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Premiere--A Coming Attraction on Hollywood

May 29, 1987|BILL STEIGERWALD

Hurray for Hollywood. Premiere, media mogul Rupert Murdoch's latest magazine fling, is coming soon to a newsstand near you. Movies--the films, the stars, the business, the art, the ins, the outs--are what Premiere is all about.

Editor Susan Lyne says Premiere will transcend the usual star stuff to show how the movie industry really works--in well-reported stories and with lots of Life-size photos. The hip but not overly slick magazine--a bimonthly that goes monthly in December--looks like a gussied up Rolling Stone and reads like it, too.

Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks in their "Dragnet" duds copped the debut cover. Inside are features on Kevin Kostner (Eliot Ness of Brian De Palma's "Untouchables" remake) and "Beverly Hills Cop II" producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson. Plus a behind-the-scenes photo spread on the "gentle, playful, authoritative Woody Allen we've never met before."

There's trivia (number of violent acts in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" per hour: 108) and short items like "The Book on Hollywood," a quickie history of recent books bought by Hollywood.

Among the riches: previews of summer movies, video reviews, filmographies, thumbnail bios of "people you should know," a column by New York magazine film critic David Denby, a business column, a film-scoring column by Donald Fagen of Steely Dan and even eight baseball-like movie cards.

Enquiring Minds

Not too surprisingly, National Enquirer editor and president Iain Calder says his shocking little package on ex-presidential candidate Gary Hart and his "secret girlfriend" Donna Rice this week is the tabloid's biggest story in years.

Calder, who says he's thinking in terms of sales when he says "biggest," has heard reports of people buying three or four copies to save as possible collector's items. The Enquirer spread included exclusive photos of Rice on Hart's lap and copious quotes from an unnamed "close friend" of Rice who said Rice told her that Hart was going to "marry her and make her First Lady" and that "When Gary has a few beers, he becomes a wild and crazy guy. . . ."

The press run for the 4.5-million circulation tabloid was boosted well into the 5-million range in anticipation of hot sales, says Calder. He continues to decline to divulge who the inside sources are, how much the Enquirer paid for the photos or where they came from. He does say, however, that it was a "tough, tough investigative reporting job" that took a lot of persistence, luck and intensive digging that involved as many as 12 reporters and editors. Says Calder: "We're really good at covering stuff other people don't want to know."

Bits and Pieces

Life magazine offers an oddly idolatrous but timely pictorial that inventories the not-always-so-humble homes and financial status of such TV evangelists as Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Falwell and the troubled Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, who are having as much trouble keeping their faces out of media as Gary Hart. . . . Catching rays, according to one of Self's 11 "shocking sun statistics," is also a good way to catch wrinkles: 99% are caused by the sun, only 1% by aging. . . .

The mystery of how the Mayans used savvy management of the tropical forest to feed their huge population is revealed in Discover, which Time Inc. has just sold to Family Media. It seems the Mayans--whose population density in about A.D. 800 was five or six times the current U.S. rate of 65.8 per square mile--did not use slash-and-burn techniques as once thought. They built raised fields on swampland that were highly productive--an ecologically sound farming practice that Discover says their modern ancestors "would do well to emulate."

In the May-June Futurist, veteran New York University dean Herbert I. London pulls few punches in predicting that the university as we know it cannot survive long. Among the reasons cited: high tuition costs that are pricing higher education beyond the middle-class market; the "birth dearth" that means by the year 2000 there won't be enough adolescents to sustain the current number of colleges; public disenchantment with increased politicization; and, most significantly, "the university's loss of legitimacy"--caused by lowered standards that often make a degree next to meaningless, unchallenging curriculums, uninspired professors, the decline of liberal arts and the rise of career programs. . . .

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