April 21, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

When it comes to public speaking, Ted Turner is as composed, self-possessed, and reserved as any professional would be. Professional wrestler, that is. In a rambling, half-hour discus- sion at the recent Variety/Wertheim Schroder Big Picture Media Conference in New York City, ”Jane Fonda’s last husband”-as he called himself-expounded on topics ranging from his recent attempts to buy CBS, to the hottest company in entertainment (”Turner Broadcasting. Next question”), to his personal business philosophy (”We leave no turn unstoned”). Here’s a sampler of the wit and wisdom of Chairman Ted. On how to beat the competition ”I’m only 56. Rupert Murdoch (64) and Sumner Redstone (71) are the two guys in this business richer than I am. But if the actuarial tables are right, I’ll be the richest guy in the business in another 10 years.”

On his future ”I’ve got a pocketful of big plans. But I’m not going to show my hand. I mean, you didn’t see Eisenhower faxing Hitler the plans for the invasion of Europe.”

On global expansion ”We have our entertainment networks everywhere but Africa. And we’re talking about going into Africa with Tom and Jerry because Africans like cartoons too. Trouble is, most of them don’t have television sets or electricity.”

On relieving tension ”I own 700,000 acres. I like collecting property. Also, I don’t have to get TCI and Time Warner’s permission to do it. I can’t buy CBS, I go buy another ranch.”

On Beavis and Butt-head ”We have more cartoons than anybody: The Flintstones, The Jetsons, the Smurfs, Scooby-Doo. They’re nonviolent. We don’t have to worry that we’re encouraging kids to kill each other-like some of the other cartoon programs do.”

On the classics ”(Turner Broadcasting’s) closing in on 4,000 motion pictures. That’s the good news. The bad news is 2,000 of them are in black and white. But that’s not a problem because we colorized the best 100 of them.”

On bargain shopping ”What’s CBS worth? Whatever they can get for it.”

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