Quick Takes: Dr. Demento to be Web only
After nearly 40 years of broadcasting catchy little tunes celebrating everything from dogs getting run over by lawnmowers to cockroaches devouring entire cities, Dr. Demento is discontinuing his syndicated radio show.
By summer’s end, the good doctor’s hyper-enthusiastic voice will be heard only on the Internet as it introduces oddball classics such as “There’s a Fungus Among Us,” “Fish Heads” and “Dead Puppies.”
For decades, Demento — who in a parallel life is Barret Hansen, 69 — has been a Sunday-night fixture on radio stations across the country, keeping alive the music of political satirists like Tom Lehrer (“The Vatican Rag”) while making a star of “Weird Al” Yankovic, whose first hit, “My Bologna,” had its debut on the doctor’s show. But his station lineup has dwindled to fewer than a dozen.
“With the increasingly narrow casting, as they call it, of radio where stations will pick one relatively restricted format and stick with it 24 hours a day, especially in the music area, my show just got perhaps a little too odd of a duck to fit in,” he said.
Starz puts an end to ‘Party’
Even the best parties need to end sometime. After two seasons, Starz has pulled the plug on “Party Down.”
The offbeat half-hour comedy about a group of wannabe Hollywood actors and writers working at a small-time catering company in the midst of waiting for their big break, which counted “Veronica Mars” creator Rob Thomas and Paul Rudd among its executive producers, developed a cult following in its run. But ratings for the show, a favorite among critics, had been lackluster.
Starz also canceled newbie “Gravity,” a dramedy about a group of suicide survivors.
Jailed Lil Wayne sentenced again
Rapper Lil Wayne, already serving one year in a New York jail for a gun-related crime, was sentenced Wednesday to three years’ probation in Arizona on a drug possession charge.
Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., was spared time in an Arizona jail under a plea deal stemming from his January 2008 arrest at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in the state.
Under the deal, the 30-year-old Grammy winner pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a dangerous drug. Three other drug and weapon charges were dismissed.
Carter will begin his Arizona probation after his New York sentence, his attorney said.
Havel play turning into film
Former Czech President Vaclav Havel, who helped topple communism in Eastern Europe, will begin shooting his first movie this week, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.
The film is based on “Leaving,” his first play in 20 years, about a national leader leaving politics after many years in power. It opened in the capital of Prague two years ago.
The 73-year-old former dissident playwright said the play drew on the experiences of his tumultuous life but insisted it was not autobiographical.
Havel’s wife, Dagmar, will play the leading female role. Havel has said that he wrote the play for her.
The movie is scheduled to open in March.
Duchovny heads to N.Y. stage
David Duchovny is set to swap the profane, West Coast world of Showtime’s “Californication” for the equally profane and obscene universe of playwright Neil LaBute in New York.
The former “X-Files” star will play the lead role in LaBute’s new play “The Break of Noon,” which is set to open at the off-Broadway Lucille Lortel Theatre in New York in October.
The drama is a co-production with New York’s MCC Theatre and L.A.'s Geffen Playhouse, and it is set to open at the Westwood venue in February, but Duchovny hasn’t been confirmed for the West Coast cast.
Harryhausen items to England
The special-effects maestro behind the army of skeletons in “Jason and the Argonauts” and the terrifying Medusa in “Clash of the Titans” has handed over his collection to a British museum.
Ray Harryhausen, 90, who perfected the art of stop-motion animation from the 1950s to the 1980s, said he was “pleased and honored” that the National Media Museum in northern England would take over managing his archive.
Screen to stage: The hit 2003 movie “Elf,” starring Will Ferrell, will be making a holiday visit to the New York stage, transformed into a new Broadway musical by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures and Unique Features. It will run Nov. 10-Jan. 2.