Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney and his wife Jan -- both longtime animal lovers and activists -- are promoting legislation pending in Sacramento to require pet shops to pass out basic information about an animal's needs to customers who buy pets.
The Rooneys have joined with the Doris Day Animal League, California State Sen. Edward Vincent and PETCO -- a leading retailer of pet food and supplies -- to encourage retail pet sellers to provide care instructions regardless of whether the state assembly passes the bill.
Jan Rooney said pet shops could to decide for themselves what information to put on the handouts, as long as they give pet owners good information on taking care of their animals.
"The problem is that animals are ending up with rescues groups," she said, "which are flooded because people don't have a clue how to take care of them."
Rooney said she worked with other supporters of the proposal to make the legislation as palatable as possible to the politicians.
"We worked with the pet industry in order to dilute the bill so they would drop their opposition," she said. "We diluted it to such a point that PETCO came forth and supported the bill."
Rooney said some stores already hand out such information, but new legislation would make it a uniform practice throughout the state.
MORE METAL FOR MANILOW
Barry Manilow -- who stars this weekend in the CBS TV special "Ultimate Manilow" -- has another platinum record and another gold record on the resume.
"Ultimate Manilow," described as the most comprehensive single-CD collection in the career of the singer-composer-arranger, has been certified platinum for U.S. sales of more than 1 million copies. "Barry Manilow: The Complete Collection and Then Some ..." -- a deluxe boxed set first issued in 1992 -- has been certified gold.
"Ultimate Manilow " is the fastest-selling album in Manilow's career. It entered the Billboard 200 Album chart at No. 3 in February -- his highest charting debut ever -- and has spent 10 weeks in the top 40.
The TV special was videotaped earlier this year at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.
Manilow wraps up his European tour this week, and then begins the next leg of his North American tour on June 6 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. He will be inducted into the National Academy of Popular Music/Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York on June 13 -- along with Ashford & Simpson, Michael Jackson, Randy Newman and Sting.
People living around Myrtle Ave. in Westport, Conn., might experience some parking congestion in June, because the Westport Country Playhouse is putting on a pretty big show.
From June 5-22, Oscar-winning actor Paul Newman will star as the Stage Manager in the Playhouse's production of "Our Town" -- Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about life in small-town America.
The cast also features Jane Curtin, Frank Converse and Jeffrey DeMunn.
HBO WILL PRESENT 'CARNIVALE' SERIES
HBO has decided to turn its Dust Bowl drama pilot "Carnivale" into a series, expected to premiere early in 2003.
Nick Stahl ("In the Bedroom") stars with Clancy Brown ("The Laramie Project," "In the Company of Spies") and Clea DuVall ("The Laramie Project," "Girl, Interrupted"), in a story about an epic struggle between good and evil set against the backdrop of a traveling carnival during the Great Depression.
HUGH GRANT ON FATHERHOOD
At 41, Hugh Grant admits to feeling a bit of anxiety, but no pressure, about the fact that he has yet to take on fatherhood.
In his new movie, "About a Boy," Grant plays a reluctant father figure for a 12-year-old boy. But he told People magazine he's in no hurry to experience the real thing.
"I don't feel a particular pressure," he said, "except at Christmas when I always feel a bit pathetic that I have no kids and everyone else does."
Grant still hangs out with former girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley, two years after their breakup. People reported that he vacationed with Hurley, her sister and some other women in the Caribbean in January.
"He's still my best friend in the world," said Hurley. "No matter how demented he drives me on a day-to-day basis, in a crisis he is always there 100 percent."