‘Heroes of Iwo Jima’ remembers

GOOD MORNING: Remember Pearl Harbor? Some members of the Los Angeles Japanese-American community are making sure we remember. At the AMC 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica, choreographer-actress Cheryl Clark was trying to buy tickets to “Pearl Harbor” with daughter Mimi (14) and friend Chrissy Mione (13) were standing by. A young Japanese (American?) woman handed out a printed flyer to them — and others. “A lot of (young) people seeing this movie don’t realize it wasn’t all their (the Japanese’s) fault,” the woman said. “Read this and you’ll know what really happened.” It was a copy of the April 8, 1942, order from Western Defense Command and Army Wartime Civil Control Administration, Presidio of Los Angeles. It contained “Instructions to all persons of Japanese Ancestry living in the City and County of L.A. (boundaries listed). Pursuant to the provisions of Civilian Exclusion Order No. 33 this headquarters, dated May 3, 1942, all persons of Japanese ancestry, both alien and non-alien, will be evacuated from the above area by 12 o’clock, noon P.W. T. Saturday, May 9, 1942. No person living in the above area will be permitted to change residence after 12 o’clock noon, P.W.T., Sunday May 3, without obtaining special permission from the representative of the Commanding General, Southern California Sector, at the Civil Control Station located at: (!) Japanese Union Church, 120 North San Pedro Street.” It was the beginning of their long, wartime internment, of course. But the teenagers (above) weren’t ignorant of it at all. Mimi told me, “Last year in our class, we were taken to the Japanese-American museum here in L.A.” Sure, the young people were shocked to learn what happened at Pearl Harbor — and afterwards in L.A … But all parties should also look at “Heroes of Iwo Jima,” airing, appropriately, on Father’s Day (June 17) on A&E. Arnold Shapiro, who produced, pulls no punches in this powerful story of sacrifice by Americans fighting their way back across the Pacific after Pearl Harbor. Gene Hackman, who served in the Marines (post-WWII), hosts the blood-curdling, costly achievement immortalized in Joe Rosenthal’s photo of the raising of the American flag. Shapiro told me, “I’ve always believed when people put their lives on the line, people should not forget. You couldn’t create a fictional story more emotional.” It overpowers the also-emotional 1949 theatrical “Sands of Iwo Jima,” later colorized. John Wayne, who starred, was Oscar nominated. The other nominees that year were: Kirk Douglas, for “Champion,” Gregory Peck for “12 O’Clock High,” “Richard Todd for “The Hasty Heart” and Broderick Crawford, who won, for “All The King’s Men.”

THE SHOW MUST GO ON: Uta Hagen, co-starring with David Hyde Pierce in the world premiere of Richard Alfieri’s play “Six Dances In Six Weeks” at the Geffen in Westwood, tripped and fell off the stage during the preview performance Wednesday night. Hagen, who will be 82 on June 12, wanted to go on but was dissuaded. She was rushed to the UCLA emergency hospital by director Arthur Allan Seidelman, playwright Alfieri, theater manager Steve Eich, artistic director Randy Arney — and Pierce. She was released at 1:00 ayem Thursday — with a bruised back. But at noon yesterday, she told the Geffen’s producer-director, Gil Cates, “Of course, I’m going on tonight.” But choreographer Kay Cole is re-designing some steps. “She’s amazing,” the troupe all agreed. So do I.

LEST WE FORGET: PBS’ “The Carl Foreman Letter” will include a powerful interview with Kirk Douglas telling how he was encouraged to break the Black List in crediting Dalton Trumbo for his “Spartacus” script — when he learned of the Aug. 7, 1952, Carl Foreman letter to then N.Y. times critic Bosley Crowther. The “letter” (which I have read in its entirety) tells the heartbreak of “High Noon” — how Foreman, subpoena’d by the HUAC, was forced (by Columbia) to remove his credit from the film — which later received seven Oscar nominations and four Oscars — and no producer credit. The film was exec produced by Lionel Chetwynd and Norman Powell and airs next year. Chetwynd is now in Montreal where his WWII-set “Varian’s War,” which aired April on Showtime, is now getting its theatrical release (Alliance) in Montreal today … Byron Janis, prepping a workshop of his musicalized “Hunchback of Notre Dame” in Cuba (!), winged to N.Y. with wife Maria Cooper Janis for the Acad’s MOMA tribute to Gary Cooper. They return to Cuba on Sunday … Although Marilyn was the first Playboy magazine nude — the famous Tom Kelley, red-velveted Marilyn — she and Hugh Hefner never met. But he will rest alongside her in the Westwood Village Mortuary. He too celebrated his 75th birthday on April 9. Hef hosted a party at the mansion Thursday for AMC and Fox Home Entertainment’s video tributes to her. He reminded that Playboy was to have been called “Stag Party,” and the nude was to have been its monthly “Sweetheart.” Hef said Monroe appeared in eight Playboys. One included the nude swimming pool scene from the ill-fated “Something’s Got to Give.” “She really became the sex star of the 20th century,” Hef said. “She also had that vulnerability that made us all feel like we knew her.” Hef, from a tour of Europe (Cannes, Milan, Munich and London) with his seven girlfriends, will be the subject of a N.Y. Friars’ toast (roast?) Sept. 29 at the N.Y. Hilton.

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