Preservation Boost: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has pledged $250,000 to the National Film Preservation Foundation to help preserve "orphan films" that have no studio affiliation. The grant--the academy's largest ever to an outside group--kicks off an industrywide fund-raising effort co-headed by, among others, director Martin Scorsese. The National Film Preservation Foundation was created by Congress last year to raise funds for film preservation activities and is the charitable arm of the National Film Preservation Board, which this week added 25 films to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.
Smith, Pinket Expecting: "Men in Black" star Will Smith, 29, and his girlfriend, actress Jada Pinket, 26, are expecting their first child this summer. Last week, the couple announced that they planned to marry before the end of the year. Smith has a 5-year-old son, Trey, from his previous marriage.
Cash Improving: The original man in black, singer Johnny Cash, was improving this week in a Nashville hospital, where he was described late Thursday as "responding well" to treatment for pneumonia. His condition was listed as "stable and improving." Cash, 65, contracted the pneumonia after disclosing last month that he suffers from Shy-Drager syndrome, related to Parkinson's disease.
On the Radio: Riverside-based country radio station KFRG-FM (95.1) will broadcast a 90-minute Garth Brooks radio special on Monday at 9 p.m. The special, broadcast nationwide from a New York studio, will feature live performances by Brooks to launch his new album, "Sevens," which arrives in stores Tuesday. Brooks will also take listener calls, but because the special airs tape-delayed here, West Coast audience members will not be able to participate. Meanwhile, rival country radio station KZLA-FM (93.9) will air the new Brooks album in its entirety on Monday at 8 p.m.
Who He Doesn't Love: Bluesman Bo Diddley has threatened to sue R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. for using what he says is his likeness in a magazine ad to which he did not grant permission. The ad contains a photograph of a guitarist that Diddley and his attorney say resembles the musician, alongside the caption "My blues are real, just like my smokes." "Our client considers any association of his celebrity with cigarette smoking--an activity that he does not condone--to be particularly distasteful and patently misleading," attorneys for Diddley, 68, wrote to the tobacco giant. But Reynolds said the "generic blues guitarist" isn't intended to look like Diddley. The company sued last week in federal court asking for a declaration barring Diddley from collecting any damages from the ads.
'Rent' Sales: The distribution of same-day $20 tickets for "Rent" at the Ahmanson Theatre changed as of Friday. Under the new system, lottery cards are available at 5:30 before evening performances and at noon before matinees. Daily drawings for the discounted tickets will be held at 6 p.m. for evening shows and at 12:30 p.m. for matinees. Tickets must be paid for in cash, with only one lottery card issued per person.
Looking Back in Time: An 1860 manuscript of Clement Clarke Moore's Christmas classic, "A Visit From St. Nicholas" (also known as " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas . . . "), will be on view today through Tuesday at Christie's in Beverly Hills. The manuscript, written in Moore's own hand, will be sold at Christie's New York auction house Dec. 5, when it is expected to fetch $200,000 to $250,000. Other items on view this weekend at Christie's holiday auction preview include one of only 16 surviving copies from the first commercial Christmas card, published for Henry Cole in 1843.
Clint Eastwood's wife, Dina Ruiz, will give up her television news career to become a full-time mom to the couple's 11-month-old daughter, Morgan, her television station announced Friday. Ruiz has been a reporter and a news anchorwoman for Salinas' KSBW for the last six years. . . . Speaking of Eastwood, Warner Bros. has acknowledged that it erred in the final credits of his new movie, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," by referring to author John Berendt's nonfiction book of the same name as a "novel." The studio called the misnomer "an oversight" and said the proper credit should read: "Based on the book by John Berendt." . . . A spokeswoman for Disney's theatrical division denied Friday a report in the New York Post that the first road company of "The Lion King" stage musical would open in Los Angeles in October. She said nothing had yet been determined about the L.A. production. . . . ABC has canceled its Saturday night series "C-16." The final episode will air Nov. 29. . . . Knuckleheads, the first in a series of memorabilia stores owned by "The Three Stooges' " heirs, opens today in the Glendale Galleria.