Despite its title, Ben Wicks’ Book of Losers is actually a winner. The initial printing of 15,000 copies has almost sold out and its 53-year-old author/cartoonist isn’t surprised because “the climate is right for losers.” He did not, however, anticipate personal loss this year, but quite unexpectedly the roof over his easel is being sold out from under him. For four years he has dutifully reported for work at a tiny, cluttered office in a large Victorian house on Toronto’s Jarvis Street, hard by the CBC radio building. Shortly after the book came out, a FOR SALE sign appeared on the office lawn and the $325,000 price tag was too much for even “one of the highest paid and most widely distributed cartoonists in the world.” Nonetheless, Wicks is not dis'couraged. He has been busily “piling up junk” and now contends that if a potential buyer gets a look at his nooks and crannies “the thing won’t sell for years.”
After a recent photo session with Pope John Paul II, Yousuf Karsh of
Ottawa revealed that one of his employees may be in line for a promotion. “His holiness called my assistant, ‘angel,’” beamed Karsh.
The film may be called Dirty Tricks but Elliot Gould gets to clean up his act in Kate Jackson’s bathtub as part of the romantic comedy-thriller action. Throughout the Montreal shooting, Gould has been keeping a high and happy profile—jogging around Mount
Royal in his maple-leaf T-shirt and tapdancing for crowds at the Montreal Film Festival. In the film he makes his way into Jackson’s bathtub after a runin with a couple of Kung Fu hoodlums who interrupt his quiet life as a history professor by murdering one of his students. After a relaxing rub-a-dub in which Gould shouts engaging witticisms to former Charlie’s Angel Jackson, he emerges from the bubbles only to find that she has run off in hot pur-
suit of his attackers, leaving him dripping mad.
While Winnipeg reeled from the excitement of having the film crew of Silence of the North invade Old Market Square last week, Toronto began gearing up for the onslaught of the crew that will be filming The Kidnapping of the President, which is based on Charles Templeton’s 1974 novel. In Winnipeg, more than 600 citizens were auditioned for roles as extras and about 200 landed a chance for mini-stardom at $48.50 a day. In Toronto, the crowd sequences call for 5,000 extras to mill about Nathan Phillips Square for three days, starting Oct. 27. But only 200 of the group will be paid. To lure freebie thespians into the square, a draw will be held every 20 minutes featuring prizes that range from a jar of popcorn to a weekend at a hotel. Two problems threaten the film schedule—rain and limited washroom facilities.
Some books begin with a good idea, some books begin with a good story, but according to Robert Ramsay The Goodbye Book began with the title and gradually expanded to 160 pages of famous and infamous exit lines. Ramsay and co-author Randall Toye spent two years scavenging library files, newspaper clippings and their personal memory banks to come up with the 700 conversation enders. One which didn’t make the book is entertainment publicist Ramsay’s most memorable adieu. “It was to Richard Burton, and my line was ‘Bye, Dick.’ But if I’d been thinking, it would have been ‘Bye, bye Burton.’ ” Incidentally, Ramsay himself hardly ever says goodbye. His favorite sign-off is “toodles.”
Lovable Gilda Radner claimed she would never go the way of John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, abandoning Saturday Night Live for the floodlights and Rolls-Royces of the film business. “Film doesn’t go fast enough for me,” she says. It takes someone such as hotshot Live Producer Lome Michaels to find a way to get Radner to do something so “slow.” So it is that Gilda Radner Live From New York will come to movie houses nationwide sometime next year. The film was made over a four-day run of Radner’s Broadway show when it played in Boston. Mike Nichols handled the direction and Canadians Rosie Shuster, Paul Shaffer and Anne Beatts helped work out a suitable script. Also joining Radner are her backup group Rouge and Canada’s Don Novello, aka Father Guido Sarducci. As Radner’s character, Roseanne Rosannadanna, would say,
“It just goes to show you, it’s always something.”
Warning. Richard Rohmer’s latest novel may be dangerous to cocktail glasses. “I always test titles out on people first. And there’s no doubt that at cocktail parties it’s a stopper,” says the author, whose previous titles include Separation, Ultimatum and Exxoneration. “When little old ladies ask me about my newest novel, I reply— ‘Balls! ’ ” Then Rohmer stands back to watch the glasses drop.
On the cover of his latest record album, country and western singer Waylon Jennings has a cigarette clenched in his mouth, and that was
enough to raise the ire of nonsmoking Ottawa writer Carol Ruel. “The gravel in my voice, that’s Texas sand,” joked Jennings at the annual Buddy Holly memorial concert last month in Lubbock, Texas. “I saw my opening. I lunged,” says Ruel, 35. “That’s the smoking—you’ve got to stop,” she told Jennings with clear-lunged indignation. “Honey,” growled Jennings, “I’d smoke a pickle if it wasn’t so soggy and hard to light.”
A little bit of Texas touched down in Edmonton last week bearing roses and six-guns. Six Texas Cowgirls, a group of renegade Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders who got tired of strutting their
stuff for $14.12 a game and now earn $300 a day each for work in abbreviated jump suits, were the week-long feature act at a new car dealership. The Cowgirls also showed off at a football game between the Edmonton Eskimos and the Montreal Alouettes, at which they performed for three minutes and presented Edmonton Mayor Cec Purves’ wife, Clare, with 75 yellow roses from Texas and handed over a letter from Mayor Robert Folsom of Dallas congratulating the Alberta capital on its 75th anniversary. Art Bredo, the car vendor who imported the Cowgirls, isn’t sure how well his $10,000-plus investment is going to pay off, but at week’s end he was convinced that “selling cars won’t be this exciting all the time.”
A refugee from the set of Michael Cimino’s film Heaven's Gate stumbled into the offices of Maclean's in Vancouver with tales of terror that make the Montana-set film sound more like Hell's Portal. The story is based on the turnof-the-century Johnson County wars which pitted cattlemen against immigrants in both family feuds and territorial battles. Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walkin and Isabelle Huppert star on different sides of the fence. The film is already four months behind schedule and $20 million over budget, which is enough of a producer’s nightmare. But according to the refugee, the film will create even more headaches for audiences because almost half of it has been shot in Lithuanian, Polish, German, Russian and French—and plans are to show it without subtitles. The only explanation: “He’s making a European movie.”
As any horticulturist knows, the best vegetable gardens are started in the early spring, but that didn’t stop Edgar Cere of Smith, Alberta, from growing a three-quarter-acre patch that wasn’t started until mid-July. The garden was required as part of the set of Silence of the North, starring Ellen Burstyn, Tom Skerritt and Gordon Pinsent. By the time the crew reached Smith, it was early September and Cere had been forced to cover the plot with plastic to prevent frost from destroying the vegies. The results of his labor will likely be one quick scene in the $8.4-million movie, but as his wife, Gemma, points out, “that garden fed us well.” In fact, Silence of the North produce found it’s way to Thanksgiving tables in Edmonton—and Gemma Cere is still handing out head lettuce to the neighbors.
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