Philly's most durable kiddie-show hosts - Captain and Mrs. Noah - are getting back in front of children, a dozen years after they sailed off Channel 6.
Carter and Pat Merbreier will show up Tuesday at Gladwyne Elementary for the first of what they hope will become a series of appearances before schoolchildren. Their program, "Lessons in a Box of Crayons," uses giant crayons, balloons, puppets, and Captain Noah and His Magical Ark video clips provided by the TV station. Their show was on from 1967 through 1994, and they did a similar school program 15 years ago.
Crayons, the captain explains, are perfect and all the same. Children are not. They should embrace their differences.
In a nod to the Noah show's "Send Your Pictures" segment, they'll hand out boxes of crayons and ask the second graders to draw pictures, which will be sent to hospitalized children.
Carter Merbreier, 80, says his recovery from heart-bypass surgery (plus a new pig aortic valve - "I'm no longer welcome in synagogue") has inspired him and his wife to give something back and "try to come up with a message for the kids."
"It's our gift," he says, adding he'll accept no sponsorships.
Catching a pitch
talked up his project
The Legend of Black Tom
to a panel of Hollywood players two weeks ago as part of the "Philly Pitch" event sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Filmmakers, a program of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office.
Fast success. Albright just sold production rights to two panelists, Philly natives Jeffrey D. Erb (the recently shot-in-Philly Tooth & Nail) and Joe Nicolo (the Jamie Foxx and Sylvester Stallone starrer, Shade).
Albright's short version of the film - about Tom Molineaux, the freed slave and bare-knuckle boxer who in 1810 fought a match in London before 10,000 spectators - was screened at the 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival.
Older and wiser
says he's a smarter Middle East correspondent than he was 40 years ago, when he started feeding radio reports to stations such as KYW-AM (1060). The upstate New York native, visiting the States this week, recalls his first major story, one that could have been his last. Driving to the front with a colleague at the start of the Six-Day War, "as we passed the Hill of Evil Counsel [near Jerusalem], I hear these zings." He later found two bullet holes, one in each back window, thanks to Jordanian snipers. (His motto: "A dead correspondent is a useless correspondent.") Bushinsky, 74, is optimistic about Middle East peace. "The Arab world and Muslim world are going through profound adjustments to regional realities. They're getting used to the fact that Israel exists and will not disappear simply because people on the other side don't think it has a right to exist."
is one busy guy. The former Eagle works for WIP-AM (610) and just started cohosting a Friday night TV series,
, for BET. It's shot in L.A., where he spends 36 hours weekly before flying home.
Eagles defensive end Jevon Kearse put his long arms to use Thursday as he walked into Philadelphia Children's Alliance's annual Bear Affair in Old City with a huge load of teddy bears. PCA, a nonprofit that works alongside the Philadelphia Police Department's Special Victims Unit, recognized Kearse for his Thanksgiving donation of 100 dinners to families counseled by PCA.
Patti LaBelle, with friends Thursday on a Neiman Marcus fashion outing in King of Prussia, stopped for dinner at Bertolini's. When the starstruck hostess asked for a hug, LaBelle exclaimed, "Yeah, girl!" and complied.
Scanning the Citizens Bank Park lot for Phillies pitcher Jon Lieber's monster-size Ford F-650 SuperTruck? Won't be around till June or so. I hear the $211,000 ride, the hit of spring training, is getting further tricked out at a shop in Georgia and then will go to his father-in-law's auto-body and paint shop in Alabama. For now, he's driving a minivan.
Walk like a man
, as he's just landed a primo role in the national tour of the Broadway hit
, the story of the Four Seasons. Spector, 26, is a Germantown Academy grad who went on to Princeton. "After two years, I realized a degree in economics wasn't going to give me the things in life I wanted," he says. Spector joins the show Friday in San Francisco and then heads to Chicago; no Philly date has been set. Spector says he tries to capture "this raw, powerful, scorching falsetto that no one else has ever had." When he met Valli backstage, he says, "he looked at me in the face and put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'You don't be intimidated. If you need me, you call me on the phone.' "
The Smerconish watch
ended up spending all of last week simulcasting his morning show on MSNBC. A tryout for the former
slot? No one is saying for sure, and it's not clear he'd even
it. Smerconish and producer
arose at 2 a.m. each day for the hop to Secaucus, N.J., and hit the hay by 8 p.m. They'll be back in Bala tomorrow. L.A. talker
is up next on MSNBC.
If the cameragenic Scornavacchi looked familiar, you must watch QVC. She turns up frequently for a side job selling flameless candles. She'll be on in the 11 a.m. hour tomorrow.
"TC has all the personal skills I sometimes lack," Smerconish says of Theresa Cannon Scornavacchi, 33, a Harvard-educated bio major from Raleigh, N.C. She landed in Philly when her husband, Joey - whom she met on the first day as a freshman in Cambridge - considered med school at Temple. Joey instead chose to teach; he's at Shipley. TC - "that's what everyone's always called me" - got a classroom job at Gladwyne Montessori, where her pupils included Smerconish sons Michael Jr. and Will. Impressed with the media-savvy TC, Smerconish invited her to the studio three years ago "to see what it's all about." The Scornavacchis, married 12 years, have a daughter, Emma, 9. Hardest part of her job: "It's so deadline-oriented. Every day at 9 o'clock, I can't relax because there's another show to plan."
Call that burning candles at both ends.