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xtra celeb gossip dec 9

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A wrong is just a wrong...

Hollywood has been strip-mining popular culture for years, in a dreary string of sequels, prequels, knock-offs and remakes, demonstrating pretty clearly that there are almost no new ideas left.

But nothing matches this: Warner Bros is working up a sequel to Casablanca.

Hard to believe the original is 70 years old this year, and I guess that's the statutory limit on shamelessness. This idea has been kicking around for years but now may actually be coming to life.

The story, says the British paper the Independent, will be about Richard Blaine, illegitimate son of Rick and Ilsa, who goes back to Casablanca, in the '60s I guess, to find his dad. Working title: Return to Casablanca or maybe As Time Goes By.

I think I'm going to be sick.

Celebs who don't pull their weight

IN just the kind of uncharitable, downright mean-spirited action that we all love so well, GQ mag has named the year's least influential celebrities, in no particular order: Lance Armstrong, Mitt Romney, Madonna, Amanda Bynes, "Belgian emo guy" Gotya, Ryan Lochte, Michelle Obama (for her eat-healthy campaign), Billy Crystal (for his Oscar-hosting flop), and others. How did they miss Barry Manilow?

No lawsuit no cry

RITA Marley, Bob's widow, has settled a trademark dispute with Richard Booker, the late singer's half-brother. Bob died in 1981, leaving Rita and a bunch of kids. Richard and Bob had the same mother, Cedella Booker. Rich has been living in Miami, promoting concerts and otherwise trying to make a buck under the trade name Mama Marley. A year ago, Rita and the kids filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement. Now the suit has been settled out of court, terms kept secret. I'm guessing Booker will change his company name and cash a nice cheque.

Rita's 66 (and her 1988 song Harambee still gets a lot of attention on my iPhone).

Gotta be batty

INTERESTED in buying the Batmobile from the 1960s TV series?

Me neither. But somebody somewhere is, probably, and so it's expected to fetch at least $1 million when auctioned off in Scottsdale, Ariz., next month.

This thing started life in 1955 as a Ford "concept car." (That phrase was old-Detroit-ese for what you get when you combine automotive designers, whiskey, cocktail napkins, silly ideas, and PR men.)

George Barris, a legendary car customizer -- well, legendary among people who care about that stuff -- bought this thing, a handmade two-seater. He tarted it up for the 1966-68 series, adding a nose-mounted cable-cutter blade, a Bat-ray projector, twin parachutes, etc. Now he's selling it.

He's 87.

The Bloom is off

MODEL Miranda Kerr is married to Orlando Bloom, who's filming in South Africa right now.

Miranda's in New York, hanging around with Leonardo DiCaprio, who just split from model Erin Heatherton.

The N.Y. Daily News is all excited that Leo and Miranda were "murmuring in each other's ears and partying until the wee hours together" one night last month, chillin' with Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Cameron Diaz, Robert De Niro, etc. at Leo's birthday party. Then they were spotted, side by side and "very flirty" at dinner with friends at trendy N.Y. resto ABC Kitchen ("roasted beets with house-made yogurt, $10").

It's probably nothing. "There is absolutely nothing going on with Leo," Don't Usemyname told the paper. "They're just friends."

Right. It's not as if Leo were a ladies' man. When Orlando comes home for Christmas, they'll all laugh together about these silly rumours.

Leo's 38. Orlando's 35. Miranda's 29.

If the glove fits...

AT an auction last weekend, Vogue reports, Lady Gaga bought 55 garments from the wardrobe of Michael Jackson. We don't know how much she paid, but one jacket in the sale went to someone for $240,000.

"The 55 pieces I collected today will be archived and expertly cared for," the Gagster tweeted, "in the spirit and love of Michael Jackson, his bravery, and fans worldwide."


Dobie's da man

SO Vanity Fair mag and 60 Minutes, the TV show, commissioned a poll: what's the funniest sitcom ever?

Seinfeld won, edging out Jackie Gleason's old The Honeymooners. The most popular current show was 30 Rock.

Isn't it sad when a nation forgets its heritage?

Just yesterday I was bemoaning the strip-mining of popular culture, but now I must say it's time for revival of the REAL funniest sitcom ever, the classic The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

What? You haven't? Look it up! Look how many big stars started there!

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 9, 2012 ??65524

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