Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation’s press.
For His Consideration: Will whoever played the worst kind of Scrooge in Rome on Christmas Day please return the Oscar to the 84-year-old man it belongs to? The person asking is the wife of Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, who is appealing to thieves to have a heart. Burglars stole an Oscar and other awards (Cannes and Venice film festival prizes) from Antonioni’s Rome apartment while he was in Venice for the holiday. Said his wife, Enrica Fico, in a statement to the Daily La Republica: “I would like to make an appeal to the thieves: Give back to Michelangelo the history of his life.” Antonioni was awarded the Oscar in 1995 for career achievement. Perhaps best known for his 1966 film “Blow Up,” Antonioni, a stroke survivor, returned to filmmaking last year after a 14-year break to co-direct “Beyond the Clouds” with German director Wim Wenders.
Wahl and the Law: Actor Ken Wahl managed to get notices the last weekend of 1996 for a non-acting role and will start the new year planning for a court date on charges he made “terroristic threats.” A Jan. 23 hearing was set Monday for Wahl to appear in West Los Angeles Municipal Court, according to LAPD Officer Yvette Bass. Wahl posted $150,000 bail early Sunday after police detained him about 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Beverly Hills Plaza hotel, where a bartender alleges Wahl, who was wearing a neck brace, pulled a six-inch hunting knife on him after being refused another drink. The 43-year-old star of “Wiseguy,” a late-1980s crime-drama series, was accused of being belligerent and intoxicated in the hotel and was taken to the Van Nuys police station and charged. Wahl has said he used to drink straight vodka to ease pain from a motorcycle accident more than three years ago. “I don’t like the fact that I drink to kill the pain,” he told a magazine reporter in April. “I’m trading my liver for my neck.” Wahl was given six months of probation in May after pleading no contest to disturbing the peace; a neighbor accused him of failing to turn down loud music. He also received probation for a drunken driving charge.
Everybody Doesn’t Love a Parade: No one complained to KTTV Channel 11 when it was the only local station to black out the Tournament of Roses Parade last year, so don’t expect to see Pasadena’s rites of floral passage on the station Wednesday. KTTV, which until last year televised the parade every year since 1949, is going to sit out the floats once again, a station spokeswoman said Monday. While five other stations air the parade beginning at 8 a.m., KTTV will air its regular lineup, including “I Love Lucy” repeats. “We kind of braced ourselves for an onslaught of calls, and they never came,” said the spokeswoman, referring to the 1996 no-show that at the time was a decision based on the station’s moving headquarters out of Hollywood. “The message we got from viewers is that they have many choices for the parade.” Indeed, CBS, NBC, ABC, KTLA Channel 5 (which airs repeats during the day) and KMEX are covering the parade. Over the years, KTTV had failed to dent KTLA’s parade ratings dominance; last year KTLA attracted a record 55% of the available audience--more than the four competing outlets combined. This year even cable networks are getting in on the live continuous coverage act.
Pet Peeves: The second annual “Foe-Paw” awards were announced Monday, throwing darts at the media for a slew of messages perceived as anti-animal in 1996. The Ark Trust Inc. board of watchdogs cited the death of a police dog “for cheap laughs” in the ABC sitcom “Spin City,” in addition to a “Cosby” episode on CBS in which a pet turtle was charred when the series family burned leaves in the backyard. In NBC’s “Boston Common,” the “rescuing” of a live turkey on Thanksgiving resulted in “tasteless jokes” when the turkey died after eating homemade cranberry sauce. An award went to “The World’s Most Dangerous Animals I and II” on CBS for using “stereotypical shock value to engender fear and loathing of powerful animals.” Ditto “When Animals Attack” on Fox.
Year of the Talk: Look, there’s Rosie O’Donnell as Entertainer of the Year on the new Entertainment Weekly cover. Wait, there’s Oprah Winfrey as Performer of the Year on the latest TV Guide. It was a banner year for freshman talk-show host O’Donnell, but the guide’s staff rated veteran Winfrey the queen. Right behind her in top television performances are John Lithgow of “3rd Rock From the Sun”; O’Donnell, third; and Andre Braugher of “Homicide,” fourth. “3rd Rock” was named the best show.
Lassie’s Mouse Pad: Remember the baby boomers’ Lassie who used her God-given smarts for heroic deeds like rescuing kittens from a burning barn or saving a feeble beagle from drowning in a pond? Well, it’s almost 1997 and, retro trends aside, get ready for an Internet-friendly collie. Discovery Networks is updating the classic series “Lassie” for its new cable channel, Animal Planet. The 26-episode series, which debuts on March 2, will have Lassie’s boy owner Timmy (some things don’t change) surging the Internet, roller-blading and hanging out at the local coffeehouse. The Animal Planet already airs the original “Lassie” series as well as its later incarnations, “Jeff’s Collie” and “Timmy and Lassie.”
Last year Elton John and Katey Sagal showed up, so who knows who will make the scene of the annual AA New Year’s Convention today in Redondo Beach? The marathon of support gets underway at noon at the Crown Plaza Hotel, and includes a poolside afternoon party and evening banquet/dance. Cost: $15-$20. Information: (213) 936-4343. . . . Two living screen legends will share the stage on Jan. 11 when Gregory Peck presents Lauren Bacall with a lifetime achievement award at the 8th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival. The choice of Peck was announced Monday, along with a lineup of presenters that includes Holly Hunter, Stefanie Powers and Alan Arkin; Donald O’Connor will host. . . . If you’re making a New Year’s desert trek and are a film buff, take note: A grand reopening of the Old Tucson Studios in Tucson is scheduled Thursday morning.