St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on May 17, 1989 · Page 109
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 109

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Wednesday, May 17, 1989
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Page 109
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People ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCh WEDNESDAY, MAY 17, 1989 7W . I N.Y. Overnight By Tom Poster and Phil Roura The New 'Gantry' This is the state of the art on Broadway: Nineteen years ago, a group of producers thought it would be a neat idea to mount a musical based on "Elmer Gantry," Sinclair Lewis' novel about a coniving, money-grabbing tent-show preacher. It was called "Gantry," starred Robert Shaw and Rita Moreno and lasted 17 days. Well, new ideas are apparently hard to come by on the Great White Way. Now, producer Joe Cates is developing a new production with a new book and score. "Everything about this show is new," said Cates, who begins casting this week. "We played 17 weeks at Ford's Theater in Washington and got wonderful reaction." He hopes to bring it in in early 1 990. Diana To Polish Apple Diana Ross, after a five-year absence from the Big Apple, is going to play Radio City Music Hall. She'll display some spectacular new gowns and new hair-dos as she does four shows next month, from June 14 to 17. But don't bet on only four shows. It's expected Ross will add more as soon as the four are sold out when the ducats go on sale on Monday. The last time she was at Radio City was in 1984, and she sold out the place in record time. Ross, 44, will use the gig to introduce her new album, "Working Overtime." Ross, who has two little ones from her marriage to Norwegian shipping tycoon Arne Naess, and three older children from a previous marriage, recently bought a piece of Motown, which is releasing the new album. The 'Godfather' Is Working Gas up the getaway cars. The Corleone family is going back into business. Hollywood sources say Francis Coppola is mapping out plans to film "Godfather 3," with AI Pacino and Diane Keaton who were in the first two productions. Based on , Mario Puzo's epic underworld saga, they became two of the hottest movies in history. Our spies say , the project is cloaked in such secrecy that Coppola is utilizing pseudonyms in an attempt to hide the identity of the picture and its stars. A spokesman for Coppola's Zoetrope film company would only say, "I can tell you nothing, except that he is working on a project called 'Secret Journal,' which some people speculate is 'Godfather 3.' " A spokesman for Paramount, the distributor, also declined comment. But it's a done deal. r I EL AI Pacino Celebrity News ' New York Giant Sean Landeta was crying in his lassi (yogurt and rosewater) at Nirvana, moaning the loss of his "little black book," which contains the addresses of some of the more beautiful women in Manhattan. Landeta is offering a $500 reward What do major leaguers do after a rainout? Well, four Kansas City hurlers popped over to the Hard Rock Cafe in New York after a recent cancellation with the Yankees. While there, Brett Saberhagen, Steve Farr, Mark Gubicza and Charles Leibrandt signed autographs for a bunch of visiting sailors And what does restaurateur Dewey Wong know , about young stars? Not much, according his sons, Dewey Jr. and Tyrone. They had to point out to pop that the man sampling the fare at a corner table was actor Mickey Rourke. . . . Charlton Heston is making a two-hour TV movie of "Treasure Island" and he'll play the parrot-toting pirate, Long John Silver. It's being directed by Fraser Heston, his son. f i i 'A LLA Penn Pal? Discretion is the better part of valor. Lance Jeffrey, the gimpy house photog at Stringfellow's, made a career decision the other night when he decided to heed Sean Penn's bodyguard and not take Sean's picture as he sipped champagne with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Lance, y'see, is hobbling on crutches the result of a recent skiing accident "I don't want my picture taken," the moody actor grumbled. A bodyguard re-enforced the edict: "And that mean's you, buddy. No pictures! Understand?" Normally, Jeffrey said he would wait outside where "he's fair game." But: "I figured I'd been on crutches long enough. I didn't want to take the chance to stay on them even longer." Fugitive Dropped from Board How the mighty have fallen. Adnan Khashoggi, whose rich and famous lifestyle once was the envy of the world s jet set, was dropped like a hot potato by the board of trustees at American University in Washington. His crime: absenteeism. Khashoggi currently is in a Swiss jail, awaiting extradition to the U.S. on a charge that he helped Ferdinand Marcos funnel million' from the Philippines. "We are not renewing his term (which began in 1983), and you can say that (his chronic absence) is the reason, a university spokesman said. Our action has nothing to do ' with his legal problems." In 1984, Adnan was a big man on campus when he gave $5 million to set nn thp Khashnppi Athletic Tenter Nnw students are demanding a name change. "There Adnan Khashoggi have been rumblings among the students," the spokesman admitted, "but no decision has been made to change the center's name." Adnan was indicted in New York in October by a federal grand