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The Morning Call from Allentown, Pennsylvania • Page 50
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The Morning Call from Allentown, Pennsylvania • Page 50

The Morning Calli
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:

1983 THE MORNING GALL frX sectonD frt I MM In A I I Ml 1 't v- If i 'm, Campaign jokes: Humorists taking aim at candidates Bob Hope's Top 10 D2 Bruce Willis a die-hard for privacy Review of film 'Die Hard' D2 9 I By BARRY STAVRO Of The Los Angeles Times HOLLYWOOD Ray Siller, Johnny Carson's head writer on "The Tonight Show," is grateful that Michael Dukakis is short Now he has something to use on the candidate: platform shoe jokes, One of Bob Hope's writers prefers George Bush's malapropisms to Dukakis's height. "I read a column yesterday of quotes Bush has made throughout the campaign. It was funny as hell. He just shoots off without thinking," says Bob Mills. The Lampooning of the Candidates, 1988, is under way. And it is no pastime, it is a business, as comedians and joke writers begin to shift their sights from the familiar target of Ronald Reagan and take aim at two drier personalities, candidates Bush and Dukakis. "Well, here we are in another presidential race, bringing us down to a choice between George Bush and Michael Dukakis. And there isn't enough caffeine in the world to keep us awake for that one," political satirist Mark Russell says in his act Russell, who has 30 years' experience joking about presidents, says it does not matter whether Bush or Dukakis wins; the jokes will flow. "The presidents are all funny. I can say none of them has let me down." Maybe so, but impressionist Rich Little is not enthusiastic about the candidates, at least in terms of comedy material. "Dull and duller" is how he describes them. Little ranks Reagan a 10 for comedy fodder; Jimmy Carter was an 8, Gerald Ford a 5, Richard Nixon a 10. Dukakis and Bush? "About a 2," Little says. Little, who does about 50 voices in his act, nonetheless plans to work up Dukakis and Bush impressions. Gene Perret, another of Bob Hope's troop of six writers, concedes that Bush and Dukakis "haven't evolved as characters yet." But after writing jokes for Hope on the last five presidential races, he is not worried. "When Carter emerged, no one Please See JOKES Page D2 By PAUL WILLISTEIN Arts Editor NEW YORK Bruce Willis: Victim of Sudden Fame Syndrome. About four years ago he was tending bar at trendy Manhattan nightclubs. Then, faster than you can say David Addison, Willis was starring opposite Cybill Shepherd in ABC-TV's "Moonlighting." That's when it happened. He became the Creature from the Supermarket Tabloids." "You gotta find out what I'm doin' when you go shopping," he said with a laugh ending in that well-known smirk that drives Madie mad. Sitting down at a table at the elegant Regency Hotel, Willis is bearded and wears a black T-shirt, western-belted jeans and sneakers with his nickname "Bruno" printed on the back. "The Return of Bruno" (Willis' 1986 Motown album and HBO special) is keyed to his latest movie, "Die Hard," which opened Wednesday. Notorious for ducking the press, Willis explains, "I've never been this enthusiastic about anything I've been involved in. This is a very exciting film. It's like being part of a championship ball team." Even so, Willis doesn't like to talk about himself. "I don't think I ever will feel comfortable talking about myself in the third person and sharing the details of my life." Nor does he like to disclose his salary, though producers Joel Silver and Lawrence Gordon said they paid Willis $5 million to make "Die Hard." "I was raised under the Protestant work ethic that you don't ask a man how much money he makes for a living. It's no one's business. I didn't put a gun to anyone's head," said Willis, 33. To keep getting those movie millions, Willis needs a hit" His most recent, "Sunset" slid off the screens of America's multiplexes with barely a trace. "Blind Date" grossed more than $40 million domestically but was not a blockbuster plus at the box office is the benchmark). "Die Hard" producers Silver and Gordon have had a few of those, including "48 HRS." and "Predator." Gordon figures Willis was worth $5 million for "Die Hard." "There are no cheap movie stars," Gordon said. Silver ticked off stars and salaries for movies he's produced: "Eddie Murphy, $200,000 for '48 Arnold Schwarzenegger, $1 million, 'Com- Mel Gibson, $1 million, 'Lethal Weapon, and Patrick Swayze, $1 million, the upcoming Silver emphasized, "You have to put the