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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California • Page 83
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California • Page 83

Location:
Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Page:
83

Television Listings Wednesday, June 13. 1984 Part VI JOKE CALVEZ lot Anfftaa Turn FILM CLIPS A MOVIE MAKER WHO TAMED HIGH-TECH IN 'GHOSTBUSTERS' Co6 Angeles (Times By MICHAEL LONDON, Times Staff Writer It shaped up as a classic confrontation of high-tech wizardry. In the most competitive weekend of a competitive summer, Joe Dante's malevolent gremlins were up against the fearsome Temple of Doom and the killer Klingon hardware of "Star Trek HI." When all was said and done, the surprise winner was a a 120-foot marshmallow sailor, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. which helped "Ghostbusters" smush the competition with $13.6 million in ticket sales. It was the biggest opening ever for Columbia Pictures in one of the most lucrative weekends in box-office history. Sitting in his elegant two-story Columbia complex on Monday afternoon, film maker Ivan Reitman looked a little happy, and very, very relieved. "Classically, this combination has never worked," Reitman said of "Ghostbuster's" $30-million mix of laughs and high-tech thrills. "My psychological approach was to keep the picture a comedy and not get sidetracked by the special effects. I wanted the effects to be the best anyone had ever seen, but 1 also wanted them to work as characters in a comedy." Reitman. 37. wears a saturnine manner that is frequently broken by a big, incongruously goofy grin. A native Czech whose family fled to Canada when he was 4. he both directed and produced "Ghostbusters." The risky project was born in the fevered mind of Dan Aykroyd as a fantastic tale of intergalactic demon -fighters. Reitman suggested a more earthbound plot involving wayward college professors forced into business as ghostbusters. Reitman also brought in Harold Ramis, who co-wrote the screenplay and plays ghostbuster No. 3 behind Bill Murray and Aykroyd. In May, 1983. without a screenplay or a budget, Reitman managed to get a green light from Columbia's then-chief executive Frank Price. But there was a catch: The film had to be ready for release within a year. The improvisational background of Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis helped Reitman meet the tight deadline. "Having your writers as actors means you have them on the set all the time." Reitman said. "We basically did our final draft while we filmed." "Ghostbusters" was a natural combination of Reitman's two favorite genres. His best known projects have been comedies, Please tee FILM CUPS, Page 6 it- 7 -v. I I 1 f- 'Ghostbusters" producer-director Ivan Reitman poses with Terror Dog creature from the hit comedy-adventure movie. ESTHER WILLIAMS BACK AT POOLSIDE 3 A THEATER THAT MAKES L.A. SAFE FOR THE GAMES By LAWRENCE CHRISTON rV AtTi II 1 MacMurray and even the Jack Nicholson of "Chinatown." (There's a scene in an opium den, and Hazard is visited in his office by a detective named Mendoza. The year is 1932. the backdrop the Los Angeles Olympiad, and Hazard delivers a tough, tight-jawed Chandleresque narrative line With the world looking in on Los Angeles this summer, the theater is intuitively responding with various examinations of California as opposed to American history and myths. Films, of course, could never be left out, and the Groundlings improvisational troupe is exuber By JUDITH MICHAELSON. Times Staff Writer Esther Williams was sitting on a waterlily-print couch in the living room of her house in Beverly Hills, looking out on an Olympic-sized chunk of Los Angeles and a rather small swimming pool, and pondering her reemergence. The former swimming and movie star used to have a regulation-sized Olympic pool, but she recalled with a laugh that when she and her late husband, Fernando Lamas, moved from Bel-Air more than a decade ago, he had insisted on the big view instead and Lamas was apparently the kind of man who usually got his way. "I could have used a 60- foot pool," she mused. She gave up her career for him in the early '60s after making 26 films in 20 years, most of them for MGM. Indeed, the last film Williams made, "The Magic LOS ANGELES 1984 JL antly offering up "Olympic Trials, a Chick Hazard Mystery." "Murder! Suspense! Catchy Tunes!" reads the program. "You (meaning the audience) give the clues Chick solves the case in this improvised comedy whodunit!" That's just the way it is. Murray the hack (Bob Drew) comes out excitedly in his Yellow Cab cap and Fran- that takes us from the Santa Monica Pier (where he rescues the Pep Boys from a crazed 25-foot tuna) to the Olympic pool; his office (where his main squeeze. Velocity Gold, is quitting to pursue her singing career); his apartment (where the smell of overflowing ashtrays and week -old socks is a comfort), to the climactic scene aboard the Moon of Humus, a yacht owned by the mysterious and evil Turk Amin. 