Planet Hollywood's landing in Beverly Hills on Sunday night was sort of a cross between a TV awards show and a county fair. "It's like the Macy's Day parade," squealed Roseanne, offering yet another view of the opening festivities involving three blocks of Rodeo Drive (carpeted, no less) and what looked like the tranquil city's entire police force to control crowds.
Another comment from the multitudes: "This is the zoo of zoos. Is there anyone they omitted inviting?"
Actually, the leopard-carpeted, high-concept, burger-and-organic-lettuce eatery (OK, there's also rotisserie chicken, turkey meatloaf and lots more on the menu) wasn't exactly part of the party. Of the 2,000 party-goers, only 400 VIPs were invited inside to view the restaurant and its walls, thick with movie memorabilia, including garments from "Gone With the Wind," "Star Wars" and "Forrest Gump."
Inside, basketball star Shaquille O'Neal was bumping into Fabio. Action heroes Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal were making nice, and Tori Spelling made a grand entrance with her mom and dad, Candy and Aaron. Then there were Tim Allen, Oprah Winfrey, Cindy Crawford, Danny Glover, Rod Stewart, Wayne Gretzky, Brooke Shields, Charlie Sheen, George Clooney, Wilt Chamberlain, Alice Cooper, Tony Danza and just about every producer, agent and lawyer in town. "Looks to me like a glamorous group of people," offered the country's first Peace Corps director and former ambassador to France, Sargent Shriver, who was part of the crush. (Maria, Eunice and Bobby Shriver were there too.) Shriver, of course, is Arnold Schwarzenegger's father-in-law and Arnold is one of the partners in the restaurant. PH's other well-known partners were also present and accounted for--Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, who had borrowed an item from a mannequin for the evening, a seductive black satin gown worn by Rita Hayworth in "Gilda."
Willis said it was hard to believe this was the 28th Planet Hollywood to open around the world. "No one knew. You ask any of my partners and they'll tell you the same thing. Nobody knew it would be this big."
Back outside, the stars joined the rest of the group for dinner, a spread of delicacies, catered by Ambrosia that included 70 pounds of Malossol caviar, soft shell crab tempura, roast sea bass and risotto.
"I have 150 valets, I have 150 security and I have the whole Beverly Hills police force," said Planet Hollywood President Robert Earl, adding: "And Elton John has never played on a street before."
Indeed, John performed on the street stage that had to be disassembled by 7 a.m. Monday. In exchange, his AIDS Foundation received a $100,000 donation from the Planet Hollywood chain plus a matching $50,000 from Permanent Charities of the Entertainment Industries.
Chuck Berry and Bruce Willis and his band, the Accelerators, followed. If that wasn't enough excitement, Roseanne announced she would be co-producing a new, hip version of "Hollywood Squares" called "Planet Hollywood Squares."
A Planet Like Nowhere on Earth