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Showbiz Showbiz; THE MAN IN THE KNOW.

WHICH Hollywood star was working in a department store when he nearly sold his best friend's small son as a life-size doll? Sheila Bain, Melrose. ff Dustin Hoffman spent two years serving in Macy's store when a struggling young actor. When visited by his old room-mate and pal, Gene Hackman, two-year-old Christopher Hackman was plonked on the counter and told to sit still. He was so good at it that a customer fished out her purse to pay for him!

COULD you give me any info on my favourite actor of all-time, Robert Newton? John McMahon, Glasgow.ff He was born in Shaftesbury, Dorset on June 1, 1905, and died in Beverly Hills on March 25, 1956, from a heart attack and complications of alcoholism. Darkly-handsome, he was best-loved in his ne'er-do-well roles such as James `Jem' Trehearne in Jamaica Inn ('39) or Bill Sikes in Oliver Twist ('48), but his most famous was as Long John Silver in Treasure Island ('50), a performance much-mimicked by Tony Hancock. When he filmed This Happy Breed in 1944, it was written into his contract that his $9,000 fee would be docked by $500 every time he turned up drunk. He probably ended up owing the studio.

CAN you tell me what Delia Smith has in common with Mick Jagger? Jill Stevenson, Kilmarnock. ff When she was a student, Delia was asked to produce a cake decorated with tiny figures of the Rolling Stones which was photographed for the sleeve of their classic 1969 album Let It Bleed. Many years later, when Jagger found out she'd baked the cake, he sent her a signed copy of the record. CAN you tell me the line-up of my favourite group The Four Aces? Are they still performing? Sarah, Glasgow.

ff The Pennsylvania-born vocal quartet were Al Alberts, Dave Mahoney, Sol Voccaro (trumpet) and Lou Silvestri (drums). Much of their work was on film themes and their best UK hit was number two with Sammy Fain's title song of the movie Love Is A Many Splendored Thing (Brunswick 05480). They broke up in 1960.

WE'RE arguing about the name of the little white dog Billy Mitchell gave to Janine Butcher for her 18th birthday in EastEnders. Can you help? MandyUrquhart, Inverness. ff Terence the little Lhasa Apso was actually played by a female called Jayridge Next Edition For Zaylon. Janine soon tired of the wee guy and Terry sent him to the pound but he was laterI'LL hit 40 on November 18, can you tell me what was No. 1 in 1963? Jim Grant, Edinburgh. ff It was the middle of a four-week reign for Gerry and The Pacemakers with You'll Never Walk Alone (Columbia DB 7126).

I'VE been racking my brains trying to recall the name of the comedian who had the catchphrase `Can you hear me, Mother?'. Can you help?-Isobel MacDonald, Ayr. ff He was Sandy Powell (1900-82) who was put on the stage by his actress mother at the age of seven. In an early '20s radio sketch he was supposed to be broadcasting home from the North Pole. He repeated the phrase several times and it caught on.

WHAT is the longest kiss in a film? Moira Langton, Carlisle.

ff It was the smacker that Steve McQueen planted on Faye Dunaway in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968). It lasted 55 seconds. I LOVE watching reruns of the great Richard Griffiths in Pie In The Sky. I maintain that the actress who plays his wife used to be in Shine On Harvey Moon, but my hubby disagrees. MaryWilliamson, Glasgow. ff Maggie Steed played Margaret Crabbe who was unimpressed with her husband's cooking in PITS 1994-7, preferring a bag of crisps to his soufflAs. She also starred as Harvey's wife Rita Moon in the 1982-5 series opposite Kenneth Cranham. The programme was revived in 1995 with Nicky Henson as HM.

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A CLOSE SALE: For; Dustin Hoffman; rescued by Billy.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 1, 2003
Words:659
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