star 4 tv If Please See WILLIS Page D2 Bruce Willis as New York City detective John McClane in a scene from 'Die Challenging 'Music Man' at Muhlenberg it jAmmmA 1 yr I I In 9 By PAUL WILLISTEIN Arts Editor Directing "The Music Man," opening tonight as the second show of the Muhlenberg Summer Music -Theatre season, has been a revelation for Charles Richter. "The more and more I work on it since we've been in rehearsals, the more bowled over I am by the brilliance of the material," said Richter, during World War II, he was a music director for radio and television shows. Willson worlied on "The Music Man" for about seven years. The show opened Dec. 19, 1957, and is one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history, closing after 1,375 performances on Oct. 17, 1960. In 1958, "The Music Man" won the New York Drama Critics' Award, a Tony and a Grammy. The movie version, released in 1962, starred Robert Preston (who reprised his Broadway role) and Shirley Jones. an parlor song, opera, barbershop and ragtime. "It's a fascinating pastiche of styles, all done in the best of taste and never excessive," said Richter. "The show gives us an entire range of musicality and of small-town life as expressed through music." "The Music Man" was written by Meredith Willson, born May 18, 1902, in Mason City, Iowa. It's considered the crowning achievement for the musiciancomposer who at 17 was a flute player with John Philip Sousa's band. During the 1920s, Willson performed with the New York. Philharmonic. Following a stint as a major dy, Bethlehem, Amy Breidegan, Bernville; Susannah Mulloy, Quaker-town; Andrew Cruse, Allentown, and Keith West, Quakertown. Featured in the show's barbershop quartet are Hardy, Roy Bene-saraf, Michael Conrad and Jeff Lentz. Don Spieth will conduct the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra Summer Theatre Ensemble. Richter talked about the difficulty and challenge of the "The Music Man" score, which, he said, "runs through every musical idiom that would have been possible in the period that the play is circa 1912 styles include a march, Victori Please See MUSICAL Page D3 chairman of Muhlenberg College theater department. "The Music Man" is one of the largest if not the largest musical ever presented at Muhlenbwg. Richter will put 71 people on the huge Paul Empie Theatre stage in Muhlenberg's Center for the Arts in Allentown. The set, designed by Curtis Dretsch and recreating a Victorian town square and several other scenes, is nothing less than spectacular. The American classic contains the durable tunes, "Good Night, My Someone," "76 Trombones" and 'Til There Was You." The well-known story is about band uniform salesman Harold Hill and his courtship of Marian the librarian in River City, Iowa. Starring as Harold Hill is Kevin Daly, guest Equity artist and veteran performer on Broadway and in professional stock companies, and regional and dinner theaters. He has worked with Ruby Keeler, Mickey Rooney, Carol Lawrence, Kaye Ballard and Kitty Carlisle. Elena Clancy appears as Marian. A Philadelphia resident, the soprano has performed in opera, operetta and Broadway roles and is a two-time finalist in the Pavarotti International Vocal Competition. "Music Man" costumes are by Mildred Greene; lighting is by Don Holder, and choreography by Jay Todd. Area residents in the cast include Carole Silvoy, Catasauqua; Don Har Talk-show host Downey will be in Atlantic City. Downey is taking what he feels on the road 3i 4 It's been a while since Downey's been given the bum's rush. In less than a year nine months to be exact he's taken his Secaucus, N.J.-based talk show into national syndication. Produced by superstation WWOR-TV since its debut last year, "Downey" has the nation Mort-ified. The show has gained in popularity by leaps and bounds. With scalpers commanding up to $50 for tickets to tapings, Downey has decided to take the program on the road for By AMY LQNGSDORF "Noop, I've never regretted one thing I've said on the air," explained controversial talk-show host Morton Downey Jr. "People identify with me because I say what I feel. I exactly like they are. I'm frustrated. I've gone through all the garbage. I've had a lot of problems in my life and I've had to snap back; sleep on park benches; hold down two or three jobs at the same time. I've gone through a lot of the same things people are having to go through right now." DON FISHER The Morning Call Kevin Daly as Harold Hill and Elena Clancy as the librarian in 'The Music Man Please See DOWNEY Page D2

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