jury. He was nabbed him last month in Bern, but it'll be months before the extradition is settled. Though his cell is austere with nothing more than a table, a chair and a wash basin, Khashoggi orders food daily from a swank hotel and he's allowed the use of a telex and a fax copier to conduct his business. Mason To Entertain For Kids Jackie Mason entertained for the annual fund-raiser of the Police Athletic League honoring millionaire developer Donald Trump at the Plaza Hotel. Trump owns the Plaza. Don Johnson and his pregnant Melanie Griffith attended as special guests at the dinner. Trump, naturally, wanted his dinner to be the biggest so he tapped the fat cats to serve on the committee: Henry Kravis, the leverage buy-out expert; Ronald Lauder, who is running for mayor of New York; Ronald Perelman, the raider who owns Revlon, Inc.; Steve Ross, the boss at Warner Communications, etc. Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, the PAL chief, said tables sold as high as $25,000 each. Mayor Ed Koch, sworn enemy of Trump, who is supporting former prosecutor Rudy Giuliani for mayor, was an invited guest. King Cole's Daughter Weds Nat King Cole, the celebrated singer, died at 44 from heavy smoking. He had three daughters. One of them, Natalie, followed in his footsteps and is a singer. The other two are twins, Timolin, and Casey, who is named after baseball manager Casey Stengel. On Saturday, the Cole household in the Berkshire Mountains is to be filled with family and friends because Timolin is marrying Kevin Marcus Raye at St Paul's Episcopal Church in Stockbridge, Mass. Maria, Nat's widow, is mulling over offers of her own TV show since appearing on the documentary, "The Unforgettable Nat King Cole." : . ' Robert Maxwell On Their Toes One thing about the party aboard British media mogul Robert Maxwell's yacht: Everybody, but everybody, had to doff their shoes before boarding the plush-carpeted "Lady Ghislaine." Maxwell insisted and his guests cooperated, including Donald Trump (minus Ivana) who has a much bigger yacht and was happy to compare them with Maxwell. Guests sipped champagne, nibbled caviar flown in from Paris on the Concorde, and salmon served from the vessel's stores by shoeless waiters. There was John Tower, former senator and thumbed-down , defense secretary; ex-Navy secretary John Lehman, now with Paine, Webber; lawyer Tom Bolan; literary agent Mort Janklow; U.N. envoy Thomas Pickering; Peter Kalikow, owner of the New York Post; Maxwell's daughter, Ghislaine, and Max' niece, Helene Atkin of Macmillan, the publishing house Maxwell recently took over. Maxwell, who weighs about 300 pounds, went over the guest list personally. No one could tell who didn't make the final invitation list but we do know that Martha Smilgis of Time was invited and then disinvited. She wrote the profile of Maxwell for the mag, which he apparently did not like. Gena's Coming Back Actress Gena Rowlands is going back to work. Since the recent death of her husband, actor-director John Cassavetes, she has been in seclusion and thought seriously about giving up her career. Not now. She has just signed to work with Kirk Douglas in a movie based on Larry McMurtry's book, "Montana." He penned "Texasville" and "The Last Picture Show." Rowlands spent the last several months nursing her cancer-ridden husband. Hope Marks 86th Year Bob Hope will mark his 86th birthday with a big birthday party in Paris attended by his family, French Prime Minister George Mitterrand and show biz folk. He'll tie his birthday in with the bicentennial of the French Revolution for a TV show to be broadcast May 24 five days before his big day. Flying over for the affair, which will be held and videotaped in the Cultural Center of the American Theatre, will be Sid Caesar, Louis Jourdan, Ann Jillian, Brooke Shields, Randy Travis, John Forsythe and Linda Evans, who will all be on the show. The actual dinner party was held for 1,500 guests over the weekend. Hope personally invited Alex Snannc nwner nf the San Dieeo Chareers: Jerrv Jacobs, American Airlines executive vice- Bob Hope president; Janie Powell, widow of actor William Powell; and Helen Hayes and Mrs. Douglas MacArthur. Mrs. MacArthur, who is 90 and confined to a wheelchair, did not make the trip. The trip was a reunion for the Hope family which, besides his wife, Dolores, includes their three adopted children and their grandchildren. Here & There Patricia Lee Fisher, Connie Stevens' daughter, is living with her dad, Eddie Fisher, in New York while she's taking acting lessons Jacques d'Amboise of the National Dance Institute gets the $24 Award from Louis Auchincloss, president of the Museum of the City of New York on May 16. It's named for the famous purchase price of Manhattan Island from Indians in 1626. He'll get a plaque bearing 24 silver dollars for his youth work. 1 A Slice Of American Musical History By Chuck Scultz Santa Barbara News Press IN AN ERA dominated by synthesizers and ever more sophisticated electric guitars, Doc Watson is among a rare breed of musicians whose music would be unaffected by a power failure. Those who hear him in concert are treated to a genuine slice of American musical history from a man widely regarded as the best flat-picking guitarist alive. In a recording career that spans nearly three decades, Watson has never