The delayed new Benji movie, Oh Heavenly Dog, stalled because British officials wouldn't let the dog star into the realm without a six-month quarantine, will finally get under way in England—without Benji. Despite pleading letters to the new Tory Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries (copies to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher), the British government refused to roll over, so the producers staged a nationwide contest for a lookalike. The winning mongrel, Kim, the pride of a Lancashire wood machinist, will get about $2,200 for appearing in British scenery shots, while the real Benji will handle location work outside the United Kingdom. Kim will get no closeups, and there's no word yet concerning any screen credit.
Dan (Grizzly Adams) Haggerty probably won't be so bearish in the future—on the highway at least—now that he's received the full impact from a run-in last fall with two cops on the San Diego Freeway. After pleading no contest to charges of reckless driving and battery of a peace officer, he was fined $600, sentenced to two years' probation and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service work.
"This guy goes to his grandfather and says, 'I don't know what to do—I'm an alcoholic, I have no talents, no ethics. What can I become?' And the grandfather says, 'Become a movie producer.' " That joke, as told by cops-and-robbers novelist Joseph Wambaugh, illustrates his attitude toward movie honchos and stems from what he believes were bungled screen adaptations of his The New Centurions and The Choirboys. It also explains why the cop turned author, who has pretty much acted as producer of his upcoming The Onion Field—he even mortgaged his house to raise money—is taking credit only as a screenwriter. "I figured that if I didn't hang myself with a 'producer' label," says Wambaugh, "no one could accuse me of being one."
In His Cups
One of the laughs in a currently touring version of the musical Carousel isn't in the script. When the action calls for him to take a sip of coffee, star Robert Gou-let takes a swig, screws up his face and rasps, "Swiss Mocha!"—a shot at the beverage endorsed on TV by his soon-to-be-ex-wife, singer-actress Carol Lawrence.
The Navy's barnacle-tough Admiral Hyman Rickover, 79, continues to amaze his Pentagon colleagues. Three days after serious surgery at Bethesda Naval Hospital he was back on the job, energetic and demanding as ever. "We always said he'd come back three days after a certain event," deadpanned one mildly blasphemous Navy captain. "Of course, a hernia operation wasn't exactly what we had in mind."
•A nose is a nose is a nose? Not necessarily. The producers of the biopic about boxer Jake La Motta, Raging Bull, took 14 attempts to create precisely the right battered shnozz for star Robert De Niro. The final cost was nothing to sneeze at: over $8,000.
•It's the next best thing to being there, says British actress Jane (Live and Let Die) Seymour, who tips that "When I had to do an American accent from a specific region, I would call up Directory Enquiries [she gets put through to Directory Assistance] and have a long chat with a local operator."
•As they exited a New York screening of Apocalypse Now, a friend asked playwright Tennessee Williams what he thought of the strikingly overweight Marlon Brando's taking home more than $2 million for his role in the film. "Gee, I don't know," responded Tennessee. "I think they paid him by the pound."