GOOD MORNING: It’s no wonder Frank Sinatra has a yen to concert in Japan — he’s getting $ 1.5 million each for two shows. Natalie Cole guestars on the brief trek. Meanwhile, his CBSpecial “Sinatra: Duets,” produced by George Schlatter, has an air date of Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving. And lest you think Sinatra’s lost his attraction to the paparazzi, he had a quick shutter’d set-to with ’em as he was trying to depart Victor Drai’s eatery via the rear door … Wonder if Frank knows Turner’s double laserdisc of MGM’s “Ship Ahoy” ( 1942) doesn’t credit him as he sings two tunes with the Tommy Dorsey orch. The other pic on the disc is “Lady Be Good” (1941) … Sorry to report that Leonard Feather (79), who has long chronicled Sinatra and has album-noted all jazz greats, is in the critical care unit at the Encino/Tarzana Hospital. And Feather’s wife Jane is at the same hospital recovering after double bypass surgery on Tuesday … For the first time in 24 years, Walter C. Miller will not direct the Country Music Assn. Awards. His son Paul directs — but Walter will produce. The lineup of performers includes Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Trisha Yearwood, Pam Tillis, Clint Black, Lyle Lovett, George Strait and Alan Jackson. The three-hour live show emanates from the Grand Ole Opry House Oct. 5, 8-11 p.m. on CBS, with Vince Gill hosting. Walter M. is Emmy-nominated for his Tony direction, but cannot attend because of his CMA rehearsals, so, he told me, “If I win, tell them to give it to Tim Allen”… Kathie Lee Gifford has a Christmas special upcoming on CBS for exec producer Pierre Cossette, with Walter Miller directing and producing this one … Add musical notes: Kenny Rogers debuts his “Timepiece” album of songs from the ’40s and ’50s with a big bash at the House of Blues Sept. 26; Kenny’s to sing with a big band. Rogers started singing/playing jazz in the ’50s. The album’s the first for David Foster’s new Atlantic label, One Four Three.
“IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE YOU START, but where you finish,” a happy Brandon Tartikoff noted when I read him the following fax: “Re: Sandwich-less in L.A. I am very proud to announce the comeback of the Brandon Tartikoff triple decker at the Stage Deli in L.A. The new sandwich will be the No. 25, turkey, lettuce, mayo, tomato, cranberry sauce and stuffing on toasted rye. Thanks for noting Brandon’s (sandwich) heartbreak and please let him know that Howard Stern could never replace him. Good noshing, signed Jesse M. Varela, general manager the Stage Deli N.Y.”… For years you’ve been reading reports about studios’ slow pay but how about this cheery news: John Goodman got his (contracted) bonus checks from Universal for “The Flintstones” before the pic reached its $ 100 million mark and ditto when the pic was a few million shy of the (contracted) $ 125 million box office. The studio was that confident of the box office bonanza … Jason Patric has been having a lot of positive studio response to “The Gipp, ” the 15-minute film he wrote, directed, stars in. You recall Ronald Reagan played George Gipp in the 1940 classic WB “Knute Rockne, All American” starring Pat O’Brien, who urged his Notre Dame team to “win just one for the Gipper.” All Jason has to do is figure a way to lower the budget … Doug McClure is back in St. Joseph’s Hospital for lung chemotherapy, but he’s cheered by news he will soon have his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame — and McClure’s sure to be there for the deserved tribute … And Aleon Bennett, vet Hollywood publicist, is recovering from lung cancer surgery at Kaiser Hospital in Panorama City and would appreciate a card … A memorial service will be held for Phil Paladino at 45 p.m. Wednesday at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery Rostrum off Sepulveda Boulevard. Phil’s last wish was to throw a big bash for his pals, so Dale Olson hosts it Sept. 10 at his home. Call Phil’s former associate John Blanchette at Olson’s.
DAVID KELLEY, “PICKET FENCES” PRODUCER, receives the ACLU of So. Calif.’s Bill of Rights Award Dec. 8 at the Westin Bonaventure … Nanette Fabray receives the Pacific Pioneer B’casters’ salute Sept. 23 at the Sportsmen’s Lodge … The Lew Wassermans, Aaron Spellings and Nolan Miller quintetted at Dan Tana’s … More than $ 500,000 was raised during the 12th annual Rock ‘N Charity celebration to benefit the T.J. Martell Foundation/Neil Bogart Memorial Fund charities … Lorenzo Lamas’ “Ride for Life” attracted 1,500 Harley riders and raised $ 27,000 for the World Children’s Transplant Fund … Thesp-comedian T.K. Carter and hair stylist (to the Jacksons, etc.) Janet Zeitoun were married Aug. 28 at Sherwood C.C. … Composer Dave Bell and wife Cynthia welcomed son Andrew Bennett B. Aug. 23 at Santa Monica Hospital. Papa Bell authored “Getting the Best Score for Your Film.”