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Shirley Jones gives Charlie Chaplin a hand

GOOD MORNING: “I once gave Charlie Chaplin a hand job.” That’s the opening line in “Nana’s Boy” for Shirley Jones, who once played the hooker-with-a-heart — and won an Oscar in “Elmer Gantry.” Her young co-star Nick Swardson then asks her, “Was he silent?” “Not after I was done with him,” Jones replies. In “Nana’s” Jones’ ambition is to bed 20-year-old boys. Co-stars Doris Roberts and Shirley Knight are set in equally sexually oriented situations in the pic. The three femmes agree there’s been nothing like these salty roles in their previous long list of credits. They play a trio of grandmothers living together, filling the script with sizzling four-letter prose written by Barry Wernick (Sandy Wernick’s son and Adam Sandler’s manager), Allen Covert and Swardson. The pic is from Sandler’s Happy Madison Prods. and co-stars Covert. Exec producers are Sandler and Jack Giarraputo. Covert also produces and 20th distribs. Others filming for Happy Madison are “Deuce Bigalow, European Gigolo,” starring Rob Schneider and Eddie Griffin, and “Bench Warmers,” also with Schneider and David Spade.

THE FLAP over the 10 Commandments — either in stone or on film — doesn’t faze Robert Halmi. An addendum to last week’s story about the 6-foot-tall Texas monolith noted that, in addition to Paramount’s continued profits (TV and DVD) from the 1956 DeMille film, Par and producer Mark Gordon are working on a remake of the epic. To which Halmi tells me he starts production on his four-hour ABC pic “The 10 Commandments” May 23 in Morocco, Turkey and Jordan. Robert Dornhelm directs, Howard Ellis produces and Ron Hutchinson and Halmi are exec producers. Halmi adds, “It’s good so many ’10 Commandments’ are being made. Everyone can use them today — the more the better.” His version of the biblical story “will add no new dramas and will follow Exodus as written — complete with all 10 plagues and with a parting of the Red Sea the way it is described in the Bible — filmed thanks to the technology of today’s CGI. CGI has come a long way since Cecil B. DeMille parted the Red Sea.” Halmi also has an April 13 start date filming “Human Trafficking,” a four-hour Lifetime series to film around the world showing “the horrible selling of young girls.” Christian Duguay, with whom Halmi has a 20-year association, will direct … Disney’s (Buena Vista’s) “The Shaggy Dog” wound filming (on sked) Sunday frisbee’ing on the beach at the north shore of Oahu as Tim Allen, Kristin Davis , Zena Grey and Spencer Breslin sat on the beach watching the “Shaggy Dog,” a bearded collie — on a surfboard for director Brian Robbins and producer David Hoberman.

BRAD GREY greeted 1,200 members of the Paramount workforce on Stage 12 Friday morning with breakfast. The newest member of the studio was introduced by its record-holding employee, A.C. Lyles, who started working as an usher for the studio’s Florida theater chain at the age of 10 — he’s since racked up 77 years of service and is currently “consulting producer” on “Deadwood,” having produced dozens of Westerns over the years. Yes, Lyles is 87 and he has seen — and known — all the studio heads during this time. They include Adolph Zukor, Jack Karp, Y. Frank Freeman, Martin Rackin, Brandon Tartikoff, Bob Evans, Howard W. Koch and, of course, Sherry Lansing. Lyles reports that Grey received a standing ovation when Lyles introduced him and Grey lingered for two hours talking to the studio-ites. He promised “a new beginning” for Paramount and said he would “strive to get the best talent” to the studio. The previous day, Grey addressed 300 execs on Stage 16 … One of the scenes I will remember from Oscar night was on the red carpet as I watched Wolfgang Puck carrying a tray of Oscar-shaped chocolates and appetizers down the press line. He was followed by a squad of his waiters as they continued into the Kodak Theater, where Wolfie and troupe served hors d’oeuvres to the ticket holders. I noted that Puck, always smiling, was limping as he made his way through the inside and outside crowds. He made the appearances and pleased the arrivees despite the obvious pain. He underwent hip surgery at UCLA Medical Center Thursday and was released and went home Monday. Staying with Puck during his hospital stay was his friend Gelila Assefa, who is expecting their baby in a few months. All are reportedly doing just fine, thank you.

WE WERE SHOCKED to learn that Al Toffel (69), husband of Neile (McQueen) Adams, died of a massive coronary on Sunday in Las Vegas, where he and Neile were spending a weekend. They had dined with close friends Anne and Kirk Douglas Wednesday, and Anne reports Al told of passing a physical just that week. Toffel and Adams recently celebrated their 25th wedding anni. She has many friends in the biz who regularly attended her one-woman show at the Gardenia and other boites in L.A. and N.Y. We also were shocked to be told that writer-producer Debra Hill (54) died Monday of cancer. Services will be held Thursday, 10 ayem, at the Church of the Good Shepherd in BevHills … Martin Landau, who plays Anthony LaPaglia’s father in “Without a Trace” — his character has Alzheimer’s — next joins the cast of John Wells’ pilot “Evidence,” in which he plays a police doctor. He follows with “Local Color,” the feature biopic of George Gallo’s life. Landau was honored at the Ventura County Jewish Film Festival with a screening of “The Aryan Couple” … The entire cast of “Without a Trace” will be on hand for the “A Night at Sardi’s” gala at the BevHilton Wednesday when the show receives its Abe Burrows Entertainment Award. The evening benefits the Alzheimer’s Assn. of L.A. … Veteran character actor Allan Rich will be a featured guest speaker at the Columbus Jewish Film Fest, which is screening 2002’s “The Burial Society” in which he co-starred, Sunday at the Drexel East Theater in Columbus … Press agent Julian Myers (87) set what he believes is a record in the L.A. Marathon — the slowest ever, 16 hours and 27 minutes. He started Sunday at 8:15 a.m., broke the finish line Monday morning at 12:42 a.m. “I hope do it in half that time next year,” Myers said … “The Unforgettable Evening” honoring Lance Armstrong raised $1.8 million at the BevWilshire … Dustin Hoffman is the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s honoree, to be feted April 18 … Darrah Meeley, co-founder of the Women in Film Fest in L.A., won the Audience Choice Award at the Sedona Film Festival with her docu “Edgar Cayce, the Beautiful Dreamer” … After more than three decades of service to the biz, literary agent Ronda Gomez-Quinones of the Broder Webb Chervin Silbermann Agency is retiring to spend more time with her husband, director Howard Zieff, and their family.

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