Rambling Reporter

44 TOWN RAMBLING Ricky Gervais Billy Crystal H
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

"The Muppets" originally featured a storyline that saw Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo and the rest of the gang trying to con their way into landing Billy Crystal and Ricky Gervais for a telethon but ending up in jail.

The Muppets Cameos That Weren't: Billy Crystal and Ricky Gervais are highly in demand as awards-show hosts, but they didn't make the cut for The Muppets. The Thanksgiving feature release originally clocked in at 2 ½ hours and featured a storyline that saw Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo and the rest of the gang trying to con their way into landing Crystal and Gervais for a telethon but ending up in jail. That sequence -- along with cameo material involving Rob Corddry, Kathy Griffin and Wanda Sykes -- will be included on the DVD and Blu-ray extras.

Hedy Lamarr's Very Private Jewish Past

Since her death in 2000, it has emerged that Hedy Lamarr, raised as a Roman Catholic, was born into an assimilated Jewish family from Vienna in 1914 (both of her parents converted) -- a fact she kept private her entire life. But as Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes learned while interviewing Lamarr's children during the course of research for his new tome, Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr (Doubleday, $26.95), even her offspring weren't aware of her religious background -- and, thus, their own -- until after she died. As Rhodes tells THR exclusively: "They found out from the obituaries. They were surprised. Hedy's own mother, who had lived with her in Hollywood, had a cross hanging in the dining room all her life." That detail didn't make it into the book (out Nov. 29), which centers on the serious brain behind the famous beauty. Lamarr co-invented "spread-spectrum radio" during World War II, a technology that would lay the groundwork for today's GPS and 3G systems.

Formosa Cafe: The Movie

The legendary 86-year-old Hollywood hangout Formosa Cafe, which has drawn everyone from the Rat Pack to the Brat Pack, is getting the documentary treatment. British filmmaker Fred Hogge is working with third-generation owner Vince Jung on a yet-untitled movie about the Santa Monica Boulevard landmark that will cover everything from former patrons Bugsy Siegel and Mickey Cohen ("There's more than a bit of a lurid past to the place," says Jung) and Frank Sinatra (who's said to have spent nights there pining over Ava Gardner during the 1950s) to the Formosa's rediscovery in the '80s and '90s by a younger generation, including such names as Andrew McCarthy, Molly Ringwald and Emilio Estevez. Says Jung, "Whether they were minors or they were just acting up, I can guarantee you I've probably thrown out the entire Brat Pack at one time or another."

Lost in Translation? Artist Director Suffers Verbal Faux Pas

There was an awkward moment during a special AMPAS screening of The Artist on Nov. 21 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater when the film's French director, Michel Hazanavicius, called Charlie Chaplin a "clown." After all, the silent film star's granddaughters, Carmen and Dolores Chaplin, were the evening's hosts and had flown in from their home in France to show their support. After the screening, Hazanavicius was asked about the silents that inspired his own movie. The director replied, in heavily accented and not yet perfect English, that he finds it unfortunate that antic-filled films by "clowns" such as Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Laurel & Hardy overshadow some of the era's great dramatic movies. There were quite a few nervous laughs over the unintentional but seemingly slighting word choice.

The Ruff Life in Beverly Hills

THR hears that Rihanna, Jerry Weintraub and Kyle MacLachlan -- as well as Simon Fuller, James L. Brooks and entertainment attorney Ken Ziffren -- are among the pampering pet owners who are causing a run on the deluxe dog biscuits laced with foie gras sold at Thomas Keller's three-month-old Bouchon Bakery in Beverly Hills. They'd better stock up on the $2 treats: California's statewide ban on the French delicacy takes effect in July.

Power Lunch

FIG at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel has been popular of late, with everyone from Chelsea Handler and Jake Gyllenhaal to Reese Witherspoon and Anthony Hopkins coming in. Other recent visitors include CAA's John Campisi and Ryan Seacrest Productions vp Tony Novia. … Management 360 pair Guymon Casady and Daniel Rappaport chowing down at Il Covo. On another day, Sandra Bullock at a quiet table. … Brian Grazer tucked into chicken tagine at Cleo. … Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey at Cut as part of a party of 10. Steve Bing and Albert Brooks, dining together elsewhere in the room, came by to say hello. … Paul Rudd sighted at Ninethirty at the W Hotel in Westwood. … Warren Beatty winking at a table of four cute gals at the Polo Lounge as he walked by. … Ben Silverman took a seat on the patio at Chateau Marmont, with Sandy Gallin also making the scene. … Aaron Eckhart enjoying the seafood at Gladstones. … David and Victoria Beckham dropped in at Dan Tana's. … HBO's PR head Nancy Lesser held court at the Palm. … Patrick Dempsey and Kate Beckinsale met at the Blvd. … Derek Hough stopped in at Joan's on Third. … John Lithgow paid a visit to Patina.