Hope plans 44th TV season

GOOD MORNING: “They’re trying to steal me from vodvil,” Bob Hope told me as he signed with NBC for his 44th TV season. P.S. he started with ’em on radio in 1938. In the coming season, Rapid Robert (91) is down to three hours, one of which is a retro of his video “Bob Hope Remembers WWII in the European Theater.” He may add the Pacific. As a windup for his ’94 season, on Aug. 27, NBC airs his “Young Comedians Making America Laugh” with co-hosts Dave Thomas and Crystal Bernard. Hope’s daughter Linda produces the TV’ers and she’s now also busy taping Hope as he recalls making his favorite movies. His recollections will wrap around those features as he hopes to license a collection for homevideos. (Universal owns the Paramount library containing his “Road” pictures.) A.C. Lyles, who has known Hope since 1937 when Bob arrived for his first movie, “The Big Broadcast of 1938,” is among those taping recollections with Bob. The “Broadcast” intro’d “Thanks For the Memory.” And when Hope wound his taping session with Lyles, he told A.C., “Thanks for your memories.” Recalling his first film as he arrived from B’way, Hope said director Mitchell Leisen told him , “In movies, act with your eyes.””It was the best advice I ever got,” admits Hope … Dorothy Lamour has also been taping talks with her “Road” partner. She’s also happily busy these days signing thousands of her vintage stills and posters for eager collector$. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, returning from D.C. to his home in Laguna, stopped in L.A. to visit at Par with longtime pal Lyles. The astronaut excused his very casual attire — explaining his luggage was lost on the D.C.-L.A. flight! … Charlton Heston, who cameo’d in “True Lies,” will next guest star in TNT’s “Avenging Angel” playing Brigham Young. Ace makeup artist Siegfried Geike makes the transformation of Heston to Young. Tom Berenger is the”Angel” and Jim Coburn co-stars, Craig Baxley directs Dennis Nemec’s script.

WITH ROSIE O’DONNELL SLATED TO LEAVE B’way’s “Grease” Oct. 31, (or sooner for “Nine Months” with Tom Arnold?), the legiter’s producers are talking to Brooke Shields to take over. “Grease” is pure gold at the summer box office: 100%-plus, and 90% of ’em youngsters … Film/TV rights to “Harvey,” the 1950 movie classic starring Jimmy Stewart from Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, have been acquired by Don Gregory. If “Harvey” goes the TV (HBO) route, Gregory would like William Hurt to reprise Stewart’s role … Definitely not typecasting: Sharon Stone is “Snow White’s” reader on Dove Audio’s tape. Stone will also read “The Scarlet Letter” for Michael Viner and Deborah Raffin’s label. Also doing Dove: Joanne Woodward on “Little Women,” Glenda Jackson on “Pride and Prejudice” and Dustin Hoffman joins celeb readers for the “Hole in the Wall Gang” tape, which totally benefits the Paul Newmans’ kids charity … Margot Kidder’s comeback is going full steam: she completed the “Wing and a Prayer” NBC pilot with Patty Duke and is now in Toronto starring opposite Patrick Dempsey in Showtime’s “Blood Knot.” And immediately segues to Prague to star in “Young Ivanhoe” for Filmline … John Hurt heads from Western “Wild Bill Hickock” to costumer “Rob Roy” in Scotland.

PRESIDENT CLINTON, AT WEDNESDAY evening’s “California Day at the White House, ” told the L.A. visitors he’s loved all the summer movies he’s seen so far and was also looking forward to “True Lies” and “Clear and Present Danger.” He also noted he’d seen (a repeat?) of “Gore Vidal’s Lincoln” with Sam Waterston and Mary Tyler Moore. He loved it, but noted, “If he (Lincoln) had run a year earlier, he would have been a ‘gone dog.’ And the same could have applied to me!” Among those in the elite group there from showbiz, Edward James Olmos, Donna Bojarsky (of Richard Dreyfuss’ banner), Col’s Mark Gill (president of Show Coalition) and manager/producer Brian Rix. They met with the president, Hillary R. C. and Al Gore in the State Dining Room, where, earlier this week, the prez greeted Jordan’s King Hussein and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Earlier Wednesday, the Calif. group (which was greeted by the Marine Corps band playing “California Dreamin’ “) met with Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, Mickey Kantor, Ron Brown and Donna Shalala in the White House briefing room. Among subjects discussed of interest to the creative community: The protection of intellectual properties in the expanding highways of communication here and abroad … The L.A. Music Center Opera season, bowing Sept. 9 with Gounod’s “Faust,” was given a sendoff Wednesday at Rodeo Drive’s Yves Saint Laurent boutique, where gala opening night plans were unveiled by general director Peter Hemmings, and the night’s co-chairs Alice Coulombe and Peggy Parker Grauman.

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