Getty Gets Photo Boost: The deep-pocketed J. Paul Getty Museum may be best known for its multimillion-dollar art purchases, but it's also an increasingly popular recipient of donations. The latest boost to the museum's collections is a cache of 319 photographs, received as gifts from three Los Angeles-based collectors. Musician and songwriter Graham Nash and his wife, Susan, have donated two Pictorialist works by Edward Steichen, a rare 1904 wedding picture of the artist and his wife, and a 1930 portrait of their grandchildren. Caldecot Chubb, president of Alphaville film production company and former publisher of William Eggleston's photography, has given the museum 119 color prints by Eggleston. A group of 198 prints by 32 U.S. and Latin American photographers came from Nancy Goliger Berman, an advertising executive at Paramount Pictures, and Bruce Berman, chairman and CEO of Village Roadshow Pictures. A large sampling of the Chubb gift will be featured in the Getty exhibition "William Eggleston and the Color Tradition," scheduled to open Oct. 26.
TV & MOVIES
Get in Line: Fearing interference by scalpers, 20th Century Fox has decided not to sell any advance tickets for George Lucas' "Star Wars" prequel "Episode I: The Phantom Menace," which opens in theaters May 19. "We understand and regret that waiting in line may cause some inconvenience, but we feel scalping or auctioning off of tickets would create a greater disservice to families and fans," studio executive Tom Sherak announced on the film's Web site (http:// www.starwars.com). "We believe the best way to make tickets available, to be fair to all of you, is on a same-day, first-come, first-serve basis for the first two weeks. Our biggest fear is that if we sell tickets in advance, scalping will take place and you and your families would either not be able to get tickets or would have to pay above face value." After the initial two weeks of release, Sherak said, "Phantom Menace" tickets will be sold in advance through companies such as MovieFone.
It's Court Time: Howdy Doody, the marionette who became a TV icon as "Buffalo Bob" Smith's sidekick on "The Howdy Doody Show," is at the center of a tug-of-war between a Detroit museum and the heirs of the Connecticut puppeteer, Rufus Rose, who brought him to life for millions of TV viewers from 1948 to 1960. Rose's children have hidden the grinning, freckled puppet in a safe deposit box somewhere in Connecticut while they try to fend off the Detroit Institute of Arts, which has produced documents showing Smith and Rose long ago agreed to add Howdy to the museum's extensive collection of puppets (Rose died in 1975 and Smith died last July). However, three months before his death, Smith--who provided Howdy's voice on the show, while Rose pulled the strings off camera--gave the puppet to Rose's family. Now, the museum is suing Rose's three sons and Smith's ailing widow, claiming that the marionette is "a national icon" that should be "used and enjoyed by the public." Meanwhile, it's unclear what the artifact is actually worth; another Howdy marionette used on the show fetched $23,000 at a 1995 Christie's auction.
Fox's "Futurama" blasted off with strong ratings Sunday, attracting an estimated 19 million viewers, outperforming both "The Simpsons" and "The X-Files." The animated show gets one more Sunday airing before moving to Tuesdays. . . . Fox has renewed "Cops" for a 12th season, with the series' 400th episode to air May 1. UPN has also renewed its comedy "Moesha," starring Brandy. . . . Jon Stewart, who took over as host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" in January, continues to boost the program. The show this month has averaged 541,000 nightly viewers, 12% higher than the program's previous best month (August 1998) and 45% higher than March 1998. . . . "High Art," starring Ally Sheedy, was named outstanding limited-release film and Showtime's "Armistead Maupin's More Tales of the City" won for best TV movie or miniseries at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's annual awards in New York Sunday night. Additional GLAAD awards will be presented in Los Angeles on April 19.