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- January 05, 1987
- Vol. 27
- No. 1
Here Comes '87
That Mr. Hot, Bruce Willis, Headlines the New Year's Hip Happenings, Crooning and Swooning (In Movies)
Is there anyone who doesn't want to work with Willis? Or have him work for them? "Women find him appealing and guys have a fantasy that they could be like him," says ABC talent vice-president Gary Pudney, adding, "It's hard finding a leading man in his 30s. That's why he's become a valuable commodity to us so quickly." Motown president Jay Lasker was so impressed by Willis on Moonlighting that he asked an aide to find out if this other Bruce can sing. Within a matter of months, the company signed Willis (who once jammed with bands in his native Penns Grove, N.J.) to a five-year contract and arranged for the Temptations and the Pointer Sisters to sing backup on his first album. "He's got real talent," says Temptation Otis Williams. "He's an actor first, but he can hold his own." He'll have to: Tickets to his concert next week at the Ritz, a New York club, were sold out in 30 minutes.
Over at HBO, Willis signed a deal for two hour-long specials. The first, with the same title as his album, airs Feb. 7 and is a fictional look at Bruno, the nickname Bruce adopted while tending bar in New York. The show—half parody, half live concert—features Bruce and guests performing with his backup band, the Heaters.
Executives at Tri-Star, meanwhile, are beaming over reports that preview audiences love Blind Date, a comedy in which Basinger goes haywire during an evening with Bruce. The studio has plans to let Willis produce and star in his next two pictures, part of a multimillion-dollar deal. Says Blind Date producer Tony Adams: "He has an enormous screen presence."
That may be pushing things, but not to Seagram: The company's wine coolers have quadrupled their market share since Bruce became the pitchman, says owner Edgar Bronfman. His three-year deal earned him $7 million, making his TV salary, reported to be somewhere between $25,000 and nearly $50,000 per week, seem like cocktail peanuts.
Willis, who lives quietly in the Hollywood Hills with free-lance writer Sherry Rivera, seems set on making moonlighting a way of life.
Audrey Hepburn makes her TV-movie debut in Love Among Thieves, an ABC romantic adventure. She plays a wealthy adventuress who teams up with a beer-guzzling, rather vulgar (and out-of-character) Robert Wagner. Now 57, Hepburn lives in Europe and hasn't made a movie here since They All Laughed in 1981, but she was wooed back to the screen by producer Karen Mack and Wagner, who was justifiably dazzled. "She has a great sense of humor—and dignity," he says. (Unscheduled)
Will America see red over Amerika? That is the hope of ABC, which is investing a reported $35 million—and 14½ hours of prime time—in a controversial, what-if miniseries about a Soviet takeover of the U.S. in 1996. The U.S.S.R. and the UN don't like the way they are portrayed, protesting that the negative movie could have as much impact as The Day After. Writer-producer-director Donald (Heart of Steel) Wrye counters that the movie is not an exercise in "Soviet bashing" but "a parable of today told in the future about what happens when a country's fragile spirit and freedoms are lost." Filmed in Tecumseh, Nebr., Amerika stars Robert Urich, Sam Neill and Kris Kristofferson (February)
A Texan, Randy Quaid says that the role of Lyndon B. Johnson is one that he's wanted to play since he started acting. "He's a complex character, almost Shakespearean," says the 36-year-old actor, who plays LBJ from his days as a young pol to his assumption of the Presidency in LBJ: The Early Years, a three-hour NBC movie (February)
To hear Buddy Ebsen tell it, The Beverly Hillbillies practically belongs in the Smithsonian Institution. "It's a piece of Americana," claims Ebsen, 78, who starred as the leader of the Clampett clan, the crude-and-rude oil barons in the 1962-71 series. Ebsen will host a retrospective of the corn pone favorite on cable's WTBS. (Unscheduled)
Also on cable: Phylicia Rashad, Edward Woodward and Avery (Spenser: For Hire) Brooks team up for a Showtime adaptation of Harriet Beecher Stowe's antislavery classic, Uncle Tom's Cabin. (April)
Valerie Bertinelli has the juicy part of the ambitious and libidinous Maxie Amberville (where do they get these names?) in the CBS miniseries I'll Take Manhattan, adapted from Judith Krantz's best-seller. The story is so steamy that Barry Bostwick, who plays her publishing-tycoon father, worried that his torrid bedroom scenes with Jane Kaczmarek would end up censored. They didn't. "The network people and Judith said this would be the sexiest miniseries on TV," says Bostwick. "I think it is." (March)
Attention, fans of flash-and-trash and pinkies-up murder mysteries: The NBC miniseries The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, starring Ann-Margret and Claudette Colbert and based on Dominick Dunne's novel, is an upper-class whodunit of the first order. Ann-Margret plays a former show girl who shoots her socialite husband (Stephen Collins) in a mysterious accident. Based on a real society murder, the book implied that the Ann-Margret character was guilty, but the TV version leaves open the possibility of her innocence. Whichever you believe, the filming was "not fun and games," says Collins, who described the 81-year-old Colbert as "no-nonsense" about her role. As for Ann-Margret, Collins says, "She was incredibly mercurial," but also "somebody you'd love to be in the trenches with." (February)
Sam and Diane are getting engaged, but don't buy the wedding presents yet. The on-again, off-again romance between Ted Danson and Shelley Long that has kept NBC's Cheers fans on the edge of their barstools was rumored to be resolved with a wedding this season. But now that Long is leaving the show, the producers are trying to figure out how to handle her swan song episode.
