BATMAN AND ROBIN RETURN IN TV MOVIE
Adam West and Burt Ward will appear on CBS this Sunday in a revival of the old "Batman" format. The show's producers say the pair will play the "Dynamic Duo" as older men -- which they are now. Although West has retained his boyish good looks, Ward has an entirely different look. He's gained a lot of weight but has an interesting character actor persona. He'd be ideal to play a big city chief of police or a U.S. senator. Both stars of the campy series had a hand in picking the actors who will play them in flashbacks. CBS, on its Web site, says Jack Brewer will play Batman and Jason Marsdon will be Robin. The older stars apparently spent a lot of time with their younger replacements helping them capture the feel of the old show and coaching them how to copy Wade's and Ward's mannerisms. Frank Gorshin -- the Riddler -- and Julie "Cat Woman" Newmar reprise their original roles. Since "Batman," West has participated in a slew of TV projects and has been a cartoon voice. He was a voice star in "Redux Riding Hood," an inventive cartoon nominated for an Academy Award. Ward also has done a lot of voice-over work. He now runs an animal charity in Los Angeles that cares for abandoned Great Dane dogs and also operates a special effects video company called Boy Wonder Effects.
PITTSBURGH REMEMBERING MR. ROGERS
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has done a loving job of reporting this week on the death of children's host Fred Rogers. It also has put out major stories on Rogers-related materials, including a treatise on stomach cancer, the ailment that took Rogers' life. The publication's Anita Srikameswaran says Rogers found out he had stomach cancer just before Christmas. He had surgery in January but, like many stomach and gastric cancer victims, his cancer was so advanced he was simply sent home to live out his final days. The lesson learned from Mr. Rogers' death is one of early detection, whether it be for cancer or other ailments. By the way, if you want to check out the Post-Gazette's many stories on the much-loved Mr. Rogers, go to post-gazette.com on the Internet. That url contains a ton of stuff that will keep you reading for hours.
MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA TO JOIN KEILLOR
Why didn't someone think of it before -- inviting the award-winning Minnesota Orchestra to join the cast of "A Prairie Home Companion?" Well, listeners of NPR will get to hear the results when the symphony joins Garrison Keillor and his crew April 19 for a live, joint broadcast. The venue will be Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. The special performance is part of an ongoing series to mark the centennial year of the orchestra. Producers of "A Prairie Home Companion" tell us the orchestra will be enlisted to help in some silly sketches. It could turn out to be a symphonic version of the old Spike Jones concept. More than 500 public radio stations carry Keillor's broadcast each week. Its audience is estimated to be in excess of 4 million.
ELVIS'S BANDMATES STILL GOING STRONG
Many of the musicians who played back up to Elvis still ply their craft and have returned to Las Vegas. The Stardust Resort and Casino says some of the original Elvis band members are joining with rock singer Greg Page for two performances in tribute to The King. The Elvis-extended band, calling itself TCB -- Taking Care of Business -- was essentially Presley's main musical section in many of his live performances. Additionally, the musicians played on several TV specials and on many Presley recordings. The members still performing are drummer Ronnie Tutt, bassist Jerry Scheff, guitarist James Burton and keyboard artist Glen Hardin. In addition to working with Presley, the band also has done sessions with Neil Diamond, Ricky Nelson, Emmylou Harris, the Monkees and even Roy Orbison.
REALITY SHOW TO 'SEANCE' WITH LADY DI
A reality show that hopes to reach the late Lady Diana in seances has been censored in Britain, but will play unedited here. The project, "In Search of the Real Diana," is coming to American television this weekend. The Australian producer, Paul Sharratt, says he was shocked when British broadcasters decided not to air the seance segments. In the States the show will be seen on a pay-per-view basis on the IN DEMAND channels on some cable systems. The show, a 90-minute special, has interviews with many people who were close to the late princess. The host of the show will be well-known character actor Britain's Patrick Macnee, best remembered for his starring role in "The Avengers." A former personal assistant to Diana, Louise Reid-Carr, also will be seen on the broadcast.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 540
Here is today's question: "What entertainment personality or group would you invite to give a command performance in your home? Put INVITE in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 535 (FRED)
Last week we asked your memories of the late Fred Rogers. The response was overwhelming. From a dip into the e-mail inbox, here is a distillation of what you said. Everyone who responded thought Rogers was a prince with a great love of children and a crusader for quiet and love. Some mentioned his religious training and the way he ministered to children without sounding like a cleric. A few said they were there at the beginning, growing up with the broadcasts. Maybe UPI's Pat Nason put it best when he noted few people actually have tried to use television for goodness' sake as did Fred Rogers. We all miss him. NEXT: A national bus trip. GBA.