- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Pot, meet kettle

All that talk of eternal youth may be going to Dick Clark’s head.

Ralph Andrews, a 76-year-old game-show producer, sued the TV legend this week, charging that Mr. Clark, just two years his junior, called him a “dinosaur” and refused to hire him because of his age.

In the complaint, filed in a Santa Monica, Calif., superior court, Mr. Andrews says he spoke off and on for more than a year with Mr. Clark and other executives of Dick Clark Productions about joining the company and was told he would be considered for any openings, the Associated Press reports.

Then came the offending missive, which in context sounds a little less stinging.

“I have great respect and admiration for your accomplishments, and wish you success in your desire to ‘get back to work,’” Mr. Clark’s letter to Mr. Andrews reads, according to the suit.

“[But] the last development guy we hired was 27 years old. Another person who is joining our staff next week is 30. People our age are considered dinosaurs! The business is being run by ‘The Next Generation.’”

Cartoon Macca

Paul McCartney is back in the ‘toon biz, 20 years after his best-selling “Rupert and the Frog Song.”

Reuters News Agency reports that the former Beatle, an avid fan of animation since childhood, is releasing “Tropical Island Hum,” the tale of Wirral the Squirrel with a Liverpudlian accent.

“In animation, it’s good to have a bit of a childlike quality about yourself, and I certainly have. It’s just something that is in me,” Mr. McCartney said, announcing the DVD release of the short film.

“I’m still fascinated by the things that fascinated me as a kid,” said Mr. McCartney, whose “Rupert” cartoon was the best-selling video of 1984.

Kaufman’s lament

Director Philip Kaufman’s “Twisted,” a thriller starring Ashley Judd, was trounced by “The Passion of the Christ” last weekend at the box office.

Mr. Kaufman wasn’t surprised.

“I might have seen it coming, but I don’t think [Paramount Pictures] did,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I sent out a cautionary message not to underestimate Mel Gibson and his power with the press.

“It’s hard to go up against Christ,” Mr. Kaufman added. He and son Peter Kaufman, a movie producer, put their heads together for a mock advertising slogan to compete with “The Passion”: “We came up with ‘Jews for Judd.’”

French ‘Passion’

French cineastes worried that fears of anti-Semitism would bar them from seeing Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” will get to see the movie after all, thanks to a Tunisian Muslim producer who has agreed to distribute it.

Reversing earlier reports of a French ban, Le Figaro newspaper reported yesterday that “The Passion” would open in France April 4, two days after it hits cinemas in Spain and shortly before it reaches neighboring Italy and Germany.

According to Reuters, Tarak Ben Ammar, a major film broker with business ties to media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, said the film stressed forgiveness and blamed the Romans rather than the Jews for Christ’s death.

“I thought it was my duty as a Muslim who believes in Jesus, who respects and was brought up in the three religions, to have this film shown to the French and let them judge it for themselves,” he told TF1 television.

Buffett in the park

The owners of the Boston Red Sox are hoping for a siege of “Parrotheads” at Fenway Park. Team officials have applied to the city to stage Jimmy Buffett concerts Sept. 10 and 12, according to the Associated Press.

Mayor Thomas Menino said he wanted to convert a neighborhood parking lot into an all-day party spot for Parrotheads, as Buffett fans call themselves.

“They can come together and have their trailers and their parties, and they won’t be on the streets,” said Mr. Menino, himself a Buffett enthusiast. “It will be ‘Parrothead Village.’”

Compiled by Scott Galupo from wire and Web reports.

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