Danson, meanwhile, went to Africa this summer to make the TV-movie We Are the Children. He's cast as a reporter covering the Ethiopian famine in the ABC film co-starring Ally Sheedy. The crew wasn't allowed to film in Ethiopia, however, and settled for northern Kenya, where, Danson says, they also found evidence of undernourishment. Still, he believes their re-creation is realistic, and notes that at the network's request, "We had to limit the number of shots [of starving people]." Says Danson: "The famine problem has become slightly out of vogue. If we can re-ignite the passion about it, that's what we want." (Unscheduled)
Single Men, an ABC movie about the singles scene, isn't likely to win points for sociological significance. But from a woman's point of view, its chief attributes are co-stars Ed Marinaro and Ken Olin from Hill Street Blues. Watch it and weep, ladies. According to Olin, who's married, his buddy Marinaro is typecast as a wild and randy guy: "Ed's been a bachelor forever and has every intention of remaining one." (Unscheduled)
Somebody who never had to barhop in order to meet women is Casanova, subject of ABC's $6.5 million rakish romp, starring Richard Chamberlain and Faye Dunaway. Filmed in Spain and Italy, "Casanova starts with high adventure when he is in his teens and at the end he looks back on his life and has something serious to say about love," says co-executive producer Larry Sanitsky. Oh, yeah? (Unscheduled)
Outrageous Fortune stars Bette Midler and Shelley Long as rival actresses who become unlikely friends while dueling for the love of a highly suspicious Peter Coyote. (In real life, each star sought top billing; the Solomonic decision left Shelley top banana in half of all the movie ads, Bette in the other half.) "It's like a Bud Abbott-Lou Costello picture, only with two ladies," says Midler. As for Long, Bette declares: "She is very funny, ol' Shel." (January)
When last we saw Mickey Rourke, he was dominating (to put it politely) Kim Basinger in 9½ Weeks. Now he has traded his riding crop for a fedora in Angel Heart. A down-and-out private eye, he's hired by a mysterious stranger (Robert De Niro) to track a missing person. The film marks a leap to the screen for Cosby kid Lisa Bonet, toiling as a pregnant, unwed girl linked to the disappearance. (March)
"I'll play Ernest until he burns himself out," says Jim Varney, who, while still making those "Hey, Vern" commercials, has crossed over to film in Ernest Goes to Camp. He's the counselor; the campers are juvenile delinquents, and the result is a regular Animal Cabin of mess hall food fights, tent snafus and canoe accidents. The movie includes a "climactic battle sequence" in which 25 turtles parachute down on evil land developers. (June)
Evil developers, in fact, are the subject of Robert Redford's second directorial effort, The Milagro Beanfield War. Redford, who thrives on making virtuous films, has moved Out of Africa and into the hills of New Mexico to take up the plight of residents in a small Hispanic town who refuse to see their farmland sold to outsiders. Christopher Walken and Melanie Griffith co-star. Bound for glory among the many ethnic actors is singer Ruben Blades, a south-of-the-border superstar who should win new fans with Beanfield, and Brazil's saucy Sonia Braga. (October)
How's this for a plotline: A beautiful young princess flees her jealous stepmother and seeks refuge in a forest cottage inhabited by seven dwarfs. Yes, Walt Disney's Snow White, which cost $1.5 million to make and was the first full-length animated feature, is being re-released in 40 countries (including the Soviet Union and China) 50 years after its debut. "Walt couldn't tell a joke to save his life, but he was a great storyteller," says retired Disney animator Frank Thomas. "That's why he was marvelous for animators. He brought depth of personality to every character." (July)
