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CULTURE & COMEDY

Cruise Takes A Bruise

Viacom gave Tom Cruise the bruise of his career – or, more exactly, its cantankerous chairman, Sumner Redstone, did, for behavior unbecoming an employee of the entertainment giant, saying Cruise’s shenanigans are “not acceptable to Paramount.”

Redstone’s punch to the career launched an entire boxing match of bruising comments.

Mr. Cruise’s attorney shot back in un-lawyerly fashion, calling his comments “disgusting” and saying “he’s lost it completely or he’s been given breathtakingly bad advice.”

And Creative Artists Agency, which reps Cruise, indicated it might not do more business with Paramount if Redstone was going to continue directing the show from his celestial perch. “Paramount has no credibility right now,” the agency’s president said, and, as any good politico would, immediately left an implied plea for Viacom to get its act together so the two megabuck makers could continue their prosperous co-adventure, saying, “It is not clear who is running the studio and who is making the decisions.”

Redstone, energized by the effect of his power punching, swung out with, “It is about time that the industry started dealing with these stars in a different manner and let them know that they are not going to get big money and act in a way that is inappropriate and embarrasses the studios.”

Then he even dared brag about a call complimenting his decisiveness, saying that he had “behaved like Samuel Goldman,” the famed bullying producer of yore.

While Cruise, the manic scientologist, is culpable for leading a life according to the usual sort of celebrity ignorance,

Redstone’s self-flattering association with Goldwin reminds us a story about a duo of other famed producers gone by, Larry and Harry Warner, that might have some applicability.

The old saw goes, a person calls Warner Brothers and asks, “Is Larry there?”

The operator replies, “No.”

“Is Harry there?” the caller inquires.

“No,” the operator intones.

The person gives up and decides to call back the next day. He’s told the same thing.

“Wait a minute,” he says. “Every time I call, you tell me Larry is out of town and Harry is tied up? What’s going on?”

“Oh,” the operator replies, “every time Larry goes out of town we tie Harry up.”

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