What Tom Hanks and Mr. Rogers have in common

Tom Hanks is playing Fred Rogers in the coming film “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”

“I hope they show how funny Fred was. Really funny,” said the producer of another Rogers’ film “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” the Oscar-buzzed documentary on Rogers.

Hanks knows from funny. He also knows that this onetime TV superstar he’ll be playing is a person who saved PBS. Back when Rogers testified before Congress, it was this man who got them the money they needed to survive.

To help one another, before this new full-length film wrapped, the documentarians sent their footage over for Hanks’ look-see. A Rogers T-shirt was sent to Oscar voters.

Rogers was fun.

Acing the test of time

At it since 1963. Born May 20, 1946. Cher, 72, is running hot.

In 1976, book writer James Fragale worked with columnist Liz Smith. Their then Daily News editor said: “Got any Cher photo? Send the thing over.”

Her gambler dad split early on. A dropout at 16. Frightened of dentistry. In ’09, she lowered the price of her Malibu mansion, which she still owns. Her tutu has a tattoo. And she’s said: “I grew up poor. I can’t shake the feeling.”

A lifetime later Cherilyn Sarkisian’s hitting magazines, headlines, Kennedy Center honors. “The Cher Show” selling out. Now earning as much as she always believed Sonny pocketed. The wheel turns.

Back to acting biz

Neil (“The Odd Couple”/“Barefoot in the Park”) Simon’s former wife Marsha Mason once sidelined acting to take a shot at directing. Neil passed away in August. In February, I’m told Marsha will open as an actress in off-Broadway’s City Center play “Nassim.” The wheel turns.

A whiff of hypocrisy

The Producers Guild Awards — “safeguarding careers of 8,000 film, TV, new media producers . . . enforcing laws . . . creating fair, impartial standards” — celebrates such names as Ben Stiller, Spike Lee, and proudly omit Kevin Hart and Harvey Weinstein.

Also Donna Gigliotti will award fellow “Silver Linings Playbook” producer Bruce Cohen with something. However, they said Donna (producer of February’s coming Academy Awards) “will not be available” for interviews. Oscars. Nobody cares to emcee it.

Viewership is beneath Kohler’s bathroom facilities. It doesn’t know diversity from borscht. Its president John Bailey was accused of some sexual-harassment allegations (although the academy dismissed the claim). It raps #MeToo bad boys, but honors Roman Polanski’s Best Director Award from ’03 (although they banned him in May). And forget two years ago when we witnessed Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway’s “La La Land” lulu. When will this wheel turn?

Celebrating the Good Book

Amid our planet’s demonstrations, politicians and aggravations, comes now Washington, DC’s $500 million Museum of the Bible. Opened 2017, it’s from old Hebrew days to the New Testament.

In May, it’ll host the Bible’s impact throughout US history. At an event this year, social-justice activists in its rooftop 630-seat ballroom will look back and address how we move forward.

Lotsa luck . . . let there be light.

Madison Avenue cab. Wrapped package left on the seat. TV’s “Hot Bench” Judge Patricia DiMango asked would the driver recognize his last passenger? He said, “Yeah. Old, like you.”

A return to where he left the previous passenger. A blonde — similar look and age to DiMango — cried: “It was me!” Happily ran out, tipped the cabby and thanked the former NY State Supreme Court judge.

Only in New York, kids, only in New York.

Source: Read Full Article