Julian Fellowes preps 1880s period drama ‘The Gilded Age’ for HBO

From “Downton Abbey” to downtown Park Avenue, Lord Julian Fellowes keeps a stiff upper lip, sips a hot cuppa and knows to carry on.

Pish and tosh to the coronavirus. His HBO newie, another period thing, is on this side of the pond. It’s us. The Colonies. NYC. How we were in the boom 1880s with materialism, expansionism, moneyism. “The Gilded Age” title comes from Mark Twain.

Word was CV had canceled it. No. His Lordship is here. Is the problem affecting him? “No. Locked in a trailer all day, you don’t see or hear anything. And it’s nice to be holed up in a country house here rather than being locked up in London.”

With Christine Baranski and Cynthia Nixon, when’s it air? “Haven’t a clue. I’m like the husband. Last to know.”

Don’t look for it until March.

Call it a ghost town

Bergdorf’s, Saks, Neiman’s each had back-of-house offices in nearby high-rises. Over. All empty … Wirth nobody doing anything, percolating are autobios like “The Butler Wore Guccis.” Tom Gardner tells of buttling for families like the Gimbels, Henry Clay Frick, Roy Cohn’s David Schine, Mar-a-Lago’s Marjorie Merriweather Post … The Javits Center’s car show’s out of gas till August … I’m also hearing they’ll be no MSG for Westminster’s 145th Best in Show. The usual 2,000-plus dogs are barking mad about next year’s ring being in the Hudson Valley.

Lunar footnotes

“Over the Moon” is a new film about a young girl who actually gets up to that circle in the sky. One small step for her, one giant leap for Asian actors. Comic Margaret Cho, whose voice is featured: “Multiculturalism is essential. We must live without racism.”

Sandra Oh: “Thrilled to act in this group. Before it’s always just been ‘one of us’ in every movie.”

Like everything else, it’s streaming on Netflix.

Comic chronicle

Chugging along soon’s a movie about Richard Pryor, who once set himself on fire in a freebasing accident. Producers are Kenya Barris and Jennifer Lee, Richard’s widow.

History lesson

The phiz of Trump’s hero, Andrew Jackson, hangs in the Oval Office. In 1824, Jackson won the plurality, but the electoral vote split four ways. There was only one Democrat-Republican party so the House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams. In 1828, President Andrew beat John Quincy by a large margin.

Jackson was one of the first to openly campaign. Rallies, parades, flags. The classy Eastern establishment considered this “obscene.” He, however, creamed John Quincy, and for his toughness, the troops called him “Old Hickory.” But he was the “People’s President” — just like another tough “People’s President.”

Dead presidents

Lincoln’s spirit is known to be restless. In Hans Holzer’s “In Quest of Ghosts,” we learn Eleanor Roosevelt’s maid saw him pulling on his boots. The Netherlands’ Queen Wilhelmina saw him standing somewhere, and she fainted.”

Also in Holzer’s book: Calvin Coolidge’s wife “described his sad look.” Gerald Ford’s daughter “encountered him in the Lincoln Bedroom.” Ronald Reagan’s daughter Maureen saw him “near the fireplace.” And Harry Truman: “Three knocks on my bedroom door awakened me. Damn place is haunted.”

Per Dennis William Hauck’s “Haunted Places: The National Directory:” Dead President Harrison “was seen rummaging in
the White House attic.” Staffers reported the ghost of Abigail Adams “hanging laundry.” Presidential aides said Lyndon Johnson heard Jackson “cussing.” When Woodrow Wilson was president, “Dolley Madison appeared in the Rose Garden. ”And John Quincy Adams “sat in his same old House floor seat.”

So, Tuesday, lotsa luck to whoever’s renting 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Props for Halloween nights past: A 13-foot animated demon that writhes and jumps out at visitors. A hidden hand that reaches out when a trick-or-treater grabs a Tootsie Roll. A mannequin that spews fake green barf into a barrel. And, activated by a panel, a mirror with a skull that appears in the glass.

For sure, only in New York, kids, only in New York.

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