Burns to address next chapter in Gotham story

GOOD MORNING: Monday night was supposed to be the finale — after 14 1/2 hours — of “The City And The World,” the spectacular PBS series on N.Y. But as I figured, it is not. Ric Burns, director/producer, who completed editing the series four months ago and was now into his next two docus for PBS on photographer Ansel Adams and playwright Eugene O’Neill, said, “I now feel the urgency.” And the next installment, he says, “Will not be a new era of New York but a new era of world history. He now will begin the film — “with the building of the World Trade Center in the ’60s and ’70s.” There were very brief cameo shots of the building in the previous segs, but fortunately, he has the entire 18-minute filmed history of their creation, and he has the only copy of that entire film history. The original, Burns sadly told me, “was in the Archives of the Port Authority which were on the 65th floor of the North Tower. We are the only ones who have it.” To see that film (of the construction) is to understand the depth of the assassins. Burns said the film will be partly historical, of course, but also an essay to come to terms with the events. “We’ve now lurched violently into the next phase of our global culture which came under attack on Sept. 11. Who we are has changed. We are caught in a phantom zone and I am committed to address what has happened and the powerful outpouring of feeling for New York. Everyone’s pretense and ambivalence about N.Y. has now fallen apart. N.Y. has seemed like an experiment to me — an experiment of all the people in the world to live in one place. Now, we’re going to have to find a way to do it, (because) N.Y. is a metaphor for the world.”

NO STRANGER TO PAKISTAN and the religious world around it — Quincy Jones. When he was only 23 and touring with Dizzy Gillespie, Q tells of experiences playing in that part of the world. It’s part of an amazing autobiography, “Q” (Doubleday). But any place in the world where you travel, Q is more than an initial. He is an American institution. No matter where we met up with him — at the bar in the Hotel Ritz in Paris or backstage at the Academy Awards, he’d always have a note of interest to impart. And the book dittoes that easygoing, outgoing information about the worlds of entertainment, politics, without being a name dropper — but by giving an intimate insight into the man. He recalls his nervous breakdown in Tahiti at Marlo Brando’s island, his 1974 surgery for aneurysms, his fight to recupe from being partially paralyzed by playing 15 one-niters a couple of months following. And now — Sharon Stone, who suffered a slight aneurysm this week, was to host a book signing party for him in San Francisco! “This book world — it’s a different world” he admits after two outings — at Chicago and Scottsdale. But writing the book opened a new world for him. “The book changed me in every way,” he said. “Now I will do only projects I love.” And he loves projects in music, movies and theater. But in view of what happened on Sept. 11, he says, “We’ve got to get into the Sunshine zone — go buy some stock” … In addition to the book, Rhino has a four CD set of “The Musical Biography of Quincy Jones.” And he completed the audio version of his book for Simon & Schuster — including recordings by all the (live) characters in the book — including his children, ex-wives and several music greats. When asked about Lisette Derouaux, his lady of the past five years, he says, “I’ve got to become Mr. Right First.”

“MASTER CLASS” LOOKS LIKE it’s finally coming to the screen. Faye Dunaway is in development of the project for “PBS Hollywood Presents.” Lester Persky allows that Faye has discussed it with him, but that he’s also in the process of discussing other options. And reminding that he would also have to be co-executive producer … Dustin Hoffman will play Benedict Arnold in the DIC produced animated, daytime “Liberty’s Kids” series for PBS. Walter Cronkite has already been set to voice Benjamin Franklin in the series (40 episodes) about a group of young patriots working fort Franklin’s newspaper during the Revolutionary War. The English, French and Hessians are also repped and international reaction has grown for the series at upcoming MIPCOM. There’s more sympathy for the U.S. these days. Would you believe Ann Miller hasn’t made a movie since 1956 (“The Great American Pastime”) Well, she’s in David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive.” “I play a ditsy landlady,” laughs Miller, happy to be invited to the N.Y. preem Saturday at Lincoln Center. She’s going and John Boab will escort her. Miller, who admits, “I’m 78 and still alive and kicking,” is also readying an act to take on the road. “No, I won’t be tap dancing,” she adds … The 20-piece Count Basie orchestra has rebooked and reskedded many lost concerts. The first is on Oct.12 at the Acad of Music in Philly with Joni James who lives in D.C. with husband, Gen. Bernard A. Schriever (ret.), creator of the country’s missile program … Rose Marie gets her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today — she’s the last member of the original Dick Van Dyke show to be thus honored and Dick will show up to sing with the “Vantastix” — the barber shop quartet will warble the theme song from the series — the lyrics were written by costar Morey Amsterdam — but never heard on the show.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Voices News from Variety

Loading