Schwartzes have plane old bad time

GOOD MORNING: If you’re planning to fly — and who isn’t? — take some advice from producer Sherwood Schwartz (“Brady Bunch,” “Gilligan’s Island,” etc.) He and wife Mildred were en route to a wedding in Quogue, L.I., via the Islip airport. They left L.A. on American Airlines with a stop in Boston, continuing on to L.I. via Delta. They showed photo I.D.s in L.A. and completed the first leg. After a layover in Boston, a Delta agent refused to allow Mildred on the continuing flight because she had only one photo I.D. The agent pointed to a sign which read, “Two pieces of approved identification.” Mrs. Schwartz had one photo’d I.D., plus another sans picture — plus her husband of 54 years! She offered to open her one piece of luggage for inspection, but the Delta supervisor, pointing to the sign, just kept saying “Read my lips” and refused her on the flight. “We suddenly had a feeling we were in a police state,” Sherwood wrote to Ron Allen, Delta prez. What to do? Sherwood (79) and Mildred (77), who hardly fit the profile of terrorists, had to get to the wedding, so in desperation, he hired a taxi from Boston to Quogue for $495. The driver, from Kiev, had only been in this country two years, but he’d been a cab driver in the Ukraine, so Sherwood felt he could get them there! He did. Schwartz, in a letter to the airline, reminded, “In order to meet the challenge of potential terrorists, whether home-grown or bred abroad, it shouldn’t lead to the abandonment of our traditional freedom, and that awful feeling of ‘police state.'” They are now back, and Sherwood is readying for the opening of “A Very Brady Sequel”; he’s also awaiting word from Turner Pictures on a greenlight for the “Gilligan’s Island” movie script, on which they are finally seeing eye to eye, he says.

WHO’S ON FIRST? It doesn’t make any difference, Jay Leno told me, referring to the past week’s race by talkshows to nab Olympian celebs. “You try to get them first,” he agreed, “but I don’t worry about it. I think people (viewers) enjoy seeing a celebrity on many shows. Besides, on mine, I try to get them (the celebs) in different situations, skits, etc., rather than your standard interview.” And talking about interviews, I asked Leno how Dennis Rodman interviewed him for the latter’s upcoming MTV series, “Rodman ’96 World D-Tour.” “It’s strictly a stream of consciousness,” Leno laughed.”He’s a very nice guy, but he asked me about everything from partying to sex!” Leno is now recording the audio version of his book, “Leading With My Chin” (HarperCollins), for which he will tour — but he does that on weekends anyhow … Tom Cruise wasn’t cognizant of German picketing of his “Mission: Impossible” movie (by Christian Democratic Union members opposed to Cruise’s Scientology affiliation) until after the pic opened — to a hefty $1.2 million in its first day (Thursday). Cruise and wife Nicole Kidman completed cruising the Mediterranean and are starting their long stay (until next spring) in England for Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut”… Milton Berle receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from the N.Y. Chapter of the National Acad of TV Arts & Sciences Oct. 28 at the Waldorf. The sure-to-be-SRO evening will be produced by Terry Hodge Taylor, and co-chairs include Alan King, Barbara Walters, Carol Channing, Arlene Dahl and Joan Rivers. Rosie O’Donnell has been asked to femcee. Friars from both coasts will also salute Milton; Bob & Dolores Hope are honorary chairs. The evening benefits the Scholarship Fund of the N.Y. Chapter/NATAS … A two-hour video of “Caesar’s Writers” (taped by Michael Hirsh and Marker Karahadian at the Writers Guild tribute to Sid on Jan. 24), will be offered for sale in August on KCET. The hilarious tape boasts bon mots by Larry Gelbart, Carl Reiner, Neil and Danny Simon, Mel Brooks, Mel Tolkin, Aaron Ruben, Sheldon Keller, Gary Belkin — and Sid Caesar.

FABIO’S PUBLIC COMPANY, Hollywood Showcase TV, signed Richard Reisberg as programming consultant and fashion designer Albert Nippon as exec VP of product development. Stanley Ralph Ross is president of the company, which includes Barry Sytner and Eric Aschenberg, with Fabio as exec producer of the talker on Network One, which will offer interactive purchase of two items per show. Fabio’s commercials for frosted Cheerios start airing Labor Day. He’s already got a hefty $pread with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter … Connie Stevens, who has made millions with her Home Shopping Network line of beauty products, Forever Spring, is trying to find time to accept an offer Off-B’way for “Dames at Sea”… Gloria Estefan’s fabulous Forum stand Thursday night was special for 9-year-old Jose (second name withheld), as Make-A-Wish Foundation made his wish come true. He dreams of being a drummer in a Latin band, but has a rare heart disease. He was not only Estefan’s guest in a front row, but also played drums with her band before the crowd arrived; he was also royally treated backstage by Estefan and her entourage.

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