I’m told that Jerry Seinfeld's documentary, Comedians, was not a lock at Miramax. In fact, several studios screened the film including DreamWorks and Sony Pictures Classics.
In the end, DreamWorks was Miramax's leading contender in a bidding war. But Miramax won out, and the documentary is scheduled for next year.
"It's not for fans of the TV show," says an insider. "It's dark, and shows Jerry trying out new material. It also shows a new and up-and-coming comic who gets signed by Jerry's manager."
I am also told that despite rumors to the contrary, it was a coincidence that Seinfeld wound up renting the office space abandoned by Talk magazine in the Carnegie Tower. "He just liked the view," said the rep.
Harrison Ford and a bunch of celebrities like Glenn Close, Kevin Bacon and Richard Belzer are involved with Riverkeeper, an environmental organization busy keeping our rivers free of pollution. But one of Riverkeeper's board members owns the company that many scientists believe cut a hole in the ozone layer.
Even funnier: this same board member, John Abplanalp, is the son of famous Republican Robert Abplanalp, who invented the aerosol spray in 1949 and made billions from it, was a close friend of Richard Nixon and was investigated during Watergate. Nixon's personal attorney and executor of his estate, William E. Griffin, is still a director on the board of Abplanalp's worldwide company, Precision Valves.
Nixon was vacationing at Abplanalp's house in the Bahamas with their other pal, Bebe Rebozo, on June 17, 1972, the day of the Watergate break-in. Abplanalp later hired John J. Caulfield, an aide to John Ehrlichman, who was involved in the Watergate cover-up, as an executive at the aerosol valve plant in Yonkers, N.Y.
Life is funny. Thirty years later, John Abplanalp — who is now president of the company his father founded — sits on the board of Riverkeep, the celebrity organization that celebrated Harrison Ford last night at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan.
The main backers of Riverkeeper are members of the Kennedy and Cuomo families. Hard to imagine, isn't it? Both Abplanalp Junior and Senior have been consistent donors to Republican candidates, including Kennedy-Cuomo foe Alfonse D'Amato.
Riverkeeper is very popular with the actors and celebrities who live along the Hudson River, but they are generally Democrats. They probably don't realize one of the backers is the son of a noted Republican. In fact, Robert Abplanalp was recently in the news when he backed Tricia Nixon Cox in a fight over funds for the Nixon Library left behind by Nixon's other pal, Bebe Rebozo.
Abplanalp Sr. always objected to being labeled a killer of the ozone layer. He wrote a letter to the New York Times in 1980, reminding the paper that "…even though there has never been any definitive proof that chlorofluorocarbons may affect the ozone layer, the industry accepted the limitation on the subject propellant as ordained by Federal regulators. "
More recently, Precision Valves continues to fight "the public's erroneous impression that aerosols still contain chlorofluorocarbon propellants that deplete the Earth's ozone layer."
Whatever. It was 96 degrees last week, it's 30-something this week, and there are cherry blossoms with icicles on my block. Go figure.
Meanwhile, Riverkeeper is another charity supported by celebrities that has questionable expenses. In 1998, the last year its tax filing is available, the group paid its executive director $163,000 (not bad, huh?) but shelled out a mere $13,000 in "grants and gifts." Their total expenses — which were basically for salaries and office stuff like phone bills, insurance, and employee benefits — came to $1.1 million, including almost $50,000 in travel. They also paid someone at the National Resources Defense Council $55,000 for extra "employment services."
I'm telling you, dear readers: we've got to get in on of these charities. That's where the money is. As Al Green once said, Take me to the river!
Melissa de la Cruz's novel, Cat's Meow has nothing to do with Peter Bogdanovich's movie of the same name. But the funny book — about the New York fashion world — is getting a lot of attention thanks to a PR contest sponsored by Marie Claire magazine. Apparently the magazine gave two New York publicists a challenge: to get two different clients as much press as possible. The winner, it seems, is my pal Norah Lawlor, who threw de la Cruz a bash last week at Lexington Avenue's trendy Orsay restaurant. Jared Paul Stern, of Page Six fame, hosted, and other guests included Michael Musto of the Village Voice and several members of the Fifth Estate. Now the Cat is out of the bag, and de la Cruz is busy signing autographs.