"I did Oci Ciornie (Black Eyes) mainly to be with the people in it," says Isabella Rossellini of her small role as the daughter of Marcello Mastroianni and Silvana Mangano in this international film about an older married man falling for a young Russian girl. (Late fall) She has a larger presence in Tough Guys Don't Dance with Ryan O'Neal, which is being directed by Norman Mailer and is based on his novel. (October)
Michael J. Fox hopes to go back to a future box office hit with Secret of My Success. A Kansas farm boy, he moves to New York, gets a job as a mailroom clerk at a chaotic corporation and starts pretending he's in charge. "In a way, I get to live my fantasy," says Fox, who co-stars with onetime girlfriend Helen Slater. "I'm half little boy lost and half MBA. In the end, I manage to take over a corporation." Alex Keaton would approve. (April) In Light of Day, Fox is a guitarist who jams with rocker Joan Jett, playing his sister in this family drama. "Every other movie that's used an actress to play a rock singer has failed," says producer Rob Cohen. "So we decided to get a rock star who could act." (February)
She doesn't specialize in maternal types, but in Baby Boom, Diane Keaton plays a high-powered management consultant whose life is radically altered when she inherits a 13-month-old infant from a deceased relative. The ultimate baby-boomer, Keaton gives up New York to move to a Vermont farmhouse. Sam Shepard, a country veterinarian, becomes romantically acquainted. (October)
Timothy Dalton, the fourth man to play the role of James Bond, debuts in The Living Daylights, shot in Morocco, Vienna and Britain. The latest 007 girl, Maryam d'Abo, dabbles as a lovely (aren't Bond girls always?) but lethal (they're always that, too) Czech cellist (that they're not always). "He plays Bond close to Sean Connery," says d'Abo. "He's very physical, charming and attractive." This 15th Bond film pits 007 against Joe Don Baker, a ruthless American arms dealer. Says d'Abo: "There are far fewer gadgets, making it more of an adventure, like the earlier films." (July)
The low-budget The Whales of August serves up two of Hollywood's grandes dames, Lillian Gish, 90, and Bette Davis, 78. They portray sisters confronting old age on a small island off Maine, with Davis as the blind, fussy one. Talk about staying power: This is Gish's 105th film and Davis' 100th. (September)
Just the facts, Ma'am: In Dragnet 1987, Dan Aykroyd plays the straitlaced nephew of Jack Webb's classic detective, Joe Friday, and Tom Hanks plays Aykroyd's partner, who's more of a defective. Says Hanks: "It's a love letter to L.A.'s finest. I get to carry a gun, and I get to punch guys out. That's enough to keep any man happy." (July)
Cast to kill, The Untouchables is director Brian De Palma's $20 million action saga based on the early '60s TV show. Robert De Niro is Al Capone, foiled by Sean Connery, a tough Irish street cop. Kevin Costner is G-man Eliot Ness, Robert Stack's alter ego on TV. (June)
Speaking of tough talkers, Debra Winger, an uptight federal investigator in The Black Widow, stalks sultry jet-setter Theresa Russell, who is suspected of murdering the powerful men she marries. The Russell role originally belonged to Meryl Streep, who pulled out, but director Bob (Five Easy Pieces) Rafelson isn't complaining. "Winger and Russell generate enormous sexual energy," he says. (February) Winger also has a cameo in Made in Heaven, a romantic fable starring her hubby, Timothy Hutton, and Kelly McGillis. (March)
Sequel lovers rejoice: There's Superman IV (July), Beverly Hills Cop II (May) and Nightmare on Elm Street III. (February) What? No Rocky?
