Apparently a few execs at ABC Sports were so impressed with that super-surveillance helicopter Roy Scheider piloted in Blue Thunder that they’ve ordered up a similar model to hover over the marathon course during the Olympics next summer in L.A. Scheider played a copter cop who uses high-tech spy gear to peer through walls and eavesdrop on conversations in order to keep L.A. safe from terrorists during the 1984 Olympic Games. ABC’s air corps will receive signals from a device implanted in a runner’s wristwatch that will monitor the athlete’s pulse rate and temperature, in hopes of making the coverage more exciting.
Kate Burton, 25, who will play the title role in PBS’ Alice in Wonderland next season opposite such stars as Eve Arden, Kaye Ballard, James Coco and Maureen Stapleton, was a tad distressed when her White Knight gamely took a tumble, as scripted, from his unsteady steed during rehearsals. Kate took director Kirk Browning aside and arranged for a stand-in to take the fall. Oh, yes, the White Knight will be played by Kate’s 57-year-old dad, Richard.
New York City’s war on graffiti took a curious turn not so long ago, when shooting began on an NBC miniseries to air next season called Celebrity, based on the late Thomas Thompson’s best-seller. In one scene, Joseph (Holocaust) Bottoms, who plays matinee idol Mack Crawford, ends up in Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain. New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation gave NBC permission to clean up the fountain’s graffiti only if the original inscriptions were restored after filming. According to producer Rosilyn Heller, a parks official said the scrawl was “part of the cultural ethnic heritage of the city.” (Actually, the parks department intends to sandblast the fountain’s “heritage” away.) The film crew sprayed the fountain with gray water-base paint, which they later hosed off. So dirty was the fountain’s water, however, that Heller urged Bottoms and six other cast and crew members who took the plunge to get precautionary tetanus shots—presumably to guard against an overdose of culture.
NBC’s Friday Night Videos, a 90-minute rock showcase a la MTV, doesn’t premiere until July 29, but already there’s discord. The show’s creator, Dick Ebersol, who is buying first-use rights to hot new videos, paid $1,000 for Elton John’s That’s Why They Call It the Blues. It was scheduled to air on the opening show. But wait—the same video ran on WTBS’ Night Tracks video series on July 9 and 10, and not a penny was paid for that tape. Needless to say, all this has ruffled feathers in peacock land.
Staying alive in the movie industry is no easy task, contends singer-songwriter Frank (brother of Sylvester) Stallone who penned Staying Alive’s single Far From Over and co-authored three other tunes in the film. Frank, 32, also appears in the movie (which Sylvester directed) as a singer in a nightclub band. Though buffeted by charges of nepotism and critical nose-holding over his musical efforts, Frank hasn’t lost his sense of humor. When an interviewer asked him to name his favorite composer, Frank replied, “George Gershwin.” What group is he with, the interviewer inquired. Responded Frank, “…the grateful dead.”