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HBO, Gelbart go under the knife

GOOD MORNING: Larry Gelbart and HBO will team again — following their happy association on “Barbarians at the Gate” and “Weapons of Mass Distraction” — this time for six one-hour shows set in a plastic surgeon’s office in Beverly Hills. The reunion will also reteam Gelbart with Dr. Walter Dishell, who was Gelbart’s medical consultant on “MASH.” Gelbart also has an important “adviser” for the series: his wife Pat, who recently had this surgical experience (not with Dishell). Gelbart says he again chose HBO “because they let you use your mind” … With heat rising again in Iraq, the USO is again up front. The USO Comedy Break, sponsored by AT&T and insurance company USAA, with comedy stars Troy Thirdgill and Donald Barnhart, entertain troops across Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and — ? One of their nine playdates is aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz, off Kuwait. This is the 56th year the USO has brought “a touch of home” to servicemen and women … Red Buttons, Oscar winner for “Sayonara” (1957) who guestarred in four dramatic segs for “ER,” returns to TV to play Grandpa in R.L. Stine’s “Fear Street” pilot for Parachute Entertainment, Viacom and ABC. Noted Nov. 3 in Daily Variety, Stine’s “Dream Street” books were also bought as a feature franchise. The half-hour pilot will be exec produced and scripted by Carl Schaefer and directed by Ken Kwapis, starting Nov. 10.

HOW TO REBUILD YOUR LIFE after being victimized by the blacklist: After 45 years of silence, Betty Garrett tells how she and husband Larry Parks survived following his blacklisting. Parks died in 1975 and Garrett’s continued her professional life and is now filming CBS-Hallmark’s “The Long Way Home” with Jack Lemmon. She tells her life story in “Betty Garrett and Other Songs: A Life on Stage and Screen” (Madison Press) … Jack Lemmon receives the John Wayne “Duke” Award from the John Wayne Cancer Institute at its Odyssey Ball, April 4 at the BevHilton. Wayne once said Lemmon was the one actor he regretted not working with. Jack recently narrated a special documentary tracing the history of the Wayne Cancer Institute — the Odyssey Ball has raised $7 million for the Institute … Barbara Barrie tells about challenging cancer and continuing a career (and life!) in “Second Act, Life After Colostomy and Other Adventures” (Simon & Schuster). In her continuing career, on Nov. 10, Barrie’s “Nana” character is featured in “Suddenly Susan.” She’s also busy working in the “Judy Berlin” feature … And “Confessions of a Hollywood Marriage — The Vince and Janet Edwards Story,” a “tough love story about ‘Ben Casey,’ superstardom and addiction in Hollywood,” has been completed by Janet E., and agent Michael Hamilburg is repping … On the happier side of Hollywood history, the Alfred Newman docu, “All About Alfred,” has added Robert Wise and Martin Landau to the imposing list of those wishing to tribute him. Wise directed “Desert Rat” and “Destination Gobi,” Landau appeared in “The Greatest Story Ever Told” and “Nevada Smith,” all musicked by the inimitable Alfred N. … The multi-talented Bruce Dern adds a new and different credit. He’ll provide the voice of Max, the desert tortoise, as he narrates and tour guides a one-hour “Wild Life Adventure” docu. “Mojave Adventure,” airs Dec. 28 on “Destination Sunday” on TBS and syndie’d. Wolfgang Obst directed, Parker Bauer scripted.

TOUCHSTONE TV TOASTS “Boy Meets World” on its 100th seg, with a party at Ed Debevic’s Nov. 7 … Steve Tisch receives the Humanitarian of the Year award from the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America for his philanthropic work. The annual Breath of Life gala is held Nov. 22 at the BevWilshire. Ed McMahon m.c’s. Ticketmaster CEO Fred and wife Rikki Rosen co-host … Louis Nye gets the Pioneer Broadcasters tribute at the Sportsmen’s Lodge Nov. 21. Didja know Nye has a dog answering his phone? … “Phantom” reteam: Michael Crawford and Dale Kristien will concert Nov. 26-28 at the new 2,000-seat Sydney Gardens Casino’s Lyric Theater … Kevin Connolly (23), who plays Ryan Malloy in Touchstone’s irreverent “Unhappily Ever After,” directs the seg filming this week — to air during sweeps on the WB net Nov. 23. The talented youngster also wrote, produced and directed a short, dramatic movie, “The Eleventh Hour” … After 14 years of handling P.R. for the Primetime and Daytime Emmys and special events of the TV Acad, Murray Weissman & Associates has withdrawn its name for such representation next year to concentrate on other accounts, including “People’s Choice Awards,” CableAce Awards and diversfied clients. … Who better than: Cyd Charisse will host a screening of “Shall We Dance” in honor of director Masayuki Suo’s birthday. Among dancers who were on hand, Ann Miller and George Chakiris. Miramax is developing an English-language version … When model Claudia de Costa and stockbroker Marc Correro chose Paramount’s New York Street (it’s for hire) for their elaborate wedding, Claudia didn’t have a male family member to give her away. When the couple met A.C. Lyles, Par’s “ambassador of goodwill” in the studio commissary, he wound up giving the bride away. A.C. also gave an after-ceremony speech and served as studio host … Continuing its 19-year-old tradition, Jamie Masada’s Laugh Factory again provides Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for struggling members of the entertainment community at the Sunset Blvd. laughatorium. But phoned reservations are a must — four seatings — and a one-hour show.

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