Cast of thousands
"It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" isn't the comedy classic some believe it is, but the 1963 film does have an abundant collection of names, among them Spencer Tracy, Sid Caesar, Ethel Merman, Buddy Hackett, Dick Shawn and Jimmy Durante. The film, done by Stanley Kramer, runs some three hours (it comes in two cassettes) and has all these people looking for a buried treasure -- the sum is $350,000, so you know how old this film is. No rating. ** The Margolis/Brown Adaptors are staging two new zany multimedia movement theater pieces at the Theatre Project -- "Decodanz: The Dilemma of Demodus and Diphylla" and "Koppelvision and Other Digital Deities." Both works have been written and directed by Tony Brown and Kari Margolis, who play two vampires desperately seeking the meaning of love, life and immortality in the fascinating "Decodanz." "Koppelvision" satirizes modern technology and the public's acceptance of newscasters as gods. 8 p.m. 45 W. Preston St. Tickets: $15. Call (410) 752-8558.
Winifred Walsh Most bands going for a Beatlesque take on rock and roll go for what's known as the "jangly guitar" sound -- a moderately amplified approach similar to what the Fab Four used on "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver." But the Smithereens, who'll be at Hammerjacks Sunday, go for a far gutsier guitar tone, one which adds a Who-like punch to melancholy melodies like those in "A Girl Like You" or "Top of the Pops." Tickets for the show, which starts at 8 p.m., are $10. Call (410) 659-7625 for details.
The odd couple
"Beauty and the Beast" is the best animated cartoon feature the Disney Studios have produced since "The Little Mermaid." It may be one of the best things the studio has ever done. The late Howard Ashman of Baltimore co-produced and did the lyrics for the score. Alan Menken did the music; they did the same for "The Little Mermaid," and once more, the score is worthy of Broadway. Paige O'Hara does the voice of the village girl who falls in love with a prince who has been changed into a monster. Robby Benson speaks for the prince. A winner all around. Rating: G. ****
Lou Cedrone Last year, "The Very Best of the Ed Sullivan Show" was one of the highest-rated shows of the TV season. That's one reason CBS is offering "The Very Best of the Ed Sullivan Show II" tomorrow night at 9 on WBAL-TV (Channel 11). It's a clip job, but what a mother lode of pop culture moments there are in the Sullivan vault -- from Rudolph Nureyev to Topo Gigio, with the Beatles, Elvis, Jack Benny, Gene Kelly, Sammy Davis Jr. and others in between. Burt Reynolds hosts the two-hour retrospective (nobody said it was a perfect show).