, but I enjoyed myself too much to go into that.

Patinkin is King Leontes of Sicilia, a man whose unjustified jealousy of his wife is a study in craziness. The actor takes leave of his mind in so rational a manner as to defy reason: The nuttier he gets, the more carefully he speaks. He is not in the heroic mold of Othello; there is plainly something wrong with this guy to begin with, although it's hard to say just what.

Reeve is King Polixenes of Bohemia, whose lifelong friendship with Leontes is shredded by that willful man's accusation of adultery with Queen Hermione. The handsome Reeve calls to mind nothing more serious than one of those male models from GQ. His distress is as shallow as his presence, but he does prevent the play from sinking into tragedy.

As Hermione, Diane Venora gives one of the few conventional performances in the production, and James Olson and Graham Brown are very straight and strong as courtiers. On the other hand, Alfre Woodard, a woman whose voice could shatter glass, is encouraged to rage about like an escapee from a violent ward as Paulina, the witch. And Rocco Sisto rips up what's left of the play's fabric with a wonderfully cuckoo performance as Autolycus, the thief and prankster.

Leontes' exiled daughter Perdita and her boyfriend, Prince Florizel, son of Polixenes, have lost their Arcadian serenity in this production. As portrayed by Jennifer Dundas and Graham Winton, they are a pair of American teenagers who have somehow strayed into the play from a suburban shopping mall.

The incidental music of William Finn and Michael Starobin is as fresh as almost everything else in this brazen exercise in evasion.

At Lincoln Center, the ideas in another dark comedy, Measure for Measure, are not suppressed - but aren't brought to life, either. This sterile production makes an unfortunate New York directorial debut for Mark Lamos, artistic director of the Hartford (Conn.) Stage, who has built a strong reputation with the classics.

Scenically barren, emotionally constricted, this Measure for Measure is a sterile treatment of the tale of the ruler who hides out while his puritanical deputy scourges vice from the city and eventually comes a cropper himself. Cariou carries weight, but none of the rest of the cast does. Notably wrong is the too-youthful, unworldly Campbell Scott as Angelo, the stern deputy with sexual designs on a religious novice (Kate Burton).

As Pompey, one of the play's low types, Jack Weston works for laughs that do not come. When Jack Weston isn't funny, a show is in trouble.

Telethon For Aids To Be Run On Cable

Posted: April 22, 1989

In an unprecedented telethon to raise money for AIDS research, the Bravo cable-TV network will present "Unfinished Stories," a 13-hour marathon of song, drama and documentary celebrating the works of artists who have died of the disease.

Running from 5 p.m. tomorrow until 6 a.m. Monday, honorary chairman Tommy Tune will lead the tribute to such victims as master showman Liberace, actor Rock Hudson and choreographer Michael Bennett. The telethon will feature Leapin' Lizards - It's Liberace, recorded at his 1978 Las Vegas concert; ''Showstoppers," best-of-Broadway selections including Bennett's A Chorus Line, and As Is, a film dealing with the emotional and social effects of AIDS, starring Colleen Dewhurst and Robert Carradine.

Joining Tune will be a cast of film, stage and TV celebrities ranging from Dewhurst, Christopher Reeve, Cheryl Tiegs and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. to Kathie Lee Gifford, Chita Rivera and Eric Bogosian.

Not only the first AIDS telethon, "Unfinished Stories" will also be the first programming simulcast by a national cable network and public television stations, according to a spokesman for Bravo, the national cable network devoted to performing arts.

New Jersey Network, whose PBS Channels 23 and 52 are available in South Jersey and via some cable systems in Pennsylvania and Delaware, will carry the benefit, as will PBS station WLIW on Long Island.

WHYY, the PBS station in Philadelphia, will not carry the AIDS telethon, a spokesman said. But Bravo is available on Cablevision systems in Philadelphia, Comcast Cable Communications in Northeast and Northwest Philadelphia, Greater Media in South Philadelphia and Lenfest Communications in King of Prussia.

Many other cable operators, from New York to San Francisco, plan to shift the Bravo network from pay-TV to basic cable during the telethon so that their audiences can watch the benefit without a fee. Bravo is offering it free, even to unaffiliated cable services, and some are airing it for their subscribers.

During the telethon, Bravo's viewers can call a toll-free number to contribute to AIDS research. Viewers of public television also will be asked to buy memberships in the public TV stations; for each membership pledge, Bravo will make a $5 donation to AIDS research in the new member's name.

The worlds of art, music, theater, dance and film have been ravaged by the disease, not only robbing audiences of plays unwritten and songs unsung, but permeating the mood in creative circles. Bravo, which focuses on independent American films, international films and the performing arts, was moved to help, said network president Joshua Sapan.

"Bravo is a primary exhibitor of the arts, and this has made us all keenly aware of the devastation . . . caused by AIDS," Sapan said. "The creative community has suffered terrible losses, and a eulogy to these artists will help people realize that we need more activity, more concern and more research if we are to stop the proliferation of AIDS. We want to do everything we can to assure that this important event reaches the maximum audience."

Also broadcast during the telethon will be The Stationmaster's Wife, starring Kurt Raab, who died from AIDS; "The AIDS Show: Artists Involved With Death and Survival," a series of cabaret performances by San Francisco's Theater Rhinoceros, directed by Academy Award-winner Robert Epstein (The Times of Harvey Milk); and documentary segments including New York - City in Crisis, AIDS and the Arts and We Bring a Quilt, narrated by Robert Wagner and featuring the Names Quilt Memorial in Washington.

Celebrating The Unremarkable Tonight's Tony Awards Will Honor The Best Of A Humdrum Broadway Season.

Posted: June 04, 1989

Question: What is the opposite of an embarrassment of riches?

Answer: The 1989 Tony Awards.

There have been bad Broadway seasons before, but the one that will be celebrated on national television tonight will be remembered, as Sam Goldwyn might have said, as something to forget.

The nominating committee couldn't even come up with four 1988-89 musicals worthy of consideration. Only six new musicals opened all season, and only three of those were nominated. The categories of "best score" and "best book" were dropped altogether. Jerome Robbins' Broadway is considered the certain winner.

Of the four plays in contention, performance artist Bill Irwin's piece of foolery, Largely New York, is wordless. The odds-on favorite is Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles, which has won the Pulitzer Prize, the New York Drama Critics Circle award and every other prize worth mentioning.

The awards will be presented tonight on a CBS special (Channel 10, 9-11) telecast from Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theater. Says Don Mischer, a producer of the telecast: "Some people feel it's been a very weak season on Broadway, and there's some truth to that. But they're going to be surprised at how well the season feels as presented on this show."

It's going to take all of emcee Angela Lansbury's vintage charm to convince the living-room audience that anything much happened in the last year on the Great White Way to justify two hours of rewards for excellence.

Lansbury, who won four Tonys before television claimed her to play Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote, returns as host for the third straight year. Appearances are scheduled for Steve Martin, Tommy Tune, Gwen Verdon, Colleen Dewhurst and Richard Thomas.

They have all seen better times in the Broadway theater. The previous season, for example, was notable for straight plays of exceptional quality. The best-play prize went to M. Butterfly, which is still running; the best- musical award went to The Phantom of the Opera, whose continuing sell-out run helped boost Broadway box-office grosses this season to a record $262 million.

Tonight, the best-musical award is universally expected to go to a show that probably should not even be eligible as a new musical, since it consists of dance numbers from old musicals and is already playing to slightly less than capacity business.

Jerome Robbins' Broadway is unarguably an entertaining venture. But it is also a depressing symbol of the failure of creativity on the American musical stage - failure most disastrously exemplified by the season's major flop, Legs Diamond, the Peter Allen vehicle about the Depression-era gangster.

In the Tony lists, Jerome Robbins was nominated for his "direction" but not for his choreography, although the show is nothing but his choreography - the choreography of the Jerome Robbins of the past in great productions like Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, On the Town and Gypsy.

If the idea for the Robbins revue looks uninspired, the dancing most assuredly doesn't. Several of the dancers have been nominated in various categories, and they are all good. Some will be seen doing their stuff in the Tony show's entertainment portions.

Viewers also can expect to see excerpts of the two other musicals in nomination - Black and Blue, a revue of black popular music and tap dancing, and Starmites, a comic-strip musical about an intergalactic romance.

Because of the lack of competition, Jerome Robbins' Broadway and Black and Blue are overrepresented in the nominations. Three of the four nominations for best featured actress in a musical went to dancers from the Robbins show, and two of Black and Blue's blues singers, Ruth Brown and Linda Hopkins, compete with each other in the leading-musical-actress category. A split vote could give the award to Charlotte d'Amboise of the Robbins production or to Sharon McNight of Starmites.

Although Legs Diamond and another failure, Welcome to the Club, were conscientiously denied nominations as best musical, they turned up in some other categories; the sentimental vote for best featured actress in a musical will surely go to the great torch singer Julie Wilson, for her performance as a nightclub owner in Legs Diamond. But the elimination of the award for best score left Welcome to the Club's composer, Cy Coleman, high and dry, although a couple of songs in the show recalled the high-spirited Coleman of Barnum and Sweet Charity.

The Tony show also will include scenes from the nominated plays, all of which are still running. The Heidi Chronicles, Wendy Wasserstein's saga of a young woman adrift in a sea of yuppies, and Irwin's undefinable Largely New York are vying with two other plays.

Ken Ludwig's Lend Me a Tenor is a farce about an Italian opera singer indisposed in Cleveland. Was it good enough to nose out Neil Simon's Rumors, which wasn't nominated? You could get an argument on that question.

Briton Willy Russell's Shirley Valentine has probably been out of the running from the very first because it is a one-woman show about a housewife who finds liberation with a tavern-keeper in Greece. However, the one woman is the funny, charming Pauline Collins, who cannot be counted out of the running in the best-actress category, where the competition is Joan Allen of The Heidi Chronicles, Madeline Kahn of the revived Born Yesterday, and Kate Nelligan of Michael Weller's short-lived Spoils of War.

Two men in Lend Me a Tenor are nominated as leading actor, a semantic impossibility. Bill Irwin is on the list, too. But Mikhail Baryshnikov also stands high in the season for his inventive portrayal of a man who turns into a beetle in Metamorphosis, Steven Berkoff's adaptation of the Franz Kafka story.

According to the League of American Theaters and Producers, which constitutes the Broadway Establishment, the record box-office grosses in a weak season are attributable mostly to the persistence of long-running hits like Cats, Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera playing to virtual capacity at full price instead of the discounts that enable popular older shows to survive.

The theater community found little cause for joy in the higher receipts; other statistics were too sobering. Attendance was down to 8 million from the 8.1 million of the previous season. The number of new productions dropped from 32 to 30. The number of playing weeks was down to 1,079 from the previous season's 1,116.

Only Broadway productions are eligible for the Tonys, but Off-Broadway had its own hits during the season. Among the noteworthy shows were The Cocktail Hour, A.R. Gurney's autobiographical comedy about a playwright whose family is embarrassed by his autobiographical play; Other People's Money, Jerry Sterner's play about a Wall Street takeover attempt, and Aristocrats, Irishman Brian Friel's play about Ireland's decaying Roman Catholic gentry.

In a historic move, New York Shakespeare Festival producer Joseph Papp inaugurated his Shakespeare Marathon, a projected series of productions of all 36 of Shakespeare's plays. The series promised, and delivered, star names; Christopher Walken, Al Pacino and Christopher Reeve starred, respectively, in Coriolanus, Julius Caesar and The Winter's Tale.

Stars Coming Out For Homeless March

Posted: October 07, 1989

A substantial contingent of stars is slated to join today's Washington march on the Capitol to call for action against homelessness. Actress Ally Sheedy says family and friends will join her for the march: "It's important for me to do this because everywhere I've gone in this country I've seen people living in the streets." About 200 other well-known names and faces are expected to be in the crowd of 100,000, including Valerie Harper, Whoopi Goldberg, Louis Gossett Jr., Lesley Ann Warren, Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover, Christopher Reeve, Ana Alicia, Martin Sheen and Linda Evans. Harper, an organizer of the West Coast marchers, says, "We live in L.A., the homeless capital of the country. How can we ignore this problem? Being a celebrity doesn't mean you turn in your citizenship at the door." And on the subject of citizenship and activism: Dynasty star Evans has moved from Los Angeles to Washington state and finds herself responding there to certain causes' pleas for help. She marched against spraying sludge along the Nisqually River, for one thing. Evans, however, says she has not been led to public activism by Ramtha, an ancient spirit she follows through her channeler friend, J.Z. Knight. Says Evans: "He doesn't tell you what to do. He's a great teacher. You learn, but you don't follow anyone. . . ."


He does it his way and likes it. Soviet-born dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, 41, seems content to repeatedly indulge the "absolutely pathological urge to be independent from everybody" that he remembers from childhood. "I still do want independence," he told Parade magazine. After nine years heading the American Ballet Theater, he recently quit. He has two children - 8-year-old Alexandra by actress Jessica Lange, and 3-month-old Peter by ballet dancer Lisa Rinehart - but he remains unmarried. And in 1974, he took a huge step to independence when he defected during a Bolshoi Ballet visit to Toronto. He has made good on the leap to capitalism, appearing in movies and on Broadway, selling his own line of dancewear and introducing a new perfume. Of his on- his-own style in personal matters, Baryshnikov says: "My idea about the family . . . it's not everybody's idea. My close friends - that's my family."


Actress Jane Fonda's daughter, Vanessa Vadim, 21, was arrested yesterday morning in lower Manhattan on charges of loitering for the purpose of purchasing drugs, disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration, police said. Vadim, whose father is filmmaker Roger Vadim, was arrested with Thomas Feegal, 22, who was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, two envelopes believed to contain heroin, and a hypodermic needle, said police spokesman Sgt. Peter Sweeney. Also arrested was Manuel Rivera, 30, a resident of a city men's shelter. According to Sweeney, as police attempted to detain the three, Feegal tried to flee. An officer grabbed Feegal, and Vadim tried to pull Feegal away from him. Fonda could not be reached yesterday for comment.


New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner says he'll write to the judge who sent one of his players to jail and try to get the sentence reduced. Outfielder Luis Polonia was sentenced Monday to 60 days in jail for having sex with a 15-year-old girl. Milwaukee Judge Thomas Doherty also fined him $1,500 and ordered him to contribute $10,000 to a sexual-assault treatment center. Calling the sentence "unduly harsh," Steinbrenner said he would write to Doherty in hopes that the punishment would be reduced. "I feel for the young man. There were faults, perhaps, on both sides. I don't have all the facts so it is a little hard for me to judge, but when you have others being glorified who've done things a lot worse, then you wonder. Luis admitted it. He says he is sorry, and that's being a stand-up guy in my book." Asked if his defense of the player meant that Polonia would stay on the team despite rumors circulating during the season that Steinbrenner wanted him off, Steinbrenner said, "Oh, heck, I'm tired of making predictions."


Pittsburgh Pirates' announcer Jim Rooker plans to make good on his June 8, on-the-air promise to "walk to Pittsburgh" if the Pirates lost to the Philadelphia Phillies after taking a 10-0 lead in the first inning. The Phillies eventually won 15-11. Rooker and a companion left from Veterans Stadium on a 26-mile first leg to West Chester on Thursday. "You only make a statement like that because you think it's safe," the former Pirates pitcher said. Right. Keep walking, Jim.


Picking up, cleaning up and building up after Hurricane Hugo will be a long, hard job for the storm's victims. But some big names in country music have decided to help by having a benefit concert Dec. 13 in Jacksonville, Fla., at the 11,000-seat Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Organized by the Statler Brothers, the concert will hear music performed by Ricky Skaggs, George Jones, the Judds, Barbara Mandrell and Ronnie Milsap. A spokeswoman for the Statler Brothers, Kathy Gangwisch, said the entertainers had waived their fees and would pay all their own expenses. Proceeds from the $20-a-seat performance will go to the South Carolina Hugo Relief Fund. Gangwisch said the concert was taking place in Jacksonville because that city had agreed to waive its rental fee for the coliseum and because suitable facilities were not available in South Carolina.

How Shelley Duvall Spun Success From Age-old Fairy Tales The Actress, A Great Lover Of Fairy Tales, Has Paired Big Names With Roles In Entertaining Shows For Little People.

Posted: March 01, 1990

Long ago and far away - 1981 and Sunset Boulevard to be precise - I had a lunchtime interview with Shelley Duvall, ostensibly to discuss her part in the soon-to-be-released Terry Gilliam movie Time Bandits.

Instead, Duvall, poking her fork into some sprouts in an overpriced, under- lit Hollywood eatery, started rattling on about fairy tales: how she loved them, how she collected rare editions of the Grimms and Andersen, how she hoped to get some of her actor friends involved in bringing these timeless children's fables to video and maybe get them on television. She was, she said, talking to the Disney Channel and some other cable bigwigs.

After lunch, we walked across the street to Tower Records, where the ingratiatingly bug-eyed, dippy-voiced star of so many Robert Altman pics proceeded to buy the entire back catalogue of Incredible String Band albums - a communal folk-hippie outfit from Scotland whose big song was called ''Ducks on a Pond."

Sure, I thought to my old cynical self, this spaceball's going to produce a series for Disney? And I'm going to move to Philadelphia.

A scant nine years later, Playhouse Video is re-releasing all 26 titles of Duvall's Faerie Tale Theater in newly packaged, bargain-priced ($14.98 list) editions. The actress is now the head of something called Think Entertainment, a production facility allied with four cable companies. And the library of winsome Faerie Tale Theater episodes - starring the likes of Robin Williams, Vanessa Redgrave, Jeff Bridges, Billy Crystal and Susan Sarandon - has gone from its original Showtime cable berth to the lucrative syndicated television market. Go figure.

Actually, there's not much figuring to be done: With only a few exceptions, the Faerie Tale Theater stories are some of the most innovative, intelligent and enjoyable children's programming around today.

Take The Tale of the Frog Prince, a playful retelling of the old handsome- prince-in-amphibian's-skin story. Two-time Oscar nominee Robin Williams has the title role, cracking wise to the transcendently arch Teri Garr as the aloof, stuffy princess who tries to weasel out of the bargain she has struck with the green, toady thing. The dialogue - from a script by Monty Python's Eric Idle, who also directed - is spry, rife with double entendres, puns good and bad. And the production is perfectly suited to the video medium - downsizing Williams to the scale of a web-footed lily pond hopper is a much easier process on video than on film.

In Little Red Riding Hood, then-husband-and-wife Malcolm McDowell and Mary Steenburgen bring an added dimension to their respective portrayals of the malevolent lycanthrope and the wee girl who's led astray.

Hansel and Gretel is another success, starring Joan Collins in the role she was born for: a crook-nosed, wart-faced witch.

Ditto, Pinocchio. Paul Reubens, a.k.a. Pee-wee Herman, stars as the wooden kid with the proboscis that just won't quit. Carl Reiner is his father, the puppetmaker Geppetto, Lainie Kazan the extra-zaftig fairy godmother who shows up in the nick of time. But even the smaller parts here are plum: James Coburn as a ne'er-do-well gypsy, Jim Belushi as a pug-faced punk on the isle of donkey boys.

And there is Carrie Fisher in Thumbelina. And Peter (Robocop) Weller as the wily peasant who wins Lesley Ann Warren's hand in marriage in The Dancing Princesses. Rumpelstiltskin - the weird tale of a magic dwarf who facilitates the spinning of straw into gold in exchange for the soon-to-be-princess' first-born child - stars Duvall herself, with Herve (Fantasy Island) Villechaize as the maniacal little guy with the odd moniker.

In an interview with Margy Rochlin in the Los Angeles Times a few years ago, Duvall explained how she managed to recruit screen stars accustomed to megabuck salaries to work for scale in her less-than-an-hour videos.

"Actors are always interested in parts they may never get to play," Duvall explained. "That's why King Lear is so popular. For Joan Collins, to play an ugly witch was really fun. Also, it's a chance for stars to see how they like working together without making the commitment of six months to a year working on a film.

"There's also no star structure here; everyone is treated the same. I think there's a lot of relief in this for the stars. In Hollywood, the deal has become more important than the work. I think the success I've had in getting stars for my shows makes a statement - the stars still value their work more than the deal. In fact, our biggest problem is usually scheduling and availability. For example, I would really like Dolly Parton to play Mother Goose, but we haven't been able to arrange it yet."

(As it turns out, Duvall's Mother Goose - Rock 'n Rhyme debuts on the Disney Channel May 19, but without Parton in the lead role. Stars lined up for the two-hour musical include Jean Stapleton as Mother Goose, Paul Simon as Simple Simon, Garry Shandling and Teri Garr as Jack and Jill . . . and Pia Zadora, as Little Miss Muffet.)

There's also the fact that many of these folks - McDowell and Steenburgen, Gregory Hines (he teams with Ben Vereen in Puss in Boots), Mick Jagger (as an Asian aristocrat in The Nightingale) and Susan Sarandon - are parents themselves, and leapt at the chance to perform in something their own progeny could see and appreciate.

The behind-the-camera guys aren't bad either: veteran film and television pros Lamont Johnson and Peter Medak guide several installments. Nicholas Meyer, the filmmaker behind Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and the gripping The Day After, directs Eric Idle in The Pied Piper of Hamelin. And none other than movie godfather Francis Coppola directs Harry Dean Stanton in the Catskill legend of Rip Van Winkle.

To be sure, there are clunkers, but only a handful. There isn't enough story to sustain Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Tatum O'Neal in the title role) for almost an hour; The Nightingale, with the big-lipped Jagger and pre- big-lipped Barbara Hershey, is an ennui-laden affair, and Liza Minnelli in The Princess and the Pea . . . well, Lisa Minnelli in The Princess and the Pea about says it all.

But then there's Rapunzel, with Duvall again, letting her hair down so Jeff Bridges can clamber up the tower and rescue her from the clutches of a scowling Gena Rowlands. And Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, with a rosy- cheeked Elizabeth McGovern as Snow White, Vanessa Redgrave as the evilly vain queen and Vincent Price as the mirror that talks back.

Another thing that's fascinating about these videos - for viewers whose age goes beyond the single digits, at least - is that Faerie Tale Theater allow us to see these serioso thespians in the least pretentious environments, working with scenarios that reveal some of the stars' true colors. After seeing Christopher Reeve's bedside manner in Sleeping Beauty, any lingering doubts that this guy is a total hambone are dispelled - Supe plays the scene like he's doing Romeo and Juliet. On the other hand, Weller reveals an arch sense of humor in The Dancing Princesses heretofore absent from his film roles, and Ellen Barkin gets to play a role that doesn't require trollopy insouciance in The Princess Who Had Never Laughed.

And some of the performances are just plain fun: Jeff Goldblum and Billy Crystal have a lark huffing and puffing their way through The Three Little Pigs (Goldblum's the wolf, Crystal the brainy pig), while Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Beals - as the prince and the if-the-shoe-fits wench in Cinderella - volley some swell ballroom banter.

Eight years after The Tale of the Frog Prince launched the series, Faerie Tale Theater has become a hallmark of quality children's video programming - and something worth watching even if you've never talked to a child, let alone owned one.

It seems that Shelley Duvall knew what she was doing, after all. Which just goes to prove that beneath even the flakiest of personas, there can be a mind of vision and determination. Or a mind that knows the ins-and-outs of the cable and video biz.

Or one that knows about talking frogs.

Tony Show Gets A Little Touch-up Among The Reasons To Watch: Stellar Nominations From A Stellar Year.

Posted: June 03, 1990

The Tony Awards tonight promise to make different - and better - TV watching than Tonys of the past, for the following reasons:

* Kathleen Turner is emcee. That gives the annual telecast (9 p.m., Channel 10) both beauty and class.

* The eight shows - musicals and plays - in nomination for the top awards represent the best of a Broadway season that was superior in quality to recent years. Scenes from each of the productions will be shown.

* Executive producer Joe Cates says that, for once, the show will end on time at 11 p.m., whereas it has usually run over by 20 or 25 minutes. "I have been informed most strongly by the network," he said, "that their affiliate stations do not want to be denied their 11 o'clock news shows."

Turner not only is host, she also is a nominee as best actress for her insolently sexy portrayal of Maggie, the Cat, in the revival of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that played the Forrest Theater on its way to Broadway.

As good as Turner is in the Williams play, however, it will be hard to deny the award to Britain's Maggie Smith for her killingly funny performance as an eccentric tour guide in Peter Shaffer's Lettice and Lovage.

Favored in the voting for best productions are the musical City of Angels and the August Wilson play The Piano Lesson. These have already been singled out for top prizes from the New York Drama Critics Circle and the Drama Desk, the organization of theater journalists.

Wilson's comedy-drama of conflict in a black family over an heirloom piano won the playwright his second Pulitzer Prize. The first went to Fences in 1987.

