Topper Carew, whose first film as a director/writer opens at area theaters tomorrow, says he did his movie to show that ''there are people who don't do drugs. I wanted to show that there is another side to a neighborhood that may be rife with drugs.''
Carew's 'Talkin' Dirty After Dark'' takes place in a comedy club in Los Angeles. The film, a variation on the ''Grand Hotel'' formula, has assorted characters running about the club. Some are club performers, some are not.
The performers do stand-up routines. We hear one after another in the film.
''I found funny people, and just let them be themselves,'' Carew said. ''It's easier to get a funny man to act than it is to get an actor to try to be funny.''
Carew studied architecture at Howard and Yale universities. He received his bachelor's degree at the first and a master's at the second. Later, he studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and still later, at the Union Graduate School, where he earned a degree in communications. With that, he went on to become a television writer and producer.
"Comedy was always my first interest. It was always my first love, so when I got a chance to do my first feature film, I decided I would do something uniquely cultural, a movie that takes place in a nightclub.''
It was New Line Studios that gave Carew the chance to do the film. ''I wrote a script and gave it to them, and they were immediately responsive,'' he said.
''I had never done a major motion picture, but this was the best, most complete script I have ever done. The film will launch a number of people who will go on to become major comedy performers.
''All of them do their own material,'' he said. ''I gave them free rein. Martin Lawrence, of course, is already well known. He's done an HBO special. He'll be a major star.''
Some of the comedy in the film has been called anti-female, and while Carew doesn't deny this, he said, ''The comics do their own material in the film, and if any of it is anti-female, there is a very effective balance to that.
''Look at each of the seven female characters in the cast," he explained. "One represents goodness and true love, and in the end, finds it.
''The film is a reflection of relationships between black men and women, but there is no intention to degrade anyone," he added. "The comedy material is nowhere near that of Andrew Dice Clay.
''I hope it stirs up some debate,'' he said. ''It's important for black men and women to talk about their relationships.''
Ever wonder what happened to Zina Bethune?
Who's Zina Bethune? Well, she first won attention as the co-lead in ''The Nurses,'' a series that premiered almost 29 years ago on CBS and ran for two years. Shirl Conway was the star of the series.
Bethune was 17 at the time and disappeared, more or less, when the series ended.
Actually, she only disappeared from television. Bethune did do a few films, but she was primarily interested in dance, and in 1969, established her own company in New York. Ten years later, she formed another company, this one in Los Angeles.
She also formed a Dance Outreach Program that taught dance to disabled children from 6 to 16.
At the moment, however, Bethune is on Broadway, at the Martin Beck Theater, where she is playing the ballet dancer Elizaveta Grushinskaya in the musical version of ''Grand Hotel.''
''Terminator 2: Judgment Day,'' the Arnold Schwarzenegger film that made movie history when it earned $61 million in its first week of exhibition (''Batman'' still holds the record with a $70-million take in its first week), is coming down the way it went up, fast.
In its sixth week of exhibition, it is already down to $6.7 million. Of course, the total take so far is $159 million, so we don't have to worry about whether the producers will see a profit. The film, reported to have cost $85 million, was $91 million ahead before it opened in theaters in this country.
The $91 comes from the foreign rights, television, cable and videocassette earnings. If it is true that a movie has to earn three times the cost of its investment, then ''Terminator 2'' is just about there. One more week should do it.