"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded!" Yogi Berra once said of a popular watering hole.
SPEAKING OF BASEBALL, as we so seldom do here, let's think back to the Academy Awards, which just took place a couple months ago. Quick! Who won what? How quickly we forget. But already nominees are being considered for next year's Oscars. And one that is bound to stir emotions is the coming movie "42."
This is the inspirational story of baseball great Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in the all-white major leagues. America was approaching the '50s when all this happened and The New York Brooklyn Dodgers put themselves on the map.
The film will trace Jackie's life and how he was encouraged by his coach, the famous Branch Rickey. And the best thing is that Rickey will be played by none other than Harrison Ford. The young leading man, Chadwick Boseman, plays the talented, determined and very brave Jackie, who faced so many ugly situations as he fought to play baseball in the big leagues.
Robinson went on to become the first African-American TV analyst, the first African-American vice president of a major American corporation and to help establish the Freedom National Bank. He was a great gentleman, a great sportsman and his courage made a huge cultural impact.
Buzz on this movie, its titled based on Jackie's uniform number, is already impressive. There is actual Oscar talk for Ford and Boseman. And my old friend, Chris Meloni, of "Law-and-Order: SVU fame," has a strong role as the ornery Leo Durocher.
It is much too early for predictions. But it's always fun to be able to say, "You heard it here first." Just remember, you did hear it here first!
BE SURE TO TAKE a look in bookstores on April 15 at a brand-new children's book on Jackie Robinson titled "Jackie and Me: A Very Special Friendship." This was written by one of my all-time pals, Tania Grossinger, and has a charming cover by artist Charles George Esperanza.
Tania was 13 years old when Jackie came to Catskill, N.Y., to the famed resort hotel owned by her family. They played ping pong together and enjoyed a lifelong relationship. Sky Pony Press is publishing this on the same day the movie is released.
Once upon a time, New Yorkers went to Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel every year, if they could afford it. There, all the famed comics and the rising singers went to practice before hitting Manhattan. This is a nostalgic little book about real friendship and the legendary Robinson's courage to overcome all obstacles.
ON THE OPENING NIGHT of "Lucky Guy," I hurried to my seat on the aisle right down in the second row at the Broadhurst so I missed the red carpet and most of the celebrities crowding the theater for Tom Hanks.
Who should I find sitting next to me but the charming Camryn Manheim. You remember this masterful actress from her co-starring role on the hit series "The Practice." She was one of the first imposing, tall, non-cookie cutter performers in television to put her mark on individualism. Cameron studied drama at New York University and teaches the technique called Practical Aesthetics. She told me she was in New York to read for a new play written by Tony Kushner. I was impressed. Cameron is very talented and so is Kushner!
Who was the guy who took me to this opening night, you may wonder? I like introducing him around. He is Billy Norwich and you see his byline all the time in Vogue and Vanity Fair. I became a mentor to Mr. Norwich when he graduated from college and I am very proud of his success. He usually goes about with important people like Anna Wintour, but he was my date for "Lucky Guy" and I felt like a "Lucky Gal"!
Billy and I didn't go to the opening night party with all the VIPs. We had a lot of catching up to do, so we thought of trying for Sardi's, Joe Allen's, Barbetta or Orso. But these cafes were all closed as it was a usually non-theater Monday night. So we lucked into Guy's American Kitchen right off Times Square at 220 West 44th Street. The hamburgers, tortilla soup and Margaritas are just right.
COMING HOME FROM taping for Fox News "Lips-and-Ears" show this week, I ran into an old friend in my neighborhood. He is Gary Garrett, a former stylist from Dallas, who moved to Manhattan years ago because he liked New York better than Texas. He and his partner, Bill Laughlin, have lived here ever since keeping restaurants, theater, ballet, concerts, art galleries and museums busy. Gary and I went right into the El Rio Grande cafÃ©, which is on the main floor of my apartment building and we had the waiter immortalize us. Just two Texans. Gary loves to Twitter; I don't.
But I am trying to learn how to keep up. My Twitter handle is (at)LizSmth. (Omit the "i" from Smith.)
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)