JULIE ANDREWS GETS ANOTHER NANNY JOB
Good news. Julie Andrews is back, again. Producers at ABC Telefilms tell media that the multi-award-winning actress has been signed to play the leading role in the first-ever screen adaptations of Kay Thompson's classic children's books centered around a character named Eloise. Both films will be under the direction of Kevin Lima, best known for his work in Disney's "Dalmations" film. Eloise is a hell-raising 6-year-old who lives at New York's Plaza Hotel. A nanny (Andrews) is brought in to try to calm the child using upright British techniques ... without the "Poppins" songs. There are published reports that the shooting will take place in New York and in "Canada's NYC," Toronto. Both films will go into production simultaneously, starting next month.
BASEBALL FANS CHEER FOR UNDERDOGS
Now that the baseball season is coming to an end and the line-up for the finals appears to be the battle of the underdogs, television big-wigs are asking themselves whether the "Cinderella teams" will be less of a ratings draw than teams from larger cities might have been ... say the Yankees. The Hollywood Reporter says that Fox TV executives expect lower ratings than last year because the Pinstripers have been eliminated. By the way, ratings for last year's World Series were in every sense of the word a "home run." The Nielsen rating was a huge 15.7 for what turned out to be a seven-game tilt between the Yankees and the Diamondbacks. So for some, the demise of the big teams in the early playoffs is not economic good news. But, on the other side of the coin, for a sport that is being trashed lately by a new generation that says it can't sit still long enough to watch a baseball game (let alone watch golf), the appearance of the underdogs could renew some interest in the national pastime.
SEN. GRAMM HEADS FOR EURO BANKING
For years Texas Sen. Phil Gramm has been one of Capitol Hill's real experts when it come to matters financial. The Houston Chronicle goes so far as to say that he has been one of the banking industry's closest allies and friend in Washington. Now, according to that publication, Gramm has accepted a job with Switzerland's largest bank. The Texas GOP legislator says that when his term in the Senate ends in January he will become a vice chairman of UBS Warburg, an international bank and investment firm. Gramm's move to the Swiss job is certainly a great reward for a man who spent 24 years in Congress. There's no word on the agreed-to salary for the job; but UBS Warburg will certainly have in its boardroom a man who "knows where all the bodies are buried," at least as far as finance and Washington are concerned.
TEEN IDOLS OFTEN DISAPPEAR AFTER 21
In a previous report we mentioned that Britney Spears was about to reach the age of 21. For Spears the question is "how to act more adult than she has been while still a child." For many other teen idols, though, there is a larger question: "How to stay in the public's heart." The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is wondering just how successful many of today's aging pop stars can be after they lose their baby fat. Look at the quick near-demise of groups such as 'NSync and Backstreet Boys when those "boy bands" suddenly became "men bands." The publication says that fewer and fewer barely pubescent girls are putting up posters with the likes of Justin Timberlake on their walls. He and others of his generation are suddenly looking more and more like the girls' fathers than teen idols. Few have made the successful transition. Jackie Cooper did. Jackie Coogan did, but only in his later years. Margaret O'Brien was an immensely successful child actress but never succeeded as an adult. Cute kids do not necessarily become cute adults. And, in may ways, "cute" is what today's entertainment is all about.
'BRODERICK CRAWFORD DAY' PASSES QUIETLY
For a long time I've joked that Oct. 4 should be declared "Broderick Crawford Day." After all it's 10/4, and the communications phrase "ten-four" was suddenly made a household catch-word during the incredible run of Crawford's 1955-59 TV series "Highway Patrol." It's still remembered as one of the really great series of the early days of television. Crawford starred as the gruff-talking detective Dan Matthews. Except for one or two recurring cast members, each show featured new characters as Matthews herded his big black Buick police sedan into incredible adventures. One single shining light from that series is still with us. The dean of American announcers, Art Gilmore. I spoke with Art this week about the series and his memories. Ironically, even though his striking introduction to each show -- and he did 156 of them -- and his scene-setting narrations are legendary in TV history, he says he only crossed paths with Broderick Crawford once ... when they passed each other in a restroom. And, according to Art, Crawford must have been as hard-living and hard-driving off the screen as he was on. He reports that the company that provided the star with a free auto during the run of the series had to bring the vehicle in for service every three months to have the brakes replaced. If you'd like to relieve Art's splendid narration, backed by Ray Llewelyn and David Rose's strident music, check out highwaypatroltv.com/sounds.shtml. It will bring back a lot of memories.
CAR LOVERS CONVERGE ON GULF COAST
More than 6,000 antique and restored cars and hot-rods and more 10,000 car enthusiasts are in towns all over the Mississippi gulf coast this week. No, they are not there to assess the damage from the two recent hurricanes. They've gathered to show their wares, swap car-owning and car-restoring stories ... and to party. A frequent contributor to our survey section, Melba, is one of them. She says it's one of the biggest gatherings of its type in recent memory. From Bay St. Louis to Biloxi attendees are not only displaying their cars, but going to swap meets (to find precious and rare auto parts) and dancing at '50's-style sock hops. This coming weekend a Thunderbird and a '39 Chevy will be given away as door prizes. The Platters are performing at one casino venue along the coast. There are entrants from every state and Canada at this year's event.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 432
Today, inspired by Melba's contribution about the massive car show in Mississippi, here is today's question: "Have you ever restored or owned a classic car?" Put CLASSIC in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 427 (MOVIE)
Last week we asked what was the one comedy movie you would drag out and watch if you needed a good laugh. We got tons of replies. Here, from our random sample, is the list of the top ten as you picked them:
1 ... "A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum"
2 ... "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
3 ... Any of the Pink Panther movies
4 ... "Young Frankenstein"
5 ... "Blazing Saddles"
6 ... "Bringing up Baby"
7 ... Any Marx Brothers film
8 ... "Airplane"
9 ... "Murder by Death"
10 ... Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb"
TOMORROW: No place like home. GBA.