Jackson preps glitzy halftime spec

GOOD MORNING: Michael Jackson will feature his single, “Heal the World,” in his Super Bowl half-time show. He’ll make a spectacular entrance, promises Don Mischer, producing the Bowl extravaganza for Radio City Music Hall Prods. He and Jackson have had four meetings. “It’s a thrill to work with him,” said Mischer, who previously did the “Motown 25” spec. “He really cares about what he does–he is a creative artist. In the past, the half-time show was composed of thousands with glitz without a focal point. This time it will be different. We hope to move people. It will, after all, be seen by 1.3 billion people–plus the 102,000 there–live. And we have only five minutes to set up our show from the time the last player leaves the field at half time. We have 10 minutes of show and then five minutes to strike it for the second half to begin.” Kickoff is skedded for 22 p.m. Jan. 31, Pacific time. They have to design Jackson’s show for daylight and/or darkness. And they have to move all the special sets through a door 9 feet wide and 12 feet high … Right now, Mischer and George Stevens Jr. are readying the East Room of the White House for the opening seg that precedes Sunday’s Kennedy Center Honors show … Talking Bowl activities earlier, L.A.’s longest-running “Phantom,” Davis Gaines, sings the national anthem at the Freedom Bowl, Dec. 29 in Anaheim.

TAKE OFF WITH WILLIAM MORRIS,” read the invitation to studio toppers, producers, attorneys, managers for the party Tuesday at the Museum of Flying. WMA’s newly expanded picture department, led by Arnold Rifkin and co-heads John Burnham and Mike Simpson, plus Morris chairman/CEO Norman Brokaw, president Jerry Katzman and 60 other officers and agency members, were busy wheeling and dealing between the schmoozing and Rococo buffet’ing. En route to the bash attended by 250, Rifkin got a call (in his car) from Joe Roth (in his car). The latter apologized for not being well enough to attend, said he was headed home. Rifkin suggested they finalize the deal they’d planned for party palaver right then on the (car) phones. They did. And Roth’s Caravan Pictures at Disney will remake “The Enchanted Cottage” whose rights were repped by Wm. Morris and Peter Barnes will script. Barnes is a Morris client … Among others’ projects talked at the party itself was “Clear and Present Danger.” Bob Rehme and Mace Neufeld told the Morris men if their client John Badham completed “The Specialist” in time they’d talk a deal for him to rein the Tom Clancy yarn … I spotted in the business bunch–the ever-beautiful Dolly Parton. But then again, she’s also a producer. Parton, there with partner Sandy Gallin, told me she plans a TV series in Nashville, is completing an album, “Slow Dancing With the Moon” (Sony)–and has told the Clintons she’d be happy to sing at the inaugural doings … The WMA party marked a happy finale to six weeks of tumult and the beginning of a new era … Longtime agent Herb Tannen’s honored by the Hollywood Arts Council with a showing of his paintings, starting tomorrow at the L.A. Visual Artists exhib in the Westin Bonaventure hotel … Bettye McCartt of Metropolitan Talent Agency set Wilford Brimley, now in Jean Claude Van Damme’s “Hard Target,” to follow in “The Firm”… Alice Krige re-signed with Marion Rosenberg. Krige joins Robert Blake and Beverly D’Angelo in CBS’ “Deliver Us From Evil” directed by Robert Roth … Stuart Miller, head of APA’s literary dept., fills the balance of Marty Klein’s term as board member of the Assn. of Talent Agents. Roger Vorce is president of APA.

LIVE TO YOU FROM HOLLYWOOD: Johnny Carson is back on the air this Sunday as the first presenter on “Disney’s American Teacher Awards” and Jay Leno is the final presenter of the show airing on the Disney channel from the stage of the Pantages. Carson presents to a science teacher, Leno to a foreign-language instructor. Other presenters include Dustin Hoffman, Don Johnson, Melanie Griffith, Luke Perry, Morgan Freeman, Paula Abdul and Tony Danza–for his third year. It’s a Gary Smith-Dwight Hemion show … Walter Miller will direct the Tony Awards for producer Gary Smith. It’s their first teaming since the Bell Telephone Hour in–1964! … Jimmy Stewart’s hometown, Indiana, Pa., named a street after him–“Jimmy Stewart Blvd.”… Thelma White celebrates her 82nd birthday tomorrow. She sounded wonderful. “That’s my stage training,” she laughed … Lots of excitement in the kitchen at the Columbia Bar & Grill yesterday–George Foreman, who had been lunching with his “George” TV series exec producer Tony Danza, went inside to greet his stove-bound fans … Tonight, after a special screening of CBS’ “Bonds of Love” at the Academy Plaza Theater, Arc (a national org on mental retardation) presents producers Harry B. Chandler and Treat Williams a special commendation for their accurate and compassionate show (airs Jan. 10) … Sunday, Peter Jones hosts a fundraiser for/at the Hollywood Studio Museum opposite the Hollywood Bowl … The Natural Resources Defense Council benefits from Castle Rock’s “A Few Good Men” preem Dec. 9 at Mann’s Village and party at the Century Plaza. Alan Horn of Castle Rock is a national board member of the council.

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