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Irv and The Gang Reuniting for Telethon

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 06:  Actress Debra Mess...

Debra Messing

A musical intro please… dahm dahm dahm da da dahm, da dahm dahm…

The Eyewitness News team of Irv Weinstein, Rick Azar and Tom Jolls is reuniting this week along with former General Manager Phil Beuth and former Troubleshooter John Pauly for festivities related to the 50th anniversary of the Variety Club Telethon on Channel 7.

The festivities will culminate with an appearance together on the telethon at the Adam’s Mark at 3 p.m. Sunday, according to Paul Cambria, the local attorney who has long been associated with the telethon. Cambria, who along with Mr. Food will appear with the legendary trio, said he was part of a two-man team who brought them together.

“I talked with Irv first because I thought he would be the easiest,” said Cambria. “Irv helped me with the others. I don’t think they’ve been together on TV since they retired.”

Weinstein lives in Irvine, Calif., where his daughter is the mayor. Azar lives in Florida, Jolls stayed in Western New York and lives in West Falls.

Cambria added the entertainment for the telethon — which runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday on Channel 7 — will include performances from the Scintas.

“We’re trying to do a nostalgia thing,” said Cambria. He added that Weinstein arrives Wednesday. The festivities include a Friday kickoff at Adam’s Mark and a Saturday fund-raising talent show at the Riviera Theatre.

It wasn’t surprising to see the movie “21 Jump Street” based on the TV series top the weekend’s box office with an estimated $35 million in ticket sales despite the negative review in the Buffalo News by a critic who is about 45-50 years older than the targeted audience. But it  was surprising to see a few things in the review.

First it was surprising to see a local review at all of a film that would seem to be review proof. It was done by veteran news film critic Jeff Simon. The News has quietly but noticeably cut down on the number of movies it reviews. Reviews of the other two films that opened this weekend – “Casa De Mi Padre” with Will Ferrell and “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” with Jason Segel and Ed Helms – were done by writers for the McClatchy-Tribune syndicate.

Secondly, the name of one of the co-creators of TV version of “Jump Street,” Patrick Hasburgh, was spelled wrong. Hasburgh is an Amherst native who has constantly appeared in the pages of The News over the last several decades. He co-created the series with the late Stephen J. Cannell. He later created short-lived series that were headlined by Brad Pitt and George Clooney.

The final surprising thing in the review was the suggestion it seemed a “bit weird” to see Cannell get a writer’s credit even though he’s been dead for about 18 months. Anyone who knows movies knows that sometimes it takes several years for scripts to turn into movies. Hasburgh actually wrote his own version of the script years ago. Undoubtedly, Cannell also took a whack at the script, too, before he died.

Here’s a gossipy tidbit that didn’t get that that much attention before the NBC series “Smash” premiered but will now that Debra Messing’s character, Julia Houston, is having an affair with an actor, Michael Swift, in the cast of the fictional musical that she is co-writing. In real life, Messing is dating the actor – Will Chase – who plays Swift. The actress separated from her husband last year. When the gossip first appeared a few months ago, I’m sure that I’m not the only one that thought Messing’s real-life romance was with the actor playing her TV husband, Frank Houston (played by Brian d’Arcy James) and not the actor playing the character she was having an affair with.

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