INTREPID SAILOR RE-ENACTS 40-YEAR-OLD FEAT
It was in 1962 that Japanese sailor Ken-ichi Horie became an instant international hero when he managed to pilot a 19-foot-long sloop called Mermaid from his native country to the United States. The final days of that journey were nearly a disaster. As he approached the Golden Gate Bridge, exhausted and nearly out of supplies, he was "rescued" by a local yachtsman, Bill Fisher. Now, four decades later, at age 63, Horie has done it again, this time in a replica of the first Mermaid. His original 5,270-mile trek took 94 days. This time around he shaved a month off his 1962 timetable. By the way, the new Mermaid is made completely of recycled materials. The mast is made from recycled soft drink cans and the material for the sails from old plastic. For a moment, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, there was some drama on the docks. For a time Horie could not find his passport. Greeting him when he arrived was an old friend, Bill Fisher, the yachtsman who was the first to sight him forty years ago.
DEMME HONORED BY MAINE FILM GROUP
This year's annual Maine International Film Festival has honored director Jonathan Demme for a lifetime of achievements. According to festival organizers -- as announced on the group's Web site miff.org -- Demme, an Oscar winner in 1992 for "The Silence of the Lambs," received top honors at ceremonies at the Old Waterville Opera House in Waterville, Maine. Demme has long been a friend of the moviegoing public in that New England state. He and his wife own property there. This is the fifth year for the festival, which has been growing in respect and recognition. The event runs for more than a week with the screening of over 50 films. Demme is now 58 and is also known for his work on "Married to the Mob," "Stop Making Sense," "Beloved" and "Philadelphia."
POPULAR REBA DISPLAYS HER MEMENTOS
Reba McEntire, the impish country music singer who became a TV star and went to Broadway to wow 'em in "Annie, Get Your Gun," has announced a major showing of artifacts relating to her career. And it's all for charity. According to the folks at CMT, McEntire's collection of costumes and four hand-made quilts will be shown to the public later this month in Reba's Ranch House. That's a "Ronald McDonald-type" home where families of critically ill children can stay while their young ones are undergoing treatment at the Texoma Medical Center in Denison, Texas. A highlight of the collection is said to be five of the ornate costumes that Reba wore during her award-winning run as Annie Oakley on Broadway.
JOAN CRAWFORD, NOT SO BAD ... AFTER ALL
When actress Joan Crawford's daughter released her tell-all book "Mommie Dearest," the world's perception of the great star suddenly changed. No longer "the personification of poise and grace," as the much-shown Hollywood press film notes, the former chorus girl turned mega-star was painted as a cruel, self-centered businesswoman and a viscious parent. Now, according to the New York Post, a new biography hopes at least to put Crawford's movie career into proper perspective. The book, written by Lawrence Quirk and William Schoell, "makes a strenuous effort to clear Crawford's name of the child abuse cloud that has hung over her image (since the release of "Dearest")." Additionally, Turner Classic Movies will spotlight Crawford and her films next month and will also air its own documentary treatment of her controversial life. Personally, I remember a huge framed, autographed, stark black-and-white portrait of the actress on a prominent wall in Cesar Romero's apartment in Hollywood. It was signed: "To Butch, from Joan." "I'm Butch," Romero told me. When I inquired about the "real" Joan Crawford he replied: "Oh, you had to know her to understand her and why she caused people to have such intense feelings toward her." It was a non-answer. I've always wondered why.
CONTROVERSIAL FILM LOOKS AT BOB CRANE
Was he a dark, tormented man or the funny, affable guy we see on "Hogan's Heroes?" First, that sitcom -- set in a German POW camp, starring some of the funniest people in the history of television -- is trashed by TV Guide and listed as one of the 50 worst shows of all time. Now, according to gossip columnist Richard Johnson, its star, Bob Crane, is the subject of a new movie that has members of his family "seeing red." Crane is the centerpiece of a new movie, "Auto Focus," by Paul Schrader. It must be awfully controversial because Crane's son Scotty was thrown out of a recent screening. The movie stars Greg Kinnear and Willem Dafoe. There are reports that the fun-loving Crane is shown as a womanizer and producer of porn films. He was found beaten to death in a Phoenix apartment in 1978. The crime was never solved. The police investigation that followed was fodder for the tabloids. The younger Crane's half-brother, Bob Crane Jr., has a small part in the film and was allowed to enter the Los Angeles advance screening. Scotty Crane has set up bobcrane.com on the Internet to tell his side of the story.
TOBY KEITH GOES ON THE OFFENSIVE
Banned from an ABC Fourth of July broadcast because of some of the language in his recent jingoistic, pro-America monster hit, Toby Keith has had a chance to talk about the controversy surrounding the song. The news provider country.com says that Keith has met with the media at a Nashville news conference, ostensibly arranged to announce his latest CD project, "Unleashed." During the encounter he told reporters about his feud with Peter Jennings and the irony of the song's success. "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)," has climbed to the top of the charts and is considered to be Keith's post-9/11 rallying cry. He announced that some cuts from "Unleashed" will be previewed on Country Music Television this coming Sunday. He also noted that he'd love to do his own TV show. Meanwhile, he's maturing as a performer. He either totally wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on his latest album.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 374
Here's today's question: "If you had your wish, what product would you like to see produced that would make your life easier?" Put INVENTION in the subject line and send to email@example.com via the Internet.
NEARLY CAUGHT UP ON PAST QUESTIONS
Recently we asked your feelings about handicapped PARKING. Here is a quick, random sampling of replies: Peggy says that in her part of the country (an hour north of San Francisco) things must be more polite. It's been a year since she's seen someone abusing handicapped spots. RTM says that during a sensitivity session at work the topic of handicapped parking was discussed. The teacher of the class noted that anyone caught parking in a handicapped zone who did not deserve to be there should have his or her car "ripped into 1,000 pieces then be told to put it back together again." RTM says he likes that idea. Annie agrees with my assessment that many abusers of those spots have expensive cars. "Many of them are elderly, but don't have the proper tags on their car." Finally Pat W bring ups an interesting point. "Why are there so many people with handicapped stickers on their plates or hanging from the rear-view mirror who don't appear to be handicapped?" TOMORROW: Finally caught up. GBA.