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Narrator Beau Bridges Defuses Terrors of Parenting; Teen-Agers Renting Movies Instead of Going to Them

Times Staff Writer

Bringing home a first baby can be an experience of mixed emotions. Underlying the wonder and affection new parents feel for their infant is a touch of terror. “It’s fear of the unknown,” actor Beau Bridges said. “I know. I’ve experienced it.”

Bridges, the father of three, narrates an outstanding videocassette, “Creative Parenting: The First 12 Months” (A&M;, $29.95) that attempts to defuse this terror.

This one-hour made-for-home video program, released this week, examines some of the pitfalls new parents face. With commentary from child-care experts and parents, the cassette explains how to deal with issues like psychological changes, nutrition and the father’s role in parenting.

“We just show you what’s going to come and we discuss ways of dealing with it,” Bridges said. “New things hit you day after day in that first year. If you know exactly what to expect, it really won’t throw you when it happens.”

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Bridges was not hired as narrator because of his child-care expertise. “I’m not an authority,” he said. “But you don’t have to be one to be a parent. That’s the point we’re trying to make. Parents develop their own style. You discover what works and keep on doing it. You do what’s makes sense in your situation.”

He was brought in after the project, based on the concepts of licensed family counselor Jeffrey Marsh, had begun. Marsh, who has a doctorate in counseling psychology from USC, specializes in “fathering.”

Bridges hinted that he was hired because he looks trustworthy and sincere. In movies--like “Outrage” on CBS-TV on Sunday night--he’s usually the good guy, someone you trust.

“I’m just an actor on this creative parenting tape,” he said. “But I had to feel comfortable with what I was saying. If I feel what I’m saying is right, I convey that feeling, that feeling of trust, to people watching. If I didn’t believe in creative parenting, the whole thing would have had a false ring to it.”

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ODDS ‘N’ ENDS: One industry’s bad news can be another’s good news. That’s the effect of a study recently released by Market Facts Inc. The bad news--for the film industry--is that film attendance by teen-agers, the biggest movie audience, dropped by 20% last year. This doesn’t mean that teen-agers are going to museums or reading more books instead. Apparently they’re renting more movies and watching them at home. The evidence? In 1985, film rentals by this age group tripled.

This is good news for the videocassette industry. It’s also good news for those who are tired of those tiresome teen films. If film industry leaders realize that the teen audience is declining, maybe they’ll make fewer movies aimed at that crowd. So maybe we won’t have to be faced with “Teen Wolf II.”

Distributors have been claiming that CBS-Fox’s “Return of the Jedi,” released earlier this week, hasn’t been selling as well as expected. They estimate that “Jedi” sales to distributors were just over 300,000. That’s great sales for the average $79.95 movie but not for a box-office blockbuster like this one. Though CBS-Fox won’t reveal the exact figures, it claims distributor estimates are low. The cassette, the company said, has cracked the coveted 400,000 mark. The leader among $79.95 movies is “Rambo: First Blood, Part II,” which has sold 425,000 to distributors and retailers.

There have been reports (maybe wishful thinking) that when “9 1/2 Weeks,” the chronicle of a steamy sadomasochistic relationship, is released on videocassette, the uncut version will be available. The movie, starring Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger, was trimmed to get an R rating. Reviews have been largely negative. If the cuts are restored for the cassette release, it would be a red-hot rental--and certainly more popular than the R version. A spokesman for MGM/UA said that, as far as he knew, no decision had been made about which version would be released. But he did say the cassette would debut in October.

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Last week, it was reported here that, according to a source, MCA would charge $29.95 for “Back to the Future,” which will probably be released in May. MCA has denied the report. The company plans to announce the price and release date shortly.

NEW AND COMING MOVIES: In addition to “Return of the Jedi,” three other major movies made their videocassette debuts this week, all at $79.95: Paramount’s “Summer Rental,” with John Candy and, on RCA/Columbia, the glossy Western “Silverado” and “Real Genius,” a teen comedy.

March releases: “Better Off Dead” and “Year of the Dragon” in the week of March 16; “The Goonies,” “The Bride” and “Commando” will be in the stores the week of March 23.

April releases: “Witness” (April 9), the Chuck Norris action movie, “Invasion U.S.A.” (April 15) and “My Chauffeur” (April 30), the comedy released a month ago.

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OLD MOVIES: “Alfie” (1966) is out this week (Paramount, $59.95). This tawdry tale--the adventures of a London heel--made Michael Caine a star. In many circles, it’s still considered his best performance. Another 1966 movie, “This Property Is Condemned, " a love story set in the Depression, also is available--same company, same price. Robert Redford and Natalie Wood star.

Other new releases: “Beat the Devil,” “Ship of Fools” and “To Have and Have Not.” For fans of the old cowboy hero Hopalong Cassidy, “False Paradise” (1947) and “Unexpected Guest” (1948), are in the stores this week (Buena Vista, $39.95).

Embassy’s International Collection, the new label that releases foreign classics, is putting out Andrzej Wajda’s famed 1958 drama set in post-WW II Poland, “Ashes and Diamonds,” on March 19 at $29.95.

WHAT’S HOT: “Teen Wolf,” the Michael J. Fox movie, is gathering strength and performing well (No. 6 on the Billboard magazine rental chart) as industry observers predicted. Watch out for “My Science Project” (No. 12). Insiders say this movie, which did poorly at the box office and was trashed by the critics, could be a sleeper rental hit.

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Another teen-oriented sci-fi movie, “Creator,” with Peter O’Toole and Mariel Hemingway, isn’t doing well. Though a new release, it’s already sliding down the chart--to No. 30.

“Miami Vice” (No. 11) on the sales chart, continues its impressive sales. Its relatively inexpensive price tag--$29.95-- enhances its appeal. “John Lennon Live in New York,” which also sells for $29.95, is doing only mild business. It’s No. 32 and not climbing fast. CHARTS (compiled by Billboard magazine) TOP VIDEOCASSETTES, RENTALS 1--"Rambo: First Blood Part II” (Thorn/EMI/HBO). 2--"Mask” (MCA). 3--"Prizzi’s Honor” (Vestron). 4--"St. Elmo’s Fire” (RCA/Columbia). 5--"Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” (Warner Video). TOP VIDEOCASSETTES, SALES 1--"Jane Fonda’s New Workout” (Karl-Lorimar). 2--"Beverly Hills Cop” (Paramount). 3--"Rambo: First Blood Part II” (Thorn/EMI/HBO). 4--"Jane Fonda’s Workout” (Karl-Lormiar). 5--"Pinocchio” (Disney).


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