Story By: G.H. Harding
Kevin Spacey

OSCARS 86 --- After last year’s somewhat-mess-of-a-show with host Seth MacFarlane, the producers (Craig Zadan and Neil Meron) were determined more than ever to play it safe and that’s exactly what they got in the form of host Ellen DeGeneres, who was funny for sure, but somewhat laid back. Face it, when she hosted for the first time back in 2007, everyone loved her and though she wasn't as funny as, say Johnny Carson or even Bob Hope, she was an inspired and workable choice.

Her dressing up as a fairy godmother after Pink performed “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” worked fine and actually having pizza delivered during the show was simply fall down funny; with names like Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford chomping at the bit. 

For insiders, her asking for pizza-money from Hollywood-bigwig Harvey Weinstein in particular was funny. Damn. To wit: Harvey probably could have anted up with a bit more than he did! A dapper-looking Kevin Spacey was funny when he slipped Ellen some extra green, saying this is for you!

The show itself contained few surprises, but in the amazingly beautiful Dolby Theatre, the show moved fairly swiftly with many of the usual suspects winning: Jared Leto; Matthew McConaughey; the top prize going to 12 Years A Slave; Cate Blanchett, Best Director, Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity; and, Bette Midler singing “Wind Beneath My Wings,” were all just standout.

Bill Murray throwing out an acknowledgement to the late Harold Ramis during his presentation was terrifically sweet. I actually just watched the original Ghostbusters yesterday and couldn't believe how well it held up and how sturdy Ramis’ contributions were. Cate Blanchett’s pitch regarding the box-office viability of movies starring women was terrific; as was McConaughey’s acceptance speech.

For the most part, the stars were helpfully willing to play along – posing for a tweeted selfie, for example, which briefly crashed Twitter – but those kinds of gags are both slim and a hit-miss proposition. I guess in a way, Twitter was formally christened last night as Hollywood's new PR-tool.

For me, I really liked Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin as hosts; even, Whoopi was great. But, of course, no one ever did it better than Carson.

SHANNON ON CBS FM --- Funny thing about radio history; it goes by before you know it. Scott Shannon returned in fine fashion today to the tri-state radio airwaves - now on WCBS FM, and he sounded like he didn't miss a beat; although he explained to his listeners, he was still getting his feet wet there. 

Opening with an evocative radio narrative where the listener heard snippets from Murray The K, the great Dan Ingram, his own run on the Morning Zoo and even a brief memory of his outstanding 23-run with Todd Pettengill on WPLJ … and, then, to the strains of Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger” … Super Shannon was back. 

In an era of programmed-music and voices, Shannon’s a most treasured treat for sure. We think the world of him. Funniest moment: when Monkee-Micky Dolenz called in at 9:45 AM and asked Scott how he happened to get his old time slot! Hilarious. Scott … it’s like you never left!

MIDNIGHT RIDER --- Unclaimed Freight Productions, who is making the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider, has temporarily shut down production in light of last week’s tragic accident and the police investigation.

The production was filming on a bridge in Jessup, GA when a train suddenly appeared. The crew attempted to clear the bridge but was not able to get a mattress, being used in a train sequence, off in time. Second camera assistant Sarah Jones was killed by the train and a number of crew members were injured by flying debris.

Since the incident, it has come to light that the production may have not had permission to shoot on the bridge even though they claimed they had information on when two scheduled trains were scheduled to pass. If it is found that they did not have permission or were elegant, members of the crew could face criminal prosecution including homicide charges.

Authorities are now reviewing the footage from the scene to try and determine what occurred.

There is no word on when production on Midnight Rider will resume.

Unclaimed Freight Productions made the film CBGB and are currently working on Caribou Records, the story of James William Guercio's Colorado recording studios where artists like Elton John, Billy Joel and Chicago made some of their greatest albums. 

CLOSING NOTES --- Tonight’s Linda Lovelace event at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room should be great; some promised surprises too … 

I watched the Oscar’s at PR-pasha’s David Salidor’s home with a gaggle of industry guests and he noted how many of the winners thanked their PR-teams. Salidor explains, "These days, you need those PR-people more than ever" …

Jodi Ritzen announced over the weekend, that Monkee-Peter Tork will indeed appear at her Monkee Convention 2014, next week in New Jersey … 

Author-Mark Bego hosts a birthday party for The Supremes' Mary Wilson tonight in Beverly Hills. Expected guests include Freda Payne ("Band Of Gold") and Natalie Cole. Also on hand will be Debby Campbell, whose new book (Life With My Father Glen Campbell) was co-written by Bego ...