Don't tell Milton Berle he can't have a hot pastrami on rye delivered to his hotel late at night. When one Manhattan luxury hotel tried to refuse Uncle Miltie a nocturnal treat because deliverymen weren't allowed in the place, he decided to bring on a policy change. He phoned a deli and asked for the shabbiest-looking deliveryman they had. Then he waited outside the door for his snack to arrive, escorted the elderly courier into the lobby, and shuffled around the premises with him. The performance earned the sandwichman a big tip and an introduction to the bell captain who, at Berle's request, escorted the deliveryman out and hailed him a cab. Well, there goes the neighborhood.
It's never too late for super-stud-dom. Or so it seems for Howard Keel, 66, who sang his way through Hollywood's golden years in movies like Kiss Me, Kate and Rose Marie only to end up as Clayton Farlow, the gallant friend to the Ewing ladies on Dallas. Back from a concert tour in England, Keel reports he was mobbed by British admirers. "They all wanted to know if I were going to end up with Miss Ellie or Sue Ellen. They were so interested in my romantic entanglements I couldn't believe it. After all, I'm just an old poop!"
Calling All Soap Fans
Now that Ma Bell no longer controls the various Dial-It services, the free market offers a new reason to let your fingers do the walking: the first telephone soap opera. In New York City and eventually beyond, curious callers can enjoy Dial-A-Soap, a simulated party line which lets the dialer listen in on the most intimate phone conversations of the folks at America Magazine and their friends and lovers. Maurice Peterson, who used to write for CBS' The Young and the Restless, produces and directs the minidrama with a troupe of Broadway regulars and TV soap alums. They connive, cheat and ruin one another's lives—all in the space of 60 seconds! So the next time you pick up the office phone and someone says, "Now the whole world's gonna know you dumped on me. After you promised you'd leave your wife! After you forced me to give up all my other men," either you've called Dial-A-Soap (212-976-6363) or you're in a lot of trouble.
Is nothing sacred to Bette Midler? While talking to the Cincinnati Enquirer, she dared to speak her mind on the subject of prime-time television. "It terrifies me," she said. "The things on it are not like any human being I have ever known or had contact with." Would she ever do a TV series? Nope, she replied, giving her impression of how terrible the show might be: "On tonight's episode of The Bette Midler Show, the ever wacky Bette falls in love with a bait-shop owner only to discover that his worms come first."
You don't have to believe it. Plenty of people wouldn't. But there's a 42-year-old Santa Monica attorney named Lynn Hutchins who thinks he got a little more than a boat when he bought John Wayne's 136-foot converted minesweeper, Wild Goose. He claims he inherited John Wayne's ghost. The first time Hutchins slept in the Duke's royal-blue-and-gold stateroom, he heard footsteps on the deck above. Later he learned that Wayne used to take one-mile nightly constitutionals on the deck. In 1980 the ship lost its anchor in the harbor of Newport Beach, Calif. and defied nature by drifting against the wind and current to the dock in front of Wayne's former harborside home. Hutchins says he feels a "physical presence. You can cut it with a knife. It's that thick. But it's not a bad feeling—it's kind of protective." Not to mention expensive. Hutchins, who says boating requires too much time, has put Wild Goose on the market. The price: $2 million or best offer. The ghost is on the house.