Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation’s press.
And Baby Makes Three: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are the parents of a baby boy, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, born Wednesday in Los Angeles. The actors, who announced the birth on Friday, were married New Year’s Eve in Baltimore. Will Smith also has a 5-year-old son, Trey, from his previous marriage.
Back on the (TV) Bench: Former “People’s Court” judge Joseph Wapner is returning to the realm of televised legal proceedings with “Judge Wapner’s Animal Court,” a new weekday series set to premiere this fall on cable’s Animal Planet. The network says the series’ animal-related cases--such as veterinary malpractice, grooming disasters and paternity disputes--will “raise novel legal issues and engender a passion that only beloved pets can inspire.” Wapner will be joined by his former “People’s Court” sidekick, Rusty Burrell (a.k.a. Rusty the Bailiff).
Three Days in the Garden: A third day of performances has been added to “A Day in the Garden,” the August concerts at the original Bethel, N.Y., site of Woodstock, marking the first large-scale shows there since the landmark 1969 event. Unlike the more established performers previously announced for Aug. 14 and 15 (including Joni Mitchell, Don Henley, Stevie Nicks and Richie Havens), the Aug. 16 show will feature relative newcomers Third Eye Blind, Joan Osborne, Marcy Playground, Dishwalla and the Goo Goo Dolls.
Wachtel, Wife Arrested: Veteran guitarist Robert “Waddy” Wachtel and his wife, Annie, were arrested on suspicion of possession of child pornography following a police raid Thursday of their Los Angeles home. “We found that he had a computer with child pornography,” said a detective with the juvenile sex crimes unit. He said Wachtel had produced copies of the images “that he kept in his bedroom. His wife was aware of this material.” Wachtel, 52, has worked with Linda Ronstadt, Fleetwood Mac, Warren Zevon and others. The couple’s arraignment was set for July 23.
‘Air Bud’s’ Owner Sues Disney: The owner of the basketball-playing pooch from the movie “Air Bud” has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Disney and another production company, alleging that they owe him about $3.5 million. Kevin DiCicco, who taught his late golden retriever Buddy to use his snout to knock balls through a hoop, claims that under a 1996 contract, Disney and Keystone Film Productions agreed to pay him 10% of “Air Bud’s” profits plus 0.5% on gross profits from the movie’s merchandising and commercial tie-ins. DiCicco’s suit alleges, however, that the companies then “knowingly and willfully conspired . . . to violate the license and . . . fraudulently induce DiCicco to waive his reserved rights.” In the process, DiCicco says he unknowingly signed away a fortune. Spokespersons for Disney and Keystone declined to comment on the pending litigation.
Courtroom Briefs: A Minneapolis judge has set an Aug. 31 trial date for Children’s Broadcasting Corp.'s breach of contract suit against ABC Radio and the Walt Disney Co. Children’s Broadcasting claims that ABC Radio failed to honor what was supposed to be a strategic alliance between the two broadcasters and then used information gleaned from the partnership to launch its own children’s service, Radio Disney. . . . A New York judge has awarded $2.7 million in damages to a fan who took a beating defending a 5-year-old girl at a Hammer concert eight years ago. Hodges Michael Sneed, 37, said he was beaten by the singer-rapper’s security guards when he confronted one of the guards for shoving the girl to the floor during a concert in Syracuse. Hammer, who never responded to the court’s requests in conjunction with the suit, filed for bankruptcy two years ago.
Cable’s A&E; is putting together a four-hour edition of its “Biography” series focusing on the Rat Pack--Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. It will air later this year. . . . The Sci-Fi Channel will premiere “Farscape,” a space adventure billed as basic cable’s “most ambitious series to date,” in January. The series features an astronaut who enters an alien galaxy; the show’s otherworldly creatures will come from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. . . . “Doonesbury” creator Garry Trudeau is hoping to get into the prime time TV business with “Killer App,” an hourlong Fox series pilot about a start-up software company in the Silicon Valley, to be directed and executive-produced by filmmaker Robert Altman. . . . Former “Melrose Place” star Laura Leighton is joining the cast of Aaron Spelling’s other nighttime soap, “Beverly Hills, 90210" in the fall, playing a “morally challenged girl.” Meanwhile, “90210" star Jason Priestly, while retaining his executive producer credits on the show, is expected to appear in only four episodes next season. . . . Talk-show host Rosie O’Donnell will be a guest on TV’s newest chat-fest, “The Howie Mandel Show,” on Tuesday. . . . Asian martial arts expert Jet Li, who stars in “Lethal Weapon 4,” will chat online Monday at 5 p.m. (at https://www.etonline.com). . . . CBS’ Friday night series “Kids Say the Darndest Things” will hold tryouts at the Orange County Fair this weekend and next weekend for children interested in being on the program. Call (213) 520-KIDS for an appointment.