StarTAC Stars On-Screen -- The pocket-size wireless is all over TV and the movies

It’s been a popular power toy for Hollywood execs for a while now, so it’s no wonder that even on-screen players these days can’t seem to leave home without their Motorola StarTAC cellular phones. Characters on such TV shows as Ally McBeal, Frasier, Cybill, and Ellen, among others, have been seen regularly reaching out and touching someone on their StarTACs. The pocket-size wireless was also prominently featured in a number of recent films, including As Good as It Gets, Scream 2, and Jackie Brown. How did Motorola get everyone hanging on its telephone? For one thing, by mounting an active product-placement campaign. But mainly, the gadget, which sells for about a grand, is Hollywood’s techno-fetishist object of the moment. ”It’s a good-looking, small phone,” says prop master Peter Bankins, who gave the StarTAC a starring role in Wag the Dog. Besides, he notes, ”Robert De Niro requested it.”