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February 04, 1988|JACK JONES | From staff and wire reports

"Hound Dog" was a big favorite as several dozen hopefuls showed up at a Hollywood audition (in a church) for the part of the late Elvis Presley in a musical scheduled to open in Las Vegas July 1.

Only two or three of those who tried out Wednesday are going to be called back, said PR man Paul Wasserman. "The rest were off the wall . . . fringies." A few showed up in Elvis costumes, but Wasserman said most were smart enough to leave the outfits at home because the call was not for mere Elvis impersonators.

Rather, it was for actor-singers with "strong white gospel, R&B, rock 'n' roll" voices plus some dancing and guitar playing ability.

Most of which, of course, Elvis had.

Auditions will continue today (and possibly Friday) at the First United Methodist Church. There will also be tryouts in other cities. Wasserman said Pat Birch, the show's choreographer-director, will come here next week to look over the local call-backs.

NBC made it official Wednesday: The network doesn't intend to give Kerry Ketchem the $58,600 he won for being so smart on "Super Password." Ketchem, wanted as a fraud suspect in three states, wasn't smart enough to stay off television. The fact that he gave himself a phony name didn't fool a viewer in Anchorage, who told the cops.

After he was under arrest, Ketchem demanded his winnings, telling Mark Goodson Productions, the game show's producer, that although "I wasn't exactly who I said I was, I still won . . . on my own skills and merit."

That just didn't make it with NBC, which puts up the prize money for the show. The network declared that it is "committed to maintaining honesty and integrity" in its game shows. Ketchem, it pointed out, admitted making false statements and "therefore we have no choice but to enforce the contestant agreement under which Mr. Ketchem has forfeited any claim to his prize money. . . ."

Every writer knows the terror of staring at a blank page. Cristina Potter is one of them. The former word processor has been on her new job in the sales department of the Hyatt Hotel in the City of Commerce for a couple of weeks now. In that capacity, it is her responsibility to fill The Sign.

The Sign is seen by thousands of motorists tooling back and forth to work every day along the Santa Ana Freeway. It has been there for years, amusing and inspiring with epigrams and pithy thoughts. It even promotes some activity at the hotel now and then.

Ms. Potter has already posted such observations as:

Prioritize Your Priorities

Nothing Is Easy and Nothing Does Itself

With that said, she admitted Wednesday that creation isn't easy. So the sign read:

If you have a favorite line or phrase, call Cristina and we'll put it on our sign.

Within certain limits.

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