Turner supports as ‘Seuss’ team cavorts

GOOD MORNING: It was Ted Turner talking: “Don’t be afraid to take a risk — sure, you might fall on your face, but you have to take chances.” He was talking to Joni Levin, producer of TNT’s $ 3 million “In Search of Dr. Seuss,” now in its final week of filming for airing sometime next year. After viewing the shooting Tuesday and looking at star-studded rushes in inimitable color, I wouldn’t be surprised if Turner turns the TV tables as he did with his “Gettysburg” and shifts “Seuss” to the bigscreen as well. All of the stars (who have favored-nations’ pay contracts and are billed in order of appearance) have clauses permitting the conversion to a movie. “He (Turner) has been incredibly supportive,” said producer Levin … I caught up with her “Seuss” troupe Tuesday on Stage 1 (of six) at the fresh, clean, spacious Santa Clarita Studios in an industrial park a hilltop away from the cloud-climbing Colossus roller coaster at Magic Mountain … While Ted Turner is finagling future plans for software via Paramount, “Seuss” adds to his product lineup that includes the upcoming”A Life in the Theater” next month, “Zelda” in Nov., then “Cisco Kid,””Heart of Darkness,””Abraham,” and “All About Bette (Davis)” hosted by Jodie Foster … Kathy Najimy hosts “In Search of Dr. Seuss” and again dances and sings her way through a movie, as she did in “Hocus Pocus” and most recently, “Sister Act II,” a cameo in “Pat” and next directs a touring troupe of “Back to Bacharach.” I viewed scenes with Najimy and Matt Frewer, as well as touching sequences with Robin Williams and children. Vincent Paterson, who choreo’d Madonna and Michael Jackson and “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” directs the cast, which includes Christopher Lloyd, Howie Mandel, Patrick Stewart, David Paymer, Andrea Martin and Eileen Brennan. I watched Emmy winner Brennan being made up to play another classic Seuss character, the Who Villain in “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” seg. Brennan next hies to Wilmington, Del., to star in “Aurora”… The “Seuss” sets by Tom Walsh and costumes by Merrilyn Murray-Walsh are so colorful (as captured by cinematographer Michael Lonzo), visitors — including Arnold Schwarzenegger — come over to visit from their nearby stages. The script’s by Keith R. Clarke, and author Ted Geisel’s messages, decrying racism, anti-semitism, nuclear arms and commercialized Christmas, are visually re-created in the movie. The preem will benefit the National Foundation for Literacy.

ROSEANNE’S GONNA STICK HER EMMY in her Big Food Diner she and Tom own in Eldon, Iowa, next week. The Arnolds watched Sunday’s Emmys from their home here. Tom told me she was still p.o.’d that the show was not an outstanding comedy series nominee … Bob Barker started his 22nd year on CBS’ “Price Is Right.” Between “Price” and “Truth or Consequences,” he’s now appeared in over 10,000 network TV shows over 37 years — a record to be reckoned with. Congrats … Pia Zadora and Tino Barzie, her personal manager of 15 years, have parted amicably. He’s signed on as exec producer of Paul Anka Prods. and is off to the Far East with Anka. Barzie’s last deal for Pia was inking her for a role in Par’s “Naked Gun III”… Burt Reynolds viewed the initial seg of “Evening Shade” at producer Dodi Fayed’s home. They’re plotting a pic during hiatus … Cesar Romero joins WWII shipmates at a reunion of the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard-manned USS Cavalier (Attack Transport-37) Monday at Harrah’s Las Vegas. Romero, who left the service as a chief boatswain’s mate, served in the invasions at Saipan and Tinian … Gary Coleman tapes PSAs on behalf of the Human Growth Foundation, supporting youngsters affected with growth disorders.

YOU CAN’T KEEP A GOOD MAN DOWN: Carl Reiner, his torn knee in a cast and propped up on chair, Tuesday recorded “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Aesop’s Fables” for Design I-Mation popup books … Gen. Colin Powell is the recipient of the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award, to be presented Nov. 9 at the Reagan Library … Hillary and Bill Clinton attend Sunday’s (26) feed (fundraiser) for Mayor David Dinkins at the N.Y. Sheraton where Phyllis Hyman will chirp Denise Rich’s tune, “N.Y. It Ain’t Over” and George Segal and his band will play for the president and politicos in a private reception … Creative Arts Temple Rabbi-playwright Jerry Cutler’s Yom Kippur services at Beverly Hills High boasts a showbizful choir led by award-winning director Eddy Manson … Another showbiz shul, the Shofar Synagogue, holds its Yom Kippur services at the DGA for all, regardless of ability to pay … The Catholic Actors Guild presents its annual awards to: Tony Randall, Lynn Redgrave, Hal Linden and Michael Learned, Oct. 3 at the N.Y. Plaza hotel, with Father John Catoir as m.c. … Grace and Montel Williams welcomed their first, son Montel Brian Hank Williams II, Sept. 17.

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