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INTO THE NIGHT / BILL HIGGINS

Feting Stuff That's Not Home Shopping

March 02, 1994|BILL HIGGINS

The Scene: Monday's opening reception at the Four Seasons for the New York-based Museum of Television & Radio's 11th festival. It's at the L.A. County Museum today through March 19. Shows ranging from "77 Sunset Strip" to "Roseanne" will be screened, then discussed with their creators.

Who Was There: Predominantly television producers and network execs. The 500 guests included MT&R President Robert Batscha, board chairman Frank Bennack, Annie Potts, Red Buttons, Marvin and Barbara Davis, Sid Caesar, Howard Hesseman, Grant Tinker, Carroll O'Connor, Alan Alda, David Kelley, Steven Bochco and Peter Bogdanovich. "If a bomb went off in this room," said "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening, "all we'd have left is the home shopping network."

Quoted: Producer Diane English on the museum: "To me, it's a time capsule in a big building in New York. If you watch anything from 'The Honeymooners' to 'Murphy Brown' to 'NYPD Blue,' it gives you an idea of who we were at that point in history."

Also Quoted: "I have taken an oath of celibacy regarding television," said Peter Bergman of radio's legendary Firesign Theater. "I watch only the occasional natural disaster. I'm sure I've missed some good things, but no one has told me about them."

Chow: The MT&R travels first class. There were chefs sauteing mushrooms with sun-dried tomatoes, steak and chicken fajitas, and carved turkeys. "For a nonprofit, this is a pretty good spread," observed Norman Lear.

Pastimes: There were monitors playing great moments in television (one guest noted that every time he looked, someone was being assassinated), an eight-minute tape of 30-second bites from each festival show, and the announcement that the MT&R will open a Richard Meier-designed branch in Beverly Hills.

A Succinct Distillation of Why Almost Everyone Goes to Hollywood Parties: "I'm 50," said actor Max Gail. "I've got four kids. I see braces coming. I see college coming. I figure I better do some networking."

What to Watch for at the Festival: LACMA's budget-strapped staff pressing their noses against the windows like Dickensian urchins as they wonder why in the world they didn't become curators for couch potatoes.

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