City of Angels is Larry Gelbart's ingenious sendup of private-eye movies, with an ebullient score by Cy Coleman and a mounting that is alternately color and black-and-white. Star James Naughton should pick up the Tony for best leading actor in a musical.

The show's strongest competition surely comes from Grand Hotel, a musical adaptation of Vicki Baum's novel about intrigue and heartbreak in a Berlin hotel. After some less than enthusiastic initial reviews, the show and its guiding spirit, Tommy Tune, have been gaining support in the business, and it is the business that votes the awards.

Tune was nominated in two categories, direction and choreography. The slate of choreographers is thin, reflecting the decline of the dance musical following the deaths in recent years of Michael Bennett and Bob Fosse.

While there are four nominations in each of the other 18 categories, there are only three in choreography. Joan Brickhill was nominated for the dances in Meet Me in St. Louis, the stage version of the MGM movie and a nominee as best musical, and Graciela Daniele was tapped for her dance-theater piece Dangerous Games, presented in Philadelphia by the American Music Theater Festival before its brief Broadway run.

The other nominee for best musical is Andrew Lloyd Webber's Aspects of Love, a queasy amalgam of syrup and sophistication quite different from his pop hits Cats and The Phantom of the Opera.


In the plays category, The Piano Lesson should have no trouble topping Lettice and Lovage, which is better as a vehicle for Maggie Smith and her co- star, Margaret Tyzack, than as a play. Nor should the Wilson entry have anything to fear from Craig Lucas' Prelude to a Kiss, a wan fantasy about a thirtysomething marriage complicated by the bride's exchange of bodies with an old man.

If there is competition here, it will surely come from The Grapes of Wrath, the adaptation by Chicago's Steppenwolf Company of John Steinbeck's novel about Depression-era migrant workers.

A notably strong slate is the one for leading actor in a play. Charles S. Dutton is a dynamo as the star of The Piano Lesson. Robert Morse's fascinating Truman Capote in the one-man show Tru is as much a reincarnation as a performance. Dustin Hoffman's small-scale Shylock in The Merchant of Venice found many admirers, and Tom Hulce is credible as a Navy lawyer in the courtroom drama A Few Good Men.

Look for television's Tyne Daly to walk off with a Tony for her galvanic performance as Mama Rose, the Ethel Merman role in the revival of the musical Gypsy. And Michael Jeter is a popular favorite for his exuberant Charleston in a featured role in Grand Hotel.

The awards, voted by 661 members of the theatrical and journalistic professions, will be presented on behalf of the American Theater Wing, a service organization, in ceremonies on the stage of Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theater. The theme will be "The Year of the Actor," to be carried out by five well-known actors in solo speeches pertaining to theater. Among them will be Kevin Kline delivering Hamlet's speech of instructions to the actors, something he has been doing every night in the New York Shakespeare Festival's production at the Public Theater.


Other performers, producer Cates said, will be Geraldine Fitzgerald in an excerpt from The Royal Family, the love letter to the theater that George S. Kaufman wrote with Edna Ferber; Morgan Freeman with the "All the world's a stage" speech from As You Like It; Len Cariou as James Tyrone, the old-time stage star in whom Eugene O'Neill sketched his father in Long Day's Journey Into Night; and Philip Bosco, one of last year's Tony winners, reading Prospero's speech about our revels ending in The Tempest.

The roster of presenters and performers includes some of the nominees as well as Timothy Hutton, James Earl Jones, Matthew Broderick, Michael Crawford, Sandy Duncan, Linda Lavin, Bernadette Peters, Christopher Reeve, Joan Rivers, Ron Silver, Jessica Tandy and Lily Tomlin.

Cates said he had eliminated the "TV variety" musical numbers - "the salutes to somebody or something" - that had been features of previous Tony telecasts. He said he was asking presenters to hold "chitchat" to a minimum and recipients to try to make their acceptance speeches "entertaining."

"We don't want lists of acknowledgments and thank-yous," Cates said, knowing in his heart that he will get them anyway.

The list of nominations follows:

Musical: Aspects of Love, City of Angels, Grand Hotel, Meet Me in St. Louis.

Play: Lettice and Lovage, Prelude to a Kiss, The Grapes of Wrath, The Piano Lesson.

Book of a musical: Andrew Lloyd Webber (Aspects of Love); Larry Gelbart (City of Angels); Luther Davis (Grand Hotel); Hugh Wheeler (Meet Me in St. Louis).

Original score: Andrew Lloyd Webber, music, Don Black and Charles Hart, lyrics (Aspects of Love); Cy Coleman, music, David Zippel, lyrics (City of Angels); Robert Wright, George Forrest and Maury Yeston, music and lyrics (Grand Hotel); Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, music and lyrics (Meet Me in St. Louis).

Revival of a play or musical: Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, The Circle, The Merchant of Venice.

Leading actor in a play: Charles S. Dutton (The Piano Lesson); Dustin Hoffman (The Merchant of Venice); Tom Hulce (A Few Good Men); Robert Morse (Tru).

Leading actress in a play: Geraldine James (The Merchant of Venice); Mary- Louise Parker (Prelude to a Kiss); Maggie Smith (Lettice and Lovage); Kathleen Turner (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof).

Leading actor in a musical: David Carroll (Grand Hotel); Gregg Edelman (City of Angels); Bob Gunton (Sweeney Todd); James Naughton (City of Angels).

Leading actress in a musical: Georgia Brown (Threepenny Opera); Tyne Daly (Gypsy); Beth Fowler (Sweeney Todd); Liliane Montevecchi (Grand Hotel).

Featured actor in a play: Rocky Carroll (The Piano Lesson); Charles Durning (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof); Terry Kinney and Gary Sinise (The Grapes of Wrath).

Featured actress in a play: Polly Holliday (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof); S. Epatha Merkerson (The Piano Lesson); Lois Smith (The Grapes of Wrath); Margaret Tyzack (Lettice and Lovage).

Featured actor in a musical: Rene Auberjonois (City of Angels); Kevin Colson (Aspects of Love); Jonathan Hadary (Gypsy); Michael Jeter (Grand Hotel).

Featured actress in a musical: Randy Graff (City of Angels); Jane Krakowski (Grand Hotel); Kathleen Rowe McAllen (Aspects of Love); Crista Moore (Gypsy).

Direction of a play: Michael Blakemore (Lettice and Lovage); Frank Galati (The Grapes of Wrath); Peter Hall (The Merchant of Venice); Lloyd Richards (The Piano Lesson).

Direction of a musical: Michael Blakemore (City of Angels); Trevor Nunn (Aspects of Love); Susan H. Schulman (Sweeney Todd); Tommy Tune (Grand Hotel).

Scenic design: Alexandra Byrne (Some Americans Abroad); Kevin Rigdon (The Grapes of Wrath); Robin Wagner (City of Angels); Tony Walton (Grand Hotel).

Costumes: Theoni V. Aldredge (Gypsy); Florence Klotz (City of Angels); Santo Loquasto (Grand Hotel); Erin Quigley (The Grapes of Wrath).

Lighting design: Jules Fisher (Grand Hotel); Paul Gallo (City of Angels); Paul Pyant and Neil Peter Jampolis (Orpheus Descending); Kevin Rigdon (The Grapes of Wrath).

Choreography: Joan Brickhill (Meet Me in St. Louis); Graciela Daniele (Dangerous Games); Tommy Tune (Grand Hotel).

So, Who's That On Campus? Despite The Secrecy, Word Of Reeve's Arrival Spread Faster Than A Speeding Bullet.

Posted: December 06, 1990

Grandiose in design, and modeled after Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England, Beaver College's Grey Towers Castle was the perfect place for the beheading of an English King.

A film crew producing a one-hour, educational movie called The Road From Runnymede - a detailed account of the evolution of civil rights from the Magna Carta in 1215 to present-day America - had re-created the 1649 beheading of King Charles I at Beaver College in September.

Last Thursday, the crew returned to the campus, nestled between Easton Road and Route 309, for a little mopping up.

This time, the cameras' focus was more level-headed, in the person of actor Christopher Reeve.

Standing over the scene's only prop, an ax stuck in a wooden chopping block, Reeve recited four paragraphs, reflecting on how staggering it was for the people of 17th century England to cut off the head of a king.

Reeve wasn't available for the September filming, said Maureen McKenna, a freelance location manager, so the crew was forced to return. The film is to be aired during a five-part series sometime in 1991.

The big news on campus last week, though, wasn't that a film about an important piece of paper was being made, but that the "guy who played Superman" was there.

And though they tried to keep it secret, word of his arrival spread faster than a speeding bullet. Before you could say "kryptonite is green," a gaggle of giggling dorm-dwellers had gathered beneath the roof of the castle to watch the handsome actor field questions from reporters about Superman sequels as well as his current project. Karen Milillo, a junior at Beaver College, had inside information. Her roommate, who works with school's publicity office, leaked the word of Reeve's visit.

And Jennifer DeCourcy, a freshman, had an inside line - literally - on Reeve's plans. She works the school's telephone switchboard and earlier had fielded a call from a reporter who wanted to know the wheres and whens of the actor's arrival.

Jenyfer Blatt, a sophomore, was checking out a rumor, the same one that Angie Marshal had heard about 10 minutes before. The investigation paid off, as both got an enviable view of the right-rear side of the actor's bobbing head, earlobe and all. "It's neat," said Blatt.

Kristin Ellis and Gina Range, editors of the school's biweekly newspaper The Tower, weren't giggling. Not one bit. They had been scooped by much of the student body.

"Finally a big story," said Range of Reeve's visit, adding in frustration that she had only been tipped off five minutes earlier. "It's ridiculous."

Kimberly Espenscheid, Milillo's roommate, said she knew two weeks ago, but had been asked to keep mum, to keep crowds from forming. "I told a few people," she said. Espenscheid, pen and pad in hand, was hoping to write an article for the school's alumni newsletter on the stealthlike visit from the famous actor.

While the yapping continued in the hall outside the lounge area where he was being interviewed, Reeve was talking with reporters.

He'd rather be involved with scripts that are "character-driven," he said, "movies that are never possibly going to gross $150 million." It was a clean whack at his fabled role as Superman - the role that brought him stardom, but that he now regards as a tumor on his acting career.

"I'd rather do a movie about sitting on the porch," than to do another Superman movie, he said.

Filming was quick, despite a chill that prompted crew members to perform various calisthenics to keep warm.

Reeve was dressed for warmer weather - a tan sport coat over a sweater, and dark slacks and penny loafers. To keep his lips limber enough to recite his four paragraphs, Reeve engaged in a variety of facial gymnastics ranging from tongue-waggling to fish-kissing - actor's tricks, said McKenna.

McKenna offered the most insightful view of the actor, saying he is ''easily distracted during shooting." But, she added, on that day the actor was intense and fast, traits greatly appreciated by the shivering crew who had started filming at 7 a.m. in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

Reeve, who grew up in Princeton, said he hadn't been in Philadelphia since 1976. And it wasn't a lengthy visit. Moments after the final take, he jumped in a nondescript blue Datsun and raced off to 30th Street Station to catch a train to New York.

Stars Come Out For The Nea

Posted: October 29, 1991

NEW YORK — The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), facing renewed criticism over the funding of purported obscenity, received some glamorous support yesterday from theater and movie stars.

Testifying before a congressional oversight hearing at the Brooklyn Museum, mega-celebrities Kathleen Turner, Christopher Reeve, Alec Baldwin and Eric Bogosian lambasted conservative critics of the endowment, raised the specter of a new McCarthyism and urged Congress to defend the beleaguered agency with greater vigor.

Sen. Jesse Helms (R., N.C.), who is advocating an amendment to bar the endowment from funding work deemed sexually provocative, came in for particular scrutiny. Turner, primly decked out in a gray-checked suit, attacked him for attempting to impose a "lobotomizing amendment" on the NEA. The Helms amendment has been dropped from an Interior Department appropriation bill, but its supporters continue to fight for it.

"This clause is a clear debasement of art in America," Turner told members of a government operations sub-committee chaired by Rep. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.). "At this point in history, when so many countries are just finding their voices, are we to muffle ours?"

Baldwin also took aim at Helms. "We must expose this attack on the arts for what it is," he said, "a self-righteous, finger-pointing vendetta reminiscent of the worst excess of the McCarthy years."

Bogosian, a recipient of endowment theater grants in his early years, told the subcommittee, "We have obscenity all over the country."

"What keeps the video shops open?" he asked. "Porno tapes, obviously. Artists report on the obscenity in society."

Despite the rhetorical flair of Turner, Baldwin and Bogosian, perhaps the dramatic highlight of the hearing came from Reeve. A member of the Creative Coalition, a film and television lobbying group, Reeve read a statement written by novelist E.L. Doctorow. As he read, Reeve became more and more animated, delivering the statement as if his forum were Shakespeare's Globe Theater and not a small, muted museum auditorium.

"The issue we discuss here is created by an extreme conservatism as it wishes to organize our lives illiberally in one mold, as uniculture," Reeve read. "And so we have odd patterns of thought. College professors who object to racist inflammatory speech on their campuses are derided for being politically correct; at the same time artists applying to the NEA are subject to the criteria of political correctness.

"It is irrelevant that community standards are violated by racist speech; but it is by upholding community standards that artists are denied grants. All this is quite odd."

When he finished reading Doctorow's lengthy statement, Reeve received a loud round of applause.

Boxer, chairwoman of the subcommittee, acknowledged that the big guns of Hollywood and Broadway were called to testify to attract media attention. "I think this country is in enormous trouble," she said. "Freedom is under attack in a way I haven't seen for many years. . . . People don't understand that when you lose freedom, you lose it a little bit at a time."

But Congress must share in the blame for any freedoms lost, several witnesses contended. Reeve argued that media pressure and the fear of offending constituents helped undermine congressional independence.

Arthur Levitt, who heads the Economic Development Corp. of New York City, subjected Congress and the Bush administration to scathing criticism over the endowment. He predicted that 40 percent of the arts organizations in the country would vanish by the end of the decade and said "the leadership of the NEA has been largely ineffective in mobilizing the administration" to do something about the situation.

He also attacked the "passivity of the Congress. . . . The Congress has lost sight of the underlying reason for support for the arts," he said.

It's A Play-within-a-play-within-a-movie

Posted: March 20, 1992

Michael Frayn's long-running theatrical hit Noises Off is a frenzied farce where the action onstage is triumphantly upstaged by what's happening backstage.

Finding a viable way of turning the cameras on for Noises Off has long been a perplexing problem in search of a solution in Hollywood. How do you film a play-within-a-play without killing it? Leave it alone and it creaks with silly artifice; open it up and it collapses altogether.

Noises Off is also a double-tiered farce that depends on split-second timing, and that doesn't help the dilemma. Still, if Noises Off had to make it to the screen, it's hard to imagine anyone doing a better job of directing it than Peter Bogdanovich. Whether it was worth doing in the first place remains open to question.

The film version of Noises Off comes from Touchstone Pictures, the allegedly adult arm of the Disney Studios, which recently inflicted the awful Blame It on the Bellboy on an unsuspecting world. The timing now seems like a clever marketing device. An excruciatingly bad farce was served up as an appetizer for a movie that delights in skewering an even worse one.

Actually, Frayn's piece might more accurately be called a ploy-within-a- play. A touring road company puts the finishing touches on a farce called Nothing On, a comedy of errors, banging doors and limp sexual puns that manifestly deserves an obituary more than a review. Nothing On - much like Blame It on the Bellboy - is the kind of English farce that the Brits defend as an acquired taste. Of course, anyone who actually acquired taste would never go near it.

The road company is American and its eventual destination is Broadway, but its members deliver the frightful lines of Nothing On in English accents. They are directed by the smarmy Lloyd Fellowes (Michael Caine) and headlined by Dotty Otley (Carol Burnett), a downwardly mobile star, and Frederick Dallas (Christopher Reeve), a matinee idol whose brain has been permanently idled.

Bogdanovich can't find a way around the fact that the movie needs a long first act in which Nothing On is rehearsed and played out. The spirits are high, but Noises Off still ends up ridiculing a minor comic genre that is beyond derision. The featured prop, as two cheating couples, a burglar and a housekeeper make their panting exits and entrances, is a plate of stale sardines. But what we have here is a mercilessly flogged dead horse.

That may be the point of the jest, but a bad joke remains a bad joke - even when the author himself acknowledges it's a bad joke. Luckily, Bogdanovich likes this kind of humor, and when we get to the festering backstage backstabbings and real-life trysts and jealousies, he comes into his own and things improve markedly.

Naturally, no one may talk backstage when the play is running. In the film's deliciously choreographed centerpiece - one that reflects Bogdanovich's love of silent screen comedy - the actors have no dialogue once they exit the stage. Away from the eyes of the audience, they engage in a dizzying mix of mime and mayhem. The main prop here is a bottle of Scotch sought by the company's resident lush (Denholm Elliott).

Bogdanovich and his well-chosen players, some of whom got their start in this kind of touring repertory ensemble, delight in Frayn's invention in this sequence, which is as nostalgic as it is satiric. You can take the title of Noises Off literally since the best part of it is seen and not heard.

NOISES OFF * * 1/2

Produced by Frank Marshall, directed by Peter Bogdanovich, written by Marty Kaplan from the play by Michael Frayn; photography by Tim Suhrstedt, music adapted by Phil Marshall, distributed by Touchstone Pictures.

Running time: 1 hour, 44 mins.

Lloyd Fellowes - Michael Caine

Dotty Otley - Carol Burnett

Frederick Dallas - Christopher Reeve

Garry Lejeune - John Ritter

Selsdon Mowbray - Denholm Elliott

Parent's guide: PG-13 (sexual humor)

Showing at: area theaters

It Plays Out Badly Stage Farce Doesn't Translate On Film

Posted: March 20, 1992

The title from "Noises Off" is a theater term for background noise, such as the snoring you're likely to hear during the painfully bad opening moments of this movie.

The picture, based on a hit Broadway comedy, follows the frenzied efforts of a beleaguered theater director (Michael Caine) to assemble a motley crew of actors in time to take a British sex farce on the road, in preparation for an eventual New York opening. His company is full of incompetent misfits - a drunk (Denholm Elliott), a really stupid guy (Christopher Reeve), a really stupid woman (Nicollette Sheridan, in her underwear) - making his job difficult and his life miserable.

The movie takes a long time to introduce its large cast (it also includes Carol Burnett, John Ritter and Marilu Henner), one reason why "Noises Off" nearly crashes at takeoff.

Another is that director Peter Bogdanovich has done little to make this filmed stage play interesting for a movie audience. The constant cutting and reaction shots do not enliven the action; they just give you a headache.

Amazingly, however, "Noises Off" does manage to recover as the movie unspools. Things improve when the hastily rehearsed troupe takes the show on the road, and things begin to go terribly wrong. The drunk succumbs to liquor, backstage affairs lead to onstage fights, and the entire production collapses mid-performance in amusing chaos.

This gives Burnett and other actors a chance to contribute some good slapstick comedy, and perhaps I should mention again that Sheridan spends virtually the entire movie in bikini briefs.

In the end, it's not enough to save this movie. The very idea of transferring "Noises Off" to film was a bad one. By taking the play out of the theater, the moviemakers have taken away the very context - a play within a play - that makes this comedy work.


Produced by Frank Marshall, directed by Peter Bogdanovich, music by Phil Marshall, written by Marty Kaplan, distributed by Touchstone Pictures.

Running Time: 91 minutes

Dotty - Carol Burnett

Lloyd - Michael Caine

Selsdon - Denholm Elliott

- Belinda - Marilu Henner

Frederick - Christopher Reeve

Garry - John Ritter

Brooke - Nicollette Sheridan

Parents Guide: (PG-13)

Showing at: Area theaters

Latest Goldberg Whoop-de-do Offends Some Jews

Posted: December 02, 1993

Whoopi Goldberg has stirred up the natives again, this time with a recipe she calls, "Jewish American Princess Fried Chicken."

It appears in Cooking in Litchfield Hills, a book benefiting Pratt Center, an environmental education facility. Goldberg, who has a home in Litchfield County, Conn., includes in her directions: "Send chauffeur to your favorite butcher shop, . . ," "hand bag (of chicken) to Cook, . . " "watch your nails," "save the brown paper bag," "have Cook prepare rest of meal while you touch up your makeup," and lastly: "You must be exhausted."

Said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League: ''Number one, I don't think it's funny. It's totally insensitive because it raises all the ugly, anti-Semitic stereotypes."

Responded Goldberg's publicist: "Maybe (her critics) are not aware that Whoopi is Jewish so she is certainly not anti-Semitic."

Less-spicy recipes by Diane Sawyer, Tom Brokaw, Bill Blass and Nancy Kissinger are also in the book.

By the way, the new man in Goldberg's life - two removed from Ted Danson - is hunk-style union organizer Lyle Trachtenberg, 38, whom she met as he checked out working conditions on the set of her latest movie, Sister Act 2. Ted? His divorce is final Saturday.


* Outrage has finally rung, and distancing has begun over a song by Charles Manson on the Guns N' Roses album The Spaghetti Incident? released last week. ''The fact that Charles Manson would be earning money based on the fame he derived committing one of the most horrific crimes of the 20th century is unthinkable to me," said David Geffen, head of Geffen Records, which released the LP. Geffen, who knew two of the six victims killed in the Manson-led massacre in 1969, said he only learned the song was on the album from a news report on Monday. GNR bassist Duff McKagan said he never knew the song would be on the album and only learned about it from the media. And reports say Slash argued against its inclusion. Axl Rose, the song's principal supporter, said he "liked the lyrics and the melody of the song. . . . Hearing it shocked me, and I thought there might be other people who would like to hear it." He added: "Most people haven't heard anything Charles Manson recorded." Patti Tate, sister of Manson murder victim Sharon, said: "It really hurts and angers me that Guns N' Roses would exploit the murders of my sister and others for capital gain." There's talk now that the song will be deleted from future pressings of the album.


* Michael Moriarty, the prosecutor on TV's Law and Order, will hold a news conference today in New York where he'll put down efforts to censor TV and argue that legalizing drugs would do more to curb violence. The actor wrote President Clinton calling for Janet Reno's firing after he and NBC execs met with her Nov. 18. Moriarty called her "a mindless attack dog in the spirit of Joe McCarthy" and has challenged her to a debate on TV violence.

A gaggle of actors will gather Monday in Tucson, Ariz., to focus attention on the national debate over censorship. Among the participants in "Tucson Talks: An Issue of Free Speech" at the Temple of Music and Art Theater will be Harry Hamlin, Blair Brown, Mercedes Ruehl, Christopher Reeve, Estelle Parsons, Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker.


* This Madonna-has-a-15-year-old-boyfriend story is looking less juicy by the moment. First, the pop star denies ever having met Rodrigo Freire, the football-playing high school hunk from Brooklyn. Second, the kid, who's got a model-slash-actor career a-budding, says he's had only two chance meetings with Madonna that combined were but 20 minutes. But the worst - his agent is Rubin Malaret, believed to be the guy who spread an earlier hoax about movie star Rosie Perez marrying a client, Rocky Santiago. Malaret was also arrested last year and charged with fleecing aspiring actors by promising them work with established stars. Freire, who insists he and Madonna exchanged phone numbers, said of Herself: "She's a nice lady. . . . She said her life was really unhappy." Maybe he does know her!

Wes Studi, who plays the title role in the new movie, Geronimo: An American Legend, and wife Maura had their first kid last week. Named the boy Kholan.

Julianne McNamara, who won gold and silver medals in gymnastics in the '84 Olympics, had her first child, Garrett Todd, last weekend. Husband is St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Todd Zeile. Numerology alert: The boy was born Nov. 27, same as Zeile, who also wears 27 on his uniform.


* Hillary Rodham Clinton accepted two trees yesterday from North Carolina grower Wayne Ayers. The 18 1/2-footer will be decorated with publicly owned trimmings and displayed for tourists in the White House Blue Room. The smaller one will be draped with family stuff and stand in the Clintons' private rooms on the third floor. "We've always had a live tree," said the first lady, who also promised "an incredible display of decoration."

She and the President were said to be deeply moved by a White House screening of Schindler's List, which they watched with its creator Steven Spielberg Tuesday. Also there: the director's wife, Kate Capshaw, and Emilie Schindler, widow of the film's subject, Oskar, a German industrialist who saved the lives of 1,300 Jews during World War II.

Come On Up, Pilots Say- The Weather's Fine! Frigid Air? Better Lift. Nasty Ice? Great Scenery. Winter Just Can't Get Them Down.

Posted: February 22, 1994

Azhar Husain and Fran McCabe went skiing the other day.

They dressed for the cold weather. Husain put on long johns, thick wool socks, pants, a heavy shirt, two sweaters, a jacket and gloves. McCabe was dressed about the same.

But they were not headed for the slopes.