Writer-star Steve Martin finds more than one amigo in Roxanne, his comic update of Cyrano de Bergerac. Shelley Duvall, a café owner, plays matchmaker between Martin and the title character, astronomer Daryl Hannah. (June)
Cher, Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer star in the screen adaptation of John Updike's The Witches of Eastwick. Directed by George (Mad Max) Miller, the story focuses on three not-quite-normal New England divorcées who conjure up their ideal man. It's the devil-in-the-flesh himself, Nicholson, who winds up getting all three pregnant. "A lot of people think I've been preparing for [the role] all my life," Nicholson has said. (July)
Bob Dylan has already won kudos for his role as a retired American rock legend who runs a chicken farm in Hearts of Fire. British director Richard Marquand says of the plucky folkie who gets caught up in a love triangle: "He has an extremely charismatic screen style." (July)
Touted as the male bonding film for 1987, Francis Coppola's Gardens of Stone stars James Caan (it's his first movie in five years) as a decorated Vietnam-era sergeant who falls in love with left-wing journalist Anjelica Huston. However good the film might be, it may be forever known as the picture during which director Coppola's talented son, Gian Carlo, died in a boating mishap. (February)
Finally, a word to the optimists still waiting for any sign of Ishtar, starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman as down-and-out musicians forced to take a gig in North Africa: The $30 million movie, due out last November, is now said to be due out in May. Sure.
"We held a conference at the Carter Center to analyze the reasons for sickness and death," says Jimmy Carter, explaining the inspiration for Everything To Gain: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life, which he has written with wife Rosalynn. "From that," she says, "we learned that by doing certain things you could live 11 years longer. It's not just physical health but also emotional outlook that determines the quality of life." The Carters have known mid-life adversity. Arriving home in Plains, Ga. from Washington in 1981, Jimmy says, "we had a horrible financial crisis, our last child was leaving to go to boarding school and after living in Atlanta and Washington we were now living in the house alone together all day. And Rosalynn had a serious physical problem [symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis]. We tried to put our lives back." Doing that wasn't as hard as writing the book, which Jimmy calls "the most unpleasant experience." Says Rosalynn: "When I finished a chapter, I would think it was well thought out and as finished as I could possibly make it, and I'd show it to him, and he would tear it apart. I was furious." Counters Jimmy: "When I showed her a chapter, it was as if I had just done a rough draft, and she would set to work changing it. But her words might as well have come down from Mt. Sinai." Rosalynn remembers "it got so bad that Jimmy began sending me notes on the word processor rather than meeting face to face. I said, 'If we announce our divorce in the last chapter, the book will really cause a sensation.' " They're still married, but vow never to write a book together again. (June, Random House)
"Parents, and some other readers, may find parts of this book offensive," warns British rocker Bob Geldof on the jacket of his memoir, Is That It? In a book that is already a smash in Britain, the man who helped to raise more than $110 million for African famine relief doesn't shy away from four-letter words or describing his early sexual encounters, including his first at 13. But the same frankness enlivens Geldof's description of the preparations for Live Aid. When Mick Jagger asks about the shortage of black acts in the lineup, Geldof says, "Diana Ross's excuse is that she's in L.A., whatever sort of excuse that is." (March, Wiedenfeld & Nicolson)
Carrie Fisher serves up a few star words in her fictional account of a Hollywood actress' deals and drug-filled life, Postcards from the Edge. (August, Simon and Schuster)
James Dickey's Alnilam (named for the middle star in the constellation Orion) is about "power—how it comes to exist in a single person and how he deals with it," says the author. In his first novel since Deliverance in 1971, Dickey's subject is blind Frank Cahill, who sets out to uncover the details of his son's presumed death in an Air Force accident during World War II. "I think this book will do for air what Melville did for water—but it's not Moby Dick out of water," says Dickey, a former Army pilot. (March, Doubleday)
The first in a new series of short novels from Harper & Row will be The Ladies of Missalonghi by author Colleen McCullough. (May)
One person not taken aback by Ronald Reagan's current woes is Anne Edwards, author of Early Reagan, a portrait of Ron's progress from sports announcer to aspiring politician. "If his activities in the Screen Actors Guild had been known, we would not have been surprised about the manipulation of events in the past weeks." (July, William Morrow)
For fighting flab and Joan Rivers, Elizabeth Taylor may deserve a Purple Heart. After a lifetime of up-and-down weight, Taylor is now a shapely size 6 and proud of it. So the once portly superstar is writing an as-yet-untitled diet book. Her strategy calls for lots of fruits, vegetables and fish but no red meat. But she allows herself to "pig out" (which for her means fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gobs of gravy, and chocolate cake) once a week. It also means getting psyched mentally—or else, she has said, "it doesn't matter how many fad diets you go on." (Fall, G.P. Putnam's Sons)
