GOOD MORNING: David Wolper, who produced the spectacular opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics in L.A., then nixed invitations to be involved with the ensuing games in South Korea and Barcelona, has now agreed to be consultant to the ’96 festivities in Atlanta. He has a few locations to hit before that date: In November he heads to Alcatraz for the start of his Hexagon/WB feature “Murder in the First,” Kevin Bacon co-starring with Christian Slater in a true story of the ’40s. Mark Rocco directs. Next, Wolper teams with Merchant & Ivory in WB’s “Serving Picasso” with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino both mentioned as the possible star. And next spring, Wolper has a date in Australia to film the “Thorn Birds” mini-sequel for ABC. The Simi Valley subbed for Down Under locations in the first “Birds,” which, in its third run on ABC, won its time periods last week. Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown are all skedded to shoot at the Warner Studios/Warner World in Queensland. But the uppermost location for Wolper is Napa where, Aug. 11-12, he hosts 45 celebs in his third annual golf tourney benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Napa. Participants include Clint Eastwood, Joe Di Maggio, Dinah Shore and Donald Trump … Talking of Australia, I received a call from Ernie Hudson on Savoy’s “Penal Colony” location in Yungaberra, Queensland, where he says a giant prison set’s been constructed on Lake Tinaroo for the 2017-set drama. You recall Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes are in Burbank toiling on WB’s “Demolition Man” in a giant prison set, also in the early 21st century. The Australia site’s far different, reports Hudson. Giant spiders, kangaroos and a python are his daily companions in his house, which is 20 minutes from his nearest neighbor. On the set, Lance Henriksen also reports a 16-foot-long boa constrictor wrapped itself around his legs … Despite all this, Chad Everett’s off to Australia for Wilshire Court’s “Official Denial.” I didn’t tell him about the other location’s attractions … Mario Van Peebles is a special guest at this year’s Australian Movie Convention … Phyllis Diller spends October Down Under — it’s her 16th tour there … And Helen Reddy tells me she’s commuted to Australia twice in the past month, producing two spex for her banner. And she returns next month for singing dates in Brisbane and Melbourne. This was a day for Oz news!
NOT-IN-THE-SCRIPT violence in L.A.: Playwright Christopher Meeks’ play “Suburban Anger” at the Playwright’s Arena is about a suburban couple who meet violence when a bullet travels through the walls of their home causing a tragedy. Last week, Meeks was working at home in an office at the back of his garage when gunshots pierced the garage door, shattered the windshield of his car parked inside and also pierced the garage ceiling. He’s grateful the car was there to stop the bullets. “The bullets missed me,” Meeks says thankfully, “but the irony has not”… Peggy McCay, recuped from a pneumonia bout, leaves Cedars-Sinai this week. She got news of her Emmy nomination (supporting actress –“Woman on the Run”) while hospitalized … Michael Jeter, double Emmy-nominated (“Evening Shade” and “Picket Fences”), will miss the first two segs of “Shade” this season as his “Sister Act II” priestly part’s been expanded … Emmy nominee competitors Jim Garner and Jimmy Woods teed off together at the Bel Air Country Club after hearing the announcement … In “Naked Gun III: The Final Insult” Leslie Nielsen dresses in drag for a dream sequence. When he awakens, he has a pleasant surprise — a love scene with Guess? girl Anna Nicole Smith making her acting debut … Manager Martin Erlichman set Dick Guttman as Barbra Streisand’s press agent … Mary and Ron Bension welcomed son Alexander Robert at Valley Presbyterian. Papa’s chairman-CEO MCA Recreation Services Group … And Jim Washburn, who helped set up the Disney-MGM studios, has returned to the Burbank studio after four years.
GIVING THANKS: “Field of Dreams” director Phil Alden Robinson is assembling contributions from the movie’s cast (headed by Kevin Costner and Amy Madigan) and crew to help flood victims of Dubuque, where the company enjoyed the locals’ hospitality filming in the summer of 1988. Ironically that year, Robinson tells me, the area was suffering the worst drought since the Dust Bowl. “We had to truck in water to grow our crop of corn.” Robinson’s at Universal where checks made out to the Red Cross can be sent. They’ll be forwarded as a group to the stricken area. Money is what’s needed. Robinson’s now writing a movie set in the Mississippi civil rights movement of 1961 and with help from several of the original SNIC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) members — some are now lawyers, office holders, etc. Harry Belafonte and Dick Gregory were active in the movement. Sean Daniel’s co-producing with Robinson and both were in Mississippi last week. They say U’s Tom Pollock is “very supportive” of the civic-minded movie … Larry Gelbart writes an article in the August Harper’s Bazaar: “Beverly Hills 9021Over the Top” and in September, “Palms Sprung”.