Disney, McDonalds keep tie-ins heavenly

GOOD MORNING: The Hades you say! Disney’s tie-ins for “Hercules” with McDonald’s include souvenir plates of all the characters — except for Hades, voiced by Jimmy Woods. Steve Barr of Ambrosia Comics & Collectibles tried to buy one of the Hades platters at the West L.A. McDonald’s, and was told there weren’t any of that character. Disney has ducked satanic attacks and, in view of the recent Baptist brouhaha, mebbe it’s best not to mix Hades with hamburgers. Meanwhile, Woods was ignorant of what’s (not) cooking. He is, of course, thrilled with critical reaction to his helluva “Herculean” job. And the Oscar nominee (for “Salvador” and “The Ghosts of Mississippi”) is already being touted as an Oscar nominee for this performance. I checked the Acad to see if it’s possible for a thesp to be nominated in the actor categories for voice. It is. As a matter of fact, when Robin Williams was being Oscar-touted for his vocal in “Aladdin,” the OK was given by the Acad. But apparently not by the Acad’s voters. I spoke to Woods on the Santa Fe location of John Carpenter’s “Vampires, ” where he admitted it was Williams’ ad-libbing for “Aladdin” that encouraged Woods to be devilish with his Hades. Woods revealed the origin for his career of voiceovers stemmed from a PSA he did for Women’s Cancer Research. He also noted that Michael Eisner was “very supportive” of him in his work in “Nixon” (as H.R. Haldeman). Woods worked on his Hades role two years. “It may sound corny, ” Woods said, “but it was like real family working on it.” He next stars in “The Wisdom of Crocodiles,” directed by Po-chi Leong. Rachel Weisz will be his leading lady in the Ciby 2000 feature. Upcoming this summer is another big screen’er, “Contact.” But Woods has no problem playing small as well as big screens — and he’s again an Emmy contender, this time for the Hallmark Hall of Fame’s “The Summer of Ben Tyler.”

BIG SURPRISE AT THE VISION AWARDS Monday night at the BevHilton was the appearance and performance of Mandy Patinkin. You’ll recall that at the Tonys, Patinkin (in sunglasses) revealed he’d received a cornea transplant. As thanks to the little boy whose eyes have given him sight, Patinkin appeared at the RP Intl. Awards before the industry’s top creative and executive talent, and agreed to “appear every year until we find a cure for RP.” RP Intl. leader Helen Harris wrote a poem, “Does He Know?” about the little boy who donated to Patinkin; the Randall Bros., Mike and Matthew, of Nashville wrote the music and performed it. Patinkin intro’d the Vision recipients. Alan Parker showed a scene from “Evita” with an audio description a la Theater Vision, “so blind audiences will finally find out what Madonna looks like!” Madonna was unable to attend, but Harris said she promised to do a song for RP. Jon Voight, on of the awardees, also wrote a poem for the occasion. Another Vision winner, Agnes Nixon, said she would call attention to RP in her show, “All My Children.” And Garth Brooks, in the audience was so moved, he also told Harris he would do “something” to help raise funds for the research. Over $ 425,000 was raised in the evening, which also included an auction, emceed by Sharon and Lyle Waggoner. Warren Cowan was chairman of the evening, with Les Brown Jr.’s band musicking. The Awards’ start in the Intl. Ballroom was delayed due to the arrival of President Clinton in the next-door Versaille Room Democratic National Committee fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer. Clinton continued his Calif. campaigning for the DNC late Monday night with a stop at the Sunset Strip’s “Sax Club” in Billboard Live. The Center for the Partially Sighted also raised over $ 200,000 at their Vision Awards honoring Tova Borgnine, Saturday at the BevWilshire. Bernadette Peters, Sam Smith and Ronn Lucas performed. Steve Edwards emceed.

HUMANITAS PRIZE FINALISTS in feature films are Cameron Crowe (“Jerry Maguire”), Jan Sardi (“Shine”) and Mike Leigh (“Secrets & Lies”), reports Fr. Ellwood E. Kieser, C.S.P. In the cable/PBS category (also $ 25,000) are William Nicholson (“Crime of the Century”), Walter Bernstein (“Miss Evers Boys”) and Jonathan Tolins and Seth Bass (“The Twilight of the Golds”) Chris Reeve shares his thoughts on “Politics of Medicine” today as Morton Kondracke interviews him for the Lionel Chetwynd and Ted Steinberg “National Desk” docu on fundraising. It’s one of three for the “Desk” series; the other are “Racism Reconsidered” and “Children of Divorce.” On the bigscreen, Chetwynd’s readying “Vatican,” a thriller for Imagine with Ron Howard to direct In deciding a question of disparity of funding in public schools, the Ohio Supreme Court quoted from Jeff Hayden’s Emmy-winning (and eight other awards) “Children in America’s Schools” two-parter for PBS. … Members of Children of the World choir led by Marrina Waks, appearing in “Face/Off,” donated half their salaries to local schools. … USC Alumni Film Fest is headlined Saturday by the Alex-Monty Canawati and Christian Capobianco “Inevitable Grace.”

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