GOOD MORNING and Merry Christmas: Pardon me while I scrape the snow off my shoes, but the ersatz stuff was too real on the mammoth set of “Christmas With the Kranks” at the Downey Studios. And the small-town, three-dimensional set (by Garreth Stover) — two football fields long — is complete with underground utilities — thus it will remain as a permanent addition to the movie lot on the former Boeing WWII plant. In exchange for the “donation” of the multimillion-$ set, Joe Roth and his $58 million Revolution film get a rate on the studio space rental. It’s not only a set, Roth has made the lot a functioning studio complete with editing facilities where he’s already completed much of the film set for a Nov. 24 release. Film editor Nick Moore showed me three (hysterically funny) edited minutes that will be presented to Wal-Mart to pitch a potential tie-in for the comedy starring Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis and Dan Aykroyd with Tom Poston, a recent addition to the large comedy cast. Roth said he wasn’t worried about the earlier, Nov.12 release date of DreamWorks’ “Surviving Christmas” starring Ben Affleck, Christina Applegate, Catherine O’Hara and James Gandolfini, directed by Mike Mitchell (and completed a year ago). However, Roth isn’t happy he couldn’t use the title of his pic, based on the bestseller “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham. And Roth says they’re already talking about sequels to “Christmas With the Kranks.” “Chanukah with the Kranks”?
THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME honorees for 2005 are: Tim Allen, Antonio Banderas, Donald Duck, Kevin Kline, Julianne Moore, Patricia Neal, Dennis Quaid and Ben Stiller in movies. TV honorees are Tom Brokaw, James Doohan, Roger Ebert, Susan Lucci, Al Michaels, David Hyde Pierce, Wayne Rogers and Soupy Sales. Recording: Emilio Estefan, Al Green, Herb Jeffries, Billy Joel, the Righteous Brothers, Carly Simon and Rod Stewart. Live Theater: Theo Bikel, Linda Hopkins, Fred Travalena…. The Bronx Walk of Fame adds Shelley Morrison, Rosario of “Will & Grace,” June 26. The annual ceremony will also unveil a street sign in her honor on the Grand Concourse… The Golden Boot awards will honor Scott Glenn, Pat Hingle, Robert Horton, Val Kilmer, Randy Quaid and Rob Ward Aug. 7 at the Sheraton Universal benefiting the Motion Picture and Television Fund. Ben Cooper will m.c. The event will include a silent auction of Western artifacts and memorabilia. Since its inception the Golden Boots have contributed more than $3.5 million to the MPTF… Operation USA celebrates its 25th anni Saturday with a “Lunch in Provence” honoring Julie Andrews, Jane Fonda, Olivia Newton-John, Hugh Jackman, Deborra-Lee Furness and Carol Burnett. “Operation USA”‘ has been Hollywood’s “hands on the world” providing disaster relief to 89 countries and shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. The celebration will be held at the Malibu home of Barbara and Christopher Catlin. RSVPs to (323) 658-8876.
THE FIRST WAVE was perfect on the road searching a reality cast for “The Real Gilligan’s Island.” A mall in Wichita, Kan., was the site over the weekend where hundreds of would-be Mary Anns showed up — in appropriate costume. They were taped by Lloyd Schwartz who produces with his dad Sherwood and Mike Fleiss for the TBS series, already sold for two seasons of eight hours each. Lloyd takes off today for Boston’s Copley Square where a ditto turnout’s anticipated for Professor role pitches — and the real Millionaire counterpart. Next port of call is Tampa where the Skipper will be sought. The series starts taping in August. Dawn Wells, the original “Mary Ann” of Gilligan’s Island was onboard for the first search party — and was swamped for autographs by the faithful “Gilligan’s” fans who continue to watch the series’ re-runs. She is very much on terra firma prepping the fifth year of her Spud Drive-In Family Film and Music Festival in Driggs, Idaho. The Idaho Potato Commission co-sponsors. And the Bacon Brothers headline. Wells, who was brought up on a ranch there at age 9, allows, “I’m a real good fly fisherman.” She has also established a Spud Film Institute up there….Island Productions’ Brian Stoller, producer of “Miss Cast Away,” has been put on legal notice by 20th Century Fox to “cease and desist” from further use of that title in their film featuring Michael Jackson. The notice reminds him of their successful film, “Cast Away,” starring Tom Hanks. “Miss Cast Away,” sez Stoller, “is a parody spoofing ‘Miss Congeniality’ and ‘Cast Away’ and other blockbuster movies”… “Hellboy” star Ron Perlman makes his directorial debut with “Wooden Lake” a story of two brothers penned by brothers Neal and Bryant Turner. Hal Holbrook will play their father… Producer Eddie Kritzer optioned Phillip Cothran’s script, “Legion.” It’s a time-travel yarn in which a Roman Legion’s transported to modern day Virginia — and how the locals deal with the Romans — and vice versa… Standup comics Paula Poundstone and Rondell Sheridan sit down with kiddies June 30 to read at the “Every Comic Tells a Story” — at Every Picture Tells a Story in Santa Monica… Animal action Saturday: “The Buddy Hackett Singita Animal Sanctuary” breaks ground for its privately funded animal shelter on 22 acres in the L.A. Forest. It will house more than 300 cats and dogs, Sherry Hackett tells me. The name’s Swahili for “Miracle” sez Sherry. She and Buddy got the inspiration on a trek to Africa… Also on Saturday, the 34th annual L.A. Zoo Assn.’s “Beastley Ball” — with guests safari-attired. Betty White is a longtime supporter… Gil Cates was happy-birthday’d on his 70th at his Ojai ranch by wife Judy (Dr. Reichman) and 110 pals who drove up from Hollywood for a barbecue.