GOOD MORNING: CBS brings back Angela Lansbury’s “Murder, She Wrote” for another Sunday outing Feb. 25 and she says, “We are rushing out a new show, ‘The Track of the Soldier,’ for it.” There are four segs left for her in the series; as for the future, she told me, “I’m full of energy and ideas — and the sky’s the limit. This (the end of ‘Murder’) has opened the door for new horizons”… Carroll O’Connor was on the San Pedro location of “Party of Five” when he learned of the one-year sentence given Harry Perzighian, the dealer who sold drugs to O’Connor’s son Hugh, who tragically took his own life. Carroll allows, “The judge did the right thing,” since he was a first-time offender — but O’Connor said he’s cooperating with IRS agents in their tax evasion investigation of Perzighian (with Hugh’s canceled checks). And O’Connor plans continued work toward federal legislation and will work for the Partnership for a Drug Free America … Rob Reiner goes back to the acting side of the camera in “The First Wives Club,” to play Goldie Hawn’s plastic surgeon. Reiner also takes a comedic acting spell in “Trigger Happy” with pals Richard Dreyfuss and (director) Larry Bishop. The trio worked in the Session improv group. Meanwhile, director Reiner’s busily prepping Castle Rock’s dramatic “Ghosts of Mississippi, ” with Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg and James Woods in the Medgar Evers story. Dreyfuss, overwhelmed by his Oscar nomination for “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” is being sent by Buena Vista to Australia and Europe as soon as “Trigger” winds. The all-star cast of cameos in the film noir gangster saga includes Paul Anka singing “My Way”… Rodney Dangerfield’s talking the movie version of his novel “La Contessa” (Dove Audio) with Michael Viner as a Dove theatrical feature. Dangerfield’s completed his Howard-Stern-type d.j. feature, “Meet Wally Sparks.”
“HARVEY,” THE CLASSIC 1950 Jimmy Stewart starrer, has an April remake start in Vancouver with Harry Anderson in the lead, possibly Leslie Nielsen co-starring and George Schaefer directing. The Hallmark Entertainment version is skedded for CBS, but exec producer Don Gregory sez it may go the theatrical route. The script is by Joe Dougherty … Anne Rice is inviting press pals to view the New Orleans Mardi Gras parades from her house, which is on the route. “We’re talking old-fashioned Mardi Gras on the Avenue, the way it used to be for decades,” she invited. Rice has taken time off writing “Violin,” her new book, “until after Ash Wednesday.” Meanwhile her “Servant of the Bones” is being readied for the stalls by Knopf. Rice says Antonio Banderas is the one she’d like to see play the film lead: “I modeled my book’s character after him — even up to his hair!”… On a different literary plane, Karl Malden is writing his autobiography. What fascinating showbiz stories he can tell, from every angle: stage, radio, movies, TV — and commercials … George Burns’ “100 Years, 100 Stories” (Putnam) moves up to No. 7 next week on the New York Times list.
ONE FOR THE MUSICAL MEMORY BOOK: the L.A. Opera’s On Stage Gala at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion starred the inimitable Bobby Short at his best (and when isn’t he great?), with charming mezzo soprano Frederica Von Stade swinging with him on a coupla numbers as well. They performed on a raised stand facing away from the darkened theater, looking out at a sea of dining black-tied guests — while upstage the set of “Cosi Fan Tutte” awaited its bow Feb. 27. The gala evening site was also sort of a warmup for Oscar’s fashion topper Fred Hayman, who also generously underwrote the Opera evening. As for Oscar fashion, Hayman said all top international designers try to get the stars to don their threads for the Oscars — their creations get more of a play there than from any haute couture showing. L.A. Opera’s director Peter Hemmings noted the evening was the largest “on stage dinner” they’d ever had. KNBC’s Jim Giggans emceed. Short was more than generous with his repertoire — which earned him a standing ovation. And the audience also cried for “more” from Von Stade but she admitted this (her first time in the pop setting) was all she’d prepared. “I’m like ‘Babe,’ ” she said, “a pig who wants to be a sheep dog; I’m an opera singer who wants to sing with Bobby Short.” She sang “Fascinatin’ Rhythm” and “Only Make Believe”… Another singer, Frank Sinatra, was serenaded at the gala following his Golf Tourney in Palm Desert, where $700,000 was raised for Barbara S.’s Children’s Center & Desert Hospital. Capitol Records execs Bruce Kirkland and Lou Mann, plus celebs Wayne Rogers and Ron Masak, were the tourney winners … Susan and Jon Sheinberg welcomed their third child, son Harrison Jay S., on Monday at Cedars-Sinai. It’s the fifth grandchild for Lorraine and Sid Sheinberg … USC’s Town & Gown is the site Sunday for “Expression of Black History Through Arts” gala boasting Kim Fields, Eriq La Salle, Debbi Reynolds, DGA Student Film Awardee plus the Lula Washington Youth Dance Ensemble and the S.A.D.A.A. gospel singers.