Torme ‘making progress’ on recovery

GOOD MORNING: Mel Torme’s voice is coming back. He’s in a new hospital’s neurological rehab wing and once again is able to speak. “I’m coming along,” he said. “I’m making a lot of progress. Sure, it’s been a lot of hard work, but it sure is worth it. Please tell everybody I love them.” And he thanks everyone for messages and good wishes. He is able to eat solid food since the tube was removed from his throat. After what he’s been through, he even thinks hospital food tastes good! His right side is functioning and progress is being made on his left. He is determined to be able to walk again. Meanwhile, the CD from his A&E “Evening With Mel Torme” hits the stalls on the 22nd and the A&E special airs on the 26th. He now looks forward to being able to complete the album he’d started just before his stroke, “Ella, You Showed Me the Way” Tony Hopkins is back at work today on “Bookworm” after only two days off for the procedure to correct a chip on a disc. This amazing advanced medical procedure was done sans surgery, through his mouth. He’s completed intensely physical scenes with Alec Baldwin in the pic, which is described as “a thinking man’s ‘Deliverance'” Don Johnson is working the big and small screens simultaneously: weekends starring in WB’s “Goodbye Lover” with Patricia Arquette and Barry Newman, with Roland Joffe directing, and during the week Johnson’s in his CBSeries “Nash Bridges.” He’ll continue double duties until December Warren Beatty, emerging from his offices to buy a pizza in the Beverly Glen shopping center, spotted brothers David and Bobby Carradine lunching at the sidewalk cafe. A lady asked the Carradines, “Is that really Warren Beatty?” David C. answered: “Yes, that’s Warren, handsomer than any man has a right to be, carrying his own breeze with him, almost always smiling, wearing his mantle of power as lightly as a cardigan sweater. Yes, that’s Warren.” And that’s poetic David Carradine who rejoins Roger Corman (for whom he made “Death Race 2000” in 1975) in “Crossroads of Destiny,” with Victoria Mosspratt directing, Marina Anderson co-starring. David just taped a CBS promo for their “Too Hot to Skate” spec, taped in the baccarat room of Caesars Palace, with Carradine playing the gambler. Now non-stop working in his six month of sobriety, Carradine celebrates his 60th birthday Dec. 8.

FRED ZINNEMANN MET WITH Michael Caton-Jones, to wish him luck as the latter started filming Universal’s giant-budgeted remake of Zinnemann’s 1973 “Day of the Jackal,” the film of Frederick Forsyth’s novel about an attempt to assassinate Charles DeGaulle. Zinnemann once taught in the National Film School in London attended by Caton-Jones, who admitted to me he hadn’t seen the original pic. “I didn’t want to be influenced,” he said. This one, starring Bruce Willis (as “the Jackal”), Richard Gere and Sidney Poitier, films in Wilmington, N.C., Charleston S.C., Moscow, London, Montreal, Chicago, D.C., Helsinki, etc. “It’s a massive road show,” said the director, who keeps fit for the production by boxing every morning (at 5 ayem) with a trainer. “So anything the actors throw I can duck!” What’s the budget? “Up there.” And as many locations as there are, ditto the camouflages of the villain. Willis’s current blond hair is sometimes black, pony-tailed, wigged, etc., and his body sometimes enlarged and so disguised, people on the set sometimes do not recognize him. It’s also a different Richard Gere: “harder than people expect. He and Sidney Poitier are acting up a storm together,” the director said. Caton-Jones volunteered that Matthew McConnaughey had wanted to play the Gere role, but other work conflicted. Diane Venora and France’s Mathilda May are the glamour department in the pic. Caton-Jones returns to filmbiopix (after “Rob Roy,” last year) with “George Washington.” He hopes to set Robert Redford as the father of his country in Washington’s final 12 years. Oliver Stone, no stranger to Presidential autobiopix (“Nixon,” of course), will produce at WB.

THE N.Y. POST’S TWO COLUMNISTS Neal Travis and Steve Dunleavy, alumni of “Hard Copy” and “A Current Affair,” respectively, who’ve also written 12 books between ’em, team with attorney Barry Slotnick in their Three Eagles banner to produce four reality-based minis per year — the first to be hosted by Anthony Quinn, a Slotnick client. … Press agent Frank Liberman is home from Cedars-Sinai. … Michael Nyman (Bragman Nyman Cafarelli praisery) and wife Liz welcomed their first, daughter Kaitlyn Sara, Monday at C-S. “Kaitlyn” is the name of Geena Davis’ daughter in Steve Tisch’s “The Long Kiss Goodnight.” Tisch and Jamie Alexander will wed Saturday in Napa. … Congrats to Orah Devaney, appointed senior managing director of Showcase Placements Inc., handling Ford Motor Co. and Rums of Puerto Rico. … Tony Bennett and Phyllis McGuire presented the special achievement award from the Designers’ Council to Amir on his 20th anni as a top international men’s designer (his salon’s in the BevHills Hotel). The celebration was held at McGuire’s Las Vegas home, which features a 40-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower in the middle of her living room. … L.A. Coal’s “Inside Out Art Exhib” for artists with developmental disabilities, but with unique talents, will be held Oct. 27 at the Jan Baum Gallery, 170 S. La Brea. It’s a great opportunity for TV to tape great human interest stories and great buys for a great cause.