Maybe Liz absorbed such positive thinking from her friend Betty Ford. The former First Lady describes her recovery from alcoholism, drug addiction and breast cancer in A Glad Awakening: "I think a lot of people out there are searching for hope in their lives. It doesn't matter where they get it as long as they get it." (March, Doubleday)
When she began writing The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys: An American Saga, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin saw a photograph of Rose Kennedy at 17. "She looked so different. There was so much life and vitality. I don't know the combination of events, the early disappointments, that changed her, but there is a sense that the curtain came down." The book traces the rise of Boston's two famous political families and their eventual merger. Goodwin, whose husband, Richard, was a onetime JFK speech-writer, had access to many Kennedy family papers. Of all the clan's members, it was patriarch Joe Kennedy who left the most indelible impression. "He's the most complex of all," she says. "He reminds me most of Frank Cowperwood in Theodore Dreiser's trilogy: His strengths are so large, his weaknesses are so great." (February, Simon and Schuster)
The narrator in John Gregory Dunne's new book, The Red White and Blue, is a Hollywood screenwriter who tells the story of his rich, Irish Catholic, San Francisco family from the mid '60s to the mid '80s. The narrator's brother is a priest and adviser to the President of the U.S.; his first ex-wife is a radical Jewish lawyer, the novel's central character. Says Dunne: "In True Confessions I had written about a poor Irish Catholic family, in Dutch Shea Jr. about a middle-class Irish family that was assimilated into the American mainstream. With this super-rich family, you could say I've covered three different aspects of the Irish experience." (March, Simon and Schuster)
In My Husband, Rock Hudson, Phyllis Gates, the perky secretary who married the star in 1955, says she didn't know he was gay until shortly before their divorce in 1958. Gates, besieged by reporters after Hudson's death, decided to tell her story because "there was so much misinformation," says her editor, Anne Sweeney. "I feel that although she was extremely hurt and betrayed, she still loved him." (May, Doubleday)
Before there was a Judith Krantz and a Jackie Collins, there was a Jacqueline Susann. The onetime queen of trash wanted to be remembered as the voice of the '60s. But Lovely Me: A Biography of Jacqueline Susann by Barbara Seaman may not be what the Valley of the Dolls author intended. The book describes Jackie's incestuous relationship with her father, her drug addiction, her obsessive sexuality, her rumored lesbian affair with a major Broadway star and her feuds with Ethel Merman, Truman Capote and Barbara Walters. But, says Seaman of the writer, who died of breast cancer in 1974, "I respect her writing." (March, William Morrow)
Ann and Nancy Wilson, the sexy sisters known as Heart, hope to continue the run of good luck that produced a multiplatinum album (Heart) and a marriage (between Nancy and rock journalist Cameron Crowe). The sisters and their band are recording Bad Animals, an LP for which they've co-written seven songs. (April)
The Bee Gees—brothers Maurice, Barry and Robin Gibb—are in Miami making their first album since cutting five songs for 1983's Stayin' Alive sound track. (March)
After three years pursuing solo projects, the Cars are in for a joint tune-up. "It's going to be more live playing than we've done in the past—less high tech," says lead singer Ric Ocasek of the untitled LP. In the interim Ocasek hasn't been idling: He's written a book of poetry ("It's not a serious piece of literature or anything") and landed a bit part in the film Made in Heaven, for which he also wrote and performed the title song. (Spring)
The long-awaited vinyl collaboration of three of pop music's most down-to-earth disc divas—Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt—is upon us. The longtime friends decided eight years ago to make an album together, but fame has a way of interrupting even the best-laid tracks. Finally last January the stars made a bluegrass/country/folk/gospel record, aptly titled Trio, which contains several original Parton songs as well as some standards. (Two videos were directed by Ronstadt's beau, George Lucas.) Gushed Dolly: "Linda and Emmylou are like sisters to me. Doing the album with them was one of the biggest thrills of my life." (February)
Ex-Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor's first attempt to be taken seriously as a butt-kicking rocker failed with Power Station, so now he's going solo. (This way he has only himself to blame.) His new sound, he says, is "aggressive, guitar-based rock...completely in the fashion I wanted to do it in, paying no particular attention to trends." From a member of Duran Duran that sounds like blasphemy. (January)
Feeling old? Consider the Beach Boys, who will be celebrating their 25th anniversary with an ABC surfside concert from Hawaii. The over-the-wave gang will be joined by, among others, Glenn Campbell, Ray Charles, Patrick Duffy, Paul Shaffer, Joe Piscopo, the Everly Brothers and the fabulous Thunder-birds. "At times our music has been ridiculed as just so much fluff," says Beach Boy Al Jardine. "It's a validation to find our songs can still work well in the '80s, and that feels great." Cowabunga, and pass the Geritol. (March)
On the road in 1987 will be Paul McCartney (at least he says he wants to), Duran Duran, Bruce Hornsby and the Range, Genesis, the Kinks, Iggy Pop, the Pretenders, the Temptations, the Four Tops and the Human League. Look for new releases from, among others: Roger Daltrey, Bernie Taupin, Marlon and Michael Jackson, Sade, Mick Jagger, U2, Joe Jackson, Twisted Sister, Deep Purple, Tom Petty, Lindsey Buckingham, Simply Red, Jefferson Airplane, Style Council, Tom Tom Club and Psychedelic Furs.
