Tricks and Treats for Halloween at Universal

Gilles Marini and daughter enjoy the festivities on the Universal Backlot.

Gilles Marini and daughter enjoy the festivities on the Universal Backlot.

Universal Studios is the home of the classic horror movies Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Mummy, The Phantom of the Opera and many more. And Sunday, once again, the studio had their famous monsters roaming around the backlot but they weren’t there to trick scaredy-cats. Instead, the creatures brought treats to kids attending the Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times’ 17th Annual Halloween Carnival.
There were lots of stars on hand to play games, win prizes and enjoy music thanks to the carnival’s media sponsor Clear Channel Radio. There was live entertainment with special performances on the 104.3 MY-fm stage by American Idol’s Brooke White.
Seen enjoying carnival rides was hunky Gilles Marini, who was taking his precious little daughter around. He beamed, “This is as much fun for me as it is for her.” Gilles sizzled last season on Dancing with the Stars (winning second place), and now has joined the cast of ABC’s Brothers and Sisters. He was happy to pose for pictures with anyone who asked. “I am here to see the children smile and support the camp.”

Bella Thorne and Remy Thorne at Camp Ronald McDonald’s Halloween Carnival.

Bella Thorne and Remy Thorne at Camp Ronald McDonald’s Halloween Carnival.

There were a bunch of popular teen celebrities who volunteered to do autograph signings for the youngsters who attended Camp Ronald McDonald. Among the young stars spreading smiles were: Angus T. Jones, Two and a Half Men; Jake T. Austin and Jennifer Stone, Wizards of Waverly Place; Chelsea Staub and Nicole Anderson, Jonas; Tiffany Thornton, Sunny With A Chance; Jason Dolley, Hatching Pete; Devon Werkheiser, Ned’s Declassified; Josh Logan, Desperate Housewives; Noah Cyrus, Mostly Ghostly; singer Savannah Outen; and Booboo Stewart, who has been in a bunch of horror movies, including the upcoming Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
Some celebs got in the spirit and arrived in costume, like redhead Bella Thorne (Big Love and Screamfest’s Forget Me Not) who came as Little Red Riding Hood. She said, “It’s fun to dress up. As performers we do it all the time.” And her talented brother Remy Thorne (Mental) had a court jester outfit. Actress Judy Greer, who will be seen in the family-friendly Marmaduke movie next year, said she is happy to support Camp Ronald McDonald. It helps children with cancer and their families, providing a medically supervised camp that offers fun and friendship.
The sponsors of such a worthy cause deserve a shout out: JAKKS Cares, a division of JAKKS Pacific which has a great Halloween costume collection; United Online; M. Fredric; Disney Products; and NBC Universal. And kudos to all the wonderful volunteers, plus Mike Stommel and his team from Wagner/Junker Agency, for such a fun Halloween event.

Screamfest Honors New Blood
Folks had a frightfully good time at Screamfest ’09, which just wrapped its schedule of indie flicks at Mann Chinese Theaters at Hollywood and Highland. The horror film festival boasts of discovering new blood in the industry, and was the first to spotlight Paranormal Activity (it just killed Saw VI at the box office). A fest favorite, the short film Tinglewood is from down under and stars Australian Nathan Coenen (the boy from Oz has lots of fans for his Sleepover Club series). Now living in L.A., Nathan, 17, was thrilled to see the movie at the famous Grauman’s Theater with the festival crowd. With all the confidence of a Hollywood veteran, Nathan told me, “I will win an Academy Award someday.” That’s a g’day, mate!

The Best Halloween Movie
The Nightmare Before Christmas is the best Halloween movie for all ages! Featuring Danny Elfman songs, the story by Tim Burton is about Halloweentown’s beloved Pumpkin King who attempts to take over the Christmas holiday. Now the stop-motion picture has been turned into an eye-popping Disney Digital 3-D movie, playing until Nov. 1 at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. After that, Disney’s animated A Christmas Carol (with Jim Carrey voicing ‘Scrooge’) comes to the El Capitan with an all-new holiday spectacular live stage show.

Treat for Barbara Eden
Last week, Barbara Eden received an appreciation award from the NBC alumni at the 13th Annual NBC Reunion Dinner at the Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake. Gene Walsh bestowed the honor on Barbara for her 40 years of being an NBC star. In addition to I Dream of Jeannie for five seasons, Eden added glamour to 21 of Bob Hope’s specials and 15 TV movies on the Peacock network.
   The busy actress was just seen in the Hallmark Channel’s Always & Forever, and recently guest-starred on Army Wives. Eden has been on the road with Ballroom with a Twist, a show with rotating celebrity emcees and dancers from Dancing with the Stars, and will continue to host in the New Year. What a treat!

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