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Homeland Hangs Itself -- The Great Big Book on a Great Big Legend -- Miss Barbara Sranwyck

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"ALL terrorism is theater!" said the departing -- to my sorrow -- New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

I wrote down this quote in the back of my daily calendar book so long ago that I had forgotten it. Then, last week I heard all sorts of people using Ray's quote without any credit to him or compunction.

I'm going to say once more, if New York is the paradigm of big city perfection that most people claim it to be, then I think "most people" will be sorry when Mr. Kelly, my hero, is gone.

HERE they are: the Christmas issues of magazines. Don't miss Playboy's 60 years of stunning photos and what they call "journalism excellence" with their Jan./Feb. double issue featuring Kate Moss on the cover in a demure pose. As usual, the leader in peek-a-boo nudity has some wonderful writers inside, including Hunter Thompson, David Mamet, Bertrand Russell, Truman Capote, Lenny Bruce, Erica Jong and William Burroughs, just for old times sake.

WE also have the one and only Queen Latifah on Good Housekeeping, saying, "My faith comes first."

I have never met the Queen; she's at the top of my wish list. I have never met anyone who doesn't love her.

NOW that the season finale of Homeland" has come and gone, the writers and producers of the dramatic series have about a year to straighten out and drone right! It was, for two seasons a riveting rollercoaster ride of a show, then descended into total absurdity and boredom this year.

Damien Lewis, as Brody, the Marine who was tortured and brainwashed for eight years in Iran, then returned to the U.S. as a conflicted terrorist, died at last, doing his duty for the U.S.A. So, that's that. (The episode itself was anti-climatic and badly paced with the usual unrealities running amuck.) Next season -- if Showtime really decides to "accept the mission," we'll have Claire Danes center stage heading a CIA office out of Istanbul. She is as wildly bi-polar as ever, so her promotion is literally unbelievable.

She may or may not give up her baby (a result of her affair with Brody.) Sunday night's finale seemed much more like the end of a series. Unless the writers take brilliance pills, I can't see "Homeland" going anywhere but down in season four.

INTO MY office arrived the massive and well-written new biography of Barbara Stanwyck. I mean massive! Eight hundred-plus pages long and it only goes up to 1940. (Volume 2 comes out next year.)

I adored Stanwyck the actress -- often underappreciated even in Hollywood. But what does author Victoria Wilson's super-bio really tell us? I already knew "Missy" began as a showgirl in New York...had a wretched childhood...was adored by her directors, co-stars and crew...that she seemed aloof but was really shy...that she hung onto her first marriage to Frank Fay years after she should have kicked him to the curb...that she never tied herself down to any one studio, which had its positives and negatives...and that she was, alas, not a very good mother.

There are mountains of detail. It is one of those biographies that gives you pages and pages on each person in Stanwyck's life -- even her directors.

This is manna for fans who don't know anything about the lady. But given its size, I think all of Barbara could have fit into one volume. And -- though I might be wrong -- I think this is the first biography of a movie star that ever had two volumes! She was a great actress, but not Winston Churchill. (Of course this observation reminds me of Pat Newcomb's exasperated exclamation to me, years ago, over all the continuing biographies, theories and adoration of Marilyn Monroe: MM's last press rep said: "I don't get it. She wasn't a historical figure. It's not like she was Alexander the Great!" But MM has become a historical figure, so maybe the versatile Miss Stanwyck deserves her two volumes. I do eagerly await the second!)

THE New York Post tells us that Katharine Hepburn's four Oscars are on permanent display at the Smithsonian.

They may be loaned to the Smithsonian, but you'll play hell looking for them. They are actually in the National Portrait Gallery because the Smithsonian wouldn't promise to show them altogether and keep them up "permanently." The Kate estate is possessive and protective about these priceless statues.

COLUMNIST Richard Johnson has a correct story about designer Arnold Scaasi and his companion of many years, literary expert Parker Ladd.

They were to wed, tried, but the judge failed to show, and they moved on to Palm Beach to retire peacefully.

But they haven't "disappeared." I had lunch with them in New York City near their Beekman Place apartment only weeks ago. They spent the summer in their house in Quogue, Long Island. They are now back in Palm Beach.

HERE is Whoopi Goldberg's Christmas ornament -- a red Santa wearing a cap that reads "Whoopi" and wearing her big glasses. If anyone can have fun at Christmas, it's our girl The Whoop!

THE master publicist Jim Mitchell (he once repped El Morocco) is giving a dinner everyone wants to go to this Friday at Primola where writer-producer Henry Buskin is being honored. Mr. B is in the news with his revealing book on the late talk show king Johnny Carson.

Mr. Mitchell also sent along to me some silly photos from past parties on the Riviera in Johnny's heyday. Would you like to be reminded of what a jerk you were at one of those Oscar and Lynn Wyatt's parties? Well, I was and I now have the photo to prove it.

Hoping your days are Merry and Bright but almost nobody across the country is really dreaming and hoping for a "White Christmas!" (Just the opposite.)