TICKET SCALPER?
Although Ron Howard's ode to firemen, Backdraft (starring Robert De Niro and Kurt Russell and opening May 24), is being touted as one of the, er, hotter films of the summer, the ballyhoo hasn't gone to the director's very visible head. Neither has anything else, for that matter. "After the enthusiastic reception the audience gave the movie," Howard, 37, said following a recent screening in Washington, D.C., "I have to say that I am moved to announce my candidacy—for anything. But it won't work because walking around Washington, I've noticed that most elected officials have good hair."

OF MICE AND WOMEN
Elizabeth Taylor recalled that while she was making the 1959 film Suddenly, Last Summer, director Joseph Mankiewicz issued a most disparaging call to arms. "I was 27 and not bad looking," said Taylor, now 59, at a tribute to Mankiewicz in Los Angeles. "I wasn't fat or anything; I was in pretty good shape, and Joe looked at me and said, 'Are you planning on losing any weight?' And I said I hadn't actually thought about it. And then he lifted my arm up and said, 'I think maybe you should do a little toning up. Because this part [Liz pointed to her upper arm] looks like a bag of dead mice.' "

SWEET NOTHINGS
Just what was it about Madonna that drove Truth or Dare director Alek Keshishian, 26, maddest while making his documentary about the pop star? "She is the biggest pain in the ass when it comes to sharing candy," complains Keshishian. "Seriously, if it's like 2 A.M. and she comes to a final mix, she'll break out a box of Hot Tamales, and I'll be like, 'Can I have one?' and she'll literally act like a 7-year-old and go, 'No, you can't have any!' And she'll maintain that stance. She will give you the shirt off her back, but she will not share her candy with anybody."

REMEMBERING ORSON
Ruth Warrick may have had a chilly relationship with Orson Welles as his onscreen first wife in Citizen Kane, but while making the 1941 classic, their off-camera rapport was very warm indeed. "I loved him," says Warrick, 74, who has played the meddlesome Phoebe Tyler Wallingford on ABC's All My Children for 21 years. "It wasn't just a crush. I adored him, although I never let myself do anything about it. Orson sent for me a couple of times after the picture ended, and I did go one time, but I realized what the situation was and what he wanted from me and what would undoubtedly have happened. I was a married woman and I had a baby. I would have adored it, but I just couldn't do it because I'm a lady. But if you believe what Jimmy Carter says, that we sin in our hearts, then yes, I did."