Late in 1977 singer Helen Reddy, saying she felt a case of laryngitis coming on, gave five days' notice and canceled an appearance at the Kansas State Fair. That irked Kansas officials who, believing that she was malingering, sued for $100,000, served her with court papers backstage at a Florida performance and proudly erected a billboard on the fairgrounds that bragged "Got Reddy." Well, to make a legal—i.e., long—story short, Reddy countersued for the same amount, charging "malicious prosecution." Now the feuding parties have reached an amicable settlement: She'll sing twice at this year's fair and donate most of her fee to charity. State fair officials have repainted their sign to read "Helen Reddy Got Us."
Sure, Julius Caesar's autograph may be worth $2 million, Voltaire perhaps did drink up to 50 cups of coffee a day, and Julie Nixon Eisenhower may indeed once have been offered $1 million to pose nude for a girlie magazine, but one fact contained in the best-selling The Book of Lists—that Britain's Lord Snowdon has had a vasectomy—is, well, not a fact. "It's nonsense," says Princess Margaret's former husband, who married television researcher Lucy Lindsay-Hogg, 37, last December. "They haven't even spelt my name right" (he's listed as "Snowden"). Even more convincing proof of Snowdon's denial should appear in the fall, when he and Lucy are expecting their first child. Says a spokesman for Corgi, the book's British publishers, "We'll be deleting the reference to Lord Snowdon in future prints."
Sole à la Werner
Two years ago in a Berkeley, Calif. restaurant, German filmmaker Werner Herzog (Aguirre: Wrath of God) sat listening to an American friend, Errol Morris, a recent philosophy grad student, talk about how he'd like someday to make a movie. Herzog grew angry. "All you do is talk," he snorted. "I don't think you ever will make a film. It takes guts. If you ever do make one, I'll eat my shoe when it plays in Berkeley." Recently Gates of Heaven, an amusing documentary about pet cemeteries produced by Errol Morris, played in Berkeley—and Herzog dutifully paid the price for putting his foot in his mouth. After a local French bistro boiled his size-9 desert boot in garlic sauce for five hours, he cut it into strips and, before an audience of 800, washed them down with beer—all except the sole. "I don't eat the bones at Kentucky Fried Chicken," he explained, "so I don't eat the sole here."
Planning to book a country music act for your next prom, party, rodeo or bar mitzvah, but just don't know who's affordable? Relax. As the lucrative summer season approaches, concert fees for some of country's top stars are: Dolly Parton, $60,-000; Willie Nelson, $50,000; Kenny Rogers or the Statler Brothers, $30,000 to $50,000; Roy Clark, $40,000; Waylon Jennings, $25,000; Mel Tillis, $20,000; Don Williams, Donna Fargo or Tammy Wynette, $10,000; Freddy Fender, $8,500; and Tom T. Hall, $7,500. Loretta Lynn is also available but, as her manager puts it, her fee is "nobody's damn business. Only the IRS, our accountants and bona fide clients know these figures and that's the way it's going to stay."
Crisis struck twice—or so it seemed—when a newsman interrupted a Philadelphia TV broadcast of the daytime soap opera The Edge of Night on Friday, April 13 to announce that the Three Mile Island nuclear plant was leaking radioactive steam and was in danger of a core meltdown. What, again? This time the problem wasn't at Reactor No. 2 but at Channel 48, a UHF outlet, which transmitted a two-weeks-delayed tape of the soap to southeastern Pennsylvania without suspecting that it contained the frightening news bulletin. Callers jammed the phones to Harrisburg for hours, and Channel 48 general manager Kevin MacDonald had to request air time on local news radio to explain the blooper. "It was just one of those nightmares," says MacDonald, "and, of course, it had to happen in Pennsylvania."
Don't Leave Home
In California, Treasury Secretary Michael Blumenthal tried to pay for a meal with a credit card but the waiter pointed out that it had expired. The restaurant agreed to take Blumenthal's out-of-state check if he could furnish acceptable identification. The Secretary fumbled in his pocket for a dollar and asked the waiter to match the signature on the bill to the one on the check. Home free.