WITH THE exception of reigning sovereigns (including the pope), presidents and cardinals, introductions made between strangers abide by these rules: Youth is introduced to age - `Strom Thurmond, may I present Doogie Howser?' Men are introduced to women - `Dame Edna, this is Count Victor Grezhinski.' Lower ranks are introduced to higher - `Colonel Sanders, this is Sgt. Bilko.' Individuals are introduced to groups - `Mickey Mouse Club, this is Britney Spears.'"
Such tongue-in-cheek witty info is from the new and delightful Schott's Miscellany almanac for 2008, by Ben Schott.
Since Page Six noted that people are talking about the diminished appearances of actor Richard Belzer on the long-running hit Law & Order: SVU, fans are mobilizing and questions have multiplied.
What happened between the popular Belzer and his NBC Universal budget-cutting bosses who put him in 22 episodes last year but have now cut him back to 13? Belzer says he doesn't know what happened. He will only say, "It's mystifying to me. And I have to admit my feelings are slightly hurt. But I do feel flattered that my fans miss me!"
Perhaps the addition of Adam Beach as the new partner of Ice-T and the placement of Belzer inside headquarters has something to do with less exposure for Sgt. John Munch.
Law & Order, in all its three manifestations, is omnipotent on the air, appearing about 20 times a week. I never turn on TV, it seems, when one of its versions isn't playing. And the story goes in TV land that the various shows are now making more money than ever.
People come up to Belzer, who is a popular figure in New York and appears at almost any charity that needs him, saying, "We miss you, where are you?" He is especially mobbed in airports across the nation because he travels frequently to the West Coast and to Europe. One of this "tough guy" actors' pet charities is for needy dogs and cats - Huntington, Long Island's Little Shelter Rescue and Adoption Center. He also does work for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Belzer is busy with the 81-year-old Jerry Lewis on a musical version of The Nutty Professor. He also is working on a mystery novel called I Am Not a Cop, in which he will star as himself.
Rumor has it that both of the indispensable stars of L&O: SVU - Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay - were given a hard time during last year's contract negotiations. It looks as if NBC Universal might be out to kill its own golden geese.
As Page Six reported, Belzer is leading in online voting for "Favorite Scene Stealer" in the People's Choice Awards. His defenders seem to be everywhere yelling "Munch forever!" So how will his hardball-playing bosses feel when Belzer wins this particular award on Jan. 8?
Jerry Seinfeld could probably provide his own powerful endorsement for a candidate if he was of a mind to do so. He has his own ideas about U.S. government. "Maybe I won't back anyone in our presidential race. What we should have is a panel of people; the idea of just one guy isn't particularly good because the world's too complicated."