They went flying in an orange-and-white Aeronca Champ, a two-seat plane with a 65-horsepower, four-cylinder engine. And skis.

Husain, 55, a flight instructor for 13 years, taxied the plane over deep snow on the 3,000-foot runway at Van Sant Airport in upper Bucks County, the only grass field in the area. The plane was riding on four-foot-long aluminum skis attached to the wheel axles with wire and bungee cords.

Husain, a native of Pakistan who gave up a lucrative banking career in New York City to become a pilot, slowly pushed the throttle forward as the airplane moved.

The skis slid over the snow, throwing billowing rooster tails of the white stuff into the air. At 60 m.p.h., Husain pulled the nose up slightly and the plane left the earth.


Winter is fine for skiing, ice-skating, ice-fishing and snowmobiling.

But it's also good flying weather.

Pilots know that cold air makes for excellent flying because it is more dense than hot air; the molecules are closer together - a condition pilots call "fat" air. This means the plane will have more lift, take off quicker, and perform better in the sky.

Winter flying is frequently smooth, without the hot-weather thermals that bounce planes up and down.

Also, visibility is much greater without the obscuring hazes of summer, and, at 2,000 feet over Bucks County, pilots and passengers can easily see the skylines of Philadelphia and New York.

"On a cold day or night, it is like you can see forever," said Paul W. Ochadlick of New Hope, a certified flight instructor and lover of flying.

The views of snow-covered landscapes and frozen lakes are spectacular, pilots say, and the towns and farms look like scale models.

"It was beautiful. Smooth as silk," said Barbara Strachan, 52, of Ambler, who recently flew from Perkiomen Valley Airport in Montgomery County to Manassas, Va. "I love flying, so I suffer the cold weather. A whole lot of cold won't stop me."

But there are problems, too, with winter flight.

It is a measure of their love for flying that aviators will put up with all sorts of nasty conditions on the ground to get into the air in cold weather.

On a recent day, the road to Van Sant Airport was covered with thick ice and snow.

"It was harder to get here in my car than to get my plane off the ground," said Bob Hall, the tall, gruff chief pilot at Van Sant.

Airplane batteries are weak in the cold. They must be kept charged, and some pilots, if they aren't going to fly for a week or two, will take the batteries home to keep them warm.

"I've got one now in a downstairs closet at home," Ochadlick said.

Cold, congealed oil and a cold engine and instruments force pilots to preheat their engines before trying to start them. Every airport has portable propane heaters with long hoses that work somewhat like hair dryers, blowing warm air around the engine.

And no pilot in his or her right mind would consider flying without removing all ice and snow from the plane. Even a sixteenth of an inch of snow or ice will destroy the precisely designed contour of an airplane, reducing its ability to fly.

Aviators will claw through layers of wing frost with their fingernails or use brooms and ice scrapers to clear their planes.

"There's a lot more to it than scraping the windshield of your car. People don't realize how much surface there is to wings and the fuselage, and you have to clean the bottoms of those surfaces also," said Kevin Murphy, a spokesman for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association in Frederick, Md.

"The only way around it is to put it in a heated hangar for a while or gingerly break ice free so as not to damage the plane," said Ochadlick.

A third option is to dilute automobile antifreeze with water and pour it on the plane as a de-icer.

"Some people use pure alcohol, which is not a real good idea because it is flammable," Ochadlick said.

Through condensation, a plane's fuel can become contaminated with water in winter and freeze vents and fuel lines. Pilots say they park planes with full fuel tanks to prevent condensation, and carefully check their fuel.

"You've got to make sure there's no water in it," said Cliff Maurer, 51, of Newtown, a pilot for six years, as he was preparing for a flight at Doylestown Airport. "If there's water in the fuel, you'd probably notice the engine not running smoothly or the engine could stop on takeoff. I'd rather not have that happen going down the runway."

Taxiing, taking off and landing on ice and snow call for more caution. Braking is poor, and with skis there is no brake action at all.

"You just let the plane slow down on its own and do whatever you can to keep it going straight down the runway," said Bill Smela, owner of Country Aviation at Van Sant.

Once in the air, the cold-weather pilot must also be alert to the formation of carburetor ice; carbon monoxide poisoning (most small, single-engine planes use heat from the exhaust for the cabin); weather changes, which occur faster than in summer, and navigation, because the landscape looks entirely different when covered with snow and ice.

Despite the problems, there are almost as many recreational pilots in the air in winter as in summer.

"There are some die-hard fishermen who will cut through the ice to fish. It's the same thing with us. It gets into your blood, and you can't be away from flying too long. You need your fix," Ochadlick said.

Gary Ketaily of Telford agreed.

"You get addicted to flying," said Ketaily, 40, after landing on the plowed runway at Doylestown Airport. "Flying is to me what golf or bowling is to others. I'd rather throw my money into the air. It gets my mind off any problems I have on the ground."

Maurer, who was preparing for flight at Doylestown, said he averaged 10 hours flying each month, even in winter.

"Yesterday I went to Reading for lunch. I wanted to fly. I needed a destination, and I was hungry," said Maurer, conceding that lunch was merely an excuse to fly.

Ketaily, too, said he looks for excuses to fly, and often that means flying to another airport restaurant.

"I fly to Reading to the Wild Wings Cafe for buffalo wings; they have good ones there. I fly up to Blairstown, N.J., for breakfast; I like their eggs. And Sky Manor in Pittstown, N.J., has great cheeseburgers. Lancaster has one of the nicer restaurants," he said.

Hall, 70, Van Sant's chief pilot, is one of the oldest instructors in the area, and he teaches in all kinds of weather. He has been teaching for 30 years, and has had hundreds of students.

Hall even taught Superman how to fly.

In the late 1970s, he said, Christopher Reeve, the actor who most recently played Superman in films, was living in Princeton and Hall was teaching at the Princeton Airport. Hall said Reeve wanted to learn to fly.

"I got him up to the stage of soloing and doing cross-country flights," Hall said. "He was a fine pilot, intelligent and quick."

Flying in winter is no more difficult than in other seasons, Hall said. ''If you can start it, you can fly it," he said.

The other day, Hall said, "I poured water on the windshield to get rid of frost. I got ice instead, but I can see through ice."

At Buehl Field in Middletown Township, Bucks County, Ernest H. Buehl Jr. said he had spent a lot of time lately plowing the runway to keep fliers flying.

"We operate year-around when possible. It's actually nicer to fly in the cold. A disadvantage is freezing rain. You can fly in a snowstorm, and it won't bother you at all. You just fly on instruments. More and more people are getting instrument-trained," he said.

John W. Hoffman Jr., 48, of Yardley Borough, was digging his Centurion 210 Cessna out of deep snow drifts at Buehl Field recently.

He was 48 hours away from getting married and 72 hours away from flying his bride to the Florida Keys for a honeymoon.

"You have a plane to fly. You just make sure the wings are clean and that you have a place to land," Hoffman said of winter flying. "You get weather reports and steer around moisture or get through it as quickly as you can."

Bill Holt, 48, of Levittown, set down his turbocharged, twin-engine Comanche Piper at Buehl Field after flying with a friend to Medford, N.J., for lunch.

"Ah, there's nothing like it," he said. "You can see things you can't see in a car. We looked at the snow, and Bowman's Hill Tower at Washington Crossing, seeing what people were doing on the ground.

"A lot of them," he said, "were shoveling snow."

The Kissing's A Joy, But 'Speechless' Is Clueless As A Thriller

Posted: December 16, 1994

Geena Davis and Michael Keaton possess two of the sexiest mouths on screen, and the sublime treat of Speechless is the sight of her Marilyn Monroe kisser closing in on his heart-shaped pucker.

This film about speechwriters from rival campaigns who fall in love is a great kissing movie but a ludicrous political thriller.

For reasons best known to the filmmakers, the New Mexico race for a U.S. Senate seat keeps intruding on the romance instead of being background to the forbidden affair between Republican wordsmith Kevin Vallick (Keaton) and Democratic ideologue Julia Mann (Davis).

However much the situation sounds like that of Mary Matalin and James Carville with party affiliations reversed, Speechless was written some seven years ago. A case of art anticipating life, you might say.

In the film, the two insomniac workaholics meet cute - over the last bottle of Nytol in a hotel pharmacy in the New Mexico state capital. Sleepless in Santa Fe, you might say. Since they always see each other at night, each is a little fuzzy about what the other does during the daytime.

But when both show up for a bipartisan career day for a local school, they are dumbstruck to find that they are political competitors. Surely whoever coined the expression about politics making strange bedfellows did not have them in mind. But even though their affair is still platonic, Julia doesn't think she can keep her competitive edge if she's sleepless with the enemy.

The principals, as always, are endearing without being sappy, and they complement each other marvelously. Their sparring strikes the erotic sparks of the Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy comedies, with a switch. Instead of the male always being flinty and the female flighty, Keaton and Davis alternate.

While the byplay between them is a joy, in the film's second half Speechless abandons their sexual tennis match and focuses instead on the corruption in the Senate campaigns they represent. It's as though director Ron Underwood (City Slickers) decided that the backdrop was more important than the actors. While this decision isn't fatal to the movie, the Keaton/Davis kisses acquire a bitter aftertaste. Moreover, Underwood wastes the talents of Bonnie Bedelia and Christopher Reeve, who are on hand to complicate both the romantic progress as well as the political process.

Has Hollywood lost the ability to make a simple romantic comedy? The Nick Nolte/Julia Roberts film Nothing But Trouble got derailed when at midpoint the newsroom comedy turned into an action movie. And Speechless, similarly a workplace romance where the sexiest person in the world is your direct competitor, goes out of bounds when it tries to be a romance that also shows what's wrong with American politics.

Hybrids are fine for fruit trees and rosebushes, but they don't always make for the best of films. As a romance, Speechless is like popcorn without the butter. As a romance/political action picture, it's like popcorn with barbecue flavoring.


Produced by Renny Harlin and Geena Davis, directed by Ron Underwood, written by Robert King, photography by Don Peterman, music by Marc Shaiman, distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Running time: 1:38

Kevin Vallick - Michael Keaton

Julia Mann - Geena Davis

Bob Freed - Christopher Reeve

Annette - Bonnie Bedelia

Ventura - Ernie Hudson

Parent's guide: PG-13 (sexual innuendo, mild profanity, politics)

Showing at: area theaters

They're Chilling Children, A Platinum-blond Plague

Posted: April 28, 1995

For a time there in John Carpenter's remake of the great 1960 spooker Village of the Damned, it looks as if the veteran genre director is going to make some sly observation on the whole pro-life/pro-choice debate. After the lovely seaside burg of Midwich, Calif., is inexplicably beset with mass pregnancies, a federal epidemiologist (Kirstie Alley, behaving secretively and puffing on funny-colored cigarettes) offers the expectant mothers the opportunity to abort their fetuses. She also offers each family a $3,000 monthly fee if they carry the children to term.

One man, whose wife and daughter are impregnated, asks if that's $3,000 per family or family member. When Alley's Dr. Verner responds that it's per member, the guy perks up like a cartoon character with dollar signs in its eyes. So much for the abortion option.

But like so many of Carpenter's movies that flirt with social commentary, the issue is quickly dropped in favor of good old horror-movie scares. Although this new Village of the Damned has one or two enjoyably jolting sequences, it's a pallid endeavor compared to director Wolf Rilla's original. Carpenter, working from a screenplay credited to David Himmelstein (and using both the 1960 script and John Wyndham's 1957 novel, The Midwich Cuckoos, as inspiration), does delve a little deeper into the psychological impact these mystery pregnancies have on the women.

And once the brood is born - within minutes of one another, in a barn- turned-maternity ward - Carpenter pokes fun at the whole build-a-better- baby movement. Sitting there on the floor, one tiny tot is spelling his name in letter blocks. Just a few years later, the demonic kids are seen speed-reading through encyclopedias.

The premise of Village of the Damned remains wonderfully scary: that an alien life force has descended on a community, inseminated its women, and spawned a gaggle of evil brainiacs with platinum-blond hair who can read your mind and do funny things with their eyes. (When the telekinetic kiddies will the weak, emotional humans into acts of self-mutilation, their eyes radiate intense beams of light. This special effect, from Industrial Light & Magic, is hardly more impressive than the one employed in the black-and-white original.)

Village of the Damned, vintage '95, is full of sketchy characters and dialogue that works against the story's unsettling suspense. Alley brings all the authority of a beautician to her portrayal of a brilliant medico with a hidden agenda; Linda Kozlowski conveys bland edginess as a widow with an alien in her womb; and Michael Pare appears fleetingly at the film's outset as a jovial, loving husband. Only Mark Hamill, cast as a troubled town minister, has anything really interesting to do.

Well, Christopher Reeve, assuming the role played by George Sanders in the original, does do some pretty hysterical face-scrunching as things careen toward the climactic finale: Determined to block the children from reading his mind, Reeve's character conjures up the mental image of a brick wall. Carpenter does a close-up of Reeve, brows knotted in sweaty concentration, cuts to those nasty kids beaming their flashlight eyes at him, and then cuts away to a shot of a brick wall. Please!


Produced by Michael Preger and Sandy King, directed by John Carpenter, written by David Himmelstein, photography by Gary B. Kibbe, music by John Carpenter and Dave Davies, distributed by Universal Pictures.

Running time: 1:35

Alan Chaffee - Christopher Reeve

Susan Verner - Kirstie Alley

Jill McGee - Linda Kozlowski

Rev. George Miller - Mark Hamill

Mara Chaffee - Lindsey Haun

Parent's guide: R (violence, profanity)

Showing at: area theaters

The Scares Are Scarce In 'Village Of The Damned'

Posted: April 28, 1995

Although cottony clouds float serenely above the sleepy, coastal town of Midwich, Calif., all is not well.

Midwich, population 2,000. But not for long. That's because this is exactly the kind of whitewashed, picket-fenced, unsuspecting village that terror movies always plague. Scary music please . . . It's the "Village of the Damned."

So when the entire female population - even the local virgin - turns up pregnant after a mysterious six-hour blackout, it's no miracle. In fact, it's a parent's worst nightmare. Except perhaps in the 1960 original version of this film, pregnancy has not been so frightening.

The spawn of this peculiar incubation are creepy, preternaturally intelligent Children from Hell, who somehow scored duds that look borrowed from the Gap Kids Gray Flannel Collection. Snow-blond and evil-eyed, the cherub-faced devils march around town like robotic Stepford children, causing havoc to those who won't bend to their childish wills.

They force the town's grown-ups to do really nasty things, such as thrust hands into boiling water, drip poison into their eyes and jump from cliffs.

As the local preacher man says: "They have the look of man, but not the nature of mankind."

They were born to eliminate their parents and, perhaps, the rest of the human population. (Ho-hum, like we've never heard that one before.) They are emotionless, soulless - kind of like this disappointing movie.

There's nothing worse than an un-scary scary movie. "Damned" is too long on drama, too short on horror and, what is most annoying, too insulting to our intelligence.

Take the unexplained gaps in the plot: The entire female population of the town gets pregnant but only nine kids remain? Or the cheesy special effects: The kids' eyes glow - a lot. And the angry villagers: Has anyone actually seen an angry mob carry burning torches since "Frankenstein," or at least since flashlights were invented?

What was director John Carpenter thinking? He's had better luck with other remakes, including his unsettling "The Thing." Maybe he should stick to making films based on original screenplays, such as his touching "Starman" or the still-sturdy horror classic "Halloween."

The studio could have named this movie the "Village of the Comeback Kids." Stars, such as they are, include Kirstie Alley ("Cheers") as a bitchy, chain-smoking government scientist; Christopher Reeve ("Superman") as a befuddled town doc; and Mark Hamill ("Star Wars' " Luke Skywalker) as the town's minister.


Co-produced by David Chackler, directed by John Carpenter, Music by John Carpenter and Dave Davies, written by David Himmelstein based on the 1960 screenplay by Stirling Silliphant and Wolf Rilla and George Barclay, distributed by Universal.

Running Time: 95 minutes

Alan Chaffee - Christopher Reeve

Dr. Susan Verner - Kirstie Alley

Jill McGowan - Linda Kozlowski

Rev. George - Mark Hamill

David - Thomas Dekker

Parents Guide: R.

Showing at: Area theaters

Our movie rating guide:

'Dracula' Star Decides To Try His Hand At Directing

Posted: May 30, 1995

Gary Oldman - the guy with the weird 'do and the unquenchable thirst in Bram Stoker's Dracula - will go behind the lens to direct a movie drawn from his childhood memories of the dreary South London suburbs. "Gary got tired of seeing in British films a description of the suburbs that wasn't at all like the reality he lived through," French filmmaker Luc Besson told the magazine Le Film Francais. Oldman, 37, had a tough go of it after his father, a welder, disappeared when he was 7. Besson - who will produce Oldman's auteur debut - directed the actor in last year's The Professional, in which he played a drug cop gone bad.


* Christopher Reeve's publicist confirmed yesterday that he suffered a neck injury in a weekend accident and said it was too soon to comment on whether damage would be permanent. The Superman star, 42, remained hospitalized in stable condition, two days after he was thrown from a horse during a riding competition in Virginia.

"Mr. Reeve has suffered a cervical (neck) injury from the fall and remains under close observation," publicist Lisa Kasteler said in a statement. "It is premature to comment on any permanent damage."


* Susanna Foo's cookbook (bearing the catchy title Susanna Foo) isn't due out until fall. But the Book-of-the-Month Club has already grabbed it as a main selection.

Actor A. J. Vincent, who plays Harcourt in the current Lust at the Walnut Street Theatre, is editor of The Broadway Celebrity Cookbook (Nautilus Books, $19.95), with recipes and bios of 80 celebs, including Phyllis Diller, Michael Crawford and Nell Carter.


* It's May, and you all know what that means: It's honorary degree time! Latest recipient is Latin jazz great Tito Puente, who got an honorary doctorate from Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music on Saturday in - where else? - San Juan. "I never thought I would get a doctorate in music," Puente said, beaming at the Puerto Rico Heineken JazzFest. It was the first time Berklee had honored a musician outside its Boston campus.


* Stage fright makes Tim Roth wary of switching from movies to the theater.

"It's that waiting in the wings to go on that makes your hands sweat," Roth told the New York Daily News for a story Sunday. "It's just the fear of walking on stage, just getting out there that's terrifying."

Roth, who played an 18th-century villain in Rob Roy, a Russian hit man in Little Odessa and Vincent van Gogh in Vincent and Theo, says he's been afraid of the stage ever since he won the part of Dracula in high school. "Before I went on, I actually wet myself," Roth said, laughing at the memory. "But after I got out there in front of the audience for the first time, I just fell in love with acting."


* Flavor Flav, 36, the Public Enemy rapper with the big clock around his neck, was sentenced Friday to three months for shooting at a New York neighbor in November 1993. The original charge, attempted murder, was reduced to a misdemeanor: weapon possession. The rapper (a.k.a. William Drayton) also got three years of probation and was ordered to enter drug rehab.


* Two Pennsylvania a cappella doo-wop groups will compete for $10,000 in money and a chance to appear in Paul Simon's Broadway musical The Capeman at an audition tomorrow in New York's Nederlander Theater. In the running are the Fourtet - Charles Elliss, Brendan Brennan, David Schwartz and Marc Miller - of Cheltenham High, and Candlelight - Eric Edwards, Darren Livezey, Chris Hunter and Dustin and Darren Hawks - out of Franklin, Pa. They're among 250 teenagers who hope to land a spot in the show, about a string of New York gang murders in the late 1950s. The musical is scheduled to open in fall 1996.


* Life is sweet for Brooke Shields, who celebrates her 30th birthday tomorrow. She's in love - with tennis star Andre Agassi - and she's a star of Broadway's hit Grease! The reason, say those around her, is a long-overdue break from her hyper-protective manager-mother, Teri, which was hastened by the actress' foot surgery last year. "It was a free-fall time for me, in which there was no structure other than healing," Shields tells McCall's magazine. "I found myself wanting to take the wheel. I've been in the passenger's seat on a lot of bumpy rides, but I've never been in the driver's seat dictating where I was going and knowing I was responsible." Shields signed with the William Morris Agency after jettisoning Teri - rival only to Jody Foster's mom, Brandy, in the stage-mother department.

Big Fete For Mike Tyson? Not Here, Says Harlem

Posted: June 14, 1995

A Harlem celebration marking Mike Tyson's first Big Apple appearance since getting sprung from stir has been scaled back after community opposition.

Instead of a rally outside the Apollo Theater Tuesday, a ceremony inside and a 125th Street parade, the ex-con's welcome will be limited to a news conference and a visit to a Harlem charity.

Said Jill Nelson of African-Americans Against Violence: "We expect those who wish to be treated as role models and heroes to demonstrate to the community the importance of respecting women." She added that events to ''promote Mike Tyson are inappropriate, offensive and unacceptable."


* Henry Kissinger will get an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth Tuesday, noting his contributions to Anglo-U.S. relations. The Nobel Peace Prize winner will be allowed to use after his name the initials K.C.M.G. - Knight Commander in the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George - but can't get us to call him "Sir." That's for Brits only.

Prince Edward, asked in a London TV interview yesterday whether nups to girlfriend Sophie Rhys-Jones were in sight, delivered a curt but ringing ''No." Ed, 31, was on the show plugging a documentary he's working on about an esoteric, 400-year-old sport called real or royal tennis. No love!


* A spokesman for Courtney Love, 30, said the rocker was "fine" after her latest drug episode, that she wouldn't drop out of the Lollapalooza tour and would play a scheduled gig next weekend in L.A. He added that Kurt Cobain's widow, hospitalized and released on Sunday, "took too many" of a pill "she takes when she flies - similar to Valium, maybe a little stronger."

Christopher Reeve, 42, sits in a special chair several times a day for 30 minutes at a time, is eating a soft diet, can speak when a ventilator is removed for brief periods, but still can't breathe alone. He has received more then 200 flower arrangments - spread among other hospital patients - and more than 8,000 pieces of mail last weekend alone.

The Rev. Billy Graham, 76, was back in a Toronto hospital yesterday for tests for a condition that has dogged him for the last week. The evangelist's son, Franklin, said his father was "the sickest he's been in recent years" and revealed that last week the preacher was more serious than was let on, having lost "about a third of his blood" before treatment.


* Luther Campbell filed for bankruptcy protection Monday in Miami to keep fellow rapper M.C. Shy D from getting his cash. Last year Campbell was ordered to pay D $1.6 mil in disputed royalties.

Pamela Hyatt, who dropped out of college last week after winning $86 mil in a lottery, was chased down Sunday by a New York waiter who thought she made a mistake by leaving a $100 tip on a $40 check. Said Hyatt, 26: "Now that I have all this money I go out of my way to give extraordinarily high tips to attentive waiters who serve good food. I love to see their responses."


* Bob Dylan will do two unexpected TLA performances June 21 and 22. They will be the rock icon's South Street debut. Tix - $22.50 - go on sale at noon today. Four-tix limit. Dylan, opening for the Grateful Dead at some stadium sites, sprang for the gig to fill in off-days.

Love and Latkas, a Flourtown musical comedy group, is looking for warm bodies to comprise a live audience at a taping for Gene Crane's TV show, Over 50. The taping will be at Channel 10's Bala Cynwyd studios next Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

Huntingdon Valley's Susan Piper has been named one of six winners - from an initial field of 765 contestants - at the Kerrville (Texas) Folk Festival's New Folk Concerts for Emerging Songwriters. The singer/songwriter is the first Philly-area talent to win at the 20-year-old fete. Last year Philly's Patti Shea was a finalist. The festival has been a career start for many performers, including Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffith.

Frankie Avalon, appearing with Fabian and Bobby Rydell last weekend in Atlantic City, was asked about the movement to have a South Philly street renamed Rydell Drive. "Why shouldn't he have a street named after him?" said Avalon. "I've got a car and a city named after me."


* David Schwimmer, despite public affection for Jennifer Aniston, fellow cast member of TV's Friends, appears most serious about a New Orleans lawyer, Sarah Trimble, 24, who's clerking for a federal judge. They've known each other two years.

Couple du jour: Paula Abdul and Chris Isaak.

New Eagles quarterback Rodney Peete married actress Holly Robinson - Vanessa on TV's Hangin' With Mr. Cooper - last weekend at the Brentwood, Calif , home of CBS exec Leslie Moonves. Jesse Jackson officiated. James Ingram sang. E.J. Johnson, Magic's boy, carried rings.

Cindy Crawford's so-called mystery man, seen in tabloid pix, turns out to be Stephen Knoll, a hairdresser she has known forever. "I hope I've always been the man in her life," said he. "I do cut her hair, you know."

Nicole and Tony Rodham, wed in the White House a year ago, greeted their first child, Zachary, Friday in Miami. He's Hillary's brother. She's Sen. Barbara Boxer's daughter.


