The Daily Journal from Franklin, Indiana on May 13, 1987 · Page 35
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The Daily Journal from Franklin, Indiana · Page 35

Franklin, Indiana
Issue Date:
Wednesday, May 13, 1987
Page 35
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Tht Guide, Johnson County, Ind., Wednesday, May 13, 1W7 'Zoo' actor crosses his fingers By MICHAEL DOUGAN Scrips Howard Newt Service It's easy to like someone who discusses life in culinary metaphors. "When the waiter comes to your table,", says Nicholas Pryor, "you might as well order the whole meaL" In the second week of May, Pryor should know if hell have to make do with the appetizer. Then bell learn whether NBC is sufficiently pleased with its 10 p.m. Wednesday night series, "The Bronx Zoo," to renew the high school drama for a full season beginning next fall. By then, perhaps, fans will be able to put his name and face together. Pryor, as be quickly acknowledges, is one of those actors who appeared on seven soap operas (including the original cast for "Another World"), movies like "The Happy Hooker" and "The Falcon and the Snowman," a couple of TV flicks and the miniseries "Washington: Behind Closed Doors." He's also been on "Murder, She Wrote," "Falcon Crest," "Hill Street Blues" and "St. Elsewhere." Now Pryor is seen weekly as Jack Felspar, the officious vice principal of Benjamin Harrison High School who, in the words of an NBC press release, "hides a basic sense of decency and compassion beneath an often insufferable exterior." Felspar is the perpetual foil to principal (and hero) Joe Danzig, played by Ed Asner, the star of the show. Equally insufferable, in wildly varying degrees, are the students at the Bronx Zoo, as the high gchool where Felspar sputters and fusses is known. This is not a mellow neighborhood. But the series focuses on the adults, the teachers and officials who struggle through each day with a sense of dedication bordering, at times, on a martrydom complex. "It's not so much about a school as about people willing to show up even though there's no real reason to do that," said Pryor in a phone interview. Viewers appear to be buying this creamier version of slum youth. "The Bronx Zoo" has taken top Nielsen numbers in its time period for a cou- Kof weeks (beating out two other ind-new series, CBS' "Houston Knights" and ABC's "Marian"). "This stuff is hard to write," said Pryor, who did some writing of his own during his soap opera days. "All the twists and turns are rooted in behavior and characters and relationships. You can't suddenly have somebody wheeled hi on a gurney or pulling a gun or car chases or stuff like that. Everything has to be meticulously plotted. "The biggest miracle of all is I'm very much enjoying watching the show, which is not my usual mode." t i 'a - fill 1 Of- r F ...... f &2 I " ' UPIWntEPHOTO SOAP OPERA STARS Victoria Wyndham of May 5 announcement of the nominations for the NBC's "Another World," Jean LeClerc of ABC's Daytime Emmy Awards. Krista was nominated "All My Children," and Krista Tesreau of CBS for "Outstanding Ingenue in a Drama Series." "Guiding light," wrestle over an -Emmy at the ABC will televise the awards June 30. Ullman finds home on Fox By FRANK SANELLO Newspaper Enterprise Association HOLLYWOOD - Tracey Ullman, 26, whose variety show recently debuted on the new Fox network, has made a successful career out of irreverence. Her unorthodox views recall W.C. Fields' tongue-in-cheek comment about dogs and children: "Yes, I like them boiled." In an era of almost anything goes, however, Ullman's comments are a great deal saltier. Ullman and her husband, British millionaire and TV producer Allan McKeown, recently had a baby, but you don't get anything like the usual gushing that pours forth from first-time mothers. "We had a lovely birthday party for Mabel, who just turned 1," she says, appearing to gush. "She started crying, so we put a bit of champagne on the pacifier. It works every time." For unruly children, Ullman also recommends cough medicine. "It's great for pacifying kids!" she enthuses. As for animals, her Yorkshire terrier, Mr. Binky Beaumont, sounds as though he has Joan Crawford for a mother. "He is so neurotic, I hired a dog psychiatrist for him. That dog is driving me crazy. The doctor told me to put pennies in a can and throw it at Binky when he barks, which is all the time. What I really feel like doing is filling up a huge Yuban coffee can with $50 worth of quarters and throwing it at him." She also doesn't seem to take her pop-singing career seriously, although Ullman was a major star in Britain, with four Top 10 singles and a gold album. The story of her lucky break is enough to curl your hair. "I was at the hairdresser, having my hair dyed red and the wife of the president of Stiff records was there having her hair dyed red too." From that encounter, Ullman landed a contract with the avant-garde English label. To pay tribute, she says, "Whenever I went on TV, I sang into a hairbrush." If there's one thing Ullman doesn't joke about, it's her acting. Her first role was in Paul McCartney's