Pledge drives won't become a thing of the past, but the Public Broadcasting Service has initiated its own video label to bring in more funds. Created by PBS and Pacific Arts Video (owned by producer and ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith), PBS Home Video will release its own programming on tape to video stores and some local PBS stations. The first release will be The Astronomers series for $19.95 each or $99.95 for all six parts.
Kiss of Deathtrap
In his new video Acting in Film (Applause, $39.95), Michael Caine offers funny, fascinating tips on everything from blinking during a close-up to timing one's puffs on a cigarette. Caine, who did the tape as part of the BBC's Masterclass TV series, tells a group of students never to do a scene with dangerous special effects without watching someone else do it first, and always to keep breath freshener handy for bed scenes. Caine says he modestly sprays it in his own mouth before the big moment, in hopes his leading lady will ask to try it. He doesn't name names on the tape, but he told Entertainment Weekly that the ploy has worked on Maggie Smith, Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Taylor, and Christopher Reeve, who played his lover in the 1982 Deathtrap. ''Actually, I told him he had to take it,'' says Caine. ''I didn't use any subterfuge with him. I also told him, 'If you open your lips, I'll have you assassinated.' ''
No Blue Suede Boots
Elvis Presley's 1969 non-musical Western Charro!, the movie that was supposed to establish him as a Serious Actor, will make its video debut on June 20 (Warner, $19.98). Charro! failed to change his image then, and probably won't now, but this is not the Elvis we know from Viva Las Vegas and countless velvet paintings. He didn't shave for the part and wore the same pair of dirty pants throughout the filming.
Who's Watching What
Director Oliver Stone is catching up on '60s movies while making The Doors, a film about Jim Morrison starring Val Kilmer. ''I've been watching concert movies like Woodstock, Fillmore, and Monterey Pop to get the feel of how concerts were shot back then, and movies like Easy Rider and Alice's Restaurant that captured the attitudes people had towards hippies. ''