GOOD MORNING: Congressional task force chairman Sonny Bono (R-Calif.) and his House entertainment industry committee (all Republican) arrive here for an all-day “fact-gathering” session Saturday. Bono told me, “The industry has never dealt with the Republicans before.” What about the Reagan and Eisenhower administrations? Well, he said, “It’s been a long time since the Republicans (in D.C.) have been commingling with the industry. I hope it will be healthy. I think there are a lot of people (in the biz) who are partial to our viewpoint — but who don’t say anything.” He will speak about the future health of the biz, copyright changes, etc. Bono says the purpose of the committee’s visit is “to open up communications and to recognize the heat that the public has on morality of the product. When (Bob) Dole attacked, it got a good response from the public.” Joining the solons will be industry reps from Sony, MGM, MCA, NBC, MPAA , RIAA, agencies and civic groups. They meet at the BevHills City Hall. Bono was back in showbiz for a day this summer, playing himself in a scene with Sinbad in “First Kid” about the son of the first family … Carroll O’Connor, wife Nancy, daughter in-law Angela and grandson Sean are leaving for Rome to inter the ashes of son Hugh, who was born there and adopted (at the age of 5 days) by the O’Connors in 1962 when Carroll was working in “Cleopatra.” When the O’Connors return here at Thanksgiving, he will resume work. It’s been six months since the death of son Hugh. “It gets a little better as time goes by,” Carroll sadly told me. He’s signed his longtime agent Lionel Larner as his manager and agent Jack Gilardi at ICM. Among projects: A Mark Twain story in which he’d play a riverboat captain to a teenage Huck and Tom. Also, “Remain Silent” about the Miranda case. O’Connor would direct and play a supporting role in the project with producer Larry Thompson. Carroll’s also writing a Mexican-American War story “for an action star”… He hoped to do a series of “Archie Bunker” CBSpecials but O’Connor said Norman Lear told him it needed a femme star. He mentioned Bette Midler as a possibility.
RIP TORN’S STANDING UP FOR his rights. Torn is determined to have his name totally cleared — via court trial — of Dennis Hopper’s claims that Torn pulled a knife on him and was fired from “Easy Rider” (27 years ago). Torn says he never was in the pic because “I had a play to do. I never missed a day’s work in 40 years.” And the knife incident gets a totally different reading from Torn, who claims it was Hopper who drew on him. Hopper’s reiteration of his side of the story on “The Late Show With Jay Leno” so angered Torn, he’ll continue the case until cleared in court. “I think of my children and I’d like to put the record straight,” he adds. He further wanted to set the record straight when recording the narration for a James Dean docu for Disney. The dialogue called for Torn to say Geraldine Page was “upset” when Dean “stole” “The Immoralist” on Broadway. “Not only was she not upset,” said Torn, “but she was delighted and fought for him to get the role.” The script was changed to his version. Torn also was busy lately doing the animated “Hercules” for Disney, playing Zeus. And just guestarred in “Chicago Hope” as Adam Arkin’s father. He is of course, busy on the new season of “The Larry Sanders Show” for which he’s Emmy-nominated. Brett Butler guests this week … George Stevens Jr., here for his Emmy nominations, meets with Mike Medavoy on projects for latter’s Phoenix banner: novels “A Marriage Made at Woodstock” by Cathie Pelletier and “Daddy,” a WWII novel by Loup Durand, plus two originals. The Stevenses,’ pere et fils (Michael) , “AFI Tribute to Steven Spielberg,” originally aired on NBC, is seen tonight at the full two hours on A&E.
FIRST HOST(ESS) FOR “SNL” Sept. 30 will be Mariel Hemingway. As noted here earlier, the musical guestar is Prince. Only three regulars return to the show, which also has a new director, writers, band. “It’s very exciting,” admits Lorne Michaels … Pauly and Sammy Shore, back from an SRO 12-day “Cockeye’d Tour” of the South, head out again Sept. 24 on a 10-day trek through the West. Sammy says , “I never had this kind of reaction — even with Elvis!” Next for Sammy is “The Warm Up,” a one-man show directed by Martin Landau, co-written by Shore and Rudy De Luca, to bow Nov. 3 at N.Y.’s American Jewish Theater … Mort Sahl’s back on the BevHills boards — four Fridays and Saturdays at the Silver Grill readying an Off Broadway return … Jack Carter guests on “Baywatch,” he runs a gym with hulks like Hogan working out … Jay Leno emcees the American Cinematheque’s Moving Picture Ball honoring Mel Gibson, Sept. 29 at the Century Plaza … Fox airs the Emmys but 20th’s private post-Emmy bash will be held at Spago, with all its stars, execs and statuettes on hand … Travilla’s designer Lourdes Chavez has created three gowns for Emmy femcee Cybill Shepherd: a red silk gown with bolero jacket, an all-hand-beaded blush silk gown and a plunge-neck silk gown with sheer sleeves.