To California television viewers, even a modest beer commercial provided welcome relief this week from the avalanche of political ads filling every station break. The only way to persuade anyone to pay attention, political consultants concluded, was to call in their favorite allies: famous Hollywood actors.
Michael Landon pitched the controversial Big Green initiative as did Tracy Nelson, daughter of the late singer Rick Nelson and a star of "Father Dowling's Mysteries," who talked about her battle against cancer and the initiative's ban on carcinogens in pesticides.
Angela Lansbury, and later Sharon Gless, demanded the defeat of two term-limiting initiatives. Two relative newcomers, Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Ontkean of "Twin Peaks," came out against Big Green's rival initiative Proposition 135. They put on rubber gloves and examined a smoking black box with "135 No" on its side.
Clint Eastwood, former mayor of Carmel, Calif., who in films and real life is usually associated with right-of-center causes, stumped for Proposition 130, the "Forests Forever" initiative, opposed by most California conservatives as over-regulation of the timber industry.
Sacramento columnist Bill Bradley said Eastwood's 30-second spot was taped in the living room of Disney Co. president Frank Wells, a $1 million contributor to the initiative. Bradley said Eastwood also considered endorsing Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dianne Feinstein but stopped short when "he belatedly recalled that he is a registered Republican."