Skin and bare it are the fashion mandates for women in 1987. Don't shrug off off-the-shoulder anything, even wedding gowns. Unlike their legs, "a lot of women can bare their shoulders and still look good," notes Louis Dell'-Olio of Anne Klein. Overexposure isn't stopping there. Designers Cathy Hardwick and Carolyne Roehm are facilitating the work-to-play quick-change with bare-backed halter tops worn under suits at the office. (Doesn't every corporate president go backless to work?)
The bottom half of two-piece bathing suits will rise above the waist, sometimes north of the belly button. Making waves at the beach, too, will be pastel colors and animal prints.
Ever-popular denim gets a boost from the continued '60s-'70s retro look, now invading the dressing rooms of Paris' mightiest couturiers. For spring, Karl Lagerfeld has unveiled a white denim wedding dress.
On-again, off-again hats are on again. "People are more sun conscious, more elements conscious," explains hat designer Patricia Underwood of the heady comeback. "Straws can protect and can brighten your look." Even when they're black—still a popular color. Expect wide-brim straws and French sailor-style berets.
Current favorites—frills, ruffles, bows—will flounce into spring, along with crinoline petticoats.
And on the 100th anniversary of Hollywood, get hip to Hollywood jeans. To raise money to preserve its Walk of Fame, the city's Chamber of Commerce licensed the rights to its famous sign to New York designer Viola Park, who has put the logo on a line of sportswear priced up to $150.
Other venerable Hollywood monuments are also turning designer: Perfumes endorsed by Michael Jackson and Dionne Warwick are offering mere mortals the sweet smell of excess.
Keep an eye out for Britain's budding rage, the monocle, an essential accessory for the well-dressed twit. "If you want to adopt a shocked attitude as only an Englishman can, it's indispensable," says co-designer Ben Marsh, 22, who, with an Oxford companion, first sold the round eyepiece on a cord to sun worshippers and roller skaters in Venice, Calif. The duo then brought them to the attention of Harrods, where they're selling well at $40 each. Nonprescriptive and strictly for show, call it Brideshead Revamped.
Why lay loved ones to rest when the sky's the limit? Pending settlement of a suit brought by the State of Florida against the Celestis Group in Melbourne, that company and Space Services Inc. of Houston plan to launch three Conestoga rockets that will send into orbit the cremated ashes, held in capsules, of some 10,000 dearly beloved. "A lot of people would have liked to go up in space as astronauts but couldn't," says Jean Kuhl of Celestis. "Now they can go up and be there for about 63 million years." (Cost: $3,900)
One more permanent fixture in the New Year: extra sunlight. Daylight saving time will begin three weeks early (on April 5). Nothing shady about that.
Come September, Pope John Paul II jets into Miami to begin a nine-day visit to the U.S. The Vatican has him scheduled to appear in—among other places—five sporting arenas, including Dodger Stadium, the Louisiana Super-dome and Candlestick Park. (But will they remember to pack his cleats?)
Noteworthy nativities: Political junkies will remember that 1987 is the 15th anniversary of Watergate. Space cadets will mark the 25 years since John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth, while those into medical minutia will note the 20th anniversary of the first successful human heart transplant by South African surgeon Dr. Christiaan Barnard. Thirty years ago a watershed moment was established for students everywhere: The Frisbee was invented, and classroom attendance has never been the same.
