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Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press.

January 09, 1998|SHAUNA SNOW


UCLA Legacy: The late dancer-actor Ray Bolger's estate has donated $2.5 million to UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television to establish a musical theater program next fall. Planned as a three-year curriculum offering intensive training in acting, voice, dance, singing and theater history, the Ray Bolger Program in Musical Theater will be the only offering of its kind on the West Coast, according to Gilbert Cates, dean of the School of Theater, Film and Television. "We have always been enthusiastic about developing a top-ranked musical theater program . . . but financial constraints have stood in the way," Cates said. "This generous gift allows a dream to become a reality." Bolger, best known for playing the Scarecrow in the 1939 movie classic "The Wizard of Oz," began his career on a Boston stage in 1922 and received his first big break in 1936 when he starred on Broadway in Rodgers and Hart's "On Your Toes." He died in 1987 at age 83.


Hampton Goes to Court: Jazz great Lionel Hampton, 89, filed a $10-million lawsuit Thursday against three firms that distributed and sold what the musician said was a defective halogen lamp that caused a fire in his New York apartment and destroyed all his possessions. The Manhattan Supreme Court suit accuses the companies of negligence, product liability and breach of warranty. The suit alleges that on Jan. 7, 1997, a Hunter Fan Co. lamp tipped over onto Hampton's bed "as a result of its own instability," igniting the bedding and setting off a five-alarm blaze. The lamp manufacturer could not be reached for immediate comment.


Anchor Animosity?: NBC's "Saturday Night Live" gets a new "Weekend Update" anchor this week, when Colin Quinn takes over from Norm Macdonald, who has read the show's news segments for nearly four years. Macdonald, who will continue to do comedy sketches on "SNL," appeared on CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" on Wednesday--just after NBC announced his "Weekend Update" replacement--saying that NBC West Coast President Don Ohlmeyer had fired him from "Weekend Update." Letterman, who began his talk show on NBC before switching to CBS, proceeded to berate Ohlmeyer, calling him such names as "dope" and "idiot." NBC declined comment Thursday.

Sununu to Cease 'Crossfire': Less than a week after liberal commentator Geraldine Ferraro announced that she was leaving CNN's "Crossfire" to run for the U.S. Senate, the cable network said Thursday that conservative John Sununu is also departing. Sununu, who told a local New Hampshire paper that he wants to spend more time with his family and his consulting business, will leave at the end of the month, CNN said. Robert Novak will replace Sununu, but an heir to Ferraro's seat has not been named.

Bird, Plane? No, It's Jerry!: Though he's not leaving his "Seinfeld" pals until the end of the season, Jerry Seinfeld already has a new co-star: Superman. The comedian--a longtime fan of the Man of Steel--has teamed with the animated superhero on a new American Express TV ad that debuts Sunday during the NFL Playoffs. American Express and DC Comics said that it was Seinfeld himself who came up with the commercial's concept, in which Seinfeld's charge card saves the day for Superman and Lois Lane.


Dylan 101: A Jan. 17 Stanford University conference will focus on rocker Bob Dylan's legacy in American culture. Authors, professors and Dylan experts are scheduled to attend the event, but Dylan himself--who is slated to perform in New York that day--is not expected. Among the topics will be an analysis of political views in Dylan's songs, Allen Ginsberg's artistic involvement with Dylan, the musical roots of Dylan's songs and a comparison to Beat novelist Jack Kerouac. Dylan, 56, was nominated Tuesday for three Grammy Awards for his latest album, "Time Out of Mind."


KLSX Changes: Chicago radio personality Jonathon Brandmeier is moving his award-winning "Brandmeier Radio Showgram" to Los Angeles, where he will begin airing Jan. 19 on KLSX-FM (97.1) in the noon to 3 p.m. slot following Howard Stern. Tracy Miller, part of the team now heard in the time period being taken over by Brandmeier, will become part of Brandmeier's show, while her current partners, Tim Conway Jr. and Doug Steckler, will move to the 7-10 p.m. slot now occupied by Chuck "Nastyman" Naste, who slides into the 10 p.m.-1 a.m. time period. Scott Ferrall, whose sports talk show currently airs from 10 p.m.-1 a.m., will leave the station. Brandmeier is a three-time winner of Billboard magazine's Air Personality of the Year award.


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