Do You Read Me?
Stripes are strictly optional at the federal medium-security prison in Pleasanton, Calif., and inmate Patty Hearst has extended the free-dress code to include free speech. The controversial kidnap victim turned bank robber sometimes sports a T-shirt, a gift from her younger sister Anne, which reads PARDON ME on the front and, on the flip side, BEING KIDNAPPED IS ALWAYS HAVING TO SAY YOU'RE SORRY.

Something Real
On location for The Magician in Germany, Oscar winner Louise (One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest) Fletcher, 43—who last year separated from her husband of 17 years and took up with 23-year-old Morgan Mason, son of actor James—explained her philosophy: "It's only when you're prepared to risk everything that you can experience real love or real friendship or real anything." And how do her sons, ages 14 and 15, react to a man less than 10 years their senior? "They like him a lot," says Fletcher, "and he relates to them in an 'even' way." In fact, "When they first met him, ail they wanted to know about was what kind of car he drove. Thank God they didn't call him Uncle Morgan."

Fritz Fumes
Shortly after Vice-President Walter Mondale got Hubert Humphrey's longtime assistant David Gartner a post on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, it came to light that Gartner owned stocks that might pose a conflict of interest. So President Carter called for the commissioner's resignation, but Gartner (who as a member of an independent government body can't be fired by the President) has refused to leave. Peeved at old friend Gartner's refusal to resign, Mondale asked for—and received back—the autographed pictures he had sent him.

Romance Afoot
"I'm heading back on the road to loneliness again," sighs Rod (W.C. Fields) Steiger, whose divorce from Sherry Nelson is in the works. "I've been married three times and I guess I'm not very good at it. I don't think I'm going to try it again. My impulse has always been to be alone." But having thus cried in his beer, Steiger does not fall victim to a foolish consistency. "I am not setting my face against romance," he explains. "It's just that at my age [53] I find it kind of dull to go out dating again and playing the games of courtship. I'm waiting for romance to come along and kick me in the backside."

Maybe, Luke Baby
Long long ago (well, 1974) in a fall TV season now far, far away, two young actors were mightily disheartened when their series, The Texas Wheelers, flopped after four episodes. But now, no doubt, they feel differently: Had Wheelers caught on, Gary Busey might not have had time to make his current movie hit, The Buddy Holly Story, and perhaps Mark Hamill would never have become Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.

Furthermore

•During their 11½-hour flight to the U.S. summit conference, members of the Israeli delegation idled away some of their time watching two movies, Rollercoaster and Obsession. But Prime Minister Menachem Begin ignored the thrillers for a book he just couldn't put down. His choice? Anwar Sadat's Revolt on the Nile.

•Although it's 16 months before New Hampshire holds 1980's first presidential primary, it may be worth noting that the keynote speaker at the Granite State's Democratic convention dinner next week in Manchester will be Sen. Ted Kennedy.

•Asked if he plans to retire now that he has turned 65, astronomer Sir Bernard Lovell, director of Britain's famous Jodrell Bank Observatory, replied: "Heavens, no."

•It required 23 takes before Guardian Angel director Jacques Fournier would approve a take of tyro actress Margaret Trudeau's first embrace. "The first screen kiss is very important for a girl," Margaret explained. But co-star Francis Lemaire complained: "She gave me her cold."