Though they're probably not counting—but everybody else is—1987 will bring notable birthdays for Patty Duke, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Glenn Close, Elton John (all 40) and Linda Lavin, Dyan Cannon, Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave (50).
Birthday bashes as well are planned for: Hollywood (100 years ago it was a 120-acre ranch); Michigan and Chicago (both turning 150) and the original golden arches—San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge—which will be 50 come May. The 8,450-foot-long suspension bridge will be honored by a party that will include an 82,000-pound floating birthday cake with 50 Roman candles, a blimp race, a concert with Robin Williams, Huey Lewis and the Pointer Sisters, a 1,000-piece band and a fantastic fireworks display. Plans for a $12 million bridge museum were suspended when some residents complained that the $17 million price tag of the anniversary was a tad high, considering the bridge only cost $35 million to build.
L.L. Bean, the Freeport, Maine-stay of preppy catalog shoppers, celebrates its 75th year. The store's top-seller remains its original product—the Maine Hunting Shoe.
You can also salute the 100th anniversary of the motor-driven phonograph, invented by Thomas Edison. On a similar note, the automatic record changer was invented 50 years ago.
Last, but far from least, Spam turns 50 in 1987. Officially launched by George Hormel in Austin, Minn., "the first shelf-stable, canned luncheon meat product that could be marketed to the mass consumer" went on to become Hormel's No. 1 seller. Incredibly, says product manager Richard Crane, "nearly one-third of all American households consume Spam. They eat more than 100 million cans of it a year."
In May, what is shaping up to be the grandest event in the whole history of grand opera will be staged in the land of the Pharaohs. A luxurious production of Verdi's Aid a starring Placido Domingo will be performed at the Temple of Luxor in Egypt. This should appeal even to those who think opera sphinx.
In July, the Milwaukee Zoo plays host to two precious primates on loan from China: a rare pair of golden monkeys known for their blue faces, orange hands and feet, and an inclination to spend most of their time hugging each other.
"An American Vision: Three Generations of Wyeth Art" opens in Leningrad in March. The exhibition, which includes 112 pieces and three "Helgas" that span a century of work by N.C. Wyeth, his youngest son, Andrew, and Andrew's son James, will move on to Moscow before going on display at Washington, D.C.'s Corcoran Gallery of Art for the Fourth of July.
Broadway will get a boost from two major British musicals. Les Misérables, an adaptation of Victor Hugo's 19th-century classic, arrives in March. Dubbed "lay mizz" for short in London, where it received generally good reviews, the play "is neither a rock musical nor a musical comedy nor an opera," according to producer Cameron Mackintosh. So what is it, then? "A popera," he says of the saga of a man sentenced to prison for stealing a loaf of bread, and the self-righteous inspector who hunts him down after his release.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express opened in London in 1984 and has been virtually SRO since. In a February arrival, Andrea McCardle, the original Annie, and the rest of the cast don roller skates and simulate trains in a race across America. Highlighting the spring season will be a reincarnation of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit which arrives in March, starring Richard Chamberlain, Blythe Danner, Geraldine Page and Judith Ivey. Lauren Bacall, who has been touring as a desperate movie star on the comeback trail in Sweet Bird of Youth, heads for Broadway in May. "I always wanted to be in something of Tennessee Williams'," she says. "The fact is that anything he wrote is head and shoulders above what you see today."
If you suffer from triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13) and friggaphobia (fear of Fridays), and if you like being terrified, this is your year: There are three Friday the 13ths in 1987. Such triple whammy years don't happen often (this is only the 28th time since 1800), but when they do, dire results often ensue. Among them: In 1804 Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, 1914 found Rasputin rising in Russia, and in 1956 Bela Lugosi died and was buried in his Count Dracula cloak.
A poll taken last year indicated that most Americans ignore Friday the 13th, although an eerie 13 percent said they looked forward to the date. For folks traumatized over this year's February, March and November doomsdays, here are some folklore precautions for the superstitious: Ward off the hex by crossing your toes and walking backwards to bed, stuff a dried potato in your pocket, whistle while walking past graveyards, wink at white horses or try wearing cabbage leaves on your head (but wait till you get home from the office).
These terrible triad years haven't always been deserving of fear and loathing. One of the most auspicious of all was 1492, when Christopher Columbus first discovered North America. A lucky year indeed, unless you were an Indian.
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