disastrous film, "Give My Regards to Broad Street," which she believes was much better than the critics or public felt. In her next film, "Plenty," Ullman almost stole the show from star Meryl Streep. She played a boundlessly optimistic Cockney actress who befriends Streep's bitterly disappointed aristocrat. Ullman could draw from her own experience to play either struggling actress or spoiled aristocrat. She was born to wealth in a posh section of Slough, England. Her father, a Polish emigre attorney, died when Ullman was 6, and her comfortable world of private schools crumbled. She ended up in public school, where classmates threatened to beat her up if she didn't lose her uppercrust accent. Even though her accent is now on comedy, Ullman often takes a poke at Britain's utmost uppercrust, the Royal Family. "Whenever I see Princess Diana or Fergie, I have this irrational fear they're going to trample me under the feet of their polo ponies," she says. Ullman's new variety show is as outrageous and iconoclastic as the comedian herself. It's a unique hybrid that blends elements of "I Love Lucy," "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and Saturday morning cartoons. The critics have raved, but the show, like the rest of the Fox network offerings, has failed to ignite the ratings. Ullman claims she doesn't care if, her show is canceled. "I can always go back to my left-wing women's theater group in England," she says. But even there, she is something of a rebel. "The women think not washing your hair is a political act. Who wants to have dirty stringy hair? So I used to show up for rehearsal wearing a mink with the Daily Mail (a conservative newspaper) tucked under my arm and say, 'Hurry up! I've got a Tampax commercial at 10 a.m."' Have a ABA A and get a bargain! Introducing the Daily Journal's Garage Sale special. For a limited time, you can get a garage sale kit and a 5 line ad for 4 days, all for only $10. That's right. )4l! (Q) LINES DAYS DOLLARS It's everything you need to have a profitable garage sale. You'll get: 2 Garage Sale signs Booklet "How to Have a Successful Sale." Price tags and stickers. Receipt book r - -r ,. ' : r " ' - ' . So, call Dee, Linda, Bp&or Susie and they'll help you write your adit' v Ar n a. -ii i nnei an, yuu imyiu as weu gei a oargain. -p IX .Call person-to-person 736-7101 While supply lasts. , i V Actor Joe Penny craves success By ROBERT BIANCO Scrippt Howard Ntwi Sirvict NBC's "Riptide" may have gone out to sea, but series star Joe Penny is still floating. His NBC movie, "Blood Vows: Mafia Wife," was the third highest rated movie of the year. And now Penny is in the midst of a five-city tour promoting his next project, "Roses Are for the Rich," a CBS mini-series airing May 17. "Roses Are for the Rich" stars Lisa Hartman as a young Appalachian coal miner, intent on gaining revenge on the powerful businessman (Bruce Dern) she blames for the death of her husband. As in most romantic mini-series, revenge entails working her way up to fame, fortune and power in the business world. Penny plays an opportunistic department store magnate she beds .along the way. At "Page 58, if you want to know the truth," Penny says. "She tries to use my money and position to get what she wants." Eventually, it turns into true love. If this revenge-motivated, working-her-way-through-business plot sounds a lot like CBS's "I'll Take Manhattan" to you, the similarity has occurred to Penny, as well. "It's very much the same thing ... Hopefully, it will be a little better." At least, Penny says, his bad-guy character gives him a break from his string of nice-guy roles. Even his Mafia boss in "Blood Vows" was a sympathetic Mafia boss. This guy is less likable, and Penny says that's "kind of nice." He also enjoyed working with his "Roses" co-star. "Lisa Hartman was terrific. It could have been four weeks of hell, or it could have been a great time. She made it great." Penny says so far his "good experiences outweigh the bad." He can only think of two truly bad work experiences. "Of course, a lot of people may say that about me, that I'm difficult to work with ... I have a tendency to get upset when things don't go well, when I see incompetence." Penny passed on his chance to preview "Roses," so he says he has no idea how well it turned out. He has his own feelings about his work on the show, but he says he's learned not to trust them. "I've come out of things and known that it felt great, and then I see it and I think eeech.'" So he'll wait until "Roses" airs, and then he'll watch it all by himself, pacing and screaming at the television. " 'Stop it, Joe. Stop acting, Joe' ...It's a neurosis." At least, however, he no longer calls directors with questions about his performance weeks after the shoot is finished. "I used to have a lot of angst, a lot of anxiety after the fact ... Now I have anxiety at times, but the point is you have to go on." Penny was born in London, but moved to Augusta, Ga., when he was 5. After his parents divorced, he moved to Los Angeles with his mother, where he started working at the age of 13 to support his family. He