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Nets’ convention coverage lacking

GOOD MORNING: Barbra Streisand was plenty perturbed (and she’s not alone!) when she phoned Democonvention producer Gary Smith on the Staples floor — in the middle of Thursday’s program. Howcum? Do you remember President Clinton’s dramatic, long walk through the bowels of Staples en route to the podium? Barbra wanted to know why the powerful quotes of his accomplishments, which were to run intermittently at the base of the TV screen through his walk, were blanked out by the network transmission? They were seen on CSPAN. The networks told Smith he couldn’t run the quotes — because “they are part of your (the Demos’) message.” Smith argued that they were facts — but to no avail. Thus the Clinton walk looked pointless to web viewers. Viewers of CSPAN saw it as it was staged to be seen … And here’s a story behind the grand finale Thursday night as balloons billowed down, cheers rose and music swelled — all but one tune. Yanni’s “Standing in Motion/Acroyali” was to have been one of the recordings accompanying the memorable moment. But his attorneys and BMG made enormous demands, starting originally in the $35,000-$50,000 range, coming down to $10,000 — plus 15 further stipulations, which Smith said would have mounted to $20,000. ASCAP and BMI had OK’d (gratis) all other music used similarly. So Yanni was replaced by Stevie Wonder’s recording of “Higher Ground” — which could become the Demo theme of the campaign. Stevie didn’t ask for one penny. Another song replacing Yanni was “Let The Day Begin” sung by the Call … Another OK requested in the medley was 13- year-old Billy Gilmore singing “There’s a Hero.” His parents nixed it saying they are Republicans. Theo Lebow, 14, of the L.A. Children’s Chorus sang it … And one final showbiz note on the convention: When Rosie O’Donnell was suggested to producer Smith as a program participant, he responded, “totally inappropriate.” They didn’t make beautiful music together on the Tonys.

MEMORIES OF THE DEMOCONVENTION in L.A. — in 1960. At the finale, I wrote, “We were on the platform (at the Sports Arena) many of the nominating hours. Also on this platform behind the speakers were Peter Lawford, Tony Curtis and Frank Sinatra, who had been on their feet quietly watching the proceedings from this excellent vantage point since 3 p.m. The victory celebration went on in the model house behind the arena after balloting was completed. The Hollywood group was in such force at this political decision, a Democratic victory should make for an administration more sympathetic to the problems of showbiz — domestic as well as foreign. I bumped into Gore Vidal on the floor , asked him if he were going to pen any plots about politics. ‘Nah,’ he said, ‘no one would believe them, they’re too corny.’ I asked Norman Brokaw, among the BevHills mob, ‘Who’s the William Morris handling here?’ Despite the modern methods of communications and electronic expediting, the convention still clings to the antiquated demonstrations which all on hand found tedious, embarrassing and as (Adlai) Stevenson found out, meaningless. Viewers and voters could well demand that the next convention abolish demonstrations or at least hire someone from Hollywood to give a showmanlike touch to the affair.” Other tidbits that week 40 years ago: George Stevens wore a gag “Faubus” button … Before the final tally, diehard Hollywood-for-Stevenson members met at Clifford Odets’ for the final strategy meeting to try to swing votes before the last night’s balloting … Eleanor Roosevelt, Greer Garson and Stevenson lunched at Romanoff’s … Hollywood names who feared political associations have had a change of heart in the past week and the celeb list for the Demos’ big finale at the Coliseum is now reaching “star” stature. The show will be called “48 Plus 2″ emceed by Steve Allen and, if Kennedy is the candidate, Frank Sinatra is expected to appear. Sammy Davis Jr. wings back from D.C, Ralph Bellamy, Phyllis Kirk, Mercedes McCambridge, Vincent Price, Barry Sullivan are added to the already-established Democratic star list.” … Lest we forget: Carol and Charlie Matthau remind those personal friends of Walter’s who wish to attend Sunday’s memorial service, please call (310) 454-3300 for details of time and place. Speakers will include Jack Lemmon, Diane Keaton, Lauren Bacall , Neil Simon and more … And Ronnie Neame will m.c. a BAFTA tribute to Alec Guinness Thursday at the Writers Guild theater. He produced two, directed four pix with Guinness. Jean Simmons (“Great Expectations” ) and Glynis Johns (“The Promoter”) among those who will speak. “It’s not a wake or a memorial,” reminds Ronnie, “but a happy evening.” Anyone who knew Alec and cared about him is welcome to come — if they call (310) 652-4121 … With the Olympics in Sydney a month away, I talked to Bud Greenspan whose “Favorite Stories of Olympic Glory” airs on Showtime, 10 p.m. Sunday. He has been covering the games since 1948 and was Down Under checking out the sites where he’ll again tape history. He said he hopes there’ll be a tribute this year to the Israeli athletes who were massacred in 1972. He said the recent Olympic trials — which cost the U.S. three of its top athletes, “is a primitive process.” As for the scandal in Salt Lake City, he said, “It’s been pending a long time” … Christopher Reeve was at UCLA’s Medical Center Thursday , working out on their advanced walking exercise equipment. And Thursday night, he attended the Shrine concert with wife Dana and 16-year-old daughter Alexandra. Wednesday night’s Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation Benefit by the Creative Coalition and George Magazine at the home of Lawrence Bender was a huge success. Michael J. Fox, who had been honored by the group at the GOP convention in Philly, was on hand. He and Michael Douglas reunioned at the Reeve bash. (They teamed on “An American President”) … Fox will be on hand at Douglas’ birthday bash Sept. 25 hosted by Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Glenn Close.

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