Happy Anniversary: The 25th anniversary of the TV debut of legendary British comedy troupe Monty Python will be marked by the release of a six-CD box set of their material, due Sept. 6 on Virgin Records. Accompanied by a 40-page color booklet, "The Instant Monty Python CD Collection" will include favorites such as "The Parrot Sketch," "The Cheese Shop" and "The Spanish Inquisition"; songs including "The Lumberjack Song" and "Every Sperm Is Sacred," and sketches not previously released in the United States. "Monty Python's Flying Circus," featuring group members John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and the late Graham Chapman, had its BBC premiere on Oct. 5, 1969.
Health-Care Alternatives: U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) will headline "To Your Health: Prescriptions for Health Care," a special hour of today's "Good Morning America" offering the Republican view of alternatives to President Clinton's health-care reform plan. The ABC program will also report on the cost of ad campaigns--said to be in excess of $50 million--for the various reform plans, and feature a debate between key representatives for the insurance companies and government insurance commissions on what type of health reform is necessary.
Cable Shorts: Famed author and illustrator Maurice Sendak ("Where the Wild Things Are") is creating his first animated TV series, tentatively titled "Little Bear." The series, planned to premiere in the fall of 1995 as part of Nickelodeon's preschool block, is based on a book of the same name by Sendak and Else Holmelund Minarik. . . . Showtime will follow an Aug. 6 broadcast of the Michael Douglas-Glenn Close movie "Fatal Attraction" with a screening of the film's original ending, which was nixed by test audiences and has been seen previously only on the film's home video. Director Adrian Lynne will discuss the original ending and why it was changed. . . . Film director Tim Burton ("Batman," "The Nightmare Before Christmas") reminisces about the late Vincent Price when he hosts Price's 1953 horror classic "House of Wax" on TNT's "Our Favorite Movies: Summer Edition '94" on Thursday. . . . Noted celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz is profiled Thursday on A&E;'s "Biography."
Festival's High Notes: The 12th annual Los Angeles International Gay & Lesbian Film & Video Festival, held July 7-17 at the Directors Guild, proved a record-setter at the box office, ringing up revenues of $118,700, slightly up from last year's $114,600. Total festival attendance was 21,800, up almost 1,000 from last year. Not surprisingly, the giddy "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" was voted by the audience as the favorite feature of the festival; it opens at selected theaters Aug. 10. "Coming Out Under Fire," in which gays and lesbians tell of their experiences in World War II, was chosen as best documentary. The top short film was "Death in Venice, CA" and the top video was "The Mister Sisters."
New 'Ramona' Director: Dennis Anderson, a longtime San Jacinto Valley resident who graduated from Hemet High School and has taught theater at Mt. San Jacinto College since 1971, has been named artistic director of the 1995 "Ramona Pageant," a popular outdoor play held annually in Hemet for more than 70 years. Anderson, who acted in the play in 1969 and 1970, replaces Maurice and Hilda Jara, who directed the pageant for 27 years and retired after this year's performances.
'Picasso's' Bi-Coastal Draw: "Picasso and the Weeping Women: The Years of Marie-Therese Walter and Dora Maar," an exhibition that was a big hit during its debut last spring at the L.A. County Museum of Art, has also proved enormously popular at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The show has drawn more than 200,000 visitors during the first six weeks of its Met run. If attendance continues at the same pace until its Sept. 4 closing, "Picasso" will be the museum's most heavily attended summer exhibition since 1978. The show was organized by former LACMA curator Judi Freeman.
New Line Cinema's much-anticipated film "The Mask," starring Jim Carrey, will be "sneaked" at 1,500 theaters Thursday night, one day before the film opens Friday on more than 2,200 screens nationwide. Most theaters will show sneak previews twice, at about 7 and 9:30 p.m. . . . In conjunction with the launch of the Rolling Stones' Voodoo Lounge tour, cable's VH-1 will be renamed "Stones-TV" for one week starting Sunday. In addition to repeated airings of Stones videos and interviews with band members, the channel will broadcast classic Stones concert films at 7 p.m. each night. . . . The organizers of Woodstock '94, the Aug. 12-14 event featuring 30 acts including Aerosmith and Bob Dylan, have filed a $20-million lawsuit in New York charging the producers of Bethel '94, a smaller concert planned for the same dates at the original concert site, with stealing the show's name by holding a "faux" Woodstock concert. . . . Pop superstar Janet Jackson is donating proceeds from her two concerts at New York's Radio City Music Hall this week toward a special airlift of food and medical supplies to Rwandan refugees.