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News from the entertainment capital

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   Nov. 8, 2001 at 4:39 PM
WHITE HOUSE, HOLLYWOOD SET HIGH-LEVEL MEETING

President Bush's top political advisor, Karl Rove, is scheduled to meet in Hollywood Sunday with a contingent of some of the heaviest hitters in the entertainment business, to examine ways for the industry to contribute to the war on terrorism.

"The gathering is to brief studio executives on the war ... and to discuss with them future projects that may be undertaken by the industry," said White House spokesman Ken Lisaius.

He told the New York Times that the White House "has great respect for the creativity of the industry and recognizes its impact and ability to educate at home and abroad."

The paper reported that several executives said they are not interested in making propaganda films, but they said Hollywood might come up with something like "Why We Fight" -- a documentary series made during World War II by Frank Capra. They also said their industry might turn out public service announcements dealing with such issues as homeland security.

Jack Valenti, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, is helping to coordinate the meeting with Rove. He told the Times he would not object if Hollywood made patriotic war movies like the ones they made during World War II.

"I think if it's a good story, compellingly told," said Valenti, "it is entirely appropriate to see movies that show the heroism of American armed forces."

However, Valenti said he doesn't think that suggestion will be discussed at Sunday's meeting -- which will be closed to the public and the media.


BEATLES' NUGGET UNCOVERED

The British Broadcasting Corp. has come up with a rare audio recording of The Beatles appearing on a 1963 radio show, trying their hand at predicting whether newly released singles would make it or not.

The tape turned up in response to "Treasure Hunt" -- an appeal by the BBC for old radio and TV programs. In all, the BBC reported it had collected more than 100 programs, including The Beatles' turn on "Juke Box Jury."

Someone turned in a Benny Hill show from 1962 and an episode of "Not Only ... But Also," the 1965-70 TV series that featured Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

The pair subsequently starred in the long-running revue, "Beyond the Fringe," and the 1967 movie, "Bedazzled." Moore went on to become an international film star, appearing in such hits as "10" (1979), "Arthur" (1981) and "Mickey and Maude" (1984).

The BBC announced the "Treasure Hunt" in May after a missing episode of the comedy, "The Likely Lads," turned up unexpectedly -- suggesting that their might be other hidden treasures out there somewhere.


OSCAR'S NEW HOME SET TO OPEN

The grand opening for Hollywood & Highland -- the new home of the Oscars -- isn't scheduled to happen until Friday, but there was a quiet dedication ceremony there Wednesday.

The small get-together was put together by TrizecHahn Corp., which built the new office and retail complex in the heart of Hollywood. The new facility is expected to play a large role in the revitalization of Hollywood Blvd., leading the district away from its recent reliance on souvenir and T-shirt shops into a new era of upscale prosperity.

The entire complex cost $615 million -- about 15 percent of which was publicly funded.

The Kodak Theatre will be the new home of the Academy Awards beginning next March. It will also become a prime concert venue in Los Angeles, with performances by Melissa Etheridge and Barry Manilow already on the schedule.


HOLLYWOOD SIGN WILL STAY WHITE

The Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Commission has voted against a proposal to make the world-famous "Hollywood" sign red, white and blue for Veteran's Day as a tribute to Americans in uniform.

There is still a technical possibility that the Los Angeles City Council could approve the proposal, but that is seen as unlikely.

"We don't paint the White House red, white and blue," said Councilman Tom LaBonge, who represents the district in which the sign is located. LaBonge said the "Hollywood" sign is a monument, not a billboard, and needs to be treated with respect rather than used to send a message.

The Hollywood Sign Advisory Committee also voted against the proposal, warning of increased traffic and security problems in the area around the sign -- which is a major tourist attraction in Los Angeles.


'POTTER' SAFE FROM HACKERS FOR NOW

According to a report in Daily Variety, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is not up for grabs in cyberspace -- even if some Web sites make it look like the upcoming feature has already been snagged by online pirates.

Technicians working for the Motion Picture Association of America report that they have determined that "Harry Potter" -- scheduled to open Nov. 16 in the United States and Britain -- is not out there somewhere Internet.

The MPAA's computer wizards were assigned to the case after a newspaper in London reported that hackers had made the movie available for downloading through file-sharing sites. Apparently, there are some sites that promise "Harry Potter" but, according to the MPAA, all they deliver is pornography.


VIEWERS GO FOR 'NYPD'

Maybe it has something to do with the public's new affinity for New Yorkers in uniform, and maybe not, but in any case ABC's long-running "NYPD Blue" came out on top of Tuesday night's ratings race in an intensely competitive 9 p.m. time slot.

"NYPD Blue" opened its ninth season with a two-hour episode, averaging 15.8 million viewers, according to early Nielsen returns.

Fox's new drama, "24," did not deliver the kinds of numbers the network might have hoped for, considering the unusual degree of critical acclaim the series has been getting -- finishing fourth in the hour, and losing audience from its first half-hour to its second.


HONORS FOR LISA SIMPSON

For the first time in the 11-year history of its annual award ceremonies, the Environmental Media Association has honored an animated character as a champion of the environment.

In ceremonies Wednesday, the EMA presented Lisa Simpson -- Marge and Homer's middle child on the Fox comedy, "The Simpsons" -- with its board of directors award for ongoing commitment.

"For twelve years," said the EMA proclamation, "Lisa has been the environmental conscience of the show. She has enlightened the viewing public with her concern, her knowledge and her dedication to preserve our planet."

Two other Fox series -- "Boston Public" and "King of the Hill" -- were also honored with awards for promoting public awareness of environmental issues. The Turner Award, a $10,000 cash prize, went to writer-producer David E. Kelley for an episode of "Boston Public" dealing with contraception and population growth.

Awards were also presented to the ABC series, "The Practice," and the Eddie Murphy feature film, "Dr. Dolittle 2."


BLACK FILMMAKERS, ARTISTS FEATURED IN SANTA MONICA

The Santa Monica Museum of Art is staging a film series this week -- in conjunction with an art exhibit -- intended to spotlight filmmaking by American blacks.

One of the four features being shown at the Freestyle Film Series is "Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey," narrated by Sidney Poitier. All four were screened at the 2001 Sundance Festival.

Lisa Melandri, deputy director of the museum, said the film series was conceived as something less than a full-fledged festival.

"This is not what we do," said Melandri, "so we wanted to strike a balance between giving people what they want to see and not being too ambitious."

Melandri said the art exhibition is "as broad a survey as the curator could make of what's happening in black art at this moment ... a show about art that happens to be about black artists."

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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