The Anniston Star from Anniston, Alabama on January 21, 1982 · Page 31
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The Anniston Star from Anniston, Alabama · Page 31

Anniston, Alabama
Issue Date:
Thursday, January 21, 1982
Page 31
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Norman Lear Small screen giant tackles the big screen By ALJEAN HARMETZ New York Times Writer HOLLYWOOD Embassy is the smallest of the four movie studios that have been sold during the last 10 months. In that time, Marvin Davis, the Denver oil magnate, paid nearly $800 million for 20th Century-Fox; Metro-Goldjjryn-Mayer bought United Artists for $380 million; Coca-Cola offered $75 a share for Columbia on Monday, and A. Jerrold Perenchio and Norman Lear purchased Embassy from Avco late last November for $25 million cash on the barrelhead. Although stopping short of saying that they would turn Embassy into an instant major studio, Perenchio and Lear did say they intended to produce 8 to 10 movies a year. "We should do O.K.," Lear said, "if we don't try to outguess the public but just make the things we want to make." What was the lure of owning his own movie studio for the 59year-old Lear, the creator of a whole stable of abrasive, trailblazing television comedy series, including "All in the Family," "Maude" and "Sanford and Son"? "NOT UNLIKE the character Steve Martin plays in 'Pennies From Heaven,' " Lear said, "I am a child of the 30's and 40's. I love the silver screen and all of the cinema kings and queens. After all those years in television, in which you have very little time to make love to an idea, it will be a joy to make some films on which you can lavish that kind of love and time." In recent years, Avco Embassy has been best known for such horror films as "The Howling," "Scanners" and "The Fog." It had a major critical and commercial success last fall with its distribution of "The Time Bandits." Perenchio said he had not allowed Lear to see Avco Embassy's next two releases, "Seduction" and "Vice Squad," both left over from the previous regime, because he was "too young." A year ago Lear purchased Madeline L'Engle's classic children's fantasy, "A Wrinkle in Time," and he has just hired Robert Bolt, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of "Dr. Zhivago" and "A Man for All Seasons," to do the screenplay. The movie, the first announced by Perenchio and Lear since purchasing Embassy, is planned for production in the summer of 1983. PERENCHIO a former talent agent and sports promoter whom Lear calls "a visionary in a business sense" had his own more common-sense reason for purchasing Embassy. Having just sold his 49 percent interest in National Subscription Television, a successful over-the-air pay-television company that owns Los Angeles's ON-TV, for $55 million, he decided that "the technology was exploding too quickly." "I didn't want to guess which technology was going to win direct satellite-to-home, cable, over-the-air pay-television, something else," be said. "I wanted to get out of hardware. I wanted to be a software company. We'll make the razor blades for any kind of razor." Embassy is the fourth movie company Lear and Perenchio have considered buying into during the last few years. They tried to purchase Fox and buy into Columbia, and backed away from the troubled Filmways. They were searching in particular for a distribution apparatus. One lower bidder for Embassy, Tom Laughlin of "Billy Jack" fame, called the $25 million purchase price too high. But Perenchio said: "It would have cost us $15 million to put together a distribution network. So we attach a $10 million value to the company's 250-title film library. But who really knows what the library's worth?" UNLIKE Columbia or Fox, Embassy, which has been a money-loser for Avco, does not own soundstages or valuable real estate. The company, which increased to a 5 percent share of domestic movie rentals in 1981, is debt-free, and Perenchio said he planned to bankroll its eight or 10 movies a year through creative financing: "We intend to do off-balance-sheet financing, to bring in partners. We're planning one major tax-shelter deal of $100 million which will include negative cost and the cost of prints and advertising. There will be no cherry picking. That is, we won't leave out the pictures we have confidence in. Our whole slate will be in the shelter." Lear and the 51-year-old Perenchio met more than 25 years ago, when Lear was represented by the talent agency for which Perenchio worked. "Even then, I told Jerry we should get together," Lear said in a joint meeting in Perenchio's elegant Century City office with its motif of owls and pigs carried out in paint, wire and glass, and its brass sign "Trouble Is Also Opportunity." 