GOOD MORNING: “The movie (‘Quiz Show’) is much more rigged than the TV show (‘Twenty-One’) was,” claims Albert Freedman, who was one of the real-life principals; Freedman is portrayed in the movie by Hank Azaria. Freedman calls the movie “Outrageous — they have no respect for a human being. They use my name and portray me as a character alien to what I am and what I was. They didn’t even have the courtesy to call me (for accuracy). At least call me — get my version. They didn’t do their homework.” Freedman says he was blacklisted in the business after the rigging story broke. He moved to Mexico, Spain, then found work in England with Penthouse as London’s managing director and has been with them since 1965. Dan Enright had hired Freedman to produce “Twenty-One” after the latter’s success with “Tic Tac Dough.” Previously, Freedman reminded, he had worked for Groucho Marx on “You Bet Your Life.” “And that was all (pre-) written — and it was what the public wanted. When I started with radio and TV in L.A., that’s the way I was taught — those shows were all entertainment — all for fun.” Freedman says retired Judge Joe Stone is also “furious” about the portrayals in the movie “and he wants to meet with me.” Freedman also claims inaccuracies in Richard Goodwin’s book “Remembering America: A Voice From the Sixties,” on which the movie is based. “I was the only one to deal with Charles Van Doren, not Dan Enright. I was the one who tested him — and I still say he is a brilliant man.” Freedman says, “I feel sorry for my kids — you can’t turn on TV these days and not see Robert Redford talking about how he thought it (the ‘Twenty-One’ scandal) destroyed our morality. C’mon, who’s he kidding — didn’t he ever hear of McCarthy?” Freedman has an appointment with attorney Allan Dershowitz to talk legal action vs. Robert Redford and Disney. There’ll be more about this story in “The Box,” Jeff Kisseloff’s upcoming book (Harper Collins), “An Oral History of TV From the ’20s to 1961.” He deals extensively with the quiz show story in his final chapter.
GEORGE BURNS, IN THE INTENSIVE CARE unit at Cedars-Sinai following a surgical procedure to remove fluid from his brain, was telling jokes to the speech therapist who was conducting tests at his bedside. In July, Burns was injured when he fell in his bathtub. He had been making progress, was going to his office, playing bridge daily until this setback. However, it’s hoped George will be released by week’s end. Irving Fein has canceled Burns’ date at Foxwood for Sept. 30. But — he hopes to make his Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa dates in November …”He gave me back my career,” director John Frankenheimer admitted of HBO’s Robert Cooper after Monday night’s Bruin preem of “The Burning Season.” Frankenheimer was on a high at the Armand Hammer Museum party that followed, having received his first Emmy win (HBO’s “Against the Wall”) the night before and a spectacular review in Daily Variety on Monday. He leaves today for the sprawling Atlanta location of Turner’s “Andersonville.” As we talked on the phone early Tuesday, Frankenheimer’s other line was busily ringing. He admitted, “It had gotten to the point where it never rang.” He now has many offers. But he next wants to do “The Robert Kennedy Story”– for HBO. They were friends. “I was very close to him. This will set the record straight.” “Burning Season” cast members on hand included Raul Julia, still quite thin from the illness he suffered (as did most of the company) on the “Burning” location. Also there — Edward James Olmos, who will team with Oliver Stone to feature film “The Independent” about the son of a migrant worker who becomes president. Olmos will also direct for Arnon Milchan’s banner. HBO’s Michael Fuchs and producer David Puttnam were also on hand. Before the screening, Cooper gave a humorous speech telling his reasons for not visiting the location — snakes, tarantulas, scorpions, rats, etc. But he took a serious note — as does the movie — reminding that “more fires are burning today than at any other time”– in Brazil. Along Came Mary cheered the serious evening with a menu befitting the richest palates of Brazil.
BO DEREK AND HUSBAND JOHN winged in Monday noon from Hong Kong where they set a deal for a leather clothing line, which Bo will sell on a home shopping network. An hour after arriving at LAX, Bo took off for Toronto to co-star in Par’s “Billy the Third” in which she’s to play Brian Dennehy’s wife … John directs a musicvideo for Shania Twain, for whom he’d earlier photo’d an album cover — her “Any Man of Mine” (Mercury-Nashville). Bo produced it … Don Henley and the Eagles lunched with Hillary Rodham Clinton in D.C. Monday, then dropped in to the Oval Office and presented the President with a guitar that they all autographed.