Disco's imminent demise has been predicted regularly since its debut, but now there seems to be evidence to suggest that the beat may really not go on (and on and on). Some examples? Well, New York's disco meccas Studio 54 and Xenon have introduced rock into their repertoires. Producer Allan Carr changed the name of his upcoming Village People movie from Discoland—Where the Music Never Ends to Can't Stop the Music. Growling deejay Wolf-man Jack has switched his radio show's title from The Disco Party to The Dance Party. Dionne Warwick refuses even to acknowledge that the thumping dance music on her new LP is disco. And America's most sensitive cultural barometer, Cher, is already letting it be known that her next LP will "have less disco and more rock'n'roll."
French tolerance for political scandal is high, which explains why President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing is expected to survive a Paris magazine's charge that six years ago when he was Finance Minister he accepted $240,000 worth of diamonds. They came from the Central African Republic's recently deposed tyrant Emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa. (Among his more hideous acts, Bokassa had a score of political enemies hanged in a public square while loudspeakers blared Those Were the Days.) Giscard's case has not been helped by a lame official response to the accusation, which referred to a "traditional exchange of gifts" and questioned the magazine's reporting on the "nature and value" of Bokassa's largesse. "What can you do when an embassy sends over a case of vodka, or a Middle Eastern sheik gives you an expensive gift?" one French official asked. "Refusal might be interpreted as an insult." He also noted, in a bizarre analogy: "It is well known that Bokassa used to pay his whores in Paris with diamonds."
Apparently, Jimmy Carter gets uncomfortable when he hears the words "President" and "Kennedy" close together. Not only has he taken to correcting questioners who inadvertently refer to Teddy as "President Kennedy" but, if two recent speeches are any indication, he has also begun referring to the late President as simply "John Kennedy."
The characters that Bruce (Coming Home) Dern plays are usually quite loony, but in the upcoming Middle Age Crazy, a mature, responsible Dern gives his Dallas Cowgirl girlfriend the air and comes home to wife Ann-Margret. Dern, 43, says he had his own midlife craziness at 30, "running around with women and literally running around. I was running 15 to 20 miles a day and fell in love with every girl who said she liked me." But for the last decade he's been coming home to third wife Andrea—and, snug and secure within the bonds of monogamy, he's got the running down to 50 miles a week. "It gets real cold out there," says Dern, and he doesn't mean the road either.
So Call Her
Wrapping up an interview with Melissa Manchester, N.Y. radio talk-show hostess Sally Jesse Rafael intoned, "You can get more of Melissa by picking up her latest album." Pause. "And you can get even more of Melissa," piped in Manchester herself—single after the recent demise of her seven-year marriage—"by calling me up and inviting me out."
•There's nothing like a Broadway hit to give a man an appetite for chewing on movies or television. Take Mickey Rooney, star of Sugar Babies. "You know," says Rooney, 59, "I always thought in show business you had to have certain credentials to qualify you to run something. Not so TV. They're businessmen who have no business in the business. They're eighth-rate citizens, if you want to know, who treat actors like so much meat."
•On the other hand, Johnny Carson may really need the $2.5 million he makes a year, especially since his price-per-haircut will jump from $55 to $75 next month. His hotshot barber, Jim Markham—who also does Paul Newman, Lee Marvin and James Garner—hiked the ante because "people were coming in off the street and it was getting too busy."