had a Top 40 hit. In fact, he has deliberately shunned the musical mainstream. Yet he's earned the title "legend," and his precise and lightning quick flat-picking technique has been the aspiration of scores of acoustic guitar players. It was the folk musio revival of the early 1960s that enabled Watson to become nationally known, but he has been undaunted by the many twists and turns popular music has taken over the past 25 years. "I haven't gone commercial," he admitted during a recent phone interview from his home in the rural mountain community of Deep Gap, N.C. Changing trends in pop music only "gave us something to fight for, if you will" and made Watson and his co-musicians including his late son, Merle more determined to cling to their traditional musical roots, he added proudly. ! "Merle and I talked about doing some commercial records in the early 1 970s when we got the United Artists contract," Watson confided, "but we both mutually decided it would not serve our best interests to do so." "We didn't want to get into that rat race. So we stuck to our guns." In short, "we haven't forsaken the roots," he said, or abandoned "the good ole tunes I learned when I was growing up" in the North Carolina mountains that have spawned eight generations of the Watson family. 1 Concert-goers hear more than just ! "Tom Dooley" and bluegrass rifts, ' though. ' Watson's repertoire ranges from 16th century ballads to traditional blues tunes embellished with his IS We didn't want to get into that rat race. So we stuck to our guns. Doc Watson 9 rich, baritone vocals. "I've been asked by many people, How do you classify your music?" Watson said. His answer: "Traditional, plus whatever I want to play." Ironically, it was an electric not acoustic guitar that he was playing when he was accidentally discovered in 1960. At the time he was 38, married for 15 years, had two children in their pre-teens and had been blind since he was an infant. To supplement the state aid to the blind he was receiving, he was playing electric guitar in a weekend dance band. As fortune would have it, he caught the attention of Ralph Rinzler, a northern folk enthusiast who had gone south to record the legendary banjo player Clarence Ashley. Rinzler "persuaded me I had something to offer in the folk revival," Watson said. "So I got out there and tried, and that's how it happened." His unique talent has since earned him four Grammy awards which isn't bad for someone who was born in a three-room shack and had to share a bed with two brothers. But success hasn't been easy on him. In fact, were he able to see, Watson may have been a carpenter or an electrical engineer rather than a musician. "I don't mind the music, it's the traveling (between concerts) that's for the pigs," he said. "And being away from home." Besides overcoming the endless hurdles of blindness, he has also had to cope with the untimely death of his son in a tractor accident in 1985; a serious heart attack and repeated open heart surgeries during the past year for Rosa Lee, his wife of 43 years; and an emergency operation to remove his gall bladder in February that delayed his concert tour in California and the Southwest. But, at 66, Watson insists he's feeling bettter now than he has for several years. The pain of his son's death has been much slower to wane. Merle Watson had backed up his father on stage and in the studio since he was 15, ever since he first appeared in concert with him in Berkeley, Calif., in June 1964, less than three months after Merle began playing the guitar. In later years, his slide guitar work particularly on blues tunes and "rockabilly" numbers such as "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Tutti Frutti" added a whole new dimension to the elder Watson's music. "Merle played some fine slide on those rockabilly tunes. It really done it good," Watson recalled with a note of remorse. His concerts are still occasionally spiced with some honkey-tonk numbers, but "for the most part we don't do that" anymore since Merle's death. "It's been twice as hard for me on the road since Merle's gone," Watson said. "I miss him worse on the road than I do here at home and believe you me, I miss him a lot here. Out there (on the road) he was everywhere that I was. He was part of the music (and) a staunch friend as well as a good son." He named his son after famed finger-picking guitarist Merle Travis, who more than once has shared a stage or album credits with Watson (including a concert appearance by the duo in Santa Barbara about 15 years'ago). Watson cautions aspiring guitarists not to expect to grasp the mechanics of that instrument as quickly as his son did. , "Practice to beat the devil," he advises. "That's the making of a (good) guitar player. You've got to put some time on it. I use to practice an awful lot . . . Most of us really have to work at it." It's been about two years since Watson's last album, "Portrait," but he refused to predict when the next one will be released. "There's a gospel album that is hopefully going to get done" was ail he would divulge of his future recording plans. In a recording career that spans nearly three decades, Watson has never had a Top 40 hit. TART-U S20 POINT EFFICIENCY CHECK cFoureasoas cHeating&,ftir Conditioning Co. 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