GOOD MORNING AND CONGRATS, OSCAR NOMINEES: Acad president Arthur Hiller, on hand at the Acad at 4 ayem, told me Monday he could again breathe easily, as no one “ever” broke the secrecy of the nominations. “Not once has anyone else (besides Price, Waterhouse) known the results”…”No way”– that’s Michael Jackson’s manager Sandy Gallin’s response to those who believe Michael Jackson’s musicvideo of “They Don’t Care About Us” will contain the anti-Semitic lyrics from the original version of the song. I reached Gallin in Nashville, where he’s taping the Feb. 24 ABC Neil Diamond special for Smith-Hemion; Gallin said, “I asked Michael point-blank about the lyrics (before he went down to tape in Rio) and he said, ‘It (the original lyrics) will absolutely not be in it.’ ” Monday night, “Entertainment Tonight” aired clips of Jackson taping in Rio in which the original “Kike me,” and “Jew me” lyrics could be clearly heard. The seg was satellited to “ET” Sunday from the Rio taping; seg producer Steve Skinner took the clip to the Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Marvin Hier. Hier was shocked. He called me to express his feelings, reminding that Jackson had originally called me to apologize for the first set of lyrics, and telling me what the new lyrics would be. Hier said had heard the new CD, in which the disgusting words had been “electronically removed.” “Why weren’t those lyrics removed from the track used for Michael’s video recording in Rio?” asked Hier. I asked Gallin why did the hundreds of kids watching him tape have to listen to those words — probably unknown to them? Gallin did not know why that version was sent down there — perhaps a rehearsal track — but Gallin again said he is certain the final version to air would not have those lyrics. Epic Records’ Melanie Rogers was equally shocked hearing of the “ET” airing, noting that all CDs of the “HIStory” album should contain the new lyrics. “I was in the studio when he recorded them,” she told me. So why did they take a playback with old lyrics down to Rio? And why are they using the Nazi-like, military goose-stepping footage in the new video?
AND TALKING OF VIDEO TAPES: Faye Resnick told me Monday night that the video of O.J. Simpson giving his deposition show him totally unable to look at the attorneys when questioned. Resnick, who wound her depo Monday, departs Wednesday for Europe. She’s been with two armed guards during the N.Y. session, which was first reported here last week. Resnick told me, “I’m looking to a peaceful time; I’m learning how to paint.” Will she write another book? “Maybe — about women’s rights.” Meanwhile, her “Shattered” (Dove) has gone into its third printing … Add controversial books-to-TV: “The Late Shift,” exec producer Ivan Reitman’s HBO version, preemed in N.Y. Monday night with a Guild Theatre screening and Rainbow Room party following. Reitman thanks Jay Leno and David Letterman for giving the telepic mucho space — even on the Emmys, you recall, by Leno (who also discussed it in private, socially, with pal Reitman). Betty Thomas, who directed “Shift,” will also rein Reitman’s pic of Howard Stern’s bigscreen “Private Parts” for Par. He says they now have a good script by Len Blum, showing Stern’s rise through radio. Reitman promises the (R-rated, for sure) pic will be a fascinating story. Reitman’s got more fascinating stories planned: “The Creature From the Black Lagoon” at Universal, with a script by Herschel Weingrod and Timothy Harris. Reitman also hopes finally to get his plans for a Marx Brothers feature onscreen. He thinks “Late Shift” may help get the project on track! All these projects are after Reitman’s next: “Father’s Day,” with Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, and “Six Days, Seven Nights” with Harrison Ford for Disney.
DAVID CARRADINE HAS RELINQUISHED his producer credit on his series “Kung Fu — The Legend Continues.” He says it’s “to avoid conflict of interest” re his seat on the board of SAG, even though he sez SAG told him it was not necessary. But Carradine chose to step away from management and become “labor”… The Professional Dancers Society raised $50,000 to help those in need in the dance community. Further good news, there’s talk of the PDS being brought under the wing of the Actors Fund of America. “We’re talking,” said Bob Sidney, who chaired Sunday’s awards at the Century Plaza with Joni Berry as board chair of the packed event. As noted previously, Juliet Prowse and Mitzi Gaynor were the honorees and Donald O’Connor the masterful master of ceremonies, who added his charm in song tributes as well as toasts to the ladies. Cyd Charisse presented to Prowse (who was near tears in accepting); O’Connor, to (comedic) Gaynor. Randy Downey produced the show, which included a chorus line of Neile Adams, Billy Barnes, Betty Garrett, Bill Hayes, Earl Holliman, Jane Kean, Giselle MacKenzie, Lou Wills and Gretchen Wyler. Also Shari Nyce, ballerina on crutches (!), two most graceful trapeze performers, Lisa Giobi and Timothy Harling, comic James Stevens III and the Tremaine Dance Group.