TARANTINO ADD: What made Quentin Tarantino go gonzo on Don Murphy? Well, Murphy's producing partner is Jane Hamsher--the author of Killer Instinct, a book about the making of Natural Born Killers that was critical of the screenwriter. Murphy says he knew Hamsher "struck a nerve," but he was still surprised when QT tried to KO him.
ROCK ON: Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, the Mamas and Papa, Santana, Lloyd Price and Gene Vincent are the newest batch of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, officials announced today. Billy Joel, who reportedly was chosen, did not make the final cut. Jelly Roll Morton and Allen Toussaint go in as influences.
DOWNEY DISHES: Sobriety-challenged actor Robert Downey Jr. tells the December issue of Playboy he doesn't know if "you're ever reformed." The candid interview was conducted before it was revealed the onetime Oscar nominee fell off the wagon last month.
MUNCHKIN MOURNS: The wife of Meinhardt Raabe--who played the Munchkin coronor in The Wizard of Oz--has died of injuries suffered in a car wreck Tuesday. Actor Raabe, 82, remains hospitalized in stable condition.
GETTED ICED: The 36-year-old actress wife of hockey great Wayne Gretzky was released from the hospital today--after being knocked cold Wednesday night by a 30-pound sheet of Plexiglas at a game between her husband's New York Rangers and the Chicago Blackhawks. The pane fell on Janet Jones Gretzky (American Anthem) and another woman spectator after two players collided at the rink barrier. Mrs. Gretzky was treated for a mild concussion.
FATHERS KNOW BEST? ABC bought full-page ads in today's New York Times and Los Angeles Times, supporting its besieged and low-rated Thursday night drama series, Nothing Sacred. The ads feature quotes from Catholic leaders who actually like the controversial show about an unconventional priest.
MORBID CURIOSITY? Record buyers are snapping up John Denver music in the wake of the singer's death October 12. Four collections by the Rocky Mountain High troubadour moved onto the nation's top 200 album chart, for the week ended October 19. His domination on the country charts was even greater, where 10 of his albums were among the week's biggest 75 sellers.
NAKED TRUTH: The Full Monty, the comedy about an unlikely band of male strippers, is about to become Britain's biggest home-grown box-office hit ever. It's grossed $45 million so far, putting it on a pace to best the $47 million posted by current champ, Four Weddings and a Funeral.
GERE-ING UP: Actor Richard Gere is planning a Washington, D.C., protest next week to coincide with the state visit of Chinese president Jiang Zemin. Gere's a Tibetan supporter from way back. His new movie, Red Corner, is also critical of China.
GOING HOME: Apocalypse Now star Martin Sheen will make like MacArthur and return to the Philippines next month. The activist actor will tour slum areas in the island nation where Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam War epoch was filmed. And filmed. And filmed.
ACED IT: HBO dominated the techie portion of the CableACE Awards, winning 11 trophies in ceremonies in Los Angeles on Wednesday. TNT was the runner-up network with four. More Aces still to come, with more ceremonies planned for November 14-15.
MAKING MAGIC: NBC will produce an all-star, four-hour miniseries about Merlin the magician, to air during next May's sweeps. Sam Neill, Isabella Rossellini and Martin Short are some of the big names involved. For all the casting news, see The Dotted Line.
SPINNING TOP: ABC sitcom Over the Top wasn't all that in its Tuesday premiere. The comedy, one of the last new fall shows to bow, ran third in its 8:30 p.m. time slot, finding even a Cleveland-Florida World Series tough competition.
NO KIDDING: Jim Carrey's Liar, Liar fibbed its way to No. 1 again on the video rental charts for the week ended October 19. For all the industry stats, see By The Numbers.
FAIR WARNING: Tony Orlando and Wayne Newton are joining forces. The two performers plan to open a theater next April in Branson, Missouri, along that city's has-been row. The palace will be called TOWN--a combo of their initials. Cute.
FIRED UP: MTV Networks has canned the guy in charge of its classic TV channels, Nick at Nite and TV Land. The ax was lowered when higher-ups found out Rich Cronin was setting up a deal with a competing network.
PRINT RUN: Read all about it: Newsweek is getting into the TV biz. The newsmagazine is setting up a production company. Its first project: Taking over the current PBS show, HealthWeek.