By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International  |  March 13, 2003 at 2:00 PM
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The first annual TV Land Awards have gone into the books with a bevy of classic TV stars getting a moment in the sun. The two-hour show was hosted by second-generation entertainer John Ritter. On hand were the legends of television -- some, sadly, reminding us just how many years have passed since their heyday. The Legend Award went to a still spry Dick Van Dyke, who even did a dance number for the audience. His sitcom is, according to TV Land on its Web site, is considered to be among the best ever filmed. It ran on CBS from 1961 through 1966 and brought the nation laughs during some pretty troubled times. The Innovator Award was given to "All in the Family" and its producer and creator, Norman Lear. That CBS show got 21 Emmys during its run. Both Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers were on hand. The Pop Culture Award went to "Star Trek." That franchise has been extended into other TV shows and 10 movies. The Groundbreaking Role Award went to Diahann Carroll for her lead in "Julia." Carroll was the first black actress to star in her own series as an independent person. The Unsung Hero Award went to Second City Television for its award-winning syndicated comedy series. By the way, Don Knotts even made an appearance, winning the Second Banana Award for his portrayal of Barney Fife.


A special archive dedicated to the work of the late radio personality Wolfman Jack is planned for Del Rio, Texas. Promoters of the museum say more than seven years after the death of the Wolfman -- whose real name was Bob Smith, a native of Brooklyn -- plans will be unveiled this weekend in the Texas city for the shrine. It was in the Del Rio area a then-young Smith came up with the Wolfman Jack persona while working at station XERF in nearby Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. Because the station was super-powered -- 250,000 watts compared to the U.S. limit of 50,000 -- and allowed him to broadcast in English, his program was heard in dozens of states at night and the station raked in the revenue from its new instant star. The original studio in which Smith worked was moved some years ago to his family's property in the Carolinas. It will returned to Del Rio and will become a centerpiece for the museum. The Wolfman's on-air exploits played a major part in the movie "American Graffiti." After gaining national recognition, Smith hosted the TV show "Midnight Special" on NBC for several years. For more, check out on the Internet.


The men behind the "Left Behind" book series -- co-authors Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye -- plan to make a rare joint appearance. The occasion will be the opening of a large Christian bookstore in Minneapolis. In addition to joining for a book signing, the book they will be autographing is their latest release, "Armageddon: The Cosmic Battle of the Ages." Autograph seekers during the April 9 session with the authors will be the first to see the new book and have it signed -- similar to the post office's "first day issue" stamp release. The pair's latest book is set in the final year of what some predict will be the Great Tribulation. Most of the scenario, according to Assist New Service, takes place in the Holy Land. Jenkins has written more than a dozen books that have become national best sellers. LaHaye is an active pastor and public speaker and has penned more than 70 books.


There are indications the strong political stances taken by actor Martin Sheen might have cost him a lucrative contract. The New York Post says Sheen and his son Charlie starred in a spot for Visa Check Card recently. The ad was voted among the best from last year's batch of commercials. The Post noted, however, the ad now has been pulled from the airwaves. One source tells the paper Sheen's anti-White House stance has generated a flood of letters to Visa but a representative of the card's advertising agency says that was not the reason the ad died. The agency says the term for the ad simply expired, on schedule. In recent years Visa has used many well known people to hawk its cards, from Bob Dole to Kevin Bacon and has always contended the politics of the personalities do not necessarily reflect the feelings of Visa.


The wrestler known as "Handsome" Harry Matthews, the golden boy of the boxing circuit, has died. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer says Matthews' death, though reported when it happened several days ago, was treated as a minor story by modern-day reporters who weren't around when his name was a household word. The publication's Dan Raley says long before Steve Largent, Ken Griffey Jr. or Gary Paton fascinated sports fans in the Northwest, Matthews gave people something to cheer about. Unlike many boxers -- with fractured features and a dopey demeanor -- Matthews was suave, handsome and a real gentleman. It was because of this movie star persona and his intelligent manner Matthews became the "everyman" of boxing, the kind of person with whom people could relate. Matthews was 80.


The Atlanta Journal and Constitution says several police officers in Georgia are suspected of being members of a pro-white group. The report is based on the testimony of an FBI officer during a bond hearing for the group's state leader. He is being held on weapons violation charges. The publication says bail was denied for 42-year-old Chester James Doles. Authorities claim Doles was the Georgia organizer for a group called the National Alliance and has been a longtime Ku Klux Klan activist. Although no names were mentioned in the court session, testimony indicated several ties between law enforcement and the white supremacist group. There are allegations Doles often met with supremacist leader William Pierce. It was Pierce's book, "The Turner Diaries," that is believed to have inspired Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.


We continue our cross-country bus trip motif, deciding who you would prefer to sit beside for a week-long trip. Today's choices are: Charlton Heston or Martin Sheen. Put BUS4 in the subject line and send to via the Internet.


Last week we asked for your favorite classical composition. From our usual random dip, listed in order of preference, here are the results:

-Ravel's "Bolero" ranked in the No. 1 spot.

-"1812 Overture" was No. 2.

-No. 3 was Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony."

-Then the composition usually called "The New World Symphony," "Rhapsody in Blue," Handel's "Messiah" and "The Grand Canyon Suite."

TOMORROW: More of your thoughts. GBA

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