FROM THE NEWS DESK: Jay-Z Alive & Well (May 4, 2007)

HIGH FLYING RUMOR: This will show you how fast a rumor can fly coast-to-coast-and-back in the Internet Age. 10:55: AM (Los Angeles Time) a website floated a rumor that Jay-Z had been killed in plane crash in North Carolina, while flying to Las Vegas for this weekend’s big fight. We hit the phones, calling everybody from his people to Beyonce’s people to the FAA to aviation experts to the local newspaper in North Carolina. Everybody was pushing the local stations to put helicopters up, in bad weather. First response from his people, shock and fear but denial. Then, uncertainty. Calmer heads prevailed and the confirmations started to come in that it wasn’t the musician-mogul at all. Finally, 17 minutes after it started the definitive answer. Jay-Z is alive but I’ll bet he had a Blackberry full of e-mails when his plane finally landed. 17 minutes. We’ll ask him about it this weekend.

QUICK CHANGE: Daily Variety reporting today that Edward Norton and Liv Tyler will star in a new adaptation of “The Incredible Hulk.” Edward will play Bruce Banner, in case you couldn’t guess. But why are they re-making the Hulk when was just made in 2003? Visual effects haven’t improved that much. And the first one, with Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly, did decent business at the box office. One industry watcher we know says the problem is it was too smart! Too much science, too much emotional-psychological stuff for the boy crowd. Not enough stuff being Stomped To Pieces by the Angry Green Guy.

HOW MUCH?: Word today that the original General Lee car from “The Dukes Of Hazzard” TV series has been auctioned off for almost $10 million. That’s the Big Orange Dodge Charger that Luke and Bo and Daisy drove in their exploits around Hazzard County (on CBS). File this under More Money Than Brains.

TARZAN FINDS PEACE: Read the greatest story on the AP wire yesterday. Gordon Scott, who had played Tarzan in the ‘50s had died at age 80, in Baltimore. He wasn’t the most famous Tarzan but he swung from vines in five of the movies, fell in love with and married (later divorced) actress Vera Miles. He had been discovered originally while working as a Las Vegas life guard. Gordon’s body always served him well; he played out the string working in Westerns and Gladiator movies. Now here’s the good part; A few years ago this Baltimore couple, Roger and Betty Thomas were in L.A. and looked the old star up. Roger had been a fan as a kid. They invited him for a visit to their Baltimore row house and he never left. Betty told AP she last saw him on Saturday. She told him, “‘Gordon, we love you, and so does the dog and the bird.’ He opened one eye for a moment and gave me a wink.”

Send us your tired, your hungry (news)… McGeorge.news@nbcuni.com.

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