* Four ex-bodyguards for Michael Jackson are in an L.A. court this week pressing their case that the pop star dumped them because they knew too much about what they say were his dalliances with young boys. Said their lawyer: ''They were the only people who saw him coming and going because they were the ones at the guard gate." Jackson's lawyers deny such liaisons and charges of a cover-up.

Marcia Clark got a preliminary yes to her request to keep from media eyes details of her child-custody fight with her separated husband. Gordon Clark has often gone public with tidbits of their case. An L.A. Superior Court administrator is expected to decide the privacy issue this week.

'Bridges' To Be Crossed Off Times' Bestseller List

Posted: September 15, 1995

Robert James Waller's The Bridges of Madison County, on the New York Times bestseller list longer than any fictional book in more than 40 years, will drop off on Sept. 24 after 162 weeks.

The record of 178 weeks is held by The Robe, about the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

"It wasn't just a bestseller," Times book review editor Charles McGrath said of Bridges. "It became a huge phenomenon."

Indeed, in the last year at least 30 couples have wed at covered bridges in Madison County, Iowa, and next month a hundred busloads of pilgrims are set to hit Winterset for the county's 26th annual covered bridge festival.

In other news from the book world, in her autobio, A Hell of a Life, out this week, Maureen Stapleton, 70, gracefully tells of her first date with legendary theatrical figure George Abbott when he was 81. "He took me home and into the bedroom," writes the actress. "And if I recall correctly - and I know I am recalling correctly - we stayed there quite happily for a good long time."


* Hammer is in a major fiscal fix and could lose a real estate empire including his $9 mil San Francisco Bay mansion. He owes $42,000 in taxes on it plus he's defaulted on payments for three other Bay Area properties. One, up for auction Wednesday, got a reprieve when the rapper negotiated a delay until Oct. 16. He's out with a new CD this week, M.C. Hammer V Inside Out. Please!

Anthony Quinn last week closed on a $1.5 mil 15-acre spread in a secluded area of Bristol, R.I. The actor, 80, got the property in a bankruptcy deal. It includes a Bermuda-style main house with blue shutters and white trim, barn, swimming pool, apple orchard, and a view overlooking Narragansett Bay from which Providence, North Kingstown, and the Newport bridge can be seen. Waitress Lucy Pacheco said she served Quinn at a local eatery and when she asked him for a hug "he was very obliging." As always!


* TV religion star the Rev. Robert H. Schuller will sign his new book, Prayer: My Soul's Adventure With God - A Spiritual Autobiography, Sept. 26, 10 a.m. to noon, at Gene's Books in the King of Prussia Plaza. Mr. Schuller, whose Hour of Power is seen in 184 countries, this year marks the 45th anniversary of both his ordination and marriage.

Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua will get a lifetime achievement award for humanitarian service from the National Italian American Foundation, Oct. 21, at the Washington Hilton Hotel in D.C. NIAF says its annual two-day confabs are the largest annual gatherings of Italian Americans in the nation.


* Lorenzo Lamas, hunkish star of the Renegade TV series, is about to pledge eternal fidelity to Wife No. 4. She's Shauna Sand, 24, an aspiring model- slash-actress. Must be truest love. Didn't he give her a four-carat, pear- shaped diamond? Drive her to Manhattan's Le Cirque in a limo filthy with white roses? Take her on a midnight helicopter ride?

Not all breakups need be vitriolic. Meshulam Riklis led the applause for the Monday performance of his ex, Pia Zadora, in Broadway's Crazy for You. Then afterward he and his new girlfriend took Zadora and her new husband, Jonathan Kaufer, out to dinner.

Sounds weird but the New York Post insists - doesn't say what, mind you - that something's going on between Barbra Streisand and Prince Charles. Says they got on famously when he visited L.A. earlier this year, and a few weeks ago, when Elton John arrived at Charles' Brit digs for what he thought was din de deux, who should be there with fork in hand but Herself. Babs and Chaz?


* Hootie & the Blowfish quietly waited as South Carolina politicos debated whether the S.C. band should get the state's top honor, the Order of the Palmetto. But before a Wednesday concert in Columbia, the band basically told them to shove it. The members said it had become a "political and media issue." Lead singer Darius Rucker added: "I don't want to run for office."

The first Grateful Dead release since Jerry Garcia's death will be out tomorrow. Grayfolded has been in progress for several years. It's the work of Canadian John Oswald, a digital manipulator, who put together a two-CD set of a single song lasting 136 minutes. Raiding Dead vaults, Oswald blended hundreds of performances of the song "Dark Star," done by the band over 25 years, into a single thread. Pieces of 64 drum solos by Bill Kreutzmann have been distilled to a minute.

The first album totally produced by Bruce Springsteen will be out Oct. 10. It's American Babylon and features Pittsburgh rocker Joe Grushecky.


* Director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas are about proudly hyping their offering, Showgirls - out next Friday - the most widely distributed NC-17-rated flick by a major studio. The $39 mil movie about Las Vegas erotic dancers features all manner of nudity and simulated sex. "I decided to make a movie available to the world the way I wanted it to be," said Verhoeven, 57, of Basic Instinct fame. "I wanted to show how people try to survive in a world where decency is not the norm." Eszterhas believes the flick "is important for young people to hear" and encourages them to get ''fake IDs . . . do whatever you have to do to see it." Responded Jack Valenti, head of the Motion Picture Association of America: "If Mr. Eszterhas actually made those remarks he is desperately ill and needs medical attention." The movie opens on 1,250 screens. The last mainstream studio NC- 17er, 1990's Henry & June, played 308 screens.


* Hugh Grant will star in Extreme Measures but Elizabeth Hurley won't. So says a Castle Rock Entertainment spokesman disputing a Hollywood Reporter story saying the two non-reel-life lovers would team up in the movie. The spokesman said Hurley would co-produce it.

Christopher Reeve will give the first interview since his paralyzing horseback riding accident to Barbara Walters. It'll air Oct. 13 on TV's 20/20. His wife, Dana Morosini, will also be interviewed.

Reeve Tells Walters About Suicide Thoughts

Posted: September 29, 1995

Superman star Christopher Reeve briefly considered suicide after he was paralyzed in a fall from a horse.

But the thoughts ended when he saw his children, the 42-year-old Reeve told ABC's Barbara Walters in an interview to be aired tonight.

"I could see how much they needed me and wanted me . . . and how lucky we all are and that my brain is on straight," he said in his first interview since he broke his neck in May, leaving him with no movement from his shoulders down. "The thought vanished and has never come back again."

Reeve needs a ventilator to breathe and is learning to get around in an electric wheelchair.

For eight weeks after the accident, he said, "The demons would get me in the middle of the night. In my dreams I'd be whole, riding my horse, playing with my family. We'd be making love, we'd be doing everything. And then suddenly I'd wake up and it's 2 in the morning and I'm lying in bed and I can't move and I'm on a ventilator. Those are the worst times."

He said that he suggested to his wife, Dana Morosini, "Maybe I should just check out."

"And then Dana said to me, 'You're still you and I love you,' " Reeve recalled.


* Tickets for Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers' Oct. 26 show at the Electric Factory with John Eddie opening go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m., but won't be available at Ticketmaster outlets. Fans desperately seeking Grushecky - whose new album, American Babylon (Razor & Tie), is a collaboration of sorts with a producer, guitarist and songwriter named Bruce Springsteen - can pick up $15 ducats at the Theater of Living Arts or Electric Factory Concerts box offices, or through Ticketmaster charge by phone (215-336-2000). There's a four ticket per-person limit, and it's a 21-and-older show.


* Despite the ads, this weekend's season premiere of the reshuffled Saturday Night Live won't include the artist formerly known as Prince, formerly known as the musical guest for the kickoff show. "Personal reasons" is all NBC is saying about the Enigmatic One's cancellation. Blues Traveler will step in, with Central Park West star Mariel Hemingway as guest host.


* Princess Di, invited to a luncheon of The Literary Review in London , told the assembled literati that she felt privileged to be invited to "a highly exclusive gathering of intellects."

"Apparently, some people are wondering what Diana, that notorious illiterate, is doing at a distinguished scholarly occasion such as this," she said at the lunch.

"I've made time between therapy sessions and secret trysts to attempt to reply," she added. Then, to applause and laughter, the princess let loose with a limerick:

"The princess was heard to declare,

Let gossips poke fun if they dare.

My real inspiration

Is Bron's invitation,

Stick that in your tabloids, so there."


* LeRoy Neiman didn't need a brush or a palette for his latest effort: a $6 million donation to Columbia University.

The donation, the largest ever received by the university's School of Arts, will help pay for The LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies, Columbia officials said Wednesday. The center, with up to 200 artists, will have studios for lithography, silkscreening, photography and computer art. The painter's gift will also fund a professorship by an internationally recognized artist who will head the center.


* Singer Bobby Brown, husband of Whitney Houston, escaped injury in Boston early Wednesday when a gunman opened fire outside a rundown city bar, but Brown's sister's fiance was killed.

Steven Sealy, 31, of Chamblee, Ga., was shot while sitting in Brown's cream-colored Bentley. Brown, 26, was standing outside the car with a bodyguard. The shooting of Sealy set off a brief gun battle, with more than a dozen shots fired, witnesses said.

The incident took place shortly before 1 a.m. as Brown left the Biarritz Lounge in the city's Roxbury section, a block from where he grew up.

Sealy was shot at least three times in the face and chest. There were bullet holes in the car's windshield and hood.


* Now comes Ivanka Trump, The Donald and Ivana's 13-year old. Ivanka, it is said (by a publicist, of course), wants to be a model. To prepare for the career, Ivanka spent last weekend at Trump's Palm Beach estate, surrounded by photographers, assorted stylists and others expert in building a portfolio.

The Donald says he's very proud of her ambitions but would be ''devastated" if his kid were to get to be more famous than he is.


* The widow of rapper Eazy-E, who died in March of AIDS, has given birth to their second child.

Tomica Woods-Wright had a 7-pound, 5-ounce girl, Daijah Nakia, at Cedars- Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, publicist Norman Winter said Wednesday. The baby is being tested for the AIDS virus.

Eazy-E, whose real name was Eric Wright, co-founded the pioneering ''gangsta" rap group N.W.A. He was 31.

Woods-Wright, 26, and her other child by Wright, 2-year-old Dominick, have tested negative for the AIDS virus.

Tammy Faye Messner Is Treated For Colon Cancer

Posted: March 22, 1996

Tammy Faye Messner has colon cancer that required emergency surgery this week. A lawyer for her husband, Roe Messner - sentenced Wednesday to 27 months in jail for bankruptcy fraud - said: ``. . . They hoped it had not spread. I think they found that it has. And she will be undergoing very aggressive chemotherapy and radiation therapy over the next six to eight weeks.'' The development accounts for the absence of Messner, former wife of televangelist Jim Bakker, at the Wednesday sentencing. The lawyer said Roe Messner has prostate cancer but hasn't been treated because he doesn't have medical insurance.

LOCALLY CONNECTED * Philly jazz guitarist Pat Martino, forced to relearn his instrument after a 1980 brain aneurysm, just got a new contract with Blue Note Records. In a few weeks, he'll begin work on an album that should be out in the fall.

Prospect Park's Philip Yates and Matt Rissinger of Audubon, Montgomery County, authors of The Great Book of Zany Jokes, will do a free stand-up comedy routine for kids - lots of knock-knocks and word plays - tomorrow, 10:30 a.m., at Gene's Books in King of Prussia Plaza.

Event chair David Schwartz says the Arthritis Foundation's local chapter will benefit from its first Oscar-night do, Monday, between 8 and midnight at the Rittenhouse Hotel. For tix: 215-665-9200. Same night, same time, WMMR-FM's Pierre Robert and Michael Norris, who answers questions in the Ritz theaters' house mag, will head up an Oscar party to benefit the AIDS Information Network at the Black Banana, 247 Race St. For tix: 215-893-1145.

SICK-BAY REPORT Michelle Carew, daughter of baseball player Rod Carew, today will undergo a medical procedure to treat leukemia at Children's Hospital in Orange County, Calif. Michelle, 18, who's been waiting for a bone marrow transplant, will instead have an umbilical-cord-blood transplant. In the eight-year-old alternative procedure, cord blood obtained from an unrelated donor will be introduced into her bloodstream. She also suffers from cardiac and kidney dysfunction.

k.d. lang has been laid up this week at the Miami home of a friend, tending to a severe sunburn she got last weekend in the Bahamas. She's due next Friday at a Manhattan fash benefit.

THE MOVIE SET * Nicolas Cage and Susan Sarandon will win Monday's best-acting Oscars, according to more than 150,000 fans who registered their votes with MovieFone, an automated movie schedule service in 26 cities. Other predicted winners, voted on between March 4 and Tuesday: Mel Gibson, best director, and his movie, Braveheart, best flick.

Christopher Reeve has his first post-fall job. He and Amy Grant will narrate the animated special The Lion and the Lamb, which will be shopped around as a Christmas special this year. Part of the show's proceeds will go to spinal-injury research.

Steven Spielberg will give Kirk Douglas his lifetime achievement Oscar Monday, but that's not how it was planned. The initial idea was to have the actor's boys, Michael, Joel, Peter and Eric, do it. But academy officials were scared off by the recent bizarre behavior of Eric, arrested again Monday for letting his dog run wild on an airline flight. Since his absence would be conspicuous, organizers canned all four sons.

WHEN BAD IS GOOD * A testament to the connection of celebrity, media and money is the case of Mike Tyson and the baseball cap with the ``Live Hard'' logo he wore at a prefight news conference last week. The cap was given to the boxer unsolicited last month by Michael Kupferberg, one of the two 26-year-old founders of Chicago-based Live Hard Sportwear, in biz but 14 months. Since Tyson wore the cap, for no fee, Live Hard's 1996 projected revenue zoomed 10-fold, to $10 mil.

MUSIC MAKERS * Native son Glen Ballard, who last week saw official praise from the Mississippi House rescinded when legislators learned the Grammy Award-winning song he cowrote, Alanis Morissette's ``You Oughta Know,'' had naughty words, came back at them Wednesday. ``Mississippi has consistently misunderstood and undervalued its artists,'' said the Natchez songwriter. Ballard cited William Faulkner and Elvis Presley as examples of Mississippi artists ``criticized in their time by some in their native state who decided that their works failed to conform to a narrow sensibility.''

Ready on not, here comes Manhattan Upper East Side rapper Infidel with her first record, ``Good Cop/Bad Cop,'' which supports police. She's the alter ego of Park Avenue shrink Lauren Lawrence. MTV is in receipt of her video, Terrorist Lover. Help, Snoop, help!

MARKINGS * Mexican buffoon ``Superbarrio'' Gomez opened his bid for the U.S. presidency Wednesday in Mexico City. His motto: ``In Wetbacks We Trust.'' Never mind he's not the required American citizen. The caped and spandex-dressed candidate, riding a white limo, believes citizens of all the Americas should be allowed to vote in the U.S. election.

Chris Rock, campaign reporter for TV's Politically Incorrect, describing his journalistic method: ``. . . When the President comes on, I watch for 10 minutes to see if we're at war. And then I turn on the Knicks game or something. I'm not going to die - click.''

A `Braveheart' Victory Cage, Sarandon Also Winners

Posted: March 26, 1996

Braveheart is in the Oscar highlands. The epic about 13th century Scottish patriot William Wallace swept the Academy Awards last night like the ax-wielding warriors in actor-director Mel Gibson's film. It took five Oscars in all, including best picture and director.

In winning the latter prize, Gibson joined the company of actor-auteurs Laurence Olivier and Kevin Costner. ``Now that I'm Oscar's golden boy, what I'd really like to do is act,'' quipped Gibson, graciously accepting his statuette.

The rest of the awards were all over the map. On screen it may have been the year of the hooker, but Susan Sarandon won actress honors for playing a nun in Dead Man Walking, the powerful drama directed by her longtime companion, actor Tim Robbins. She saluted him as ``my partner in crime and all affairs of the heart.''

At the other end of the moral spectrum, Nicolas Cage won the actor award for his part as a suicidal alcoholic in the downbeat romance Leaving Las Vegas.

For the first time in memory there was no clear frontrunner going into the ceremony, which made for an unpredictable evening presided over by a confident and frequently hilarious Whoopi Goldberg.

The thriller The Usual Suspects won two awards, one for its canny original screenplay, written by Christopher McQuarrie; the second for supporting actor Kevin Spacey, who played the role of master manipulator to the hilt.

For her role as the helium-voiced prostitute in Mighty Aphrodite, Mira Sorvino took home the supporting-actress prize.

Emma Thompson, who teased the Jane Austen novel Sense and Sensibility to scenario life, won the prize for adapted screenplay. Now Thompson has a mate for the best-actress statuette she won for Howards End in 1992.

Pocahontas nabbed a pair of awards, one for its musical score and the other for the song ``Colors of the Wind.''

Likewise, two artistic awards - for costumes and art direction - went to Restoration, the sumptuous 17th century comedy-drama. Apollo 13 also took two prizes: for sound and editing. Babe brought home the bacon for the seamless visual effects that had audiences believing that animals could talk. And Braveheart took three additional statuettes - for cinematography, sound-effects editing and makeup.

In winning the foreign-language prize for her movie Antonia's Line, Dutch filmmaker Marleen Gorris became the first woman in Oscar history to receive an award for directing a feature film.

Despite talk of protests about Hollywood's ``institutional racism'' from Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition, there were no pickets outside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, where Goldberg swept onstage and introduced herself as ``Mighty Afro-Deity.''

``I have something to say to Jesse Jackson,'' announced Goldberg, ``but he's not watching, so forget it.''

At the request of Mr. Jackson - who said he did not want to put Goldberg or Oscar telecast producer Quincy Jones in an uncomfortable position - demonstrators against Hollywood's ``institutional racism'' took their protests to affiliates of ABC, the network that broadcast the event.

During the telecast, a rally against Hollywood's racial exclusion and cultural distortion was to be held in 25 cities, including Philadelphia, the director of the Rainbow Coalition's Commission for Fairness in Media said yesterday afternoon. Seventy-five people, including Mr. Jackson, turned up at KABC-TV in Los Angeles. A crowd of 200 demonstrated at the ABC affiliate in Washington. But as of 9:30, no pickets were outside Channel 6 (WPVI) on City Avenue.

The protest was triggered by the dearth of African Americans among the 166 Oscar contenders this year. The only black nominee was live-action short director Dianne Houston, who did not win.

In recent months, Hollywood has been a target of political leaders who have criticized the industry for undermining family values. However, at last night's event, all but one of the best-picture nominees was rated G or PG. Braveheart received an R rating - for its violent battle sequences.

Goldberg was in fine form, and tweaked one of Hollywood's leading critics by joking, ``Oscar is 68, younger than Bob Dole. . . . I'm glad he's going to get the nomination because then he'll be too busy to go to the movies.'' She set the tone for the evening, razzing Republican presidential candidates and virtually every other authority figure.

By keeping the emphasis on fun, Goldberg and Jones goosed along the lumbering elephant of a show, which ran three hours and 35 minutes and was broadcast to more than a billion viewers worldwide.

Toy Story animator John Lasseter won a special Oscar over which characters Woody and Buzz Lightyear teasingly fought. Basketball hero Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and action superstar Jackie Chan, measuring 7'2'' and 5'9'' respectively, lightheartedly presented the awards for short subjects. The animated short ``A Close Shave'' netted creator Nick Park the third Oscar of his career.

Kirk Douglas, the cleft-chinned icon who has never won an Oscar, took home a special statuette in recognition of his ``50 years as a creative and moral force in the motion-picture community.''

As the boxer in Champion, the painter Vincent van Gogh in Lust for Life, the freedom fighter Spartacus, and the last cowboy in Lonely Are the Brave, Douglas created an extraordinary gallery of roles, many in films that he produced. Douglas, 79, had a stroke earlier in the month, but was on hand to accept the Oscar from presenter Steven Spielberg, who hailed his courage.

Actor Christopher Reeve, who was paralyzed in an equestrian accident last year, provided another emotional moment when he took the stage in his wheelchair and received a standing ovation. Reeve introduced a montage of films that inspired social action..

A touching interlude was also provided by tap dancer Savion Glover, performing a tribute to Gene Kelly, who died earlier this year.

Master animator Chuck Jones, the guy who made Daffy Duck run amok and put the lunacy into Looney Tunes, received an honorary statuette from a most animated Robin Williams. Jones, 83, previously won on Oscar for his animated short ``The Dot and the Line'' in 1965.

The awards for both feature-length and short documentaries went to chronicles with Holocaust themes. When Jon Blair, the producer of the feature Anne Frank Remembered, introduced Miep Gies, who found the young girl's chronicle on the floor of her Amsterdam hideout, stunned silence swept the pavilion. It was a sound almost as thunderous as applause.

Misguided Health-care Decision

Posted: May 24, 1996

Is it churlish to raise questions about Christopher Reeve's success in obtaining an additional $10 million in government money for researchers working on spinal-cord injury?

Clearly yes, given that Reeve, of Superman film renown, remains paralyzed from a riding accident last year. Determined to regain his health, Reeve has been campaigning for an expansion of research to benefit the thousands who share his affliction. In a wheelchair, and dependent on a respirator, he is a heroic figure.

With proper support, he optimistically says, scientists can solve the daunting problem of regenerating severed nerves in five or six years. Recently, in a packed Senate hearing room, Reeve said President Clinton had pledged an additional $10 million for research. Key Senators said they would do their part to provide the money.

A happy outcome, in the best tradition of responsive government? Not at all.

Making health-research choices on the basis of celebrity status and exaggerated hopes of breakthroughs is no formula for arriving at wise choices. This is especially so in an era when health research is facing hard times.

If another $10 million a year for research can indeed solve the mystery of nerve regeneration in relatively short order, then two extremely disturbing questions arise: If that's all that's required, why was it lacking until a dramatically injured Hollywood celebrity took up the cause? And if money won't make the difference, then why is precious money being thrown at this problem?

Daughter Says Flynt Molested Her

Posted: May 25, 1996

Tonya Flynt-Vega, 31, daughter of Larry Flynt, has accused the Hustler mag founder of sexually abusing her from before age 10 until she was 18. Flynt-Vega said she came forward now because a film being made by Oliver Stone's production company depicts her father ``as an American hero and pornography as being harmless.'' Flynt, 53, countered that his daughter has ``serious mental problems'' and ``was a habitual liar [who] would do anything to get attention and that's what she's doing now.'' The movie, The People Vs. Larry Flynt, is now shooting and stars Woody Harrelson and Courtney Love.

MORE FAMILY MATTERS * Woody Allen and Mia Farrow are back in court and their gag-ordered lawyers are mute about it all. But Allen has said previously that he wants to spend more time and have more unsupervised visits with his son, Satchel, 7, who now goes by Seamus. Allen now sees him six hours a week. Farrow and the filmmaker met privately Thursday in a Manhattan courthouse.

TOP OF THE WORLD, MA! * Ang Rita Sherpa became the first person to reach the peak of Mount Everest 10 times after arriving at the top Wednesday without using oxygen. Nepalese Ang Rita, 48, first conquered the world's highest mountain in 1983.

David Breashears, who made it to the top Thursday, became the first person to record his Everest feat in IMAX, the world's largest movie format. Breashears, 41, shot his peak experience on a modified, 33-pound IMAX camera on a single role of 500-foot film. It'll be part of a 40-minute film, Everest: Pinnacle of the World, to be released in late 1997.

DENIAL RIVER * Madonna's spokesman has put the lie to a report that a sonogram reveals the pop star's fetus to be female, that her name will be Lola, and that the kid will be delivered by C-section. ``It's completely untrue,'' said the spokesman yesterday. ``Madonna does not know the sex of the baby; therefore, how could she name it? She does not know how she will give birth. That will be up to the doctor.''

Prince Albert branded as ``preposterous'' a report that Princess Grace's stuff will go on the block a la Jacqueline Onassis. In New York this week for a Princess Grace Foundation do, the prince said that ``it's never even been an issue. I don't know where that came from.'' The report had the auction take going to the foundation that funds promising artists.

THE MOVIE SET * The Tom Cruise-starrer Mission Impossible set a gross record for a midweek opening movie by taking in $11.75 mil Wednesday and Thursday. That topped Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which raked in $11.66 mil in two days in 1991. Mission also opened at a record number of venues, 2,932 screens. A Manhattan Sony theater is exhibiting the movie on all six screens with showings every half-hour.

Christopher Reeve has signed to direct a one-hour movie for HBO that'll air next year. In the Gloaming, adapted from a New Yorker story by Alice Elliot Dark, is about a young man who returns to his parents' home to die of AIDS and how his return changes the relationships among them. Production is scheduled to begin in the fall. Said the wheelchair-bound Reeve: ``This is a terrific project for me to make the transition from acting to directing.''

