ED SULLIVAN RIDES AGAIN?
The glorious thing about the old "Ed Sullivan" show on CBS on Sunday nights -- for what seemed forever -- was that newspaperman-turned-host Sullivan presented the full gamut of entertainment. On the same show he might have a trained seal act and a star from the Metropolitan Opera.
Now, according to the Denver Post, an unlikely entrepreneur is reviving the Sullivan concept with a catch-all program at the Larimer Square Theatre -- live. The host is a TV veterinarian-turned-standup comic, Kevin Fitzgerald. He's presenting 10 different acts in the vein of the old "let's get a barn and put on a show" scenario of tons of old Mickey Rooney movies.
The newspaper says Fitzgerald promises that no act will run over six minutes; with introductions the total show will run about an hour. He calls the concept "audience-friendly theater."
Fitzgerald says he's had feelers from HBO and "Comedy Central" and is curious about how it will turn out.
(Thanks to UPI Feature Reporter Dennis Daily)
THINGS WE DON'T UNDERSTAND
Chrysler is ending production of its retro roadster, the Prowler, after a five-year production run.
The hand-assembled $45,000 two-seater was introduced by the Plymouth division in 1997 after wowing auto enthusiasts as a concept car in 1993. It continued as a Chrysler, selling some 11,000 vehicles.
The last Prowler will roll off the production line in February. "We anticipated a five-year run for the Prowler when we started production in 1997," Tom Marinell, vice president Chrysler/Jeep Global Brand Center, said. "Like Dodge Viper and Chrysler PT Cruiser, Prowler showcases the innovation, technology and creativity within this company."
The rear-wheel drive Prowler, built at the same Detroit plant as the more muscular Viper, evoked the hot rods of the 1950s, featuring a 3.5-liter, 24-valve, V-6 engine linked to a four-speed electronic gearbox that allowed the driver to shift gears by tapping the shifter.
Ninety percent of the owners are male, 70 percent married, with a median age of 52 and median income of $190,000. Chrysler hopes to attract a similar demographic when its new Crossfire coupe reaches showrooms as a 2004 model. The Crossfire is scheduled to be introduced at the 2002 Los Angeles Auto Show.
The first Prowlers came in one color, purple. Chrysler later added yellow, black, red, silver, blue, gold, orange, black and red, and sliver and black. The last 300 Prowlers will be a special sparkling shade of red.
"Our last Prowlers will be painted Deep Candy Red, a color that will be instantly recognizable in the hot rod community," Marinelli said.
NEWS OF OTHER LIFE FORMS
A unique international rescue is being organized to save nearly 7,500 endangered turtles confiscated by Hong Kong customs.
Destined for the illegal food trade, the four-ton shipment of turtles valued at $3.2 million was headed for China when it was seized Dec. 10. About 90 percent of the turtles are considered critically endangered under criteria established by the World Conservation Union.
The Turtle Survival Alliance is planning to fly most of the turtles to the United States during the holidays and then distribute them to zoos, universities, and breeders where they can be maintained for eventual recovery.
Rick Hudson, Fort Worth (Texas) Zoo conservation biologist, and Kurk Buhlmann of Conservation International, are spearheading the effort as co-chairs of the turtle alliance.
The turtles are temporarily housed in a Hong Kong botanic garden. United Airlines has offered to fly the 10 crates of turtles to Miami, donating the cost in an effort to save the turtles, but other costs are a concern for Hudson. The expense of veterinary care and drugs will be high, he said, and the $15,000 in grants they received will cover less than half the final cost.
The turtles, representing a dozen different species, weigh from 2 pounds up to 75 pounds each. Some of the larger species will be left behind for repatriation back into the wild because they cannot be absorbed in the United States, Hudson said.
TODAY'S SIGN THE WORLD IS ENDING
From those wonderful folks who brought you "Jackass" on MTV comes word that there's going to be a "Jackass" movie and at least three primetime TV specials in 2002.
Daily Variety reports MTV is working with "Jackass" star Johnny Knoxville and co-creator Jeff Tremaine, with plans calling for production to begin in January on the feature film version of the controversial anything-for-a-laugh TV show. The feature will be produced by Knoxville, Tremaine and Oscar-nominated director Spike Jonze ("Being John Malkovich").
The TV show went out of production earlier this year after turning out 30 episodes. It still runs on Sunday nights on MTV. Officials at the music channel said the decision to stop making the show was based on fatigue with the weekly grind of producing it -- and had nothing to do with controversy over young fans hurting themselves while trying to replicate the idiotic stunts that Knoxville and company did on TV.
Washington politicians criticized the show after a Connecticut teenager was hospitalized with severe burns while mimicking a scene in which Knoxville set himself on fire while wearing a flame-retardant suit.
(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)
AND FINALLY, TODAY'S UPLIFTING STORY
President Bush took part in a White House ceremony Wednesday to present a new fire truck -- dubbed the "Spirit of Louisiana" -- to the city of New York, replacing a vehicle lost in the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
The residents of Louisiana, led by Gov. Mike J. Foster, raised about $600,000 for the truck that will replace one of more than 30 trucks destroyed during the attacks. The truck is scheduled to arrive in New York on Thursday.