considered playing football, but opted for acting instead. He considers it the hardest work he's ever done. "Television is much more high pressured than any other job. I think if you can do a television show, you can do anything in life." He did a few forgettable TV movies (if you haven't forgotten "Samau-rai," Penny would like you to try) and one short-lived series, NBC's "The Gangster Chronicles." And then Penny got his big break, starring with Perry King in NBCs "Riptide." "Riptide" was an instant hit, and it looked set for a long run. Until ABC's "Moonlighting" turned it into an instant, canceled flop. Penny says he has no regrets; cancellation is part of the' TV game. "Of course, I miss the guys I worked with. But I don't miss the hours, or the day-to-day grind." He stays in touch with King and co-star Thorn Bray, both of whom live near him in California. He almost worked with King on "I'll Take Manhattan"; he says he was asked to play Rocco, the role played by Jack Scalia. He turned it down "not knowing Perry was going to do it. That would have been something." Penny says he and King are always being considered for different parts in the same projects. "I'll never not run across Perry, it's de names collide; our pictures i the same desks; we run into each other in restaurants. It's bizarre." , Penny's next project is a CBS movie for next fall, "Fatal Attraction." The film, a pilot for a series called "Jake & the Fat Man," casts Penny as a private detective who helps a district attorney investigate his cases. An admirer of William Hurt, Bob Hoskins and Dustin Hoffman, Penny hopes to break into different kinds of roles. "I'd like to play a real good comedy. Not pie-in-the-face yuk-yuk stuff, but something real adult" He loves "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "The Odd Couple," or anything by Woody Allen, "but-how many times does an actor get that opportunity? "I guess any goal that any actor; could ask for is to keep working and do projects you really want to work on." That, he says, is enough to help him reach his real goal, "to simply, attain some happiness in my life. I- jusi snow wo many peopie wno are unhappy." (Robert Bianco is The Pittsburgh Press TV-radio editor.) SUM. our. 'Otello' brings culture to the videocassefte By JOE RASSENFOSS Scrippt Howard News Service "Otello," Media Home Entertainment, VHS-Beta HiFi Dolby Stereo, 123 minutes, $79.95, Rated PG. The Video Patrol is cleaning up its. act this week. What better way to prove that than by reviewing Giuseppe Verdi's classic opera "Otello," brilliantly filmed by director Franco Zeffirelli and starring the incomparable tenor Pla-cido Domingo? The opera opens with Otello's triumphant return to Cyprus from War with the Turks, whereupon he attends the traditional bacchanalia that used to be thrown in the good old days when wars weren't so dirty and hard to win. At the party, Iago forces an overdose of wine on Cassio, the young soldier promoted by Otello ahead of Iago. The besotted Cassio gets into a fight and is demoted for his excess. f taz Counseling Senices Experienced In: Family Marriage Divorces Children Adolescent t Chemical Dependency GrieCounseling Dr. Bradford Seeman, D. Min. 102 E. Main St., Suit 6 Greenwood, IN (317) 832-9465 Iago is pleased but still has work to do: namely, breaking up Otello and Desdemona. Before you start thinking opera is not for you, think again. By staging the' action In real locations, Zeffirelli has given new life to the story. We're not looking at costumed characters parading on stage in an imaginary castle. This film often bursts with pageantry and excitement. There's real emotion in the acting, too. Domingo does far more than sing, bringing true emotional confusion to his role. Diaz is wonderfully wicked as the scheming Iago. Dont get worried about listening to a lot of incomprehensible Italian music, either.. "Otello" is conveniently subtitled, making it possible to understand the action and enjoy the soaring music. (The small sdreen makes dubbing mistakes more obvious, but it's not a big problem.) Maiden program to investigate 'Rolex Robbers' NEW YORK (UPI) - Oscar and Emmy winner Karl Maiden is hosting a new edition of "Unsolved Mysteries," the second in a series of NBC specials that examine mysterious and unsolved crimes. The special, airing May 25 on Channel 13, was filmed in locations where the crimes or disappearances occurred. It tells the stories with re-enactments and interviews with participants and witnesses La the uu)ca luat (Kireis nut icmguuc UK criminals or victims and help solve the mysteries. The segments include "Rolex Robbers," about sophisticated young women who invite men back to their hotel rooms for a drink, only to drug and then rob them. Recently, Indianapolis authorities warned Indianapolis 500 fans that the Rolex Robbers might be spending the month of May victimizing race spectat Also, "Kyra's Crisis," about woman who left her home in 133 to . mafl a package. Two hours later she woke up in a park and remembered , nothing of her life prior to that day.

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