GOOD MORNING: To — and from Russia, with love: Kirk Douglas, the son of Russian immigrants, made a deal to have his three bestselling novels, “Last Tango in Brooklyn,””The Gift” and “Dance With the Devil” published in Russia by NNN. Douglas will promote the novels this spring with tours in Moscow as well as Milan, Munich, Paris and London. Alan Nevins of Renaissance agency reports Douglas’ “Last Tango” is already published in the U.K., France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan and Poland with Italy and Spain upcoming … And, recently discovered Paul Robeson, Russia-recorded platters will be released in the U.S. next month, part of Black History month. The CDs will be released by Fenix Entertainment, whose chairman Tristan Del spent three years negotiating for world rights to a huge horde of 300,000 recordings. The Robeson release is part of the first batch. Three concerts were recorded in Russia by Robeson in 1949 when he was persona non grata in the U.S. His passport had been revoked because he refused to disclaim membership in the Communist party. He sent his son to school in the Soviet Union. The Russian discs are in English, French, Spanish, Yiddish and Chinese — classical, folk, union and spirituals. The great basso-baritone, son of a former slave, died Jan. 23, 1976, having achieved an unmatched college (Rutgers) and civilian career in concert, stage and movies. No one can think of the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein “Show Boat” without recalling Robeson’s rendition of “Old Man River”… Chuck Norris welcomed a film crew from Russia’s Ostankino-Channel 1 to the set of his “Walker, Texas Ranger” series. Norris, who has kicked Commie butt through countless pix, is a favorite in Russia … And for your Parisian pleasure: Gregory Peck receives the French Film Acad’s Lifetime Achievement Award Feb. 25 during the Cesars. Alain Delon will present. Peck is “tres honore’d.” Greg and Veronique will continue from Paris to Dublin where he presents Gregory Peck Scholarships to U. College of Dublin’s promising students who want to make films. “There’s a new wave of Irish filmmakers,” Peck reminds. Wednesday, Peck added his presence to a docu Bill Wellman Jr.’s filming about his dad. Peck worked for “Wild Bill” Wellman in “Yellow Sky” (1948) and young Wellman appeared with Peck in “Porkchop Hill” and “MacArthur.”
HAPPY 70TH BIRTHDAY TO PAUL NEWMAN — hard to believe that young kid in “Nobody’s Fool” is 70 … Sid Caesar’s autobiog, “Where Have I Been?” (Crown) is being repped for TV-film by Dan Pasternack of Lenhoff/Robinson’s agency’s which ditto’d Milton Berle’s bio … Animation legend Bob Kane, who created “Batman” and who is again consultant on WB’s “Batman Forever,” tells me he has created a new comic crusader, “Silver Fox” for which he’s also written the script. As for the current “Batman,” he says, Val Kilmer “is nearer to my comic book character. He’s more Batmanesque.” And, Kane says the third version would “make Cecil B. DeMille proud! This one will be a bigger blockbuster.” (P.S.: he has a small piece). Kane’s wife, Elizabeth Sanders, plays Gossip Gertie in an interview scene with Kilmer, Jim Carrey as the Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face. Kane was inducted into the Cartoonists’ Hall of Fame. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Diamond Distributors, the largest comic-book distributor in the country … Harve Presnell co-stars in Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Fargo”– it’s Presnell’s first movie since the musical “Paint Your Wagon” in 1969 in which Harve outshone such non-singers as Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood. Presnell has been busy all these years in legit musicals, most recently as Daddy Warbucks in “Annie” companies. His role in “Fargo” is strictly dramatic.
SUPER BOWL WARMUP on tonight’s NBC spec toasting the 75th anni of the NFL. Gary Smith produces, directs the one-hour show with Radio City Music Hall Prods.’ Arlen Kantarian. It had to be cut from a two-hour “live” show. It now includes — 48 all-time football great players, Tony Bennett singing “Stepping Out” to ’em, Jack Whitaker’s tribute to George Halas, Paul Brown and Art Rooney, Brian Dennehy’s tribute to Vince Lombardi, Joe’s Namath and Montana, Jennifer Holiday, Deacon Jones, Ray Nitschke and Dick Butkus, Dennis Franz and Dennis Hopper and a surprise non-scripted finale by Diana Ross in which she falls into the arms of Walter Payton and Joe Montana. The time limitation forced editing out Clint Holmes, Tony Danza and Billy Dee Williams … There are two Pattersons on the NYTimes’ best-seller list; James Patterson, at No. 3, whose “Kiss the Girls” is headed to the bigscreen at Par and at No. 5, Richard North Patterson’s “Eyes of a Child” heading to NBC.