Au revoir Cannes; Hope turns 99

GOOD MORNING: It’s au revoir Cannes on Sunday and time to parlez-vous again at the Monte Carlo TV Fest, July 1-6. Dick Wolf, L.A.’s honorary consul to Monaco and committee chairman of the fest, is probably the best-credited man today for the medium — he’s in production with five series. But he’s most enthusiastic about the fact that the fest will show “no need for another TV fest.” This one’s “pour le merite.” He says panels will include those repping “Law & Order,” “Six Feet Under” and “NYPD Blue.” Among the TV titans expected to be on hand, last year’s honoree, Robert Halmi Sr., whose “Dinotopia” devoured the competition in its mini version — it’ll be shown to foreigners in a two-hour edition. Meanwhile, Halmi’s shooting the one-hour series for ABC in Budapest (segued from Pinewood Studios). He’s shooting ABC’s four-hour, all-Native American-cast “DreamKeeper” in Calgary and Santa Fe, N.M., with 80 speaking parts. He starts “Mrs. Saint Nick,” with Kelsey Grammer and Charles Durning, with Craig Zisk directing in Vancouver. And “The Lion in Winter,” with Glenn Close and Patrick Stewart, also in Budapest with Andrei Konchalovsky directing. And his “King of Texas,” starring Stewart, bows June 2 on TNT, having locationed in Mexico. As for Wolf’s five series, the one now facing the biggest challenge to produce is “Crime and Punishment,” which Bill Guttentag’s exec producing in the courts of San Diego. Wolf says of every 290 feet of film, one remains in the editing of the three-camera, courtroom-filmed show. “It’s the most viewer-friendly show” to be seen on TV, he promises. The subjects range from murder to child molestation — yes, even with a 5-year-old on the stand. Wolf continues to fight for rights to film in courts. Sure, he’s been turned down by some judges. “The more visible our court system, the more faith people will have in it,” he argues. Another challenge is his 2002 version of “Dragnet.” They’re trying to decide: Should it be Joe Friday and Frank Smith? Who could forget Jack Webb? Wolf admits tackling the “Dragnet” project has him “in a state of euphoria — and terror.” And to further fill Wolf’s development lair, a bigscreen project, “77,” for Par, written by James Ellroy (“L.A. Confidential”). It’s a 1973 L.A. murder mystery as pursued by a young black-white cop team — it was never solved.

HERE’S A NAIL-BITER: On Wednesday, Bob Hope’s 99th birthday, the Bob Hope Veteran’s Chapel in the L.A. National Cemetery (at Wilshire and Sepulveda) will be dedicated in his name. However, since it is a national public site, its honoree is not deceased and the honoree is not a veteran, a congressional bill had to be signed by the president. The bill, HR 4592, was passed by the House on Tuesday, and the Senate unanimously approved it Wednesday night. The president, returning Tuesday at night from Europe, will sign the bill the next morning. Luckily, D.C. is three hours ahead of L.A., which will start the ceremonies at 2 p.m. local time. Many dignitaries will be on hand, but not Bob. Dolores will speak for them both. She will be 93 on Monday.. And oh yes, plans are afoot for a 100th celebration for Hope in 2003, at a San Diego site that will boast five Bob Hope statues — one for each war in which he’s served. Five? The fifth: The Cold War.

OF COURSE YOU’D KNOW Jack Nicholson would be on hand for the Laker game tonight — he winged in from Cannes, even though on Sunday he’s a hot contender there to win the thesp award for New Line’s “About Schmidt,” and he’s already being touted for an(other) Oscar nomination. Tuesday he resumes filming the comedy “Anger Management” with Adam Sandler. In “Schmidt,” the Child Reach commercial Nicholson writes to a Tanzanian youngster is a real commercial by Angela Lansbury, who has been helping the program (via TV, radio and print) for 10 years. Angela tells me she (gladly) took over the spot following Katharine Hepburn’s example. “We (Child Reach) thought it useful to use it in the movie with Jack Nicholson. And,” she laughed, “I’ve always wanted to be in a movie with Jack” … Golden Boot Award winners are Bruce Dern, Peter Fonda, David Huddleston, Stuart Whitman and stuntman Whitey Hughes. They’ll receive their awards Aug. 10 at the Beverly Hilton. Dale Robertson m.c’s. Stuntman Hughes (81) has worked for stars dating back to Edward G. Robinson and J. Carroll Naish to Gregory Peck as well as Anne Baxter, Lana Turner and Virginia Mayo! He did four pix with John Wayne and eight with Sam Peckinpah — and brags he was “the only man to tell him to take his movie and shove it.” … Sunday marks the closing night of the 11th season of the sensaysh “Palm Springs Follies.” I wouldn’t visit without catching Riff Markowitz’s spectacular show — with age-defying cast, costumes to rival B’way, music tried and true and Riff’s remarkably sharp repartee. Auditions for the next edition (bowing Nov. 5) will be held for dancers May 31-June 1 at the Screenland Studios in North Hollywood. The theme of next season’s shows: “Flying Down to Rio.” I’ll be flying down again … Gary LeMel, president of worldwide music for WB, received an honorary doctorate of medical arts from his alma mater, the U. of Ariz.