MARKINGS * Dan Quayle and a line of almost 600 people waiting for him to sign his book were driven from a Borders bookstore in Scottsdale, Ariz., because of a bomb scare Thursday. Cops searched the place after a phone call was received but found nothing. ``It unfortunately goes with the territory,'' said the ex-veep, who, outside the store, continued to shake hands and sign copies of The American Family: Discovering the Values That Make Us Strong.

Jose Carreras announced in Rome Thursday the full Three Tenors summer tour that opens June 29 in Tokyo. The other stops, starring him, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, are: London; Vienna; New York; Goteborg, Sweden; plus Munich and Dusseldorf in Germany.

At Horse Show, Actor's Accident Is Taboo Subject Riders Are Aware That What Happened To Christopher Reeve Can Happen To Anybody.

Posted: May 30, 1996

DEVON — Almost exactly a year ago today, actor Christopher Reeve was thrown from his horse when it unexpectedly halted in front of a jump at a Virginia competition. Although Reeve was wearing a helmet, he broke his neck, damaged his spinal cord, and is now a quadriplegic.

This week at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, some of the nation's best equestrians make the sport look effortless. The well-postured riders, on their burnished, buffed horses, take difficult jumps with such ease and grace that it is easy to ignore the danger that many say is inherent in the sport.

And Reeve's accident is a taboo subject to many here.

``It was all over TV and the magazines, but I don't think I've ever heard horse people talk about it,'' said Rob Burroughs, a horse groomer at North Run Farms in Buffalo, N.Y. That farm, like many other horse organizations, made the trip to Devon to compete in the horse show, which runs through Sunday.

``Hundreds of people fall off a day,'' Burroughs said, but death or paralysis in the sport is not common. Reeve ``just fell off the wrong way,'' he said.

``I wouldn't think too many people would want to talk about it, but Christopher Reeve is an example of how dangerous this sport can be,'' said Gary Goller, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which performed at the show earlier this week.

Susie Schoellkopf, the owner of SBS Farms in Buffalo, said that the severe nature of Reeve's injuries is an anomaly, and that she does not talk about his accident with her riders.

``We're defensive about it, because it doesn't happen that much,'' she said.

Many of those who spend much of their time around horses say that most are temperamental animals with distinct personalities. Like humans, horses get nervous at big competitions. But unlike their riders, horses lack the cognitive resources to deal with the hubbub of major competitions.

Instead, as people in the horse world put it, horses get ``spooked.'' When frightened, even the best-trained will rear, buck and neigh.

Reeve's accident is widely considered to be a freak occurrence, but, as many riders say, spend enough time riding horses and eventually you'll fall off. To make it in this sport - where the main athletes weigh about 1,500 pounds - you have to be tough as well as good.

Katie Prudent, the owner and rider for Plain Bay Farms in Middleburg, Va., who is trying out for the Olympic equestrian team this year, is living proof.

Six years ago, the horse she was riding fell to its knees after a jump, and she fell off and hit her head. Prudent did not want to discuss the details of the accident, but said she had brain surgery. At another competition a few years later, her horse fell through a jump, and she broke her collar bone.

``I would say almost every rider has broken something,'' she said. ``But at our level, on a percentage basis, you don't see a lot of very serious accidents.''

While walking Brother, an amber-colored American thoroughbred with veins bulging to the size of string beans and nostrils as big as pickles, Burroughs said he once broke a few of his ribs when his horse hit the brakes in front of a jump, sending him sailing.

Patty Foster, a trainer for Rolling Acre Farms in Brookville, Md., said the horse show at Devon is different from other shows, where the rings are surrounded mostly by trees. At Devon, she said, the scene is not as serene: Children run by the exhibit ring, people open umbrellas just a few feet from passing horses, and nearby carnival games and rides create a cacophony that can put even the most docile horse on edge.

In the doorway of the Plain Bay Farm barn at Devon, workers put up a rope to keep the public out. ``Our horses aren't mean, but if they don't know you, they may bite,'' said Rebekah Robinson, a groom with the farm. ``We don't want to be responsible for any little kids getting hurt.''

Amy Grim, a groom for Snooty Fox Farms in Allentown, said someone slammed a window shut in their Devon stable a few days ago, surprising one of the horses. The horse ``freaked,'' she said, and knocked down the stable door with a swift hind-leg kick.

``You never know what's going on in their minds,'' she said.

Hemingway Spoke Of Life's Meaning In Interview

Posted: July 04, 1996

In her final interview, done June 7 in cyberspace, Margaux Hemingway said she had learned the secret of life.

``You have to keep fighting. That's what life is all about - leading with your heart,'' Hemingway said.

Hemingway, 41, was found dead Monday in her Santa Monica, Calif., apartment. Her observations on life and other subjects were made during a ``Celebrity Spotlight'' cyberchat on the Prodigy online service.

She said that she had been plagued with dyslexia most of her life and that she had suffered from diabetes and epilepsy as well. Friends of the actress said they believed the latter condition may have contributed to her death.

Hemingway, who was the granddaughter of two-fisted literary giant Ernest Hemingway, said in the chat that she fondly remembered ``Papa.''

``I remember sitting on his knee when I was a baby and him being very big and burly,'' she wrote. ``He died in 1961 when I was quite young.''

MUNSTER MASHED * Butch Patrick, who spent his childhood in pallid makeup and a widow's peak as Eddie Munster, was arrested last week after allegedly pulling out in traffic and hitting another car. Booked under his real name, Patrick Alan Lilley, he was charged Friday with driving with a suspended or revoked license and failure to yield. He was released the same day after posting about $1,200 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 7. Lilley, 42, said his license was revoked in California because he refused to pay insurance there and in Georgia, where he now lives. He has been seen most recently on television as the grown-up Eddie in a Little Caesars Pizza commercial. The woman whose car he hit, Wendy Rutecky, didn't recognize him as the boy in the 1960s TV hit The Munsters.

``I thought he was just an ordinary person,'' she said. Maybe he should have kept on the ghoulish costume.

CAN'T FORGET HIM * Hundreds of rock fans, many clutching flowers and some in tears, made a pilgrimage yesterday to the grave of Jim Morrison, 25 years after the cult singer-poet of The Doors died of a drug overdose in Paris.

Police guarded the Pere Lachaise cemetery to turn away those planning to mute their grief with drugs or alcohol. Other guards struggled to keep mourners, many born after the American's death, from trampling nearby tombs or scrawling graffiti. Hey, people are strange.

Mourners, ranging from teenage girls to aging bearded rock fans with shoulder-length hair, stood silently by the tomb, covered with a huge wreath of red roses and marked ``James Douglas Morrison. 8.12.43 to 3.7.71.''

LOCALLY CONNECTED * Rodney Hicks, 22, a Mount Airy native, has been added to the cast of Rent, the popular, Tony Award-winning Broadway musical that is running at the Nederlander Theater in New York. He was also a member of the musical's cast when it opened off Broadway. Hicks graduated from Roxborough High in 1992 after attending the High School for Creative and Performing Arts.

HE'S BACK * Christopher Reeve has agreed to play a small but key role in a CBS movie, his first acting job since he was paralyzed last year.

The movie is about a mother, played by Judith Light, whose insurance company refuses to pay for her paralyzed son's rehabilitation. The family meets Reeve's character, a quadriplegic who counsels them and gives them hope.

Filming begins this month, with the Superman star scheduled for about one day's worth of work. An airdate has yet to be set.

Reeve is also planning his directorial debut with the HBO movie In the Gloaming and is providing narration for an HBO documentary Without Pity.

Reeve, who uses a respirator-equipped wheelchair, was paralyzed from the neck down after a May 1995 fall in a horseback-riding competition.

SICK CALL * Former NBC News anchorman John Chancellor, who has battled stomach cancer for two years, was listed in fair condition at the Princeton Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said. She said Chancellor, 69, was admitted Monday but declined to give further details.

Chancellor retired from NBC in 1993 after 43 years with the network. He was the anchorman of the nightly news from 1970 to 1982 when he became the program's commentator, a post he held for 11 years.

He also covered four wars for the network and was its White House correspondent.

LEGAL BRIEF * A waiter at an upscale restaurant in Charleston, W.Va., has been suspended for being rude to daughters of Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier.

Actress Shari Belafonte, her sister Adrienne Belafonte Biesmayer, Pamela Poitier and Alycia Allen, North Carolina's teacher of the year, were refused service despite a reservation at Laury's.

Biesmayer said that she does not believe the June 22 incident was racially motivated, but that she had a hard time convincing her companions of that.

``I'm 47 years old and a resident of West Virginia for 30 years,'' she said. ``This is the first time I've had such an experience.''

Owner Fazo Mirzakhani suspended the unidentified waiter for a week. He said it is not Laury's policy to discriminate.

``If he was being racial, I'll fire him,'' he said.

DOIN' IT * Rapper/actor/self-proclaimed lover LL Cool J has been hit with a sexual discrimination/breach of contract suit by female rapper LeShaun. She's suing because she said he refused to use her in the video for the popular track ``Doin' It,'' which she cowrote, because she was pregnant. (The ironies here are endless.) And she's also ticked because he used a remix of ``Doin' It'' called ``Doin' It Again'' on The Nutty Professor sound track without asking her or her label, Tommy Boy Records. She hasn't been paid for the remix or the sound track.

Streisand To Sing At Clinton Benefit

Posted: August 24, 1996

Barbra Streisand will perform live for the first time in two years at a Sept. 12 fund-raiser in Bel Air for President Clinton.

The do, at the estate of supermarket tycoon Ron Burkle, will cost attendees $2,500 each. The Eagles and the Neville Brothers will also perform.

Listed among the party-givers: Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, Norman Lear, MCA chief exec Lew Wasserman, and Seagram CEO Edgar M. Bronfman Jr.

Kenny G is set to provide the Democratic Convention's first anticipated emotional moment Monday when he performs a tribute to Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, who died in an airplane crash April 3.

THE MOVIE SET * Glenn Close, Whoopi Goldberg and Bridget Fonda have signed on for the Christopher Reeve-directed HBO movie In the Gloaming, which starts shooting next month. It's about an AIDS victim who returns to his parents' house. The doomed man is played by Robert Sean Leonard, who was in last year's movie Safe Passage and starred in Tom Stoppard's Big Apple stage hit, Arcadia.

Jason James Richter and August Schellenberg will reprise their roles in the third installment of Free Willy, which has begun shooting in Howe Sound in Vancouver, British Columbia. Director is Sam Pillsbury (The Scarecrow).

Heather Matarazzo and Brendan Sexton Jr., teen stars of Welcome to the Dollhouse, are shooting a new movie in Manhattan's East Village. Jared Harris, Andy Warhol in I Shot Andy Warhol, is also in it. Hurricane is about a kid who falls in love the day a meteorite falls on Tompkins Square.

Fine Line will make a movie about Adm. Jeremy ``Mike'' Boorda, the Joint Chiefs of Staff member who killed himself earlier this year. The film will be based on Paul Alexander's article in the September issue of George mag, ``Brothers in Arms.''

COUPLES * Paula Zahn, 40, and husband Richard Cohen expect their third child Jan. 15. She recently left CBS This Morning but will turn up Sept. 14 as new anchor of the network's Saturday evening news show.

Pia Zadora expects her third next spring. She miscarried in February. Zadora, 40, has two kids by her ex, Meshulam Riklis, whom she divorced in 1993. She's married to writer/director Jonathan Kaufer.

Ex-world champion ski jumper Matti Nykanen, 33, (The Flying Finn) married Sari Paanala last week in Uurainen, Finland, and took his wife's name. ``I wanted to put behind the life of ski jumper Matti Nykanen,'' he said. ``I have a new life now.''

Vogue mag publisher Ron Galotti split with writer Candace Bushnell, causing a call-off of the big party he planned this weekend in the Hamptons in honor of Bushnell's new book, Sex and the City. Hate when that happens!

TV OR NOT TV * Sheela Allen-Stephens, who had a heart attack Sunday, was released yesterday from Allegheny University Hospitals, Center City, and has returned to her Main Line home.

Keith Hamilton Cobb, who's played hunkish Noah Keefer on All My Children the last two years, will leave the soap by the end of the year. The dreadlocked 6-foot-4, 220-pound actor says he's not mad at anybody, it's just that the role is ``not big enough for me. . . . It's not fair to me or the fans or ABC for me to do the job if I'm bored.'' The classically trained Cobb, 34, says he's had offers, but nothing solid.

MUSIC MAKERS * Madonna is said to be royally ticked at dance-music producer Junior Vasquez for using telephone messages she left on his answering machine in his latest club hit, ``If Madonna Calls, Tell Her I Am Not At Home.'' He didn't ask her permission, figuring she wouldn't mind. Wrong.

Snoop Doggy Dogg's lawyer says the reason the rapper gets into trouble with the law is because there are a lot of people who don't like his rapping. ``The nature of his music has been such that there are portions of society who don't care for it,'' David Kenner said Thursday in an L.A. court, where Dogg faces a gun-possession rap. ``That has a lot to do with what's going on.'' The judge said he'll rule on the case Sept. 27.

Reeve Carries A Plea For Disabled The Actor Asked For More Spending On Research. His Theme Was One Of Family And The Obligation To Help Those Who Are Suffering.

Posted: August 27, 1996

CHICAGO — Once he was Superman, the heroic image in four blockbuster movies of ``truth, justice and the American way.''

But last night, Christopher Reeve came to the Democratic National Convention as a paralyzed actor with a heartfelt plea on behalf of all disabled Americans.

He rolled to the podium in a wheelchair powered electronically by puffs of his breath - the only muscle power he can muster now.

Opening with a reference to President Clinton's pokey train to Chicago, and to his own Superman role, Reeve joked: ``Sir, I've seen your train go by - and I think I can beat it.''

The audience sat in rapt, silent attention as Reeve took ``family values'' for his theme.

``We're all family, and we all have value . . . we have to recognize that many members of our family are hurting,'' Reeve said, his voice clear but slightly croaking as he spoke in measured phrases to conserve his breath.

Reeve called for increased spending on research to enrich the lives of Americans suffering, as he does, from spinal-cord injuries, and also from such disabilities as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.

``Sure, we've got to balance the budget,'' he said. ``And we will. We have to be extremely careful with every dollar we spend. But we've also got to take care of our family - and not slash programs that people need. We should be enabling, healing and curing.''


In giving their stage to Reeve, the Democrats turned to a man who is not a politician, but is instead a national symbol of many things.

After breaking his neck when thrown from a horse in May 1995, Reeve is a paraplegic, unable to move a muscle below his shoulders, confined to a wheelchair that he operates by blowing into a tube - and a symbol of how arbitrary and cruel human fate can be.

Here Reeve was asked to represent something more - hope and struggle, personal responsibility and shared burdens, and the obligation of Americans to help one another in time of need, sometimes through government.

Since his injury, he has dedicated his life to overcoming his limits - and helping others overcome theirs.

Citing a slogan favored by NASA astronauts, ``We found nothing is impossible,'' Reeve said: ``Now that, that should be our motto. It's not a Democratic motto, not a Republican motto. It's an American motto. It's not something one party can do alone. It's something that we as a nation must do together.''


The decision to highlight Reeve on the opening night contrasts with the more traditional choice of Republicans at their convention two weeks ago when retired Gen. Colin Powell gave the prime-time address.

Reeve's prime-time billing reflected a calculation by convention planners that viewers were more likely to relate to a public figure with a compelling story than party leaders with a partisan message.

But critics might suggest that Reeve's starring role at the Democratic convention is the final proof that the conventions have been transformed into public-relations gimmicks that rely more on Hollywood's entertainment values and celebrities than on political ideas.

Reeve uses his celebrity to spearhead a lobby representing 250,000 paralyzed Americans. They seek help from government as well as private charities - mainly money for research.

Only a year after the accident that broke his spine, Reeve persuaded President Clinton to promise an additional $10 million in research money to the National Institutes of Health budget. Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.), who heads a key subcommittee overseeing that budget, offered to boost that to $40 million.

In his new campaign book, Between Hope and History, Clinton wrote that government must ``come to our aid when disaster strikes'' and ``ensure the health and well-being of the weakest among us.''

Reeve helped the Democrats put a face on that sentiment.

Hbo Special Takes Look At The Lives Of The Disabled

Posted: October 08, 1996

`Without Pity: A Film About Abilities'' is harrowing to watch. But if you can sit through its full hour, you will be moved by the determination and fortitude of seven people refusing to be crushed by catastrophe.

This documentary about disabled people, at 10:30 tonight, is part of Home Box Office's America Undercover series. It is narrated by actor Christopher Reeve, a quadriplegic since a horseback-riding accident on May 28, 1995.

Reeve does not appear on camera, nor mention his case. He said this summer, ``With my involvement, perhaps it will reach a wider audience.'' Let us hope that turns out to be true, since this is an informative and valuable show.

``Without Pity'' begins with pretty young Samantha, a cerebral palsy victim, arriving at her wedding in a wheelchair. She met her handsome husband, Jay, who is not disabled, when he was working with disabled people.

So Jay knew what he was getting into, knew that he would have to feed, bathe, and dress her. When she became visibly pregnant, says Jay, ``The amount of prejudice we had to face really exploded.'' People would stop and stare, he recalls, as if to say, ``Why did this girl even have sex?''

Samantha gave birth to a normally healthy girl. But Jay found it difficult to care for both mother and daughter. Eventually they separated and Samantha moved in with her mother.

Paul was disabled by polio when he was 5. He walks awkwardly but, at age 49, he is a university professor who teaches the history and social problems of the disabled.

An eloquent speaker, Paul says Nazi Germany had a euthanasia program for disabled people and killed at least 100,000 of them. ``The first gas chamber built in Nazi Germany was built in a hospital,'' he says. ``The Holocaust began with people with disabilities.''

Doctors cannot explain why Charley Gentry was born without arms or legs. His mother says she prayed many nights that when she woke up, ``there would a limb growing. Of course, there never was.''

At home, Charley moves around by rolling across the floor. He attends school in a motorized wheelchair. His mother, Cheryl Gentry, took him into every classroom so that students could ask questions.

The best friend of first-grader Charley is third-grader Bo Christiansen, who says, ``I met him when I was outside playing and I tripped over him.'' The scenes of them together are touching portraits of childhood friends at play.

Now, Reeve reports in an epilogue, Charley is in second grade and has learned to skateboard.

Josh, 25, has been paralyzed below his chest since he broke his neck in a motorcycle accident eight months ago. Reeve says 250,000 Americans have spinal-cord injuries and there are 12,000 more each year, increasingly from gunshot wounds.

Josh's older sister, Donna, cares for him at home. He couldn't do without her, but his life is still almost unimaginably tough. He says, ``I have to put on a facade for people because if I were to let out the anger inside of me all the time, nobody would want to be around me.'' Many nights, he says, ``I've wondered how I could kill myself.''

Reeve remarks, ``In one fateful moment, a young man's destiny changed and he cannot imagine his life ahead. His mind and spirit suffer along with his body. It is the incomprehensible loss of spinal-cord injury.''

In an epilogue, he says Josh has since graduated from college and is feeling better about himself. Surely no viewer could meet him and Samantha and Charley without heartfelt wishes that life proceed as well as possible for them.

Christopher Reeve: He Thought Of Ending His Life

Posted: April 29, 1998

NAMES — Christopher Reeve reveals that in the early days after his paralyzing accident three years ago his mother sought to put him out of his misery by getting docs to ``pull the plug'' and that later he thought he should go that way, too.

``At one point, in a moment of real despair,'' writes the actor in his book, Still Me, out Monday, ``my mother told [his father-in-law], `Tomorrow we're going to do it.' '' But, he adds, docs ``told her to calm down, to wait and see what would happen.''

Reeve said his own breakthrough in choosing life came when he told his wife, Dana, ``Maybe we should let me go,'' and she replied: ``I am only going to say this once: I will support whatever you want to do because this is your life and your decision. But I want you to know that I'll be with you for the long haul no matter what. You're still you. And I love you.''

Reeve, 45, notes that he was sustained by those who wrote him more than 400,000 letters. ``The fact that I was in a wheelchair,'' he writes, ``unable to move below my shoulders and dependent on the support of others for almost every aspect of my daily life, had not diminished the fact that I was - and always would be - their Superman.'' He adds that he almost died when he tried an experimental drug and that he even tried a faith healing, ``episodes'' he describes as ``ultimately very depressing.''

LOCALLY CONNECTED * Looks like Patricia Arquette (Nightwatch, Flirting With Disaster) has got the movie role Chrissie in the David Rabe drama In the Boom Boom Room, which will start shooting hereabouts later this year or early next. The play, set in the Philly area, had its first stage performance in 1972 at Villanova.

Erin Murphy, Tabitha Stephens on TV's Bewitched, will be one of the judges of the tailgate-picnic competition Sunday at Winterthur Museum's 20th annual Point-to-Point do in Delaware. It includes steeplechase races, dog-jumping contests, and a carriage parade. For tickets: 302-888-4992. Murphy now lives in Newark, where she runs a Bewitched memorabilia biz and is raising three boys with husband Eric Eden, lead singer of Hey Jupiter.

Channel 10 newsie Ken Matz will be auctioneer at a Sunday do at Bensalem's Congregation Tifereth Israel, 2909 Bristol Rd., at 6:30 p.m.

Lynne Abraham, Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, Sharon Pinkenson and Marcy Abramson Shoemaker will panel the discussion ``Characteristics of Successful Women,'' 4 p.m. Tuesday at Montgomery, McCracken, Walter & Rhodes, 123 S. Broad St. Tickets: 215-790-5100.

Christina Pirello, star of the TV's Christina Cooks, is looking for ordinary guests for her show. Entry blanks are in Barnes & Noble stores in Center City, Moorestown, Marlton and Bryn Mawr until May 17. A guest will be picked from each store for the show taped at WHYY-TV.

Ex-TV dancers Arlene Sullivan, Carmen Jimenez, Frank Spagnoula, and Carole Scaldeferri and her husband, Richard Spada, will panel a discussion about teen-TV stardom on the 1950s' Bandstand show, 2 p.m. Saturday at the Atwater Kent Museum, 15 S. Seventh St. Also there, John A. Jackson, author of American Bandstand: Dick Clark and the Making of a Rock & Roll Empire. WOGL-AM's Bob Charger will moderate.

COUPLES * The new man in Jennifer Aniston's life is Paul Rudd, her costar in the movie Object of My Affection and Alicia Silverstone's nerdy bro in Clueless. The Friends TV star did an el ditcho on boyfriend of two years, Tate Donovan, apparently for delaying nuptials action. They exchanged Irish Claddagh rings in November 1996, which, according to Donovan then, were ``to let the world know we are taken.'' But close inspection revealed a month ago that Aniston had abandoned the ring, telling inquirers at the time: ``I was not engaged. I just didn't put all my jewelry on this morning.''

Janet Jackson and Rene Elizondo ring choices are for toes. Yes, the two - linked for 13 years - appear close to nups. And, yes, a barefoot nups appears in the offing. She's telling buds to buy baby stuff for the wedding, to take place later this year. He's her manager and a vid director.

Mary McCartney, Paul's daughter, is engaged to her boyfriend, Alister Donald. They got semi-united shortly before the death of Linda McCartney, who reportedly was jubilant over the news and was already planning summer nups. Mary, 27, has been dating the TV producer for three years.

Duo du jour: Brad Pitt and model citzen Caprice Fisher, 27, clothes horse for the new Jockey undies campaign.

THE SKIN GAME * Nudies of Ginger Spice Geri Halliwell will be in the June issue of Penthouse. Mag won't say who took the pix, but they're apparently from the Spicer's soft-porn days, or what she calls her ``glamour modeling'' career.

Alyssa Milano, 25, a Melrose Place TV star, is expected to bring legal action this week against several sites that display and sell nude pix of her and other notables. The action is seen as the first big celeb offensive against the lack of control of their images on the Web. Her lawyer said some of the actress' pix are from a film she dropped dress in, but others are faked. ``This is the tip of the iceberg,'' he added. ``Celebrities are realizing for the first time that the Net is a dangerous force if not corralled.'' One defendant, John F. Lindgren, 21, of Minnesota said that if the suit comes, he'll take down Milano's pix but continue to operate his site, which brings him more than $10,000 a month.

OFFSPRING * Actress Emma Samms gave birth to her second child, Beatrice, March 30. She and husband John Hollaway also have a boy, Cameron, 1 1/2.

Villi Faulaau, 14, whose second-time impregnation of teacher Mary Kay LeTourneau, 36, landed her back in jail, says he'll wait for her ``no matter how long,'' citing their ``deep, spiritual relationship.'' In a Globe interview, the Seattle schoolboy - who was LeTourneau's pupil in the second and sixth grades - detailed their intimacies, noting that once they almost got caught by cops in a van. Insists Faulaau: ``She wasn't taking advantage of me or talking me into something I didn't want to do.''