3D (Thf Attniatmt &tar Thursday, Jan. 21, 1982 Law firm says bill to censor APT is illegal NORMAN LEAR, MOVIE PRODUCER . . Making razor blades for any kind of razor They finally got together in 1973, when Lear asked Perenchio to become president of Tandem, the television-production company that he shared with Bud Yorkin. Lear and Perenchio then formed TAT Communications, which produces "The Jeffersons," "One Day at a Time" and "The Facts of Life." Through Perenchio's urging, the company also expanded into cable, and owns part of several television stations and ON-TV in Detroit. IN TERMS OF structuring their new organization, the two men have formed a corporate parent, Embassy Holding Company. Embassy Pictures, the movie producing and distribution company, will retain its current president, Frank Capra Jr. TAT will become Embassy Television, and PITS (Pie in the Sky), the syndication arm for Tandem and TAT, will become Embassy Telecommunications. Alan Horn, president of TAT and Tandem, will become chairman of Embassy Holding with Charles Weber, who resigned as president of Lucasfilm last year when that company moved to Northern California, as president and chief executive officer. MONTGOMERY (AP) -An official of the Alabama Public Television Network says lawyers have advised him that a proposed new law to restrict the network's programs is probably unconstitutional. Edward Wegener, general manager of the network, said a Washington law firm advised him that the bill would violate Federal Communication Commission rules and is "impermissibly vague." "Our Washington attorneys have said this apparently prevents us from carrying out FCC man dates," Wegener said Tues rlav The bill sponsored by state Rep. Bob Gafford of Birmingham would bar Alabama Educational Television employees from taking part in any program of "political bias or opinion." It says the state's public television network should show only "educational and non-political factual programs." The bill has been approved by the House State Administration Committee and awaits further action by the full House and Senate. The letter to Wegener from the law firm of Hogan.fe,& Hartson said: "Virtually all AETC programming undoubtedly contains material that some would consider 'fact' and others would consider 'opinion.'" IK " "JUI NEW "HAPPY HOUR" Monday-Thursday 4:00-7:00 Friday & Saturday 3:00-6:00 Mug of BEER 50( FREE Popcorn pizza 'Boy ITALIAN RESTAURANT 1702 Quintard Ouintard Mall Cliff Robertson not waiting on a 'Brainstorm' By BOB THOMAS Associated Press Writer HOLLYWOOD (AP) - Picture of a man in waiting: Cliff Robertson. Along with other members of the "Brainstorm" production team, Robertson's immediate future is on h ld while MGM and insurance companies seek a solution t the suspended movie. Reports indicate that the film c jnipany wants to scrap the project, left unfinished by the drowning of Natalie Wood Nov. 29, and collect $15 million in insurance. The insurers are arguing that "Brainstorm" can be completed despite the loss of Miss Wood. y In Hollywood to film a TV commercial, Robertson admitted he had no inside information on whether "Brainstorm" will continue. "I'm not the best person to ask," the actor said. "All I know is that both Natalie and I had four more days of filming, and I had one minor scene with her. As far as I could see, the major part of the film had been 95 per cent finished. But of course there was a great deal of special effects to film after the principal photography, and that's what Doug Trumbull (the director) is so expert in. "DOUG TOLD me he is prepared to finish and is confident that the film can be completed with a little rewriting. But of course the decision is not up to him, and so we all continue to wait." Besides the tragic overtones, "Brainstorm" has an added significance: it was the first Hollywood movie for Cliff Robertson in three and a half years. "I was very grateful for the job," he admitted. "That was a long three and a half years, a long time for an actor to be off the screen. Before that time I had been averaging one or two pictures a year." While Robertson says he can't ascertain the reason for his career freeze, he notes that it coincided with l'affaire Begelman. That was the industry-shaking scandal in which David Begelman, then president of Columbia Pictures, was disclosed to have stolen $61,000 from the company. The misdeeds began to come to light when Robertson discovered an Income tax form for a check he had never received. It turned out that Begelman had fraudulently endorsed and cashed the check. Robertson denies any heroic role in going public with his revelations: "It was simply a matter of not being an Disney World celebrates 10th year 6:00 ABC News CBS News Entertainment Tonight World of Cooking You Asked For It NBC News News Up To The Minute Pink Panther Eyewitness News 6:05 (B Carol Burnett And Friends 6:30 Entertainment Tonight PM Magazine For The Record You Asked For It Family Feud Tic Tac Dough Muppets Family Feud 6:35 CD Atlanta Hawks Basketball: Hawks vs. New York Knicks 7:00 Q Q Mork & Mindy: Mindy. already worried about losing her job at the television station, foresees, disaster when Mork and Mearth accidentally transfer minds forcing her to take Mearth in Mork's body to meet her new boss. 0 0 Kraft Salutes Walt Disney World's 10th Anniversary: Special that marks the 10th anniversary of the creation oi Walt Disney World, the magical entertainment kingdom established in Florida by the legendary giant of American creativity, Walt Disney. Guest stars are Eileen Brennan. Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers Band. Dean Jones. Michael Keaton, Michele Lee, Dana Plato, John Schneider, Ricky Schroder and Kyong Yong So. (60 mint eMacNeil-Lehrer Report Cosmos Indoor Soccer: Cosmos ; vs. Tulsa Roughnecks QD ffl CD Fame: "Tomorrow's ; Farewell" While the High School for Performing Arts is visited by in-! spectors who don't understand the school's operation, Leroy has bigger "problems when his brother comes P home from prison carrying a gun. (60 min) lQj)ACC Basketball: Wake Forest vs. North Carolina 7:30 -00 Best of the West: Parker "Tillman's greedy scheme to open Copper Creek's first bank backfires J when he is taken hostage by -robbers, and Marshall Best gets no ..when he tries to form a posse to J save Tillman's no good neck. Q Over Easy L 8:00 ;OQ Barney MUler: A street clown is mugged, and the men of J the 12th precinct discover that Riker's Island Prison has been discharging inmates early to relieve over crowding. (CLOSED CAP TIONED l 0 Knots Landing: All the women neighbors take an overnight trip with Laurie to inspect the famous haunted house. 160 min) 0 Sneak Previews (D (B QD Diff'Rent Strokes: "Jilted" Willis pays the conse quences for not paying enough attention to his girlfriend. 8:30 0 0 Taxi: The pretty new cabbie proves to be more than Alex can handle when she leaves the meter running in an attempt to lure him into romance. (CLOSED CAPTIONED) 0 I'd town and Country CD CB QD Gimme A Break: "Katie the Cheat" Katie persuades her younger sister Julie to take the college entrance exam for her. 8:50 (Q News 9:00 0020-20: With host Hugh Downs. (60 min) 0 Qi) Nurse: Geraldine Fitzgerald guest stars with Robert Reed as a spirited, terminally ill patient of Mary's who wishes to live out the days left to her in her own little apartment, since the hospital can do little for her. (60 min) O Bluegrass Block 0 Meet The Mayors QD CB QD Hill Street Blues: "The Spy Who Came In From Delgado" To protect himself in a grand jury investigtion of police corruption, Capt. FuriUp reluctantly hires an expensive lawyer to help him: Hill and Renko are delighted to be assigned to be waiters at a popular restaurant as part of a plan to expose venal policemen and city officials. (60 min) QD 700 Club 9:30 0 Montage 0 Apple Polishers 10:00 0 0 0 CD IB QD News, Weather, Sports , O Dick Cavett Q Benny Hill Qy News Update 10:05 CD All In The FamUy 10:30 0 Viewpoint: On tonight's show, as President Reagan marks his first year in office, this edition will focus on controversies about news coverage of his presidency and the rirgrwt in amich it htbfl I Ball, Kelly Monteith, Dick Enberg and Friendship, (repeat, 60 min) CB The Jeffersons Q7) Quincy: "Crib Job" A juvenile is accused of the slaying of an elderly man, and a juvenile-senior citizen's project is jeopardized by the repercussions of the case. The Saint: "The Portrait of Bren-da" The Saint's investigation of a murdered artist puts him on a trail that leads from a pop singer to a meditative guru and finally to the guru's manipulative assistant and her ambitious get-rich-quick swindle, (repeat) QD News 10:35 CD TBS Theatre: "Love Happy" 11:00 0 Quincy (1 wk DB) 8 Benny Hill The Late Movie: "Murder My Sweet" CB Caro' Burnett and Friends Q3 Movie: "Our Relations" 11:30 0 Vega$: "Touch of Death" Dan Tanna tries WHielp a beautiful young bride find her husband, who has mysteriously vanished after accidentally getting himself involved with rogue government agents deal ing in biological wariare. (repeat) Starsky and Hutch Welcome Back Kotter Tonight Show Tomorrow Coast To Coast: With host Tom Snyder. (90 min) 12:00 SThe Saint Tomorrow (DB) 12:25 CD Movie: "Dangerous" 12:30 Entertainment Tonight Bonanza Rockford Files 1:00 News News Joe Franklin Show accomplice to a felony." The pressure on him to keep quiet was intense, he said, and it came from the highest powers in the industry. Begelman pleaded no contest to grand theft and was placed on probation. In 1978 he became president of MGM and last October was named chairman and chief operating officer of United Artists, which MGM had acquired. He headed MGM when Robertson was hired for "Brainstorm," but the two never met during production. "I DON'T know whether it was a coicidence," the 56-year-old actor remarked, "but as soon as I was cast in 'Brainstorm,' my phone started ringing again." Robertson isn't waiting around for the decision on "Brainstorm." Among his future plans is "Charly II," a return to the character who won him the Oscar for best actor of 1968. "I've written the script and I'll direct it," he said. "I'll use one scene from the earlier movie and the rest will be played by the same actors, 10 years older. It took me five years to find the money to make the first 'Charly.' This will cost five and a half million, and I'm willing to wait until I find it." fish fry Evory Friday & Saturday, 5 Till 7:30 P.M. Enrtunng Forever r$ Contemporary Collection Select one of these classic engraved . if . wedding sets, with diamond engagement & ring for her and matching band tor him. Available ma accurate. ABC News Correspondent Ted Koppel anchors from the new Washington headquarters of ABC News. (60 min) Barney Miller Sanford and Son Captioned ABC News Racing From Yonkers Q3 Best of Carson: With host Johnny Carson and guests Lucille STARTS TOMORROW! I ANNISTON PLAZA KATHARINE HEPBURN HENRY FONDA Vwhole" ai CATFISH TqK Available in white or yellow gold. Fqj 1499V Ik I lOU1" 10-6 1 A 1 Fri. 10-8 Sat. 10-5 I Tbj ThJglosum& Monday Com on In this Friday & Saturday and enjoy a delicious whole catfish, frlad to a crltp golden brown, Mi-vod with your cholc of franch fries and colo llaw or any two vegetables from our famout homestyle buffat. Homo folki and homostyla cooking. 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