WHAT A DRAMATIC RESCUE
Over the years there have been many stories of rescue attempts. Whether it is from the downed submarine the Squalus (1939), from the well into which Baby Jessica fell (1987), or myriad mining disasters. Some have been successful, others have not. Unlike the Billy Wilder-Kirk Douglas movie "Ace in the Hole" (1951) -- in which Douglas (as a reporter) actually knew that a man trapped in a mine could be quickly rescued. Nonetheless, he didn't tell anyone, electing to prolong the misery and give him time to write more stories on rescue attempts -- this past weekend's rescue of those nine miners in Pennsylvania was a legitimate exercise in heroics. The world watched and listened as attempts were made to free the men, trapped in rising, chilling waters after accidentally breaching a wall that was holding back a torrent. Only one of the rescued men needed much medical attention; he had suffered from the bends. The drama took Enron and Afghanistan off the front pages for a while. Too bad it needed a near-tragedy to do it. A happy ending to what could have been another mining disaster.
VAN DYKE AND MOORE TO REUNITE ON PBS
The classic play "The Gin Game" will be the vehicle for a reuniting of Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. The play, by D.L. Coburn, won the Pulitzer when it was first released. It's seen a ton of stagings, and the original on-Broadway classic starred husband-and-wife duo Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. That 1977 award-winner was directed by Mike Nichols. Eventually it was taped for presentation on PBS and ran in the 1981 season as part of the network's "American Playhouse" series. This latest mounting of the timeless story has, according to The Hollywood Reporter, gone into production in Los Angeles this week. The focus of the plot is the daily bantering back and forth between two people who live in a nursing home and take out their verbal aggressions during spirited games of gin rummy. No word on when this latest PBS production will air.
RALPH STANLEY VIDEO STAR?
It took a while for many country stars to realize that you can't put out an album anymore without also doing a video. Now nearly everyone does. It's part of the package. But Ralph Stanley ... icon of bluegrass ... video star? Well, according to country.com, that's what's happened. The venerable entertainer has begun filming his first music video, based on his "Down from the Mountain" tour. Instead of some slick, Britney Spears-esque dance sequence in which the singer mouths the words to pre-taped music, Stanley has opted to have up-close-and-personal shooting done during an upcoming live performance of his music. He plans on using the song "Girl from the Greenbrian Shore" as the centerpiece for the video. Included will also be behind-the-scenes footage.
JUST SEND THE RENT CHECK TO RANDY TRAVIS
Many people in the world of entertainment found out long ago that it's cheaper to buy a home outright than to continue to pay rent. And many, including Randy Travis, apparently have the money to do just that, renting out the exclusive digs. The latest edition of Country Music Television's on-line service reports that the singer-actor has some pretty expensive holdings in five different locations ... including two in Hawaii and three in New Mexico. One of his properties, described as a Polynesian-style seven-bedroom villa is on Maui. It goes for a paltry $12,000 a week. Two of his New Mexico properties are also rent-able, but no information on what the freight is there.
WHAT A WAY TO PROPOSE
Popular actress Patricia Arquette got a real shocker recently while attending a screening of an old Charlie Chaplin silent film. She was there with her boyfriend, Tommy -- even the New York Post couldn't get his last name. At one point in the show the plot changed. One of the "cards" used to show dialogue suddenly announced something that had nothing to do with the movie: "Patricia, will you marry me?" It was a pre-arranged set up, worked out between the enigmatic Tommy and theater management. Arquette said "yes." I can't help but think that her late grandfather, in the character of Charley Weaver, was looking down, saying to Tommy: "Way to go!"
SPIDEY'S CREATOR TO BE HONORED
The man who came up with the concept for Spider-Man, illustrator Stan Lee, has agreed to visit Universal Studios in Los Angeles to join with a group of students in sampling some of the new venues there that are Spidey themed. Lee, according to gossip columnist Liz Smith, is now 79 and in great health. He tells Smith that he believes that young people are strongly influenced by the type of heroes they see in books and on the silver screen. As much as he thinks the current incarnation of his character, replete with digitally made special effects is great, he says that there was a basic part of the older swashbuckling films (such as ones starring Errol Flynn) that is absent today ... dialogue.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 381
Inspired by the over-the-weekend rescue of nine miners in Pennsylvania, here is today's question: "Do you have a memory of a rescue attempt, either local or nationally publicized?" Put RESCUE in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org on the Internet.
RESULTS OF SURVEY QUESTION NO. 376 (ICE CREAM)
Last week we asked your favorite ice cream treat. SDC says he often crumbles cookies into ice cream, particularly adding vanilla wafers to vanilla ice cream. He also says that anything added to peanut butter ice cream is wonderful. Mikee says that he likes to add corn flakes or 40 percent bran flakes to vanilla ice cream. Caroline suggests that letting vanilla ice cream melt then refreezing it radically changes the texture and it is wonderful when refrozen. Caroline, while with the USDA I visited the dairy at the University of Maryland and was told that it's the ice content in ice cream that gives it much of its flavor. Many respondents noted that they like to let ice cream nearly thaw and then swirl it around and eat it as a near liquid. There's a reason that so many do this. Extremely cold ice cream often freezes some of our taste buds, thereby denying us some of the flavor. If we bring ice cream to the melting point, it's still cold but is more flavorful. Others suggested they loved the new flavored toppings that harden when applied to cold ice cream. TOMORROW: Your memories of stage productions. GBA.