MARKINGS * Monica Lewinsky's lawyer said he approved her photo shoot Friday with fash fotog Herb Ritts because this client needed a change. ``She was becoming very depressed by this torture that she is going through,'' William Ginsburg said yesterday. ``I thought it would be a good idea. This young lady needs to feel good about herself.'' The ex-White House intern was lensed in the Malibu surf wearing a black cocktail dress. Pix will be in a future issue of Vanity Fair. .

Jeong Kim, who came to the United States from South Korea 23 years ago and worked at a 7-Eleven to pay his way through school, this week sold his six-year-old, Landover, Md., communications firm to Lucent Technologies for $1 bil. Said Kim, 37, who'll pocket $510 mil from the deal: ``People can look at someone like me, they see someone who looks different, who speaks with a funny accent. And maybe they'll say, `If I set my goals high, maybe I can succeed like that.' ''

Kobe's 32 Fuel Red-hot Lakers

Posted: March 04, 1999

Laugh at Dennis Rodman all you want. His teams win.

Rodman had 17 rebounds and the Los Angeles Lakers remained unbeaten in four games since he joined them, beating visiting Phoenix, 101-95, last night.

The Lakers have won five straight since coach Del Harris was fired and replaced by coach Kurt Rambis.

Kobe Bryant had 32 points, 23 in the second half, for Los Angeles.

Cliff Robinson scored 20 off the bench for the Suns, and Tom Gugliotta had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

The Lakers' winning streak began a day after Del Harris was fired as coach a week ago, when they were in a three-game losing slump. They are 4-0 since Rodman joined them and Kurt Rambis was named coach.

In other news:

JORDAN: Makes People list

Michael Jordan is the only athlete selected as one of the "25 Legends of the Past 25 Years" by People magazine for its 25th anniversary issue.

Among the others picked by the magazine were Tom Cruise, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Christopher Reeve.

SONICS: Polynice fined

Seattle SuperSonics center Olden Polynice was fined $5,000 by the NBA for making an obscene gesture Monday night toward the fans at Sacramento after a boo-filled return to Arco Arena.

NETS: Sign Overton

The New Jersey Nets signed free-agent guard Doug Overton, the team said. Terms of the contract weren't disclosed. Overton was waived by Orlando last week.

NUGGETS: Add Herrera

The Denver Nuggets signed free-agent forward Carl Herrera, who was waived Sunday by Vancouver. The move came six days after rookie center Raef LaFrentz went down with a season-ending knee injury.

Jackson Reveals He Was Princess Di's Confidant

Posted: April 15, 1999

Michael Jackson says in an interview that Princess Diana used to telephone and confide in him.

The American singer was quoted in the London tabloid the Mirror as saying that he also knew Diana's companion Dodi Fayed. This made Jackson's grief worse when both were killed in a Paris car crash in 1997.

"They were a match made in heaven," Jackson said.

He said Diana was a wonderful person who had proved she really cared about people.

"She went round the world as a philanthropist just like Mother Teresa," said Jackson.

"She used to confide in me. She'd just call me on the phone and we would talk about everything that was happening in her life.

"The press were hard on her in the same way they were hard on me and she needed to talk to someone who knew exactly what she was going through. She felt hunted in the way I've felt hunted. Trapped, if you like."

Meanwhile, Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, accepted an undisclosed settlement yesterday from a newspaper that questioned the handling of money raised by a concert staged in her honor.

Spencer had sued the Express on Sunday for libel over its Dec. 16 story.

His attorney, Simon Ekins, said the story "gave rise to the inference" that the earl had control over the concert proceeds and may have used some of the money to defray the high costs of running his country estate.

In fact, Ekins said, the June 28 concert at the estate was organized by an independent company and Spencer had no control over the proceeds.

The newspaper withdrew its allegations and apologized, citing an editing error.

The concert raised $320,000 for the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

Super speaker Christopher Reeve will give this year's commencement address June 6 at Williams College in Massachusetts. The Superman star was paralyzed from the neck down in a 1995 riding accident and has become a spokesman for the disabled and spinal cord research. Reeve traces his theater career to 1968 when at age 15 he got a summer apprenticeship at the Williamstown Theater Festival. He has a home in Williamstown.

Body slam for McMahon First, Jesse "The Body" Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota, and now Vince McMahon, owner of the World Wrestling Federation, is going to Harvard. McMahon will be at Harvard Law School on Sunday to give a talk entitled "First Amendment: First Hand," to hundreds of Harvard's law and undergraduate students. Should be first rate.

Yoko sues former aide Yoko Ono continued a long feud with a former assistant to John Lennon, suing him Tuesday and claiming he stole priceless personal items after the ex-Beatle was killed in December 1980.

In a federal lawsuit, Ono contends that the former aide, Fred Seaman, agreed in 1983 to return boxes of Lennon's personal items but has held onto hundreds of photographs.

The lawsuit was prompted by Seaman's claim in a February letter to Capitol Records that a photograph of Lennon with his son Sean, overlooking a beach in Bermuda, was improperly included in a recently released CD box set.

Glenn Miller-linked logbook sold A World War II aircraft logbook possibly linked to the death of legendary U.S. bandleader Glenn Miller was sold to an American bidder for $35,260, Sotheby's auctioneers said in London.

"I am truly staggered at the price. It was over 20 times more than I expected the book to realize," said Stephen Maycock, an aeronautics specialist at Sotheby's. The logbook had belonged to the navigator of a British warplane that jettisoned bombs that may have caused the plane carrying Miller to crash into the sea off England in December 1944, said a Sotheby's statement.

"Sold with the logbook was a letter from the Ministry of Defence, in which it is stated that the authorities think the jettisoned bombs are the most likely answer to what happened to Miller," the statement said.

William Suitts of Bolder, Colo., who bought the logbook, said he had been unsure about making a bid.

"But when I heard that June Allyson, who starred with James Stewart in The Glenn Miller Story, was visiting Denver and then after that I heard a Glenn Miller tune playing on the radio, I knew that I had to bid in the sale," Suitts said.

Miller's death has been the subject of much speculation. One popular theory is that the plane carrying the bandleader to a concert date in Paris was brought down during bad weather over the English Channel.

She drew her own conclusions Drew Barrymore might be a Hollywood veteran, but she still did her movie homework before producing her first film. After teaming up with 31-year-old Nancy Juvonen, Barrymore rolled up her sleeves and spent two years deconstructing the film business. The duo converted a room in Barrymore's home into an office, formed a production company, pored over scripts and met with agents and studio executives.

They also dissected and analyzed their own tastes in movies to try to determine what young audiences want to see. Then they made their first movie - Never Been Kissed. "We wouldn't have the wholeness without each other," Barrymore, 24, said. "Everyone wants that producer plaque on their door, but it takes an extraordinary amount of work to get there." The gambit seems to have worked. Never Been Kissed opened in second place behind The Matrix last weekend, bringing in about $12 million.

Barrymore, who is John Barrymore's granddaughter, grew up in Hollywood and starred in E.T. - The Extraterrestrial at age 6.

Locally connected Homer H. Hickham Jr., author of the book Rocket Boys, which has been rocketing sky high at the box office as the movie October Sky (same letters, simply rearranged), will appear on The Irreverent News Show with Brian C. Greenberg today at 5 p.m. on WNJC-AM (1360).

Ladies and gentlemen, in the center ring, presenting: Cotton candy when you file your income taxes. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which opens a 10-day run at the First Union Spectrum today, is providing free cotton candy to people dropping off tax returns outside the Spectrum in one of several on-site U.S. Postal Service vehicles between 5 and 9:30 p.m. Becky Guthrie, who's promoting the circus for Feld Entertainment, says she hopes that everyone filing at the site - preferably, from her point of view, on their way to the circus - had a sweet year. Almost makes paying taxes worth it. Almost!

You can emulate Imelda Marcos by putting your best foot forward to help the Pennsylvania Ballet. Shoe designer Donald J. Pliner will be at Mainly Shoes, 4410 Main St., Manayunk, to sign shoes from his collection from noon to 3 p.m. on Friday. Pennsylvania Ballet dancers will also be on hand - or should that be on foot? - to sign autographs. A donation will be made to the Ballet for every pair of shoes bought from Pliner's collection during his appearance. En pointe!

George Karusky, executive chef of Siggie's L'Auberge in West Conshohocken, will do contemporary French cuisine on Saturday's edition of CBS This Morning. Karusky will be the fourth and final chef from Philadelphia featured on the program's "Chef on a Shoestring" segment, which can be seen about 8:40 a.m.

Tickets for the Cranberries' April 30 concert at the Tower Theater are available at all Ticketmaster locations and at the Electric Factory box office at 1231 Vine St. They're priced at $26.

A limited number of tickets go on sale today for "An Acoustic Evening with Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt." They'll appear at the Tower on May 2. Tickets are priced at $50 and $40. They're also available at Ticketmaster outlets and at the Electric Factory.

William Labov, professor of linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, will discuss the singular speech of Philadelphians in a program, Phillytalk, at the Atwater Kent Museum, 15 S. Seventh St., at 2 p.m. Saturday. Admission to the program is free. Information: 215-922-3031.

Contributing to this report were the Associated Press, Reuters, the New York Times, the New York Daily News and the New York Post.

Reeve Is Honored 1st Bancroft Award Is Presented At Phila. Fete

Posted: September 18, 1999

Hollywood on the Schuylkill it was not, but the cause had more significance than any movie opening or book signing.

Academy Award winner Joe Pesci presented actor and director Christopher Reeve with the first ever Bancroft NeuroHealth Award last night at the Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel in Center City.

The award presentation kicked off a three-day conference on brain injury sponsored by Bancroft NeuroHealth of New Jersey.

For the conference, the Haddonfield-based brain injury rehabilitation organization also attracted numerous leaders in the field, including assistant U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Mark L. Rosenberg and Allen I. Bergman, president and CEO of the Brain Injury Association.

However, Reeve, paralyzed from the neck down in an equestrian competition in May 1995, drew the most interest.

During a press conference following the award presentation Reeve said he believed that scientists will soon be able to help those with brain injuries as well as those with paralysis to lead fuller lives.

"For 4,000 years, it was assumed that a spinal cord injury could not be cured," he said. But within the last five years "there have been discoveries in antibodies and stem cells," that show promise for a cure, he added.

Pesci said he and Reeve had not seen each other in 20 years, though they were good friends. In addition to his friendship with Reeve, Pesci was drawn to the event by a daughter who receives services from Bancroft, he said. He did not elaborate on her condition.

"She's doing extremely well," said George W. Niemann, Bancroft CEO.

Reeve, who gained fame in the 1970s and '80s portraying "Superman," said he set a goal for himself to be able to walk by his 50th birthday. "There is reason to believe that there is hope to make that happen," the 46-year-old actor said.

He said the message he wants to convey to others during the conference is, "That all of us have inside of us many more resources than we know, and when we are faced with a tragedy of some kind, we should challenge ourselves to go beyond any level that we have gone before."

Send e-mail to

Reeve Shows Superhuman Resolve To Exit Wheelchair

Posted: January 24, 2000

QUOTE "My show was canceled. I was sad."

- Former sitcom star Ellen

DeGeneres, reflecting on her plan

- never realized - to abandon


"Superman" star Christopher Reeve, paralyzed since a 1995 horse-riding accident, remains doggedly optimistic about someday getting out of his wheelchair.

But the star, 47, admits he's had to scale back his expectations a bit.

"I hoped by my 50th birthday I would be able to stand and thank everybody. That probably won't happen that quickly, but within the next to four to five years I shall begin to start the process of recovery," Reeve, in London, told the BBC yesterday.

"I'm going to go forward and get out of this."

The actor, always hooked up to a respirator, also continues to believe he will someday breathe on his own.

"I'm trying to get rid of this breathing hose. I'm now on a program where if I work very, very hard, I may be able to get off this hose within a year," he said. "That would be a gift because, you know, this is not a very nice necktie."

Reeve, a fervent activist and fund-raiser for spinal-injury research, says he works with scientists and rehab specialists several hours a day.

He admitted that his insistence on recovery left many friends and physicians shaking their heads.

"People sort of looked at me as if, you know, 'Poor guy, he's delusional,' " Reeve said.

"The thing is, I have opportunities - to speak up for the disability movement, to push the researchers as far as they can go and to move from acting and directing, which I always wanted to do.

"In a way, some people say breaking my neck was a good career move, but I don't recommend it," he said. "There's other ways to work up."

Legal notes

Eriq LaSalle has asked a judge to sort out the mess left behind after the "ER" star broke his engagement to Angela Johnson, his girlfriend for five years. The actor's lawsuit alleges LaSalle and Johnson bought a house using his money and her name ("for purposes of maintaining his privacy. . .and security"). Now that they're over, Johnson apparently wants cash for half the house's value. LaSalle, according to the Los Angeles Times, would like the court to rule that he "owes his former fiancee nothing."

* An on-line firm has allegedly registered the Internet domain name in hopes of selling it back to John Tesh. But the mellow keyboard artist is having none of it. He's sued, claiming the name "John Tesh" "is a recognized family brand whose ability to promote products and family values has been recognized worldwide." A lawyer for the musician also fretted that the nonofficial site could detract from the star's own site, Kenny Rogers and Brad Pitt recently filed similar lawsuits under a new law prohibiting "cybersquatting" amongst celebrity domain names.

Couple stuff

* The course of true love has never run smooth for Fox News star Kristen Gesswein. First she was dumped by "Today" show host Matt Lauer after a two-year engagement. Then on Jan. 15, a Manhattan priest refused to marry Gesswein and new fiance Stephen Fealy. Her intended, a surgeon, was reportedly distraught over injuries to his hands, and family members were also said to be bickering about the pending union. "There are jitters, and then there are jitters," the pastor explained to the New York Times. So the couple canceled the wedding, but still held the reception. On Thursday, they snuck off to Mexico and got married on the beach there.

* Supermodel Claudia Schiffer, having made magician David Copperfield disappear, is now engaged to art dealer Tim Jeffries. The New York Post says Schiffer is the proud new owner of "a sizable rock," but cautions that Jeffries has been engaged before, most notably to that other pretty girl, Elle Macpherson.

Never mind

* Hey, Mel Gibson. What's this about you pulling down $25 million - a record payday for an actor - to star in "The Patriot," an upcoming historical drama? "I wish," the star told USA Today.

* So there we were in the "12-items-or-less" line. How could we miss the screaming National Enquirer headline: "Celine Dion Pregnant With Twins!" "She's not pregnant and she never has been pregnant," a very patient flack explained to the New York Daily News. "She wishes she was, but it's not true." Dion recently began a two-year sabbatical from the diva business, with the stated intention of having a child and caring for cancer-stricken hubbo Rene Angelil. Send e-mail to

Stem Cells And Frankenstein Rhetoric Scientists And Senators Clash Over A Ban On The Use Of Cells Derived From Fetal And Embryonic Tissues.

Posted: May 07, 2000

How differently scientific experimentation might have been viewed had Mary Shelley not written her often-misunderstood Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus and had Robert Louis Stevenson not written The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Despite what their authors may or may not have intended, these two books - and others like them - reflect and even perpetuate fears that persist about the potentially dire consequences of what goes on in science laboratories.

The possibilities of progress through biochemistry - a great hope for humanity - can still be clouded by the same emotions Shelley's and Stevenson's fantasies stirred up years ago. Such emotions are gathering again - this time around the burgeoning area of stem-cell research. Undifferentiated stem cells recovered from harvested fetuses and embryos have remarkable regenerative powers. They're called "undifferentiated" because they haven't become blood, brain, bone or skin cells yet - they are precursor cells with the potential to become almost any of these. Their potential may eventually be farther-reaching than the most optimistic prognosticators are imagining.

Undifferentiated stem cells can be nudged into replicating many kinds of cells in the body. Therapy using such cells someday may be able to ameliorate or eradicate, for instance, life-threatening heart and nerve disorders. People suffering from debilitating spinal injuries or deteriorating conditions - amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), osteoarthritis, Parkinson's disease - may stand to benefit.

Until recently, the major sources of stem cells have been tissues from embryos and fetuses. (Cells harvested from adults have shown some promise for treatments involving the lungs, brain and spine, but so far they are not as effective in as many applications as are the cells from embryos.) Federally-funded laboratories were banned from using embryonic and fetal tissues during the Reagan administration. And it is true that some labs did procure these tissues from hospitals and abortion and fertility clinics.

But labs no longer have to do that. Cultured lines of stem cells are available from at least two vendors. Problem is, both vendors started these lines from either fetuses or embryos. Demagoguing politicians then say, "Well, then! If cells even came, however remotely, from such sources, their use by federally-funded labs should be banned." Then the Frankenstein rhetoric comes in, the mischaracterization of science - not to mention implications of butchery, cannibalism and women getting pregnant so they can sell their fetuses and embryos.

Scientists find these arguments frustrating. There is hypocrisy and ideological grandstanding in the ban. After all, no such ban exists in the private sector, where labs can get fetal and embryonic tissues any way they please. And the whole point of allowing the use of the cultured lines is to allow scientists to get to the point at which they no longer need to use them.

There is, however, a comfort zone in which both human rights and scientific imperatives can be accommodated. Cooler heads in the debate counsel further fact-finding and dialogue before reaching any final conclusions. When people keep their heads, the reasons for the ban boil down to none. Indeed, once the use of embryonic or fetal tissues is eliminated from the discussion, debate immediately cools.

And that lays bare the real problem: This line of reasearch has been taken hostage by the abortion debate.

On April 26, several prominent researchers and advocates testified in favor of stem-cell research before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services and Education, where a bill is being readied. Proponents claim that both government funding and federal regulation are necessary if research is to continue. Without federal backing, experimentation will certainly proceed, its fruits will be delayed - which may seem unfair to people currently in the early stages, or even the later stages of, say, ALS. Regulation is also crucial: No need to encourage women to become impregnated simply so they can sell their embryos to the highest private bidder.

(The implications and ramifications of stem-cell research are also being tackled in Europe, according to an article in the Feb. 25 issue of Science. In Austria, the right to life cannot by law be applied to embryos. In France, research on embryos is done freely; in England, liberal legislation have been enacted; in Belgium, it's unregulated.)

Christopher Reeve, actor and activist, was one of those addressing Sen. Arlen Specter's subcommittee last week. He told me it was difficult for him to listen to critics likening stem-cell research to medical experiments carried on during the Holocaust. After all, he suffers from paralysis due to spinal injury - and at the hearing, he was seated next to a 35-year-old women afflicted with ALS. He told me that one thing he wished he'd said at the hearing was that in some ways the situation reminded him of Prohibition. "People are going to do it anyway," he said.

What he means is that stem-cell research has long been a reality, and that since it's unlikely to be outlawed, it will continue with or without government supervision. He makes a great deal of sense when he suggests it's the better part of wisdom to take well-thought-out regulatory measures and support them with adequate funding.

After all, we've come a long way since Frankenstein and Mr. Hyde. Why don't we act like it?

David Finkle is a freelance writer in New York. His e-mail address is

Reeve To Help Raise $ For Spinal Research Foundation Picks A Super Man As Guest Speaker

Posted: June 13, 2000

Actor Christopher Reeve and Geoffrey Lance have a lot in common. They're both handsome, both more than 6 feet tall, both supremely talented athletes - and neither can walk.

It is not surprising, then, that Reeve, an accomplished equestrian and a former top-ranked high school ice hockey goalie, will be the featured speaker tonight at a fund-raiser for the Lance Foundation. The dinner will take place in the Jefferson Room of the Four Seasons Hotel on Logan Square.

Reeve's paralyzing accident in 1995, when he was thrown from a horse during an equestrian competition in Virginia, is well-known. Lance's story is not.

A former lifeguard surfing the relatively flat waters of Newport Beach, Calif., on July 29, 1998, found a riderless surfboard in the water. She then found the rider, floating face down in the surf.

That man was Lance, 25, of Huntingdon Valley, Montgomery County, who had apparently hit the ocean floor and broken his neck. In addition, he was drowning and slowly suffering brain damage from a lack of oxygen.

"He wasn't breathing and he basically had no pulse," said Jessica Schwartz, 24, of Yorba Linda, Calif., who administered first aid and CPR until additional help arrived. "We were able to get a pulse, but it went away and then we got it back again."

After eight months of hospitalization and rehabilitation, the former top-ranked Penn State and University of Nebraska tennis star's spine has been fused, and he must use a wheelchair.

Lance and his mother, Patty, met Reeve at a fund-raiser at Toronto (Canada) General Hospital a year ago, at which point Reeve agreed to speak at tonight's dinner. In exchange, the Lance Foundation will donate 70 percent of its fund-raising efforts to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.

The rest will go to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital's spinal-cord center, one of only 18 such centers in the United States.

"Our goal was to raise awareness of the need for money for spinal-cord-injury research in the Philadelphia region," said Patty Lance, 51.

The Lance Foundation expects to raise $200,000 this year, she said.

The co-chairmen of the fund-raiser are former Mayor Ed Rendell and 76ers president Pat Croce. Tonight, the Lance Foundation will honor Dr. John DiTunno, head of the spinal-cord-injury unit at Jefferson.

Patty Lance, who credits her Quaker upbringing for her ability to aim high, said the value of Reeve's presence tonight is incalculable.

"He is single-handedly responsible for getting research laboratories to where they are today, and that's the only way we're ever going to find a cure," she said. "In the world of spinal cord, injury, Christopher Reeve really is Superman."

For more information about the Lance Foundation, call 1-877-GLANCE1.

Send e-mail to

At the Prince, serious and silly films based on comic books

Posted: August 16, 2002

The Film at the Prince folks have come up with another winning program: comic books. Taking a cue from the recent box office successes of Spider-man, X-Men and The Flaming Carrot (OK, forget that last one - but check out Bob Burden's book featuring "the world's first surrealist superhero"), the Prince people have put together a late-summer series teeming with caped crusaders, Japanese anime, vintage noir, '60s camp, and other cool stuff adapted from and influenced by comics.

The action begins tonight with Joseph Losey's 1966 study in pop-art cinema, Modesty Blaise. Italian sex bomb Monica Vitti brings va and voom to the titular role of a mod secret agent slinking around after international diamond thieves, keeping company with the blue-eyed Terence Stamp, and striking various poses in fab '60s gear. Based on the British comics series by Peter O'Donnell and Jim Holdaway, Modesty Blaise served as more than a little of the inspiration for Roman Coppola's recent CQ.

Also beginning tonight: Superman: The Movie (1978), Richard Donner's deft retelling of the Man of Steel story, from his Kryptonian infancy to his foster childhood with the lovable Ma and Pa Kent to life in the big city, where a bespectacled Clark Kent went to work for a major metropolitan daily and spent a lot of time sneaking off to phone booths and bathrooms so he could dress up in tights. Christopher Reeve stars.

Tomorrow night, it's Supey's dark-humored DC Comics brother, Batman, who heads the lineup - although really there's nothing dark at all about Leslie Martinson's 1966 Batman movie - a spoofy, feature-length spin-off of the popular TV series starring Adam West as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Burt Ward as his trusty sidekick Dick Grayson/Robin. Exclamation marks abound in this goofball adventure, pitting the Cowled Crusader against a quartet of nutty nemeses: Catwoman (Lee Meriwether), the Joker (Cesar Romero), the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), and the Riddler (Frank Gorshin).

Speaking of Batman, the Gotham City crimebuster's comic book creator, Bob Kane, glommed more than a little inspiration for his superhero from Roland West's 1930 thriller, The Bat Whispers, which deploys innovative camera work and way-cool miniatures to satisfyingly creepy effect. (And here's some coincidental trivia for you: 1930's The Bat Whispers and 1966's Batman share a West and a Ward connection: in the former, it's director West and actor Chance Ward, and the latter stars a West and a Ward. Wow!)

Then there's Akira (1988), Katsuhiro Otomo's groundbreaking Japanese animated feature about a band of kids caught up in a top-secret military experiment that may destroy all of Tokyo. Violence and sexual brutality make this anime hallmark - released in a restored, newly translated version - unsuitable for children. The first of Akira's four showings is Wednesday.

Next Friday, filmmaker Robert Emmons presents his comic book documentary Enthusiast: The Ninth Art, which takes the brilliant observations of Scott McCloud's book, Understanding Comics, and puts them on the big screen. Emmons will be on hand along with Philly artist and author Brian Biggs, whose Dear Julia comic has been turned into a nifty little short (that will be screened, too).

The saucy, sexy, '60s superheroine, Barbarella - starring Jane Fonda and directed by her then-hubby Roger Vadim - will get the Chumley and Carlota talk-back treatment (Philly's answer to the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang) on Aug. 24. This is the movie that gave '80s band Duran Duran its name, and gave its star a lot of headaches when she became a Serious Actress and had to explain why she was doing sex-kitten stripteases in some seriously silly sci-fi trash.

