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Reminiscing With Some Friends of Ours

HBO celebrated the final run of The Sopranos at Radio City Music Hall on March 27 by presenting two new episodes and hosting a post-screening soiree at the subterranean concourse surrounding the skating rink at Rockefeller Center.

Amidst the trays of ravioli and the cast sightings, two Wire reporters and their guests shook hands and engaged in photo ops with Steve Van Zandt (Silvio Dante) and the big man himself, James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano).

There was also a bar-side reminiscence by one Wire watcher with Vincent Pastore — whose Big Pussy character fell off the deep end, so to speak, in the series’ second-season finale — concerning the 1970s and early 1980s club scene in lower Westchester County. Pastore confirmed that he had owned a small joint, The Crazy Horse, in New Rochelle, N.Y. Asked if he’d also been on hand with Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Frank Vincent (The Sopranos’ Phil Leotardo) at Hoops, a disco in neighboring Mount Vernon, where the winner of a summertime wet T-shirt contest was to earn a role in a little 1980 Martin Scorsese film called Raging Bull, Pastore didn’t hesitate: “Yeah, that’s how Cathy got the job.”

Pastore’s reference was to Cathy Moriarty, who copped a best-supporting-actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Vickie Thailer, the young Bronx wife to DeNiro’s out-of-control middleweight champion Jake LaMotta.

Obviously, she proved to have a lot more talent than what was just on display in Hoops that summer.

Mobile Rabbit Ears: Retro Cool? Or Necessary Evil?

At the CTIA Wireless 2007 confab last week in Orlando, Fla., Verizon Wireless showed off Samsung’s SCH-u620 and LG Electronics’ VX9400, the two TV handsets the carrier is selling for its V Cast Mobile TV service in 25 markets.

Now, to boost their reception of the live TV signals — delivered over a dedicated network provided by Qualcomm’s MediaFLO USA subsidiary — both the SCH-u620 and the VX9400 (say that five times fast) have retractable antennas built into the top.

When a Samsung booth rep was asked why the phone has an external antenna, she replied, “I think it’s probably a retro thing for marketing, you know, to show that it’s got TV on it.”

Well … not exactly. Over at the MediaFLO booth, the story went like this: Manufacturers needed to get their TV phones out fast, and designing the antenna into a handset takes time and engineering dollars. Now that Verizon Wireless and AT&T have signed on to offer MediaFLO TV services, you can expect to see future video-phones without the rabbit ears.

Samsung spokeswoman Kimberly Walton confirmed that “it’s definitely possible” to develop a MediaFLO-enabled TV phone with an integrated antenna, but said “we have nothing to talk about yet.” Stay tuned!

Senator Clinton Was Here. Well, Kind of Sort of.

Hallmark Channel tried to one-up TV Land in the political upfront star power last week.

CEO Henry Schleiff noted how former President Bill Clinton had appeared at TV Land’s March 23 presentation, when he spoke at Hallmark’s own upfront breakfast March 27 at Michael’s Restaurant in New York.

Schleiff asserted that independently owned Hallmark does not have nearly the marketing budget of TV Land, a unit of Viacom, which also owns MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, among cable channels. At that point, he brought presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to the podium — in the form of a cardboard cutout that had been purchased the day before from a Manhattan supplier for $75.

Michael McCarty, the owner and host of the restaurant often frequented by media executives, joked later that was going to keep Hillary on hand to greet customers.

Composition Assistance From the Great Beyond

Composers of the theme for the new season of Court TV’s Haunting Evidence may have let their imaginations, and their topic, get to them.

MusicBox composers Joel Goodman and Dan Stein swear to “paranormal” activity in their Calabasas, Calif., studios. The duo recorded their score in a normal fashion, but when they began the mixing process, they noticed audio was appearing on empty tracks!

Goodman and Stein sent the files in question to their software tech support team, which found only silence. But the duo and an assistant engineer went back to the studio, where they distinctly heard a disembodied woman’s voice singing in the background!

In an e-mail to The Wire, Goodman and Stein report, “The voice was almost angelic … it gave us all the creeps, because there was no singing on the score, and there weren’t any women anywhere near us during the recording sessions. Apparently our friendly female ghost likes to sing!”

Truly weird!

Getting’ Wiggy With It, Courtesy of the WWE

No one’s going to walk into a bank in Manhattan trying to look like Donald Trump. But, if you’re thinking about it, be cautious.

Multichannel News editor in chief Tom Steinert-Threlkeld last Tuesday decided to conduct a test of New York public mores: He donned a Donald Trump wig that had arrived that day from the folks at World Wrestling Entertainment, the Stamford, Conn., outfit that was promoting a “Battle of the Billionaires” in its annual pay-per-view extravaganza, Wrestlemania 23, which aired live on Sunday night.

In the special, wrestlers standing in for The Donald and WWE impresario Vince McMahon battled, head to head. If The Donald’s grappler lost, the script called for Trump to shave his head. Hence, the distribution of the wigs.

Walking down Park Avenue sporting the full-headed Trump coif, Steinert-Threlkeld wanted to see how many heads The Donald’s faux hair would turn. Alas, only one young woman seemed to even notice the newly blonde editor in chief.

Banks though are probably going to be on the lookout for Trump impersonators. Steinert-Threlkeld put the wig on near the cash machines in the lobby of the Washington Mutual bank branch at 31st Street, before taking it off at a Bank of America cash machine location at 40th.

Hopefully, the two banks won’t compare the recordings made by their security cameras and circulate an alert to other financial institutions.