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Short Takes

Ex-President George Bush is scheduled as the featured speaker for the 13th annual Video Software Dealers Assn. convention July 24-27 in Las Vegas. The theme for this year’s confab is “Taking Care of Business.”

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Hearst Entertainment has given “Phantom 2040,” its new weekly animated series , a firm go for syndication and has cleared 45 markets representing 60% of the country. Stations cleared include WPIX New York, KTLA Los Angeles, WPWR Chicago, WGBS Philadelphia and KOFY San Francisco.

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The Santa Clarita Valley Intl. Film Festival will honor animator Friz Freleng with its Lifetime Achievement Award, Saturday at Magic Movie Studios. Freleng created 62 Bugs Bunny cartoons and is co-creator of the Pink Panther.

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Capital Cities/ABC, through its ABC Cable and Intl. Broadcast Group, has formed a limited partnership with international distributor Devillier Donegan Enterprises. DDE will now distribute ABC’s non-fiction programming, including the “World of Discovery” and “Wildlife Tales” specials as well as documentaries produced by other CapCities/ABC units. The venture will be coordinated through ABC Distribution Co.

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Jim Davidson, a sometimes-actor who’s been working as an accountant, will make his professional acting debut in the title role of “Crowfoot,” a two-hour Paramount pilot for CBS. Casting execs spotted Davidson in a shampoo commercial. Set in Hawaii, the show is from exec producer Don Bellisario.

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After 34 years, British police think they know who stole Sophia Loren’s jewels in 1960. They said Saturday they had arrested 77-year-old Ray Jones, also known as the Cat. Jones told the Sunday Telegraph he had turned himself in. The jewels, worth $ 280,000 at current rates, were stolen from Loren’s hotel bedroom near Elstree Studios, where she was filming “The Millionairess” with Peter Sellers.

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