GOOD MORNING: “I’m getting calls from everyone,” said Tony Awards TV show exec producer Gary Smith, following Monday’s nomination announcements of inclusions and exclusions. Among the former in the best musical category were two departed shows — one, the limited-run “Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” and the revue, “Swinging on a Star”– and conspicuously absent were “Victor/Victoria” and “Big.” However, when the Tonys air on CBS June 2 from the stage of the Majestic Theater (where “Phantom” lives on and on), Smith and producer-director Walter Miller hope to include moments from both “Victor/Victoria” and “Big”– which, despite the top category snub, did receive other nominations — especially one for Julie Andrews in “V./V.” Andrews never got a Tony, Smith reminded. She was beaten out of her “My Fair Lady” performance by Judy Holliday in “Bells Are Ringing.” Blake Edwards philosophically said, “Let’s get on with the next one” (B’way show he’s writing). But Julie was distraught for the company. “She’s really a mother to the company,” said producer Tony Adams. Andrews stays with the show til spring ’97 … For the 50th Tonys, the producers plan a lot of retrospective videos. Winners’ acceptances in 13 categories will be pretaped an hour before airtime and quickly edited, saving 45 precious seconds or more, as winners wend their way to the stage, etc. … Larry Gelbart, enjoying nods to the revival of his “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” said, “It’s like enjoying a child you have late in life.” Gelbart figures Nathan Lane emceeing the Tonys “is worth about $2 million to the show.” He reminds they delayed “Forum” a year so Lane could co-star in “The Birdcage,” and “now, when he makes his entrance he gets an ovation. I’ve never had that happen to an actor (in a show of his) before!”
IT WAS A FAST TRIP TO N.Y. for Gary Smith who, on Saturday night, also exec-produced the “live” SHARE Boomtown show at CBS TV City’s giant Stage 46. This year, the show returned to its roots with the theme, “SHARE Salutes Country Music.” SHARE president Corinna (Mrs. Freddie) Fields, announced that the show was dedicated to the memory of Dean Martin, who for 17 years hosted, emceed and, in general, made the show “the party of the year.” In earlier days, the star turnout at SHARE often included Jerry Lewis with Dean, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., George Burns, Jack Benny, John Wayne and every other top Western star in town. But always, as this (43rd) year, the stars of the show were the ladies of SHARE, whose months of rehearsal pay off in choreography and costumes (by member Joni Berry) fit to take ’em to B’way — yeah, mebbe even for Tony recognition. But their reward is the money they raise for children’s charities. This year, more than $1.5 million was collected –$440,000 of it from the hefty souvenir book produced (and sold!) by Martha (Mrs. A.C.) Lyles. Joan Kardashian was named member of the year … Guest of honor was Naomi Judd, who received the Shining Spirit Award. Barbara Eden brought on Sherry Lansing, who intro’d Naomi’s daughter, Ashley, to make the presentation. Ashley is now starring in Par’s “Kiss the Girls.” Naomi Judd, complimenting the SHARE ladies, noted, “The energy women bring is going to transform all society”… Performers included Susan Egan and Burke Moses, Mac Davis plus the Children of the World Choir, amazing comedy ventro Ronn Lucas and Jane Seymour, who intro’d Billy Ray Cyrus. Also debuting on the show, Shera Lynn (Mrs. Peter Falk). Shanna Reed brought on Randy Travis, and the SHARE ladies and “cowboys” finale’d a medley in Hugh O’Brian’s “Black Garter Saloon” featuring Western tunes, including a parodied “Buttons & Bows” by Oscar winners Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, lending a hand as always … Patricia (Mrs. Tom) Bosley chaired the show; Jan (Mrs. Tom) Sarnoff, chaired the party. Charlene Painter and Carl Jablonskiu choreo’d, Larry Blank conducted. Bill Atkinson was in charge of the production.
I WAS OVERWHELMED by the kindness of the Museum of TV and Radio in N.Y. at my tribute evening April 15. It was a night I shall never forget and I am deeply grateful to all who worked so hard to make it memorable. A video record will be in the museum’s permanent computer file — so those of you who missed it can see it in either the N.Y. or BevHills Museum … On my return, I was informed that MTV decided not to air Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us” video. After I called Jackson to task for singing the anti-Semitic lyrics, he phoned me to say he would change them. In the video version, an electric drum camouflaged the lyrics and his face was edited from camera view on those words. He reportedly has said he’d redo all the lyrics in the second verse, but the memories of the original words linger too strongly for added TV airing — just like the damage done by the ill-chosen remarks into which Larry King led Marlon Brando. Brando’s remarks were picked up in newspapers wherever I traveled abroad. The pen, having written, moves on.