By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International  |  Jan. 8, 2003 at 4:47 PM
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There are reports that award-winning actress Susan Sarandon would like to play the part of Bette Davis in a planned A&E project. The cable network says it has a future biopic in the works that will focus on the colorful career of the flamboyant late actress, particularly the 1950s. It was during that part of her time in Hollywood that Davis revived her career with her gut-wrenching acting in "All About Eve." It was also during that time that she was involved in a high profile marriage -- and subsequent divorce -- with actor Gary Merrill. More details on the made-for-cable project are being released this week. We do know that some heavyweight talent has been enlisted to produce the planned two-hour film. Oscar-winning writer Alfred Uhry has been tapped to pen the script. He's best known for writing "Driving Miss Daisy" and has also won Pulitzer and Tony Awards. Meanwhile, Sarandon has made it known that she thinks she is the right person to play the one-of-a-kind Davis.


Singer-songwriter Phil Vassar says he's adding two new tracks to his already top-selling "American Child" CD. Country Music Television says that Vassar wrote a new track, "This is God," while flying in an airplane. He thought up the new ballad shortly after the initial release of "American Child." That was in August. Later he teamed with new friend Huey Lewis to record "Workin' for a Livin'." The duet was put together by the two during a time they were both working in Las Vegas. The new, updated "American Child" CD will contain the songs from the original release, plus the two new tracks.


American poetess and novelist Sylvia Plath is about to have her works brought back by two different groups. Plath's husband, British poet Ted Hughes, is now working with a London theater group in the hopes of mounting one of her works. But, according to gossip columnist Liz Smith, a New York City group may beat the Brits to the punch. The Actors Studio is working with Paul Alexander on a one-woman show about Plath. Alexander's play was prepared for actress Angelica Torn. The drama has been named "Edge," the title of the last poem composed by Plath before her death. Doing the play will be a daunting task for Torn. Reportedly it has two complete acts with no break and, being a one-woman-show, would require 90 minutes of soliloquy. By the way, Torn is the daughter of actor Rip Torn. Her mom was the late actress Geraldine Page. Is it possible to speak the name Geraldine Page without thinking of her in Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory?" That's the 1967, lovingly made TV movie, for which she won two Emmys.


The NFL has picked the Dixie Chicks to sing the national anthem prior to the kickoff of Super Bowl XXXVII. Nominated for four Grammy Awards (including "Album of the Year"), the three have been asked to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before a massive audience at a time when there is renewed emphasis on the singing of the anthem at sporting events. It's estimated that about 130 million will watch the telecast in this country. Additionally, more than 800 million will see it in the rest of the world. Promoters tell us that the Super Bowl is the year's most-watched sporting event. The pre-game festivities will be under the direction of Bob Best. This will be his 19th time putting together the presentation. The Dixie Chicks have had a meteoric rise to the top of the country and mainstream charts in just their initial four years of singing together. It will be interesting to see what kind of arrangement they use in singing the anthem, which is so often butchered at sporting events. Did you know that at Super Bowl I marching bands from the Universities of Arizona and Michigan provided the music? Anita Bryant assisted the Apollo Astronauts at one game. Al Hirt's trumpet provided the anthem at another. Andy Williams, Cheryl Ladd, Diana Ross, Barry Manilow, Billy Joel, Kathie Lee Gifford, Cher and Faith Hill sang at other Super Bowls. At Super Bowl XXXV Ray Charles sang his incredible version of "America the Beautiful."


In a new interview in Chronogram magazine, funnywoman Lily Tomlin wonders what's happened to the morals of young people. She bemoans a culture that seems to pander to 14-year-olds in an effort to extract as much disposable income from them as possible. She also tells the publication that the media has entered into a time when it's afraid to be moralistic or prudish, even by inference. Tomlin, who burst into national prominence on "Laugh-In" and has been an enduring star since, is now a recurring character on "The West Wing." She once commented that during the tapings for the show, when she has a one-on-one scene with Martin Sheen in the set for the Oval Office, she often feels that Sheen is the chief executive.


For years license plates in Indiana have borne the slogan "Back Home" ... but no longer. Officials at the Hoosier state's transportation agency think the space on the plates can be better used to advertise Indiana's location in cyberspace. So, according to the Indianapolis Star's Michael Dabney, look for Indiana's "url" on the plates -- -- in place of the familiar "Back Home" slogan. Of course, "Back Home" is a reference to the official song of Indiana, "Back Home Again, in Indiana," the song that causes millions of sons and daughters of the state to feel their hearts race when it's sung prior to the Indianapolis 500 each Memorial Day. It's become so entrenched in Hoosiers that some can't figure out why it's being excised from the state's license plates. Ironically, the first plates to have the replacement "motto" were designed by an artist who had included "Back Home" in all of his drawings. Just to show you how much the slogan is taken for granted, parodied and often abused ... when long-serving Indiana Sen. Homer Capehart staged his final (unsuccessful) run for the Senate, his official campaign slogan was: "Back Homer again in Indiana."


In light of the Indiana license plate story, today's question: "Do you have a collection of old licenses plates? Do you ever get personalized plates? Seen any interesting ones lately?" Put PLATE in the subject line and send to via the Internet.


Last week we asked for your suggestions for future questions. We've gotten quite a few and already used two of them. But, come to think of it, to print others today would give them away prior to future use. So, let's just say "thanks," and keep the suggestions coming. TOMORROW: Some more thoughts. GBA

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