GOOD MORNING: Elvis lives–well, sort of–in Ottumwa, Iowa, where Roseanne and Tom Arnold are readying for Monday’s start of their ABC two-hour “Graceland, ” based on Laura Kalpakian’s novel “Graced Land” (Grove Weidenfeld) and scripted by Rita Mae Brown. Bill Bixby, who directs, told me the company’s gotten clearance of all images of Elvis from the Presley estate. And Ottumwa, Tom Arnold’s hometown (where he and Roseanne are also building a home), has turned out to cooperate with the telefilm and locals have loaned the Arnolds a roomful (14′ x 10′) of personal Elvis paraphernalia, some very valuable, adds Bixby. Latter, who hosted two Presley syndie’d spex and who co-starred with Elvis in “Speedway” and “Clambake,” promises the telepic “will be very respectful” of Elvis’ memory. “I liked him a lot.” P.S.: He recalled Presley’s humor as well. Elvis once tossed a cherry bomb into his (Bixby’s) dressing room and quickly shut the door–as a gag. Bill returned the joke (?) by placing a bucketful of water above Presley’s door. It thoroughly drenched him. Bixby said Roseanne also is “a keeper of the faith” of the Presley faithful. … It’s never too late: The 1965 WB-Tandem feature “It’s Never Too Late,” produced by Norman Lear and directed by Bud Yorkin–to rave reviews (“outstanding direction and acting–shapes up as a money picture,” said Daily Variety)–will return as a sequel by producers David Gershenson and Arthur Friedman. The Sumner Arthur Long B’way comedy will be much updated by A.J. Carothers and loosely based on the original premise of an older couple whose lives are turned upside down when the wife discovers she’s pregnant. Paul Ford, Maureen O’Sullivan and Connie Stevens toplined. The new version can now include the subject of abortion, which was practically verboten back in the ’60s. The movie remains a dramatic comedy. Gershenson has also optioned (footballer) Pepper Rodgers’ comedy novel “Fourth & Long Gone” to feature-film. It’s set against a backdrop of college football recruiting. And CBS Sports’ “NFL Today’s” Terry Bradshaw (a Gershenson client) has been offered a six-figure advance from Simon & Schuster for his book “After Further Review.”
WHILE EVERYONE IN BEVERLY HILLS is now “310” (and hating it!), publisher Seth Baker’s “Beverly Hills 213” will retain its moniker. … Director John McTiernan has exited William Morris and signed with CAA. … Shelley Winters will teach a masters class at the Actors Studio in N.Y. Shelley’s daughter Dr. Vittoria and husband Robert N. Neumann welcomed son Ari Joseph N., March 31. … San Diego State U.’s Film School honored Raquel Welch with its Distinguished Alumna Award. Raquel laughingly reminded her studies were interrupted by back-to-back pregnancies of son Damon and daughter Tahnee. … And Debbie Allen, who receives an honorary doctorate tomorrow at the North Carolina School of the Arts, reminds she was rejected when she auditioned there as a ballet student 25 years ago. … Alumnus Basil Hoffman delivers closing remarks at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts commencement, tomorrow. Fellow alums on hand are Conrad Bain and Melanie Mayron. … Richard Harris stars in “Soul Clap” for John Heyman and Richard Sarafian later this summer, with John Killoran directing. Harris then returns to B’way in Pirandello’s “Henry IV,” in which he starred on London’s boards. … “Northern Exposure’s” Cynthia Geary gets her first telepic role co-starring opposite Rhea Perlman in “To Grandmother’s House We Go” for Epstein/Green-ABC. … And “Parker Lewis’ ” Corin Nemec spends his hiatus starring in “A Letter to Dad” feature, directed by John Harwood, with John Ashton playing his father–as he did in “I Know My First Name Is Steven.”
TALK ABOUT COMMUTING: Rich Little, who co-hosts the weekend’s Children’s Miracle Network Telethon (here on KCAL), private-jets from his Sahara stand for the 6 p.m. telethon start at Disneyland, and back to Vegas for his 8 p.m. opening show of “Kopy Cats,” returning at 10:10 p.m. to Disneyland for the midnight-5 ayem seg of the TV’er. And dittos Sunday. … Tonight’s Show Coalition American Spirit Awards at Filmland is emceed by Dennis Miller, with Jesse Jackson as keynoter and a hefty list of celebs as honorees. And all day Sat. at the Cary Grant theater, Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, Sens. John Kerry , William Cohen, Al Gore and Jay Rockefeller deliver a report on where American cities are. … Yesterday at the BevHilton, Cedars-Sinai Women’s Guild’s SRO Escada-Margaretha showing was highlighted by the announcement that the ladies raised $ 520,000 this year–and they have the “Patriot Games” preem upcoming. Beverly Fierstein was named member of the year Gloria DeHaven is premiering “Screen Tests by DeHaven Prods. Inc.” in N.Y., with coaching-direction by Gloria with two-cameras for aspiring thesps to show their talents to agents-casting directors. She launches her company June 8. … Kate Jackson tries her hand co-hosting with the June 1-3 “Home Shows” with regular host Gary Collins while Sarah Purcell’s on vacation. … Celebs take the cue tomorrow at the Hollywood Athletic Club’s Pool tourney to benefit AIDS Project L.A., with prizes including a Suzuki motorcycle.