U signs ‘Beaver’ cast to 2 sequels

GOOD MORNING: Universal is so confident its bigscreen version of “Leave It to Beaver” will succeed, they’ve signed all principals to two sequels (with the usual out clauses, of course). U will be watching Par’s bizness with its “A Very Brady Sequel.” Monday, I visited the Cleaver clan (Beaver, Wally, Ward and June) on Stage 1 at Universal, where their house in “Mansfield, U.S.A.” (state unidentified), 1996, is situated. The house exterior, which the studio feels will be another tourist attraction, is built anew on the Universal tour. The studio hopes fans of the “Beaver” series (1957-1963) will follow the example of the “Brady’s” bunch of viewers (1969-1974) and go to see the bigscreen version. Unlike “Brady,” the “Beaver” movie is not a parody of the series. But it’s planned that “Beaver” will be rated G — there’s not even a bedroom set for the adult Cleavers. Robert Simonds, who produces with Brian Levant, greeted me with “This is one set — if you’re not married — where you want to be!” (And he’d like to convince his lady, thesp Angela Featherstone) … Director Andy Cadiff, who has two children, says the pic will fill a void for parents looking for a movie for their children and teens to enjoy as well. The pic’s budget is reportedly $15 million … Chris McDonald, playing Beaver’s dad Ward, told me his father insisted on his watching the show when he was a kid; Janine Turner, as Beaver’s mom June, told me she always watched the series as a youngster. Beaver is portrayed by 8-year-old Cameron Finley; Wally is Erik von Detten; Eddie, Adam Zolotin … Barbara Billingsley, who was June in the TV series, guests in the movie as Aunt Martha. Director Cadiff noted Billingsley has more than “a cameo” appearance, adding realism to the ensemble, just as Florence Henderson and Ann B. Davis did in the first “Brady Bunch” movie. Other principals in the pic from the “Beaver” series are Ken Osmond (the original Eddie, who returns as Eddie’s father) and Frank Bank (who played Lumpy Rutherford). Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers weren’t cast because their movie characters didn’t pan out … McDonald, who recently wound Rysher’s “The Eighteenth Angel” in Italy, also plays a tycoon in Rysher’s “A Smile Like Yours, ” shooting in SanFran … Adam Sandler will star in “The Wedding Singer,” his fifth movie for producer Simonds. Drew Barrymore co-stars. The busy Simonds also has “Bulletproof” opening this month with Sandler and Damon Wayans. It’s R-rated, though Simonds, whose credits include “That Darn Cat” for Disney, would have preferred it to be PG-13.

BARBRA STREISAND’S STEADY fella is Jim Brolin. They met a month ago at a birthday party given at Mr. Chow’s by Christine Peters, Jon’s ex. They took a break as he went to the Philippines for “Goodbye America,” but they were together again at the Pasadena sneak of her “Mirror Has Two Faces ” where the faces of TriStar execs broke into smiles at the reaction from this second successful screening. The pic bows Nov. 15 … Talking above of series-to-pix, “The Love Boat” is readying for sailing as producer David Permut puts out a new script order. The movie moved from New Line to Touchstone. Aaron Spelling exec produces and Leslie Nielsen is mucho interested in heading to the bridge to captain the Love Boat. But he has more serious business afoot: Nielsen bought rights to David Rintels’ one-man play “Darrow,” which Mike Gregory will produce. “As of now, I will direct it,” said Nielsen. Sept. 19-20, he performs the show in the (now-vacant) prison in Boise, where Darrow won the release of a prisoner held there illegally 18 months in 1904-05. On a less serious mood at Sunday’s Bill Clinton 50th birthday bash at RCMH, Nielsen noted (in his “Naked Gun” Lt. Frank Drebin character), “The only way to suppress crime is by getting the victims off the street!”… Later, at a party at the Waldorf, Jessye Norman surprised the President by singing “Happy Birthday,” plus “Our Love Is Here to Stay”… Jake Steinfeld (Body By Jake) underwrote the Clinton Birthday Party at the House of Blues here.

EDDIE FISHER SINGS a few bars from “Anytime” as he guests on “Ellen,” which co-stars his daughter Joely Fisher … Pia Zadora and husband-director Jonathan Kaufer expect their first child in early ’97 … Billy Barty bows his 50-minute “Meet Billy” show Wednesday at the CineGrill. He’s been in pix since he was 3 — started in “Wedded Blisters,” a two-reeler. Barty will be 72, Oct. 25 … Father Elwood E. Kieser, producer of “Entertaining Angels, the Dorothy Shay Story,” got word his pic will screen at the Toronto fest … George Schlatter will produce the Carousel Ball for Barbara and Marvin Davis … Sidney Sheldon and Larry King will be honored at Portals’ Golden Bell benefit at the BevWilshire, Sept. 11. King and Cyndy Garvey were dining at Drai’s with Menendez trial attorney Leslie Abramson and her husband, while at the next table was O.J. Simpson trial witness Faye Resnick. Nearby, Shelley Winters was birthday cake’d and serenaded on her 74th … Dining at Mr. Chow’s: Kirk Kerkorian and friends, including Dan Melnick and Mort Viner.