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This Star Won't End Up in the Tabs


The Scene: Sunday's premiere of Universal Pictures' and the Bubble Factory's "Flipper" at the Cineplex Odeon at CityWalk. Paul Hogan, one of the few actors in Hollywood confident that his co-star is an intelligent mammal, praised dolphins as "the only creatures, aside from dogs, that like humans. There's a lot of other ones who like us, but for lunch."

The Party: Guests were taken by tram to Universal's Falls Lake area where a sloping lawn was filled by Ambrosia with 12 buffets offering Caribbean grilled chicken, pizza and hamburgers (in a nod to the film's star, it was a fish-free zone). There were boat and pony rides, a petting zoo, arts and crafts, face painting, carnival games and an eight-piece steel drum band. One woman described the affair as "the mother of all school carnivals."

Who Was There: The film's co-stars, Paul Hogan, Elijah Wood and Chelsea Field; writer-director Alan Shapiro, producer Perry Katz; benefit co-chairwomen Lezlie Johnson and Lorraine Sheinberg; plus 1,500 guests including Kevin Costner, Christine Lahti, Graham Nash, Alfre Woodard, Ron Perlman and Patricia Duff, Fred Rosen, Al Ruddy, Nancy Davis, Paula Poundstone, Norman Lear, Sid Sheinberg, Mark Johnson and studio execs Ron Meyer, Casey Silver and Hal Lieberman.

Quoted: "This movie had water--above and below--children, animals, and the worst hurricane season of the century in the Bahamas," said writer-director Shapiro. "In an almost masochistic way, I got into it. Because as a film school nerd, one of the things I idealized was the mythology of Spielberg and the making of 'Jaws.' So when things got really bad, I thought 'Cool!' "

Money Matters: Tickets went from $100 to $500 and almost $300,000 was netted for the Westside Children's Center. "This is survival money for us," said Sheinberg. "It allows us to provide services for thousands of children and their families."

Overheard: "My 15-year-old wouldn't come. Fifteen-year-olds want " 'Natural Born Killers.' "

The Scary Part for Kids: When the shark attacks.

The Scary Part for Adults: They'll be hearing the cloying theme song ("Flipper, Flipper . . . under the se-e-e-e-a") about a million times this summer.

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