'And I loved being a Latin wife you get treated very well return for that ARTS FESTIVAL FeU Ballet. Page 2. Under Tom Maxwell's direction, "Olympic Trials" zips along through numerous stock detective situations, and the scripted portion of the show has an affectionate feel for Chandler similes (at one point Hazard observes, "I guess when your troubles are piling up around you like fingernail parings, you make co -American- spaghetti -colored shirt, brandishing a worn copy of Black Mask, the detective magazine, and enlists us to furnish the details for yet another murder mystery, the difficulty and danger of which can never be too great for our dauntless hero. Chick Hazard. Phil Hartman plays Hazard with an impeccable blend of Bogart, Fred Please see CHICK, Page 4 Fountain" in Spain in 1961, was directed by the Argentine-born Lamas, who was better known for his starring roles as a Latin lover. (The movie was not released here.) She also said she had known that having been on top, "There's no place to go but down." "A really terrific guy comes along and says, wish you'd stay home and be my and that's the most logical thing in the world for a Latin. And I loved being a Latin wife you get treated very well. There's a lot of attention in return for that sacrifice. Now, nearly two years after her husband's death (Lamas died in October, 1982, at 67), Williams is reemerging in full bloom. It began in February, when she was "squeezed between" Mr. and Howard Cose 11 on a Barbara Walters special. "Barbara's very funny; she talked me into it She said, 'What are you going to do? You've not only lost your husband, you've lost your full-time And that's what it was like, being married to Fernando he was full-time work. What we wanted most was for his career to soar." A monthlong retrospective of her films, linked to the Olympic Games, begins June 22, honoring her as a sportswoman. She will be interviewed on stage at Wadsworth Theater in a special opening-night program. This week she released her hourlong videocassette. Please see ESTHER, Page 7 TONY BARNARD Lo Angeles Tuam Esther Williams with grandson Thomas Woodward in her backyard in Beverly Hills. WEINBLATT REFLECTS ON SHOWTIME RESIGNATION HOWARD ROSENBERG DARKNESS AT MIDNIGHT WITH JERRY Johnny Carson looks better and better. Not because he is better and better, but because the competition is worse and worse. This season's "Thicke of the Night" has been awful enough, a plastic, bland, listless, unfocused packaging effort to capture a portion of the late-night market with a shapeless glob of music, contrived comedy and babble. You couldn't imagine late-night TV regressing further. But. Now comes Thick in the Noodle. The Metromedia Producers Corp. this week is giving "The Jerry Lewis Show" a five-night trial in national syndication (at 11:30 on KTTV Channel 11) for a possible shot in the fall. Or shock. Lewis is all over the tube these days, interviewed by Gene Shalit on NBC's "Today" this week and showing up on pay TV as the harassed talk-show host who gets abducted in "The King of Comedy." That's Martin Scorsese's movie about a hapless aspiring comic named Rupert Pupkin, played by Robert DeNiro The irony is that "The Jerry Lewis Show" is Rupert Pupkins-ville. Or If you prefer a TV equivalent, it's a replica of "The Sammy Maudlin Show," the devastatingly satirical SCTV put-down of TV talk By DAVID CROOK, Times Staff Writer There's an old saying in the TV business: "If it's not broken, don't fix it" It's a phrase often evoked by commercial-TV executives as they survey the annual ratings damage and try to develop their fall schedules. Former commercial network programmer Mike Weinblatt has been thinking about that saying a lot lately, especially as he's watched an unusual game of corporate musical chairs taking place around him. This time, when the music stopped it was Weinblatt who was left standing without a seat He resigned Monday as president and chief operating officer of ShowtimeThe Movie Channel Inc. "I've enjoyed these four years," Weinblatt said in a telephone interview from New York. "Believe me, I've got some real mixed feelings about leaving." Formerly president of NBC Entertainment, Weinblatt joined Showtime as president in 1980. He took his current title in September when Showtime and the Movie Channel merged. Weinblatt said he plans to remain with the company through the end of July, when his contract expires, but he has no definite plans for his future. "I honestly don't know (what I'm going to do)," he said. "I'm Just stepping back." He said that he has had some discussions about other jobs and is willing to consider going back to commercial TV as well as remain in cable. "A lot depends on the specific job or the specific challenge," he said. One of the first in a wave of former Big Three network executives to Jump to cable, Weinblatt joined the industry just as it was approaching its peak of energy. Jerry Lewis, hosting "The Jerry Lewis Show" for a weeks trial shows where everyone oozes and fawns. The big difference is that "The Jerry Lewis Show" is real. It isn't low-brow. It's no-brow, a pitiful, self -parodying anachronism that would be an embarrassment to lesser egos. But lesser egos are nowhere in sight. Taped well In advance to keep things, uh, fresh, Jerry and his show Monday night welcomed Frank Sinatra and Suzanne Somers. Jerry's Ed McMahon is comic Charlie Cal-las. Seldom have so many beautiful human beings shared a stage. Really. Would we kid? Trust us on this one. It began with Callas telling Lewis that he was underrated in the United States. Then members of the studio audience told Lewis that he was wonderful. Then there was a Please see JERRY, Page 12 INSIDE CALENDAR JAZZ: Rare footage of the late greats to be shown at Goldwyn Theatre. Page 3. MUSIC: Guameri String Quartet in Little Tokyo reviewewd by Albert Goldberg. Page 4. TV: Tonight on TV and on cable. Page 8. "Swan Lake, Minnesota," due on PBS, reviewed by Lewis Segal. Page 12. Lena Hansen, who hails from Denmark, has helped create a show of works by LA. artists. Page 5. Mike Weinblatt- 'Tve some real mixed feelings about leaving." Today, much of that energy has dissipated. The year Weinblatt joined Showtime, cable was the undisputed darling of Wall Street and one of the few bright spots in an ever-worsening national economy. It seemed that bold cable programming plans Please see WEINBLA TT, Page 7 3fc

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