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Sink or swim with “Poseidon”

If you were around in 1972 and, hopefully, reading my column, I took you on the maiden set visit to Irwin Allen’s “Poseidon” on stages at 20th-Fox with Ronald Neame directing.

I took you on board again on stages at WB last year with Wolfgang Petersen at the helm of his “Poseidon.” So the inevitable comparison.

Agreed: both casts performed magnificently while battling the aquatic special effects elements. However, the association with the original Oscar-winning stars made for more relationships for the first movie. Today’s super f/x did not drown out the dramatic performances by current cast members.

I asked Sheila Allen, widow of Irwin Allen, and a cast member in both films, her opinion. She admitted admiring today’s “Poseidon” after seeing it a second time. And why not, she and her company with Kevin Burns and Jon Jashni’s Synthesis Entertainment received a $2 million advance when the film shifted from 20th-Fox to dock at WB — plus a percentage after breakeven.

They are also readying Irwin Allen remakes: “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” for Fox 2000, “Land of the Giants” — four hours at NBC, “Time Tunnel” for the Sci-Fi channel, and have decided to scuttle “Lost in Space” plans.

Allen was seated with Red Buttons and Jane Wooster Scott at the post-preem party in the Grand Ballroom — reached via outdoor escalators at the Hollywood and Highland complex (always a worry should it rain!)

Buttons told me, “I’m glad I’m off the ship.” In real life, Red, has worked hundreds of cruise ships as star entertainer and says there never was any mishap — except once, “The shower didn’t work”…

Co-star Kurt Russell admitted that most of the cast had been ill at one time during the water-soaked shooting schedule. He was at the preem sans Goldie Hawn — she was holding forth at a wedding shower for Erin Bartlett who weds Goldie’s son Oliver Hudson next month in Cabo San Lucas.

Among the preem goers were Jerry Lewis, wife Sam, their daughter Danielle, 14, and her friend Paulina Lebudi. It was the youngsters’ first Hollywood preem.

Jerry said he’d promised Wolfgang Petersen he would attend the preem — and the party at which Michael Andrews was singing.

Jerry, looking — and feeling terrif — is working on the book for his B’way-bound musical version of “The Nutty Professor” aimed for B’way ’07. He still has hopes to also direct the movie “No One Special Human” — in France.

And how did Jerry like “Poseidon”?

“I sold my boat,” he laughed.

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