‘President’ pays well for speeches

GOOD MORNING: Kirk Douglas and son Michael were having a little father-son talk when Michael lamented how many words he has to deliver in his current pic, “The American President.””Think of it this way,” said practical papa Douglas, “think how much they pay you for each word!” At the finale of the 135-page “President” script — with no car chases and no sex — Michael has a four-page monologue. The last time he did such lengthy speechifying was in 1987 for “Wall Street”– in a role for which he won an Oscar. Kirk and Michael are talking other words — the script — for their father and son feature “Song of David”… And now for some mother-son talk: Debbie Reynolds, who previewed her Hollywood Motion Picture Museum Saturday in Las Vegas, credits son Todd Fisher with building the high-tech, multimedia, digital edifice. “He takes after my father, who could build anything,” said Debbie, adding, “Thank goodness he doesn’t sing.” When asked whether her ex, Eddie Fisher, would be invited for the April 1 official premiere, Reynolds said, “I don’t know where he is and I don’t keep up with him.” Among others Debbie credits with the museum’s creation is multi-Oscar-nominated set designer Jerry Wunderlich. Reynolds just signed the Smothers Brothers to join the “family” of entertainers who’ll star at her hotel. They bow April 20 and return for the month of July … Director Joe Sargent (born Giuseppe Danielle Sorgente) says he’s applied for dual citizenship from Italy. Born in Jersey City, the DGA-nominated (“WW II: When Lions Roared”) director and four-time Emmy winner says the Italian citizenship application is in the works. Sargent’s now deep in the heart of Texas directing the five-hour CBS mini “Streets of Laredo,” a sequel to “Lonesome Dove” with James Garner, Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard as the new leads. Set to play Judge Roy Bean is Ned Beatty, who agreed to the role via phone confab with Sargent and showed up for work on Saturday. The $ 20 million series was designed for six hours but cut down to five by CBS, says Sargent, “but it plays very well this way.”

“ALZHEIMER’S CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE. It changed mine,” Nancy Reagan says in PSA’s for the Alzheimer Assn. and National Institute on Aging she filmed last Friday at the Bel-Air Hotel. The 10-, 20-, 30- and 60-second radio and TV spots hope to raise awareness of families to seek help in dealing with the disease. In November, former President Reagan, in an emotional letter, announced his illness to the public. And now, Nancy, emotionally, tells families they are not alone. Members of the staff worked closely with her on the script and the former president had seen it and thought it was powerful. Rupert Murdoch furnished the production crew for the shoot … Gary Smith and Fred Rappoport quick-tripped to Nashville over the weekend to launch a 70th anni of the Grand Ole Opry special for CBS. Smith also stopped in Phoenix where he and Dwight Hemion will produce a major concert for Michael Gillespie at Arena West on the eve of the 1996 Super Bowl there … Ernie Chambers and A.D. Oppenheim signed Brett Butler to host their next comedy special, “TV Laughs at Life.” Bruce Vilanch, who will script, was Butler’s writing partner on the Dolly Parton show. Michael Miller produces … Add awards shows: Buz Kohan segues from writing chores on the Grammys to the Oscars, then the National Educator Awards for the Milken Foundation with Larry King hosting May 6 at the Century Plaza. Kohan follows with a new Awards show, the American Achievement Awards under the auspices of Newsweek and the Washington Post with John Cossette … Heather Thomas and Lorna Luft host the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency’s first Oscar party (sans liquor) at the Bel Age Hotel to benefit NCADD-LA. Elaine Young chairs — her ex-husband Gig Young (Oscar winner for “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” 1969) was tragically addicted to alcohol.

KELSEY GRAMMER SHOWS OFF his singing talents as he warbles the National Anthem Sunday at the William Holden Wildlife Foundation celeb polo match at the Equestrian Center. Stefanie Powers, prez of the association, leads a celeb kickoff parade … Harry Anderson displays his magic talents as he hosts the Acad of Magical Arts awards Friday at the BevHilton. John Fisher, head of variety programming for Thames TV, and a magician, wings in to receive the Lifetime Achievement Fellowship … The “Top Gun” hangar (for the F-14, Tomcat and E2C Hawkeye) at Miramar Naval Air Station is the site Tuesday for the Louis Vuitton Cup/Challengers kickoff honoring yachting entries from five nations vying to take on the U.S. defender for the America’s Cup. Willow Bay of “G.M.A. Sunday” is spokesperson, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent will also greet the showbiz, sports and racing celebs on hand … Peggy Robertson, longtime associate of Alfred Hitchcock, is in Topanga Terrace Convalescent Hospital and would enjoy hearing from pals in the biz … Alan Jones played Sky Masterson in the first road company of “Guys and Dolls” in 1952 and now son Jack is Sky in the Desert Inn’s “G&D” bowing Tuesday.