GOOD MORNING: Fade out: “Some of the most frightening revelations of WWII will be brought to light,” I wrote on Jan. 21, this year. It was the story about the teaming of “60 Minutes II,” the Simon Wiesenthal Center Oceaneering and the Austrian government. The adventure: to bring from the depths (105 meters deep) of Lake Toplitz in the Austrian Alps, the secret plans of Nazi Germany to destroy the economy of Great Britain and the U.S. — with billions of fake British pound notes, and U.S. $100 bills. Fade in: “60 Minutes II” will show the results of the search Tuesday — and how the fake bills were recovered. Not only will the bills be shown on TV, but the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance is now readying an exhibit with some of the artifacts from Lake Toplitz, known as “Hitler’s Lake.” Rabbi Marvin Hier , who is part of the “60 Minutes II” show, reminds, “If the Nazis had this counterfeiting operation fully organized in 1939 and early 1940 — when they had air superiority over Britain — they could have dropped millions of those pounds and affected the economy of the country and the results of WWII may have been quite different.” Also on Jan. 7, the L.A. Times frontpaged a story, “Danger in Denying the Holocaust” — but the Times refused to print a letter of correction from the Wiesenthal’s rabbis Hier and Abraham Cooper.
HE KNOWS HOW TO HIT the ground running,” says “Spy Game’s ” Doug Wick about director Tony Scott. When the company had to depart its tense Israel location, as reported here, Scott picked up the film action and location in less than two weeks in Morocco, “whereas another (director) might have taken months.” Now, the Robert Redford-Brad Pitt $90 million Beacon-Universal pic is filming in England, and will also shoot in Budapest with the locations repping Vietnam, Berlin, Beirut. Wick, who produces with Marc Abraham, says Redford’s back to playing what he does so well — and this is an older-younger version of Redford’s teaming with Paul Newman in “Butch Cassidy” and “The Sting” with a little of the “Three Days of the Condor” added. Wick’s “Gladiator” (which came in for “about $100 million”) is now past the $450 million mark and the DVD, which will be released Tuesday, already has a pre-release sales record, he says … With the strike staring him (and the rest of the biz) in the eye, Wick is however moving ahead with a February start of “Stuart Little 2,” and “Peter Pan” (“the classic”) … Brad Pitt will complete “Spy Game” in time for his February start in “Ocean’s 11,” Jerry Weintraub, producer of the latter, tells me. His troupe includes George Clooney, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts. They’ll film at the MGM Grand, Mirage, Bellagio and Caesars Palace, where all the heists occur the night of a big championship fight. Steven Soderbergh directs and Weintraub says, “If it weren’t for him (Soderbergh) — and George (Clooney) we wouldn’t have been able to get this cast together.” Weintraub was at the Muhammad Ali testimonial Thursday at the Century Plaza. Bernie Yuman who manages Ali, also re-inks a pact with Siegfried and Roy whom he’s managed 25 years. The duo celebrate their 11th anni at the Mirage Feb. 1, having played more than 5,000 shows to 10 million people with a billion-$ (that’s with a “b”) box office … Bill Haber, producer of “Madame Melville” in London, meets with Macaulay Culkin Saturday to decide on B’way. Haber has high praise for the youngster but says he smokes too much … Add travel notes: the Harlem Globetrotters visit the Vatican Nov. 29 — and will meet with the Pope after his general audience. They’ll make the Pope an honorary Globetrotter. That’s a slam-dunk for international publicity. .
… AND NARY A COMMERCIAL for Ford — in its “Ford Motor Company Presents Heroes For the Planet — A Tribute to National Geographic”! The one-hour tribute will air live Jan. 7 simultaneously on CNBC and the new National Geographic channel — plus a repeat at 9 p.m. on Fox. Gary Grossman, who exec produces with Robb Weller and Dick Taylor, tells me the would-be commercial breaks are devoted to mini-biographies in the show. “Ford is not selling product on this show. And they got the three net OK because National Geographic transcends all networks.” Pierce Brosnan will host the show — “live” from the stage of the Warner Theater in D.C. and he’s not just introducing segments, but is dedicated to the National Geographic themes of environmentalism and preservation. You recall Brosnan, last year, helped save the whale refuge in the Gulf of Mexico. The show includes tributes to Jane Goodall, Robert Ballard, the late Dian Fossey, and Paul Soreno. And, a seg on Hollywood’s depiction of the society over the years.
CARROLL O’CONNOR, ON HIS WAY out of the UCLA Medical Center Thursday sounded his usual chipper self — even though he’d undergone surgery on his left foot due to poor circulation caused by diabetes. He said a piece of the fourth toe was amputated — so he’d now have to play soccer kicking with his right foot. The prognosis is good — but he’s a diabetic and that requires constant monitoring … It’s a second time in the Santa suit for Leslie Nielsen — who stars in “Santa Who?” in ABC’s Sunday MOW. His first outing as the guy in the red suit was in “All I Want for Christmas” for Brandon Tartikoff in ’91. He next heads to Nova Scotia to host 13 segs spoofing the public’s preoccupation of the private lives of celebs. It’s called “Liography” — celebs who remind us of someone real — but who don’t exist.