For times and ticket info, call 215-569-9700 or check

Contact Steven Rea at 215-854-5629 or

Vatican Radio skewers 'Magdalene Sisters'

Posted: September 11, 2002

Vatican Radio lambasted The Magdalene Sisters, winner of the Venice Film Festival's top honor, and the jury members who chose it because the film "likens the Catholic Church to the Taliban." Last week, a Vatican newspaper called it "an angry and rancorous provocation."

Directed by Peter Mullan, the film tells the story of an abusive convent run by nuns on behalf of the Catholic Church. The last Magdalene convent closed in 1996 in Ireland.

Mullan said the film was "about all faiths, all fundamentalist faiths, that believe they have the right to oppress young women."

Vatican Radio said that "awarding top honors to Magdalene was the most offensive and pathetic page written by the jury." The jury was headed by Chinese actress Gong Li and included Easy Rider cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, French writer-director Jacques Audiard, actress Francesca Neri, producer Ulrich Felsberg and Turkish director Yesim Ustaoglu.

Reeve's progress

Seven years after a horse-riding accident paralyzed him from the neck down, Christopher Reeve has regained some movement and sensation in his hands and feet.

The Superman star also can breathe on his own for 90 minutes at a time, according to an article in the Sept. 23 issue of People magazine. "To be able to feel just the lightest touch is really a gift," he said.

Reeve can move the fingers on his left hand and the toes on both feet. He can feel a pin prick on most parts of his body.

"No one who has suffered an injury as severe as Chris', and failed to have any initial recovery, has regained the amount of motor and sensory function he has," said John McDonald, medical director of the spinal cord injury program at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Reeve had hoped to walk again by his 50th birthday, Sept. 25. He says he's still encouraged, even though he won't reach that goal: "The fact is that even if your body doesn't work the way it used to, the heart and the mind and the spirit are not diminished. It's as simple as that."

Humanitarian award

Oprah Winfrey will be the first recipient of the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award to be given at the 54th annual Emmys. Bryce Zabel, chief executive of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, described Winfrey as a "truly qualified individual . . . whose deeds and actions have had a lasting impact on society."

The award was established this year and will be presented by Tom Hanks at the Sept. 22 ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Among other things, Winfrey is being honored for the work of her Oprah Winfrey Foundation, a charity that aids women, children and families.

More heat on Ryder

Prosecutors in L.A. have filed a motion to admit evidence of alleged previous misdeeds by actress Winona Ryder in her forthcoming trial on shoplifting charges, officials said yesterday.

The motion was entered late Monday as prosecutors sought to buttress their case against the Oscar-nominated actress, accused of stealing $4,800 worth of clothes and other items during a Beverly Hills shopping spree in December.

The case has stirred controversy over whether celebrities are singled out for special treatment - either harsher or more lenient - than ordinary people who have a similar brush with the law. Prosecutors say details of the case should be made public, while Ryder's lawyers say she is the victim of a "prosecutorial feeding frenzy." Ryder, 30, is supposed to be in court tomorrow, at which time a judge is scheduled to set a trial date.

Governor Reiner?

Actor-turned-director Rob Reiner, sometimes talked about as a potential candidate for California governor, isn't ruling out a run for office.

"That's a big decision," Reiner told the Hollywood Reporter in an interview about Proposition 10, the 1998 initiative he supported that hiked the cigarette tax to fund early-childhood development programs statewide.

"Right now, I'm focusing on making Prop 10 a success. I'm starting a film in a few weeks. What's down the road you can't ever say," he said Monday.

Pit stop

Cosmopolitan magazine breaks a showbiz story - actor David Arquette really loves smelling the odoriferous armpits of his wife, actress Courteney Cox Arquette.

"Courteney may be pretty, but if she's not on top of it, she smells like a truck driver and I like it," he said. Thanks for sharing, fella.

Drought watch

The clincher was the puddles. Cops caught Whitney Houston and husband Bobby Brown with wet curbs and charged them with breaking New Jersey's water-use restrictions.

The sprinklers were left on overnight at their estate in Mendham Township. A neighbor ratted them out, and police issued a summons. "Nobody gets special treatment here," police Lt. Jim Hughes told the Star-Ledger of Newark.

Spokeswoman Nancy Seltzer said the couple have not been at the 10-acre estate for some time because Houston has been working on an album, Just Whitney. "A judge will understand that someone taking care of the property obviously made a mistake," she said.

To the moon, Alice!

Everyone knows that astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin walked on the moon as part of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission. Everyone, it seems, but Bart Sibrel. Beverly Hills police responded to a complaint that Sibrel, 37, had been punched in the face by the 72-year-old Aldrin. It happened after he had asked Aldrin to swear on a Bible that he really had been to the moon, said Police Lt. Joe Lombardi. Aldrin was not there when police arrived. Sibrel said he didn't believe Aldrin or anyone else had been a lunar visitor.

Don't buy the cigars, either

Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura wants President Bush and a State Department official to apologize for asking business leaders "not to participate in sexual tourism" - prostitution that often exploits children - when they visit Cuba with him in two weeks.

The Prez hasn't said anything, but Otto Reich, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, did try to dissuade Ventura and business people from visiting an agricultural exposition in Havana.

"First, I would ask them not to participate in sexual tourism, which is one of the main industries in Cuba," Reich said of his advice. He said Fidel Castro has "promoted this exploitation of women and children as one of the biggest reasons why European tourists go to Cuba."

Ventura said the remarks were offensive and he wanted an apology to his family. Charles Barclay, a State Department spokesman, said Reich was giving advice he gives to all going to Cuba. "This was not to single out any particular group of travelers. Any misunderstanding is regrettable."

Sick bay

A clean bill of health for Doylestown's Kathy Guarini, mother of American Idol finalist Justin Guarini. While Justin competed in the Fox talent show, Kathy sought medical attention in Los Angeles for what she believed was a pulled muscle. Doctors found a tumor on her pancreas. They removed it, along with a kidney. Yesterday, from a friend's home in L.A., she said the mass was benign.

Actor honored

The Boston Film Festival honored William H. Macy with its 2002 Boston Film Excellence Award. He got an engraved crystal vase Monday before a packed Loews Boston Common theater, where Welcome to Collinwood, his latest movie, was shown.

"On the one hand, one wants to make sure that you don't live and die by winning awards. You've got to keep them in perspective," the 52-year-old actor said. "On the other hand, I did win it. I'm so happy I don't know what do."

Welcome to Collinwood is coproduced by Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney, who also stars.

St. Paul Pioneer Press, Cosmopolitan, People, Inquirer staff writer Michael Klein, and Inquirer wire services contributed to this column.

Reeve criticizes Bush, Catholic Church

Posted: September 18, 2002

Christopher Reeve said yesterday that the Catholic Church and President Bush had obstructed research that might help free him from his wheelchair. The actor told Britain's Guardian newspaper the Bush administration had caved in on the issue of embryonic stem-cell research after the Catholic Church expressed opposition to cloning.

Reeve, paralyzed seven years ago when he was thrown from his horse, said he was "angry and disappointed" that Bush had hampered developments in stem-cell research that might have led to human trials aimed at rebuilding the nervous systems of quadriplegics. Reeve is backing a bill in Congress that would support therapeutic cloning while punishing those who carried out reproductive cloning.

In response, Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of Pro-Life Activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said, "Bush has placed no restrictions on stem-cell research but has limited funding. Mr. Reeve's Paralysis Foundation has millions of dollars to spend on research and is spending most of it on other avenues because they are more promising. His research has shown adult bone marrow stem cells can produce an ample supply of nerve cells for therapies."

Tonight at 10 on ABC, Christopher Reeve: Courageous Steps shows the Superman star moving his right wrist, left fingers and both legs - developments that few in the scientific community predicted. The documentary, directed by Reeve's 22-year-old son, Matthew, and narrated by Reeve, shows his intensive exercise regimen and life in New York with his family over a yearlong period.

But his regained motion and sensation (he can feel a pinprick on the majority of his body) falls short of his widely quoted pledge to walk by his 50th birthday on Sept. 25. "I feel that we've lost almost four years of significant progress," he said.

Name game

It's been Angelina Jolie on movie billboards, but now it's official. A Los Angeles County judge granted a petition by the actress, whose legal name was Angelina Jolie Voight, to drop her last name. The actress, who won a supporting-actress Oscar in 2000 for Girl, Interrupted, has been publicly feuding with her father, Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight, and in July filed for divorce from actor Billy Bob Thornton after two years of marriage.

Jolie, 27, also petitioned to legally change the name of her infant son to Maddox Chivan Thornton Jolie. The child, whose given name was Rath Vibol, was recently adopted in Cambodia.

Baby Gates

It's back to diapers for Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda. Their third child, Phoebe Adelle, was born Saturday in suburban Bellevue, Wash. The couple have a 6-year-old daughter, Jennifer, and a 3-year-old son, Rory.

Otis Redding in bronze

The late Otis Redding, the soul singer best known for "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay," has been honored in his hometown of Macon, Ga., with a 7-foot bronze statue that shows him sitting on a dock, playing his guitar. Redding's widow, Zelma Redding, attended the unveiling on the banks of the Ocmulgee River Sunday. "Today, he would say, 'I finally got all the respect I deserved,' " she said. Redding was killed in a plane crash on Dec. 10, 1967, on the way to a concert in Wisconsin. A tribute concert will be held in Macon on Dec. 7, the 35th anniversary of the hit song's recording.

All Courtney

You've really gotta love Courtney Love if you tune into MTV2 this weekend. For 24 straight hours, the rock diva will be in control of the music network. She'll play the videos she likes, invite her friends over for an on-camera gabfest, and do whatever else she pleases. Love won't even need to stay awake the entire 24 hours; an MTV spokesman says when she sleeps, the network will probably show snippets of her dozing.

The former lead singer of Hole and the widow of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain will take over the MTV studios in Times Square for 24 Hours of Love at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Star salesmen

Is that Tom Hanks' wife, Rita Wilson, selling jewelry on the Home Shopping Network? The actress is right alongside new pitchwomen Lauren Hutton and Stephanie Seymour. Network veterans like Suzanne Somers are being joined by big stars on the once-lowly sales channel for - you guessed it - money. "In four hours you can sell a quarter of a million dollars," raves Joel Warren, whose mid-priced Warren Tricomi hair-care line sold out during its first show a few months ago. "We could do a million dollars in four or five hours. That's huge! You couldn't have those returns in retail!"

On second thought

Because of the positive response at last week's Toronto International Film Festival, Miramax will release the year-old The Quiet American in December. It had looked as if Phillip Noyce's movie would not be shown in the United States after a test audience objected to a scene about American-sponsored terrorism aimed at convincing the world that communists had to be stopped. The director has softened some scenes in the film, which is based on Graham Greene's novel about U.S. involvement in Vietnam. It stars Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser.

No show

Curly-top Justin Guarini, who came in second on Fox's American Idol contest, has decided not to fight a traffic ticket from a March accident in Bethlehem, Pa. Guarini, 23, of Doylestown, had been scheduled to appear today in Northampton County Court but decided it wasn't worth a trip from Los Angeles, where he's recording music, his lawyer said.

"Flying across the country is a little extreme for a traffic ticket," said attorney Douglas C. Roger Jr., who is also the singer's uncle. Guarini was cited by police for following too closely in a March 12 traffic accident. The offense carries a $25 fine and $75 in court costs.

Contact Gayle Ronan Sims at 215-854-4185 or

Inquirer wire services contributed to this column.

'Joe Millionaire' star's brief exposure

Posted: January 08, 2003

Average Joe, eh? Apparently Joe Millionaire construction himbo Evan Marriott has done some modeling in his past, displaying his corporeal talents. Though no Russell Crowe, Marriott can be sighted at wearing the "Gladiator brief" in the sale section.

Alas, for all of you doing early Valentine's Day shopping, the brief appears to be sold out. Marriott was paid $1,000 for the modeling job two years ago. Don't think it will pay the Bordeaux bill at the chateau. Incidentally, the debut of the Fox show won its hour Monday.

Consider going steady

No, no, no, Drew Barrymore insists. She is not traipsing down the altar a third time, this time with Fabrizio Moretti, drummer for the New York garage-rock band The Strokes. (The group is fronted by Julian Casablancas, scion of notorious babehound and Elite Modeling founder John Casablancas.) Wags were saying the two were all set to wed at the Italian villa belonging to George Clooney, Barrymore's Confessions of a Dangerous Mind director.

Clooney has vowed never to take vows again. Perhaps Barrymore should take a page out of his playbook?

La Dolce Drew, you may recall, was married to bartender Jeremy Thomas for 19 days in 1994 after an extended six-week courtship. Next up to bat was undernourished Canadian "funnyman" Tom Green in 2000. That union lasted five months - just long enough for Drew to ink thank-you notes for the Tupperware. Last fall, Green said: "Maybe the smarter thing would have been to not get married."

Barrymore reportedly met Moretti last April. Slow down. The woman is all of 27.

Nothing like a dame

Speaking of nuptialphiles, she has fame, a knighthood, two Oscars, and more baubles than her pudgy little fingers can sport, but that doesn't mean that Elizabeth Taylor has class. During her induction at the Kennedy Center Honors, presenter John Travolta revealed that, as a younger man, "I dreamed you were naked." In front of a crowd including President Bush and first lady Laura Bush, La Liz responded so that many could hear: "I don't have any panties on tonight." CBS was kind enough to edit the retort out of the Dec. 27 broadcast.

Royalty report

Apparently, Britain's Prince Harry - the spare of the "heir and the spare" - is more interested in military service than hitting the books, taking after uncle Prince Andrew rather than his Cambridge-educated father, Prince Charles. The redheaded prince, 18, wants to join the Welsh Guards rather than follow older brother Prince William, now at St. Andrews University in Scotland. According to British reports, his father isn't keen on the idea - even though he holds the rank of colonel in the elite regiment himself - but Harry hasn't been wild about school, experimenting with marijuana and failing important exams at Eton, the rigorous English prep school. "By nature, Harry is not an intellectual," a senior royal aide told a British tabloid. "He has knuckled down at school since the disappointment of failing two of his , but it is becoming clear that he is not an academic." Like mother, like son? His mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, was not a top student, either.

In other reality-television news

A member of Britain's other royal family, director Guy Ritchie - consort of Madonna - came up with the idea for the new English reality show Swag that's already gotten into trouble before airing. Ritchie, known as Mr. Madge by those Fleet Street wits, came up with the idea for the hidden-camera series in which ordinary folks are tempted into committing crimes. Things went wrong during an early shoot when a cameraman was stabbed in the leg with a screwdriver by two toughs caught on tape. The crew member suffered a minor injury and was back at work the next day. A rep for Ritchie said the show "is Guy's concept, but he had nothing to do with production. Clearly, this is a story meant to boost ratings. Guy wishes the producers well."

Local performance

* She may not make any best-dressed lists - though she could - but violinist Viktoria Mullova's deft, intense playing surely puts her in the realm of fine soloists. She'll perform works by Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann and Ravel at 8 p.m. tomorrow at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, Broad and Spruce Streets. Tickets are $20; $10 for students. Call 215-569-8080.

Locally connected

Area talent Tiffany Evans, 10, a singer from Ocean City, N.J., will be featured on Thursday's Star Search, scheduled for CBS broadcast from 8 to 9 p.m. The program helped launch the careers of Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Ray Romano, Sinbad and Martin Lawrence.

The envelope, please, Mr. Blackwell . . .

Another day, another list. No, not the winners of the Nobel Prize, only this year's compendium of Mr. Blackwell's "best and worst dressed women." As far as we can tell, Mr. has no first name, visible means of employment, or reason to make this annual sermon of snarky comments from a Hollywood mount, but here goes.

The best: Reese Witherspoon, Debra Messing, Halle Berry, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Oprah Winfrey, Princess Firal of Jordan, Rene Zellweger, Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Aniston.

But that's not what you care about, is it? The worst: Doylestown's Pink ("Out of the blue, pops Pink, and I'm seeing red!"), Christina Aguilera ("barely-there bimbo"), Meg Ryan ("swap-meet fashion queen"), Donatella Versace ("flash-fried Venus"), Anne Rice ("cross between Queen Victoria and Vampire Lestat"), Princess Anne ("royal dowager drag"), Cameron Diaz ("looks like she's dressed by a color-blind circus clown"), Shakira ("overwrought and underdressed"), Kelly Osbourne ("stuck in a goth prom gown") and Anna Nicole Smith ("Don't bother with a new designer, Anna, just hire a structural engineer").

He gives some super advice

Christopher Reeve will give Clark Kent some advice in a February episode of the WB television show Smallville. Reeve, who rose to fame as Superman, will play Dr. Swan, a brilliant scientist who gives the show's teenage Clark Kent (Tom Welling) insight into his superhero future, TV Guide will report in its Jan. 18 issue. The network offered Reeve, paralyzed from the neck down since a 1995 horse-riding accident, a unique incentive to take the part. The network will run a public-service announcement at the end of the show for the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.

Inquirer staff writer Michael Harrington, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, People Online Daily, and wire services contributed to this report.

Bet J.Lo & Ben move to Vegas

Posted: January 08, 2003

ALL BETS ARE off regarding when, and if, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez will wed, but the Las Vegas Sun reports that Tattle's favorite sweethearts are house-hunting in the posh Sin City neighborhood of Lake Las Vegas.

The idea of Affleck living in the gambling capital of America has raised some eyebrows. "Ben's been known to enjoy himself at the casinos," says one source. "I hope this isn't something that could get out of hand."

Ben was rumored to have dropped 100 grand playing blackjack, poorly, at Atlantic City's Trump Marina while in Philly filming "Jersey Girl."

J.Lo herself has talked about Ben's love for gambling, but Sin City insiders assure Tattle that even if Affleck loses his shirt gaming, he'll be able to wager a night with the Bronx beauty at any $5 blackjack table.

Drunk punk

Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong was arrested early Sunday morning in Berkeley, Calif., on suspicion of drunken driving, the Bay Area's KRON 4 "Morning News" reported yesterday.

The 30-year-old punk rocker was pulled over about 1 a.m. and officers say he was not able to complete or successfully pass a field sobriety test.

Insert Liz joke here

Here's something you didn't see in last month's CBS telecast of the Kennedy Center Honors, according to the New York Post.

While John Travolta paid tribute to "Cleopatra" legend Elizabeth Taylor he mentioned that he pined over her as a young man "and I dreamed you were naked." This got a chuckle from the crowd, which included the president and first lady Laura Bush.

Perhaps hoping the "Saturday Night Fever" hunk would make a good eighth husband, the 70-year-old Taylor responded, "I don't have any panties on tonight."

Though edited out of the broadcast, Taylor's frightening remark surely turned Travolta's dream into a nightmare.

Get well soon

"The View's" Star Jones was rushed to the Aspen Valley Hospital on Christmas Day reports US Weekly. It seems Jones, 40, thought she was having a heart attack, but she was actually suffering from altitude sickness.

After being given oxygen in the hospital to relieve her lightheadedness, she was spotted the next night lugging an oxygen tank to an Aspen eatery.

Pop mystery

Turning over in his grave is an understatement for what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will be doing when he hears that pop tart Britney Spears is in negotiations to play a female version of his legendary pipe-smoking slueth Sherlock Holmes in a movie called "221bCAUSE," as's The Scoop reports.

We hear Brit's first case is to crack the mystery of why she's not selling records anymore.

Still super

Christopher Reeve, the now-paralyzed actor who soared to movie fame as Superman, will appear in an upcoming episode of the WB series "Smallville," about a teen-age Clark Kent.

Reeve will guest star in an episode next month as a scientist who provides young Clark with insights into his superhero destiny.

According to the report in TV Guide's next edition, the Vancouver-based production will be shot in New York City to accommodate Reeve, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a 1995 horseback riding accident.

Those hoaxing hippies

Vermont jam band Phish has apologized for tricking fans, and Tattle, into thinking Tom Hanks was part of its New Year's Eve show in New York.

The group announced the former "Bosom Buddy" at the start of its Madison Square Garden set and a man who looked like Hanks stepped onto the stage to wish fans a happy New Year. According to, the band now says it wasn't really Hanks, but a relative of band leader Trey Anastasio who is always told he resembles the "Cath Me if You Can" star. *

Jerry Lewis working his way off steroids

Posted: November 16, 2003

Jerry Lewis has checked himself into a Las Vegas rehab. But it's not what you may think: The 77-year-old comedian, who partied into the night with cohort Dean Martin in the 1940s and '50s, has been weaning himself off steroids prescribed in 2001 to fight pulmonary fibrosis. The medication caused him to gain so much weight that he has appeared bloated.

"I would say in a few months he's going to be active again in the business," his agent said. "He's slimming down to his normal weight. This is all a good thing."

Lewis has been plagued in recent years by several ailments. Besides pulmonary fibrosis, which is an increase of fibrous tissue in the lungs, he has had spinal meningitis, chronic back pain and diabetes.

Reeve's new breathing aid

* In more upbeat health news, Christopher Reeve, paralyzed in a horseback-riding accident in '95, says a device implanted in his chest lets him breathe without a ventilator for hours at a time.

Interviewed by ABC's Barbara Walters on Friday's 20/20, Reeve said the device "gives me now, a sense of one more piece of the puzzle being solved . . . because a spinal-cord injury affects every system in the body: bladder, bowels, sexual function, everything."

Reeve underwent the procedure at the University Hospitals of Cleveland on Feb. 28, becoming the third person in the United States to undergo the procedure, called diaphragm pacing via laparoscopy.

"Do you think you will walk again?" Walters asked Reeve. "I still think I will," he replied. "I'm not sure when it's going to happen."

"P. Diddy" spreads the wealth

* Hip-hop mogul and fashion entrepreneur Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, who turned in a solid 4:14:54 running in the New York Marathon on Nov. 2, has given the Big Apple's public schools half the $2 million he raised. At a City Hall news conference last week with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Combs said the other half will go to other charities.

"It's an honor and blessing to do something good for the city," said Combs, whose children attend private schools. He added that he'd run next year's race if donors pledged $10 million.

Combs has also been spreading the bucks - this time his own - in Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that he bought a seven-bedroom, European-style mansion on seven acres in suburban Dunwoody for $2.6 million. The pad has 11 bathrooms, a five-car garage, pool, and of course, tennis courts. Combs, who owns Justin's Restaurant in Atlanta, also owns a house in suburban Fayetteville, N.C.

Schwartzman cracks up Fox

* Jason Schwartzman, who played the nebbishy-yet-oddly-studly wunderkind in Wes Anderson's movie Rushmore, has signed to star opposite Molly Shannon and Chris McDonald in Fox's midseason comedy Cracking Up, says the Hollywood Reporter.

Schwartzman, 23, who has rekindled his high school romance with Elf's 23-year-old pixie beauty Zooey Deschanel, will play a psychology grad student who moves into the home of a nutty Beverly Hills family to counsel their youngest son.

Contact "Newsmakers" at 215-854-5797 or

This column includes information from the New York Daily News and Inquirer wire services.

'Death With Dignity,' Jill? Ask Christopher Reeve

Posted: July 26, 2004

COLUMNIST Jill Porter says everyone should have the "privilege" of "dying with dignity" by committing suicide.

We live in a disposable, self-centered society. If something is broken, we throw it away; if things are difficult, we blame others and look for the fastest fix. Euthanasia is just another symptom of a world that continually devalues human life and suffering.

I work in a home for incurable cancer where our patients are cared for with dignity, love and respect. We try to make their last days peaceful, and we treat death as a natural part of life. We do not prolong their lives, but make their last days as comfortable as possible.

Think of Morrie Schwartz, Christopher Reeve or Anne Frank. What if they had decided to throw in the towel and end their seemingly hopeless lives? Instead, they have inspired millions, not to mention those close to them, by their perseverance and hope. While I sympathize with the Wallaces' feelings of despair, the answer is not making it easier for others to turn to suicide in the midst of fear and hopelessness.

Instead, we should aim to give those facing suffering and disease care that is dignified. We should allow them to live their last moments in peace, rather than torment.

Anne Marie McKnight, Philadelphia

Thanks, Jim

I want to thank Councilman James Kenney for all his hard work and dedication in getting the mayor to see the light and open the Philadelphia Core Scholarship Program to all children in the city.

Elaine Brown, Philadelphia

Charity begins at home

I applaud President Bush for his stand against giving more aid to U.N. family planning. Let the European and other countries pick up the slack. When there is not one starving or sick legal American in this country, then we can aid other nations.

Thomas M. Regan, Narberth

Take-out Berger

The top news on July 20 was the admission by Sandy Berger, a John Kerry adviser and national security chief under President Clinton, that he took documents pertinent to the 9/11 commission hearings. Why did the Daily News bury the story on Page 27? Had it been a Bush official, it would have been on the front page for a week.

