Boone soldiers on, brings music to the big screen

GOOD MORNING:The latest (Thursday’s) massacre of Israelis by a Palestinian suicide bomber is not deterring Pat Boone from bringing his 15th tour (300 strong) to the Holy Land. “Prime Minister Sharon asked us Christians for a show of solidarity.” And that, says Pat, is what he is doing. “I hope our visit will contribute to a more conciliatory mood,” although, he added, “I’m sure Israel will be forced to respond.” In addition, Boone appears Wednesday in Norfolk, Va., on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “700 Club,” urging this viewing audience’s show of solidarity. That night, Boone wings to Denver to view the first live-to-movie-theaters showing from Cinema Presents. Boone’s a founder and investor of the system, which will satellite a two-hour show ($15 a ducat) with Sugar Ray from the stage of Atlanta’s Tabernacle; it screens in 44 theaters, which will shut down their movie screening in the 6-8 p.m. (EDT) slot that night. The theaters have been equipped with digital projectors for the satellite transmission. P.S. Atlantic Records is helping to promote the concert as Sugar Ray has a new single, “When It’s Over,” on the charts. Boone says the major theater chains are supportive: They’re familiar with Boone’s savvy in utilizing the too-often ailing theaters with his Movie Music disc kiosks, selling soundtrack CDs of the movies playing. Boone also has plans to satellite B’way shows to movie houses around the country. The kid with the white bucks (that’s shoes, y’know) still knows how to make a few more bucks outta the biz.

THERE’S NO BIZ LIKE SPORTS BIZ.Arnon Milchan agrees as he expands his involvement in the sports world — this one is CART, Championship Auto Racing Teams. It is the hottest sport abroad and the domestic expansion is only a few laps away. Milchan said his flag, New Regency, entered into an exclusive agreement, partnered in the televising of these races with Puma and Fox Sports. New Regency has international rights, Fox domestic. Only recently New Regency bought foreign rights to U.S. Open Tennis Tournaments for 2001-04. CBS owns U.S. rights, you recall. And Milchan’s company has international rights to the Women’s Tennis Assn. Tournament for nine years and owns the controlling share in sports apparel company Puma … While anxiously awaiting Thursday night’s presidential decision on government funding of stem-cell research, Jerry Zucker and Lucy Fisher (Mrs. Doug Wick) were attending a fund-raising lunch for Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-S.D.) at the Regency Club in West L.A. Dorgan is among the solons supporting the research. He is, as noted, joined by Utah’s Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch in this support. The Zuckers and Wicks, along with Sherry Lansing, Leslie Moonves, Rob Reiner and many others, are readying a September private sector-supported event for the research … “The Best of the Ed Sullivan Show,” from Andrew Solt Prods., is set for national PBS syndication via WQED Pittsburgh. Paul Brownstein set the deal for Solt. Shirley Jones hosts the new wraparounds. She appeared on the Sullivan show in 1970. Brownstein and WQED also are developing a “Best of Dick Clark” series (with Clark doing new intros) plus a live concert and “Legends of Comedy” pledge break special … Buddy Hackett, one of the stars of 1962 classic “The Music Man,” will be on hand Monday at Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood for the debut of “The Music Man … Junior.” “Broadway Junior,” created by producer Freddie Gershon, adapts B’way musicals to be performed by 10- to 13-year-olds. Hackett will congrat the cast of over 100. He assures, “There won’t be any backstage shenanigans like we had on the movie!” The Hacketts host the screening of “American Outlaws” Aug. 22 at the Acad to benefit animal sanctuaries … Paul Newman and daughter Nell are on an African safari. In another pith helmet group are Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. P.S. Joanne Woodward’s busy running the Westport Country Playhouse this summer.

THIS YEAR’S TELLURIDE FEST “guest curator” is Salman Rushdie. He is a film fan; his favorite is “The Wizard of Oz.” I caught up with the author between a BevHills recording session of his new book, “Fury” (Random House), with New Millennium audio producer Deborah Raffin. The audio is for Recorded Books and this is the only time New Millennium has produced an audio for another label. Rushdie is happy with this modus operandi because New Millennium (Raffin) is producing the book, his eighth novel, totally unabridged. “Fury” was “a great challenge,” admits Rushdie. It is set in New York, “the day before yesterday.” While in L.A., Rushdie gets the opportunity to visit with Indian-born actress Padma Lakshmi. She’s from Southern India, he’s a Kashmiri. Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children” is being prepped for the stage by the Royal Shakespeare Company; a five-hour BBC version, with completed script, was scrapped when problems arose in Sri Lanka. Now three feature banners are talking bigscreen’ing it. Rushdie has had some experience in front of the cameras — in a scene of “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” Four years ago, the Iranian government finally rescinded its nine-year fatwa (death threat) against him. “Since that time,” I asked him, “have you been bugged by anyone?” “Only by the critics,” he answered.

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