Streisand’s timeless popularity, showmanship

GOOD MORNING: What do you do for an encore? That’s what I wrote after Barbra Streisand’s opening — her first in L.A. — Aug. 21, 1963. “Barbra Streisand left a celeb-packed Cocoanut Grove groaning for more at her SROpening. She left no doubt in the minds of the hip audience: Barbra Streisand is a bright, new musicomedy star, the type of talent for whom songwriters pen hoped-for standards … The versatile and clever youngster (21 years old), with great built-in timing, overcame the accolades of the ‘name’ audience (invited by Fran and Ray Stark), via her comedy coverup … When asked her ambition, following saloon dates and the Fanny Brice B’way’er, ‘Funny Girl,’ Streisand said, ‘I wanna play ‘Hamlet.’ … Ogling the huge crowd in the narrow, deep Cocoanut Grove, she noted, ‘If I’d have known you were on my two sides, I’d have had my nose fixed’ … Later, she confided many producers (movie) suggested she have a nose bob. Her answer to ’em can’t be carried in this newspaper … In addition to a crowd of celebs, usual press, Columbia Records invited a mob of deejays and distribs. Customers sans reservations gladly sat in the aisles … Fran (Mrs. Ray) Stark credited Edna (Cantor) McHugh for finding Streisand to play the Fanny Brice role … Ray Stark waited 10 years for the right combination of talents to go ahead with the legiter.”… For her L.A. bow, Streisand wore her now-familiar simple satin midshipman’s blouse and black skirt. And her finale was “Happy Days Are Here Again.” When she closed Sept 8, I wrote, “The celeb mob at Barbra Streisand’s Cocoanut Grove finale was as big as her bow. She read the long list of names on hand, thanking all. They included James Mason, Harry Belafonte, Aaron Spelling, still recuping from appendicitis.” Tonight — the tab’s a bit higher than the Cocoanut Grove’s $3-$3.50 cover, $3 minimum — for those in the 2,000 limos expected at Anaheim’s Arrowhead Pond. But their reaction will undoubtedly be the same as those in 1963.

THERE’LL BE PLENTY OF CLIFFHANGERS on tonight’s season finale of “Beverly Hills, 90210.” In one scene, Kari Wuhrer and Brian Austin Green “do it” in the back of a limo and Kari wondered to me if she’ll be allowed back in the fall after this scene. Meanwhile, she’s in college in John Singleton’s bigscreen “Higher Learning.””My whole career is one, big comic book,” she laughs. Kari segued from MTV, “Beastmaster II,” to a nude scene with Jack Nicholson (she’s the one who’s nude) in Sean Penn’s “Crossing Guard” in which she’s a stripper. “I’ve finally arrived in a movie with Jack Nicholson,” smiles Kari, “and my dad can’t even see it!” By the way, she says Nicholson was very “supportive” of her in the steamy scenes. They got to know each other before doing ’em by — dining at the Monkey Bar … Talking of “90210,” Shannen Doherty’s now playing Vince Edwards’ precocious daughter in “Jailbreakers” for Showtime’s Drive-In Cinema Classics. Edwards says, “She reminds me of me — I also had the reputation of being difficult when I was doing ‘Ben Casey.’ ” But Edwards says Doherty is totally professional on this pic, directed by Billy Friedkin — who also directed Edwards in his early pic, “Deal of the Century”… Diane Lane, who segued from “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” to her current co-starrer with Jeff Bridges, “Wild Bill,” is now paged to co-star with Sylvester Stallone in “Judge Dredd.” Armand Assante’s to be the heavy … MGM’s “Grandmother War” is gunning for Bette Midler … And aimed to join Tom Hanks in outer space with “Lost Moon” are Kevin Bacon and Gary Sinise … Michael Apted’s apt to direct Julia Roberts in “Tracks” for Joe Roth.

EMMY-WINNING WRITER-PRODUCER Stephen Cannell’s written his first novel, “The Plan,” and Morrow publishes in a deal set by Morton Janklow and Eric Simonoff. CAA’s handling the bigscreen sale of the drama about a questionable presidential candidate. Publication’s set for June 1995. Cannell, who writes 10-11 TV scripts annually, sez he’s wanted to write a novel since he was 16! And this won’t be the last. Meanwhile, he’ll have four hours on TV this fall including the new syndie’d “Hawkeye” set in 1755 and co-starring Lee Horsley and Lynda Carter … Ann Miller’s off to N.Y. to receive the Tap Dancers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Gene Kelly’s a fellow awardee but unable to attend — Tommy Tune accepts for him at the Fashion Institute’s Haft Auditorium … LeVar Burton’s co-presenter at the daytime Emmys today is Sesame Street’s Big Bird … The Crossroads School’s Cabaret ’94 show at the Wadsworth Theater raised $ 110, 000 with a cast including Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, Ted Danson, John Ritter, Jaclyn Smith, Mark Hamill, KABC’s Michael Jackson. Ron Clark wrote-produced, Harvey Korman directed the sketches.

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