Lon Levin, Philadelphia

The little engine that can

Re the letter from Charles T. Gondos Jr., supposedly of Roxborough in support of our losing Engine 39:

Before we accept this cut with an "oh-well-that's-the-way-the-cookie-crumbles" attitude, we should think about the fact that if it's icy or there's a traffic problem at Green and Main, that engine won't be available to us.

The engine in Chestnut Hill can't cross the Bells Mill bridge and would have to go all the way down to Walnut Lane to get to us, costing tons of time even on a good day with no traffic issues. The engine at Shawmont and Ridge hopefully won't be on a call or stuck in traffic on Ridge. (After all, Ridge is never snarled with traffic, right?)

Engine 39 is the most centrally located engine in Roxborough. Without an independent study, it makes no sense to close it, especially when you takes into consideration all of the new construction in our area.

Our neighborhood keeps adding population, not losing it.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Philadelphia

George W. 'Girly-Man'

By Arnold Schwarzenegger's standards, I guess George W. Bush is a "girly-man" since he didn't have the guts to defend himself in front of the NAACP convention.

Michael Taylor, Philadelphia

Man of iron will dies of heart failure INFECTION TIED TO PARALYSIS BLAMED

Posted: October 12, 2004

CHRISTOPHER REEVE leaves the world with an enduring example of courage, though not because he starred in "Superman" movies of the 1980s.

It is no particular act of bravery, after all, to face bullets when you are bulletproof. It's what Reeve did when he was confronted, cruelly and suddenly, with human vulnerability that gave us all a lesson in heroism.

In 1995, on a spring day in Virginia, Reeve was thrown from his mount during a riding competition. He fractured his neck, damaged his spinal cord and was instantly paralyzed from the neck down.

When the strapping, vigorously athletic Reeve awoke from a four-day coma to face his paralysis, he was (he later admitted) stricken with a deep depression, and consumed by the impulse to end his own life. Those feelings faded during hospital visits from his three children - his youngest boy, Will, was only a toddler.

"I could see how much they needed me and wanted me," Reeve told Barbara Walters. So he fought for his life, then for a life with dignity - a fight that ended early yesterday when he died of heart failure linked to an infection that is common to victims of paralysis.

His family was by his side. It was for their sake, Reeve said, that he initially endured the confinements and humiliations of his injury. As time went on, however, he came to see that the intersection of his celebrity and his condition made him an ideal spokesman for physically challenged and for such causes as stem-cell research.

Reeve realized he had a responsibility. To live. To improve. To raise awareness, money.

"I refuse to allow a disability to determine how I live my life," Reeve once said. "I don't mean to be reckless, but setting a goal that seems a bit daunting actually is very helpful toward recovery."

A bit daunting? Physicians who examined Reeve in the early days of his recovery said he had virtually no chance of achieving the slightest physical autonomy. Reeve defied them, enduring months of painful therapy, and achieving the ability to breathe for a time on his own, and even to use his index finger.

These small things had enormous implications for Reeve - he could act again, direct, and make public appearances. And he did. Reeve was an honored guest at Democratic political conventions, making an appeal to ease federal restrictions on stem-cell research in the hope that it could successfully treat spinal cord injuries. Sen. John Kerry has made such research a part of his platform in his presidential bid, and in his last days Reeve had campaigned actively for Kerry.

Reeve also appeared at the Academy Awards, urging actors and filmmakers to use their influence as entertainers and storytellers to tackle tough issues. He received a standing ovation. It was an unlikely moment on the Oscar stage for Reeve, who as an actor was rarely given the kind of roles that merited award consideration.

Reeve, who graduated from Cornell in 1974, was tall, broad-shouldered and handsome, and predictably landed one of his first acting jobs on a soap opera - "Love of Life." He was cast as a bad guy, and probably had to work overtime to keep his inherent likability from showing through. Affable, friendly, supernaturally good-looking - those are the attributes that led producers to pluck Reeve from a pool of 200 unknowns who competed for the lead role in the blockbuster "Superman" project.

Reeve had the title role but received third billing when the movie was released in 1979 - behind Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor and Marlon Brando as Superman's father. Reeve made three more Superman movies, none memorable, and had a small role in the Oscar-winning "Remains of the Day." Most of his work in the '80s and '90s was unremarkable.

Two exceptions: "Street Smart," as an unprincipled journalist in the movie that made Morgan Freeman a star, and "Somewhere in Time," a romantic fantasy/melodrama that has built a formidible cult following. INSITE (International Network of Somewhere In Time Enthusiasts) still meets annually at the Midwestern resort hotel where the movie is set.

By the mid-1990s, when he suffered his accident, he was spending more time riding than acting. He was happily married to Dana Reeve, and a devoted father to son Will. (Reeve has two children, Exton and Alexandra, from a previous relationship).

Acting was no longer much of a challenge, and Reeve may have been the sort of man who needed one to show his mettle. Fate gave him that chance. And so he will be remembered not as the man of steel, but as a fellow with an iron will. *

A story of anger, sadness

Posted: October 15, 2004

When I heard the news of Christopher Reeve's death, I felt great sadness, fear, anger and some loneliness.

Only quadriplegics and their loved ones know what we go through. Christopher Reeve died of an infection related to a decubitus ulcer. Most are unaware that we get these ulcers (also known as pressure sores or bed sores) from sitting in one position for up to 18 hours a day.

Most also don't know about the wild fluctuations in blood pressure or the bladder infections or of the consequences of catheters or the difficulty regulating bowels or the violent spasms that can wreak havoc with our daily lives. Most just think we are paralyzed and would like only to walk.

Personally, I don't care about walking. I have a pretty nifty wheelchair that takes care of that. But if someone could find a way to make my bladder work, now that would change, and certainly prolong my life.

My story can be repeated for everyone who has spinal-cord injury. It can be repeated for anyone who has diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or all of the other illnesses in which stem-cell research could have an impact. When it comes to diabetes, most of us think they just have to test their blood, watch their diet, and take their insulin. We don't know about the wounds that don't heal, the blindness, amputations and often premature death that often go with diabetes. We don't see the suffering.

And the suffering sometimes becomes unfathomable. Not just for those with these horrible illnesses, but for their families. For the rest of my life, I will be haunted by the look in my parents' eyes the first time they saw me in a wheelchair. I hope no one suffers like they did. But they will.

When Reeve died, I felt sadness in the same way a soldier must feel when a friend dies in combat. I lost a fellow quadriplegic - a fellow warrior. He was a man about my age who lived with his injury for nine years. I've lived with mine for 25. That's why the sadness. That's why the fear. But I am not so much concerned about me. I've had 25 years to accommodate this disability. My fear is for those behind me.

I recently saw a 16-year-old boy for consultation. He had been a quadriplegic for six months. His young mother accompanied him and both looked dazed. But I was most struck by the beauty of his innocent face. He told me that his girlfriend had left him, and he cried when he said he would never know what it would feel like to make love or dance at his wedding.

Nevertheless, the consultation went well. He asked me many questions about how I managed my life and for the first time since his accident, he felt both understood and hopeful. I showed him around my house, invited him to see my van, which was adapted so that I can drive independently.

At the end of the consultation, he smiled for the first time. He was truly grateful for what he received and said so as he and his mother turned toward the door. As I heard his wheelchair go down the hall, instead of feeling gratification, I wept. I cried for all of the suffering I knew he would endure.

And why am I angry about Reeve's death? I'm angry because we have policy being made by the Bush administration that is based on personal religious dogma and rubber stamped by an obedient Congress. Decisions are made which honor only one's personal beliefs and fail to make genuine eye contact with those who suffer. Sen. John Kerry talked about using stem cells from frozen embryos, and not the destruction of life. President Bush clings tenaciously to his beliefs and turns his back on everything else.

Stem-cell research is not a miracle. But it does offer hope to those who suffer that tomorrow can be better than today. And most of us who suffer aren't asking for miracles. We would be happy with one extra year of clarity, the ability to heal a skin wound more quickly, or even a working bladder.

Like George Bush, I pray. So now I will pray that no other parents have to experience the agony my parents lived with.

Dan Gottlieb is an Inquirer columnist and the host of "Voices in the Family" on WHYY-FM (90.9).

Contact Dan Gottlieb at

Exploiting stem-cell issue for political gain is outrageous

Posted: October 18, 2004

After the second presidential debate, in which John Kerry used the word "plan" 24 times, I said on television that Kerry has a plan for everything except curing psoriasis. I should have known there is no parodying Kerry's pandering. Days later, the Kerry campaign announced a plan - nay, a promise - to cure paralysis: Vote for Kerry.

John Edwards last Monday at a rally in Newton, Iowa, said: "If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."

In my 25 years in Washington, I have never seen a more loathsome display of demagoguery. Deliberately raising for personal gain false hope in the catastrophically afflicted is despicable.

Where does one begin to deconstruct this outrage? First, the inability of the spinal cord to regenerate is one of the great mysteries of biology. The answer could take a generation. To imply, as Edwards did, that it is imminent if you elect the right politicians is scandalous.

Second, if the cure for spinal-cord injury comes, we have no idea where it will come from. Stem-cell research is just one line of inquiry, and a very speculative one at that. For 30 years I have heard promises of miracle cures for paralysis (including my own, suffered as a medical student). The last fad was fetal-tissue transplants. They were thought to be "a sure thing." Nothing came of it.

As a doctor by training, I have tried in my counseling of the newly spinal-cord injured to place the chance of cure in abeyance and to encourage them to make a life with the hands they are dealt. The enemies of this advice are the snake-oil salesmen who promise miracles. I never expected a candidate for vice president to be one of them.

Third, the implication that Christopher Reeve was prevented from getting out of his wheelchair by Bush stem-cell policies is a travesty.

Bush is the first president to approve federal funding for stem-cell research. There are 22 lines of stem cells available, up from one just two years ago. As the head of the President's Council on Bioethics, Leon Kass, wrote, there are 3,500 stem-cell shipments waiting for anyone who wants them.

Edwards and Kerry talk of a "ban" on stem-cell research. There is no ban. You want to study stem cells? You acquire them from the companies that have them and apply to the National Institutes of Health for federal funding.

In an Aug. 7 radio address, Kerry referred four times to the "ban" on stem-cell research instituted by Bush. Then, Christopher Reeve was alive, so not available for posthumous exploitation. But Ronald Reagan was, having recently died of Alzheimer's.

So what does Kerry do? He begins his radio address by claiming a stem-cell "ban" is blocking an Alzheimer's cure.

This is an outright lie. The President's Council on Bioethics, on which I sit, had one of the foremost experts on Alzheimer's, Dennis Selkoe from Harvard, discuss the most promising approaches to Alzheimer's. Selkoe reported remarkable progress in biochemically clearing the "plaque" deposits in the brain that lead to Alzheimer's. He ended his presentation without the phrase "stem cells" having crossed his lips.

So much for the miracle cure. Ronald D.G. McKay, a stem-cell researcher at NIH, has admitted publicly that stem cells as an Alzheimer's cure are a fiction, but that "people need a fairy tale." Kerry and Edwards certainly do. They are shamelessly exploiting this issue, having no doubt been told by their pollsters that stem cells will play well politically for them.

Politicians have long promised a chicken in every pot. It is part of the game. It is one thing to promise ethanol subsidies here, dairy price controls there. But to exploit the desperate hopes of desperate people with the promise of Christ-like cures is beyond the pale.

There is no apologizing for Edwards' remark. It is too revealing. There is absolutely nothing the man will not say to get elected.

Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for the Washington Post

Charles Krauthammer ( appears regularly.

Notables in Washington, Hollywood join to commemorate life of Reeve

Posted: October 31, 2004

More than 900 people gathered Friday to commemorate the life of actor and real-life hero Christopher Reeve, who died Oct. 10 at the age of 52. The service, at the Juilliard School, where Reeve first trained as an actor and returned to receive an honorary doctorate in 1997, included a performance by Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell, singing "The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha.

Attendees included Sen. Hillary Clinton and Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of the Democratic presidential candidate; actresses Glenn Close, Mary Tyler Moore and Susan Sarandon; television hosts Larry King and Katie Couric; and director Mike Nichols.

"His courage and inspiration will live on," Clinton said of Reeve, who devoted much of his life to helping to find a cure for paralysis after a horse riding accident rendered him a quadriplegic in 1995.

Other speakers included Reeve's wife, Dana; his Juilliard roommate and lifelong friend, Robin Williams; and actress Meryl Streep. Reeve's three children, Matthew, Alexandra and Will, had prepared a 20-minute film about life with their father, and Reeve's brother, Benjamin, planned to share memories of their childhood.

The memorial closed with the cast of Broadway's The Lion King performing "Circle of Life."

Cannibal prequel in the works

* While the latest flicks made from Thomas Harris' Hannibal books left much to be desired (face it: Hannibal was dreadful, while the Red Dragon remake of Manhunter was redundant, at best), the books continue to sizzle. And soon, there will be a new one. Behind the Mask, due out next year, is a prequel that will show just how mild-mannered Dr. Hannibal Lecter became evil Hannibal the cannibal. Publisher Bantam Dell whets our appetite: "Millions of readers in 25 languages have wondered how Dr. Lecter developed his particular appetite for evil. This novel will satisfy their curiosity." Bon appetit!

Moss on sale

* Painter Lucian Freud, who is known for his brutally realistic portraits of very mortal-looking men and women, may have gotten his eye for capturing gross human imperfections from grandpa, Sigmund Freud. The 81-year-old British artist's sitters have ranged from his friends to Queen Elizabeth II, as well as that other revered public figure, Kate Moss. That last portrait, a near-life-size nude of a pregnant Moss titled Naked Portrait 2002, is expected to fetch $6.4 mil when it is auctioned Feb. 9 in London, according to Christie's auction house.

While we've all seen Moss' waif-like cuteness in countless glossy mags, we imagine that Freud's take on the supermodel will be a tad different. After all, he is quoted as saying he likes to do nudes because "one of the most exciting things is seeing through the skin, to the blood and veins and markings." Yikes!

Jolie with the refugees

* While some celebs' pronouncements on things political make us cranky, others' acts on behalf of the needy return our faith in celebdom. The latest act is from Oscar-winner Angelina Jolie, a U.N. goodwill ambassador who visited Sudan last week to see refugees who had fled from the war-torn western Darfur region.

About 70,000 people have been killed and 1.5 million forced to leave their homes since February 2003, when two rebel groups took up arms against the government and pro-government ethnic Arab Sudanese. Those refugees are now being urged to return home.

Jolie said continued violence would make return dangerous. "This is the worst situation I have seen," said Jolie, who has visited 20 countries as a goodwill ambassador. "The fact is, it is just one of the worst things that has happened on the planet to a people."

Contact "Newsmakers" at 215-854-5797 or

This column contains information from Inquirer wire services.

A superhero we've never seen Richard Donner's cut of "Superman II" is finally out.

Posted: December 01, 2006

How can you have a director's cut of a movie that has never been seen? Well, not only was Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut never released, it also was made before Richard Lester's Superman II.

This DVD version, starring Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder, owes its existence to the Internet. For years, fans have been posting on Web sites material from Donner's footage, such as photo stills and storyboards. There was even a petition sent to Warner Brothers seeking a Donner cut. The studio realized a "new" movie was available (at relatively little cost), and is releasing this with Bryan Singer's Superman Returns and the four other Reeve Superman films (including Lester's Superman II).

Producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler planned to make Superman and its sequel simultaneously beginning in March 1977. Christopher Reeve's first day on the set was to film a scene with Marlon Brando as his father for Superman II. The second film was to feature Superman and Lois Lane revealing (and reveling in) their love, oblivious to how three Kryptonian villains banished in the first film by Brando come to Earth and conquer it.

But the relationship between Donner and the producers deteriorated as the film fell behind schedule and over budget, costing millions. All parties agreed to finish the first film and then complete the sequel later - but Donner finished all of Superman II's scenes with Brando and Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor. Donner said he had completed about 70 percent of the second film.

After Superman opened, the producers let Donner go and hired Lester to not only complete Superman II, but also to film new scenes, ostensibly so Donner wouldn't get a director's credit. And for financial reasons, Brando's part as Superman's father also was cut. Lester's Superman II opened in the summer of 1981, with about 30 percent to 40 percent of Donner's footage included with Lester's new material.

Donner associate Michael Thau has taken all of Donner's footage for the sequel, including Brando's, and kept in necessary scenes from Lester to complete this film, which includes a scene cobbled together from Reeve and Margot Kidder's screen tests. Thau oversaw the project, but Donner was by his side, giving input.

An accompanying documentary, "Restoring the Vision," shows how the six tons of material filmed 30 years ago was pieced together. What's missing are interviews with cast members, who were upset when Donner was taken off the project back in 1979.

The commentary by Donner and writer Tom Mankiewicz (credited as "creative consultant") is incredibly bitter, saying "criminal," "stupid" and "grow up" when discussing what the producers and Lester did to their vision of the film.

Brando's restored footage is quite heavy, especially where he sacrifices himself to save Superman.

So how does this version compare to Lester's? Some of it is darker, but overall it's smarter. Lester tried to get laughs by having the villains fight with good 'ol boys speaking in twanging accents, and his scene in which Lois discovers that Kent is Superman is very lame.

Among the best parts of the Donner cut are a dazzling opening and the moment at the end when Lois and Superman realize they can't be together; Reeve and Kidder are convincing in showing their heartache. These sequences show Donner and writer Mankiewicz at their best, in making a comic-book movie that was sophisticated and real.

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut

With Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando and Margot Kidder.

Price: $24.98

Parent's Guide: PG (violence, some sexuality)

The extras: *** Audio commentary by director Richard Donner and writer Tom Mankiewicz; a documentary on restoring this version; deleted scenes.

Embryos, stem cells, slippery slopes

Posted: January 15, 2007

When President Bush announced in August 2001 his restrictive funding decision for federal embryonic stem cell research, he was widely attacked for an unwarranted intrusion of religion into scientific research. His solicitousness for a 200-cell organism - the early embryo that Bush declared should not be destroyed to produce a harvest of stem cells - was roundly denounced as reactionary and antiscientific. And cruel, to boot. It was preventing the cure for thousands of people with hopeless and terrible diseases, from diabetes to spinal cord injury. As John Edwards put it most starkly and egregiously in 2004: If John Kerry becomes president, Christopher Reeve will walk again.

This kind of stem cell advocacy did not just shamefully inflate its promise. It tended to misrepresent the basis for putting restrictions on embryonic research, insisting that it was nothing more than political enforcement of the religious fundamentalist belief that life begins at conception.

This has always been a tendentious characterization of the argument for restricting stem cell research that relies on the destruction of embryos. I have long supported legal abortion. And I don't believe that life - meaning the attributes and protections of personhood - begins at conception. Yet many secularly inclined people like me have great trepidation about the inherent dangers of wanton and unrestricted manipulation - to the point of dismemberment - of human embryos.

You don't need religion to tremble at the thought of unrestricted embryo research. You simply have to have a healthy respect for the human capacity for doing evil in pursuit of good. Once we have taken the position of many stem cell advocates that embryos are discardable tissue with no more intrinsic value than a hangnail or an appendix, then all barriers are down. What is to prevent us from producing not just tissues and organs, but human-like organisms for preservation as a source of future body parts on demand?

South Korea enthusiastically embraced unrestricted stem cell research. The subsequent greatly heralded breakthroughs - accompanied by lamentations that America was falling behind - were eventually exposed as a swamp of deception, fraud and coercion.

The slope is very slippery. Which is why, even though I disagreed with where the president drew the line - I would have permitted the use of fertility-clinic embryos that are discarded and going to die anyway - I applauded his insistence that some line must be drawn, that human embryos are not nothing, and that societal values, not just the scientific imperative, should determine how they are treated.

The Senate will soon vote on a House-approved bill to erase Bush's line. But future generations may nonetheless thank Bush for standing athwart history, if only for a few years. It gave technology enough time to catch up and rescue us from the moral dilemmas of embryonic destruction.

It has just been reported that stem cells with enormous potential can be harvested from amniotic fluid.

This would be a revolutionary finding. Amniotic fluid surrounds the baby in the womb during pregnancy. It is routinely drawn out by needle in amniocentesis. The procedure carries little risk, and is done for legitimate medical purposes that have nothing to do with stem cells. If it nonetheless yields a harvest of stem cells, we have just stumbled upon an endless supply.

And not just endless, but uncontroversial. No embryos are destroyed. The cells are just floating there, as if waiting for science to discover them.

Even better, amniotic fluid might prove to yield an ideal stem cell - not as primitive as embryonic stem cells and therefore less likely to grow uncontrollably into tumors, but also not as developed as adult stem cells and therefore more "pluripotential" in the kinds of tissues it can produce.

If it is proved that these are the Goldilocks of stem cells, history will record the amniotic breakthrough as the turning point in the evolution of stem cell research from a narrow, difficult, delicate and morally dubious enterprise into an uncontroversial one with raw material produced unproblematically every day.

It will have turned out that Bush's unpopular policy held the line, however arbitrary and temporary, against the wanton trampling of the human embryo just long enough for a morally neutral alternative to emerge. And it did force the country to at least ponder the moral cost of turning one potential human being into replacement parts for another. Who will be holding the line next time, when another Faustus promises medical nirvana if he is permitted to transgress just one moral boundary?

Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group.

Charles Krauthammer ( appears regularly.

N.J. Hall of Fame lists nominees for '12

Posted: October 12, 2011

TRENTON - The New Jersey Hall of Fame has announced the nominees for its 2012 class: 50 historical figures, artists, entertainers, and innovators, all with ties to the Garden State.

The nominees include former Vice President Aaron Burr, former President Grover Cleveland, and the early woman's rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton in the historical category.

The salsa singer Celia Cruz, the actor Christopher Reeve, and the jazz great Dizzy Gillespie are among the nominees in arts and entertainment.

The enterprise category includes the chef Alice Waters, the electronic-communications inventor David Sarnoff, and the newspaper publisher Samuel I. Newhouse.

The sports category includes Bill Parcells, who coached the New York Giants and Jets; Wellington Mara, who owned the Giants; and broadcasting icon Dick Vitale.

The artist Alexander Calder, who popularized the mobile; the writer Joyce Carol Oates; and the cartoonist Charles Addams, who inspired The Addams Family, are included in the general category.

Voters have until January to go online to choose their favorites. The Web address is

The nominees are for the hall's fifth class. It is the most nominees ever, in part because residents have suggested "so many remarkable individuals over the past 12 months," said John O'Brien, chairman of the group's voting committee.

The top vote-getter in each category will be inducted. Top runners-up will also be chosen for induction, said Don Jay Smith, spokesman for the hall.

The hall celebrates New Jersey's history by honoring its many talented residents and former residents. Gov. Christie is scheduled to announce the new class in January.

6 notables entering N.J. Hall of Fame

Posted: February 11, 2012

TRENTON - The newest inductees into New Jersey's Hall of Fame include the actor Christopher Reeve, the E Street Band, and New York Giants owner Wellington Mara. Others winning induction this spring include the actor Michael Douglas, the singer Sarah Vaughan, and the author Joyce Carol Oates.

Gov. Christie announced the names Friday afternoon.

Rounding out the hall's 2012 class are basketball coach Bob Hurley, publisher Samuel I. Newhouse, Olympian Milt Campbell, markswoman Annie Oakley, and John Dorrance, the chemist who invented condensed soup.

The public induction ceremony and red-carpet entrance will be June 9 in Newark.

A Hall of Fame member, the architect Michael Graves, is designing a mobile museum for the hall that would travel from school to school. The hall also exists online at

The hall honors New Jerseyans who have made their mark in history, entertainment, enterprise, and sports. There's also a general category for educators, military leaders and politicians.

Many inductees were born or raised in the Garden State; some live here or have other significant ties to New Jersey.

Reeve, of Princeton, was best known for portraying Superman. He was paralyzed after a horse-riding accident and then lobbied on behalf of people with spinal-cord injuries until his death in 2004. Oakley, born in Nutley, overcame poverty to achieve success, her life later immortalized in Irving Berlin's musical Annie Get Your Gun. Hurley won 26 state championships and amassed more than 1,000 wins in 39 years at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City.

Recipients were chosen by fellow New Jerseyans, who voted online from a list of 50 nominees, and by a voting academy made up of 100 state organizations.

Previous inductees include Bruce Springsteen, Albert Einstein, Thomas A. Edison, and Yogi Berra. Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Les Paul, Count Basie, and Carl Lewis were inducted in May.

Springsteen's E Street Band will be touring out of the country in early June, so its induction has been postponed.

Hall of Fame organizers have invited inductees from the first four classes who could not accept their awards in person previously to join this year's awards ceremony.