GOOD MORNING: Director Michael Ritchie and all those involved with Sunday’s four “Bud Bowl” commercials aired during the Super Bowl Game were sworn to secrecy about the “score” of their game and the contents of the $ 7.5 million blurbs. “Las Vegas was even betting on our ‘game,’ ” Ritchie laughed. The zany commercials were made by Boss Films and completed only two days before the game. Ritchie was pleased he was able to get such names as NBC’s Marv Alpert to do the play-by-play (“He was a very good sport,” sez Ritchie) plus coaches Mike Ditka and Bum Phillips. Ritchie feels he was asked to direct the commercials because of his experience on sports-themed movies –“The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom,””Diggstown,””Bad News Bears, “”Downhill Racer,””Semi-Tough” and “Wild Cats.” He shot the blurbs at the Rose Bowl — in September. Ritchie says they used special effects never before attempted — like “lifting” the Rose Bowl via four blimps and dropping it in a local sports bar! They used 250 extras to “fill” the stadium by “moving”’em around via computer. Ritchie worked 20 days on principal photography with the great cinematographer Lazlo Kovacs, who is again behind the cameras with Ritchie on his current bigscreen feature for 20th, “The Scout.””I loved working with Anheuser-Busch,” admits Ritchie, “They gave me more creative freedom than I’ve had on any commercial. And I love doing commercials — to learn areas of filmmaking I might not have ever learned.” He says that’s why fellow directors like Ridley Scott, Dick Donner, etc., do ’em. And — they get paid by the day. But there’s no residuals from commercials for directors. Anyhow, these four Bud Bowl commercials only aired once, during the Superbowl — and for one minute each. There was to be one commercial per quarter of the game, but mebbe the Busch bunch worried a lopsided score could result in early tuneouts — so they skedded the final two blurbs for the third quarter.
STILL NO RELIEF from the quake for WB’s “Murder in the First” company, which had been shooting through the night on the morning of the Jan. 17 earthquake at the Triscenic Stages in Sylmar. The stage and courtroom set were damaged and the company had not been able to return to it as of Friday, when they moved to a converted warehouse. At the time of the quake, Marc Rocco was directing a scene with Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon, Christian Slater and 120 extras. The scene had Oldman on the witness stand, Bacon and Slater at a table while cameras shot ’em from a balcony on a dolly track. It’s a tribute to the grips who rigged everything so securely — nothing fell — not a light, wall, nothing. No one panicked on the blackened stage as all made their way outside — with only a few bruises and one broken arm reported. The company also lost future locations in L.A. deemed unsafe to shoot the movie set in 1938-41. They may now have to shoot ’em in — San Francisco. Don’t say it! … The latest aftershock knocked down the remaining outside wall of Lee Minnelli’s house last week. She had survived in the house, which sustained broken water pipes and interior damage to priceless articles including Vincente’s “Oscar Room.” Lee said the quake reminded her of getting through the Blitz in London –“You’re helpless in something beyond your control”… Damage to the ballroom of the Sheraton Universal Hotel has forced the Junior League to move its March 12 “An Affair to Remember” tribute to Nancy Reagan to the Beverly Hilton. The black-tie bash features a 50-foot repro of the Hollywood sign — and 70-foot Oscars …”Frasier” exec producer and creator Peter Casey and wife Rosemary welcomed son Liam Peter Jan. 19 at St. Joseph’s, just minutes after two 5.1 aftershocks … Howard W. Koch is recuping at Good Samaritan after successful hip surgery … Dr. Joyce Brothers, who had been giving emotional advice to L.A.’s earthquake-shaken, will tape (Feb. 19) a one-hour PBS special, “How’s Your Love Life?” It’s produced by Connecticut Public TV for airing in August.
LORRAINE BRACCO AND Edward James Olmos were married Friday at N.Y.’s St. Regis Hotel … Leslie Uggams and design authority Joe Ruggiero will host “Rooms for Improvement,” a 26-seg series for Scripps Howard’s new cable channel, Home & Garden TV Network. They’ll shoot in Riverside with Stu Crowner, Joseph Ruggiero and Peter Finn exec producing for Peter Matthew Prods … A”memorial service” will be held Feb. 14 at the site of the Vine Street Hollywood Brown Derby, which is being demolished. Designated a national landmark, the Derby would have celebrated its 65th birthday on Valentine’s Day. Sally Cobb, widow of the Derby’s Bob Cobb, is readying a book about the fun Derby days. She has 3,000 photos to prove it.