Darth Demystified
Space archvillain Darth Vader is adorning some special T-shirts these days—and the effect is anything but sinister. In one he is reclining with a rubber duck in a hot tub, a cigarette dangling from one hand and a wine glass in the other. The caption: "The Empire Lays Back." It was special-effects cameraman Ken Ralston's gift to The Empire Strikes Back crew members during the making of the $22 million epic. Ralston had produced another version for second-shift workers on the set: Darth in nightgown and nightcap, carrying a teddy bear. Did producer George Lucas appreciate the gag? "He thought it was neat," says Ralston, and asked for both shirts.

Cyrus Who
After he resigned as Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance had to turn in his and his wife Gay's diplomatic passports, numbered 1 and 2. The State Department canceled and returned them as souvenirs, but the former Secretary was oblivious to all this because it was handled by aides. Then shortly thereafter he and Gay flew off to the Caribbean for a vacation. At Antigua embarrassed customs officials found themselves with two nice-looking Americans and two quite invalid passports. Vance was able to talk his way through.

Favorite Son
Ronald Reagan has been touring from Toledo, Ohio to Schenectady, N.Y. in pursuit of his goal, and finally it looks as if he's made it. The GOP presidential nomination? Wrong Reagan. This Ron is the 22-year-old son of the former California governor, and he is a backup dancer with the Joffrey Ballet's second-string ensemble. Young Ron studied ballet for two years in Los Angeles and won a scholarship with the Joffrey school last year. Opportunity knocked when a backup dancer in the Joffrey II company was taken ill, and Ron joined the touring group as Dad barnstormed elsewhere. What is young Reagan's style? "We think of him as a classical dancer," says company manager Frank Lackner, "but we're sure he'll be wonderful in more modern roles."

Raising Caen
San Francisco gossip columnist Herb Caen is no respecter of caste or class, as befits his profession, but he may have overdone it at a recent small dinner party for Joan Kennedy following a fund raiser. First he shouldered aside an already seated guest to put himself at Joan's immediate right at a table for 10 in a chic, wine-only French restaurant. Then, in the middle of the main course, he produced a bottle of vodka from a paper bag, brandished it at Joan—whose struggle with alcoholism has been well publicized—and asked: "This used to be your favorite, wasn't it?" Joan gracefully let it pass, but the other guests were appalled. "Perfectly outrageous," fumed Jell-O heir Jack Vietor's wife, Lita.

Crying Fowl
Suzanne Somers' spokesman Dick Guttman has a tongue-in-cheek explanation for his client's trouble with the soup company that wants her to stop dressing up like a hen in her nightclub act and singing the jingle for its chicken noodle. Muses Guttman: "Maybe Lipton doesn't want to remind people how cute the chickens are that go into their soup."

Furthermore

•Ted Lange, who plays Isaac the bartender in Love Boat, was visiting Spain, where the show is a big hit, and a reporter asked him if he found it a problem as an actor being black. Quipped Lange: "Sure, but it's a bigger problem being short!" Fortunately he is 5'10".

•Marlo Thomas was distributing pro-ERA leaflets at a Chicago construction site and talking up the need for equality between the sexes when an MCI (Male Chauvinist Ironworker) demanded: "How about a kiss?" Mario slapped him—with a green sticker plugging the Equal Rights Amendment. "Kissing is a good thing," she explained afterward, "but I have a very jealous boyfriend"—TV host Phil Donahue.