LARRY KING: PITCHES A CAREER CHANGE

JAMES WOODS: SCHOOL'S OUT

RAT FINK: While shooting an episode of NBC's L.A. Law that will air Nov. 30, ALAN RACHINS put his finger on a touchy problem. Rachins, who plays abrasive barrister Douglas Brackman, was unexpectedly bitten by the trained rat with which he was doing a scene. "You know, all morning while we were rehearsing, "says Rachins, "I kept thinking what a bum rap rats get, and for it to turn on me was really horrible. It did hurt. It was like getting stuck with a needle. At first there was blood, and of course then conies the fear of bubonic plague, so we immediately called the rat's vet to inquire about its shots, and luckily the rat was fine. "Lessons learned? "Well, I don't want to make the remake to Willard, I know that."

PAST IMPERFECT: Singer-actress VANESSA WILLIAMS, who lost her Miss America crown in 1984 after her infamous nude photographs ran in Penthouse, admits that scandal might dissuade her from doing nude scenes in films. "In my heart I do care about what people think," says Williams, whose gold album last year yielded two Grammy nominations and who is an entertainment reporter on the syndicated show After Hours. "It's always a factor. It would depend on the scene, but I would definitely veer toward not doing them, because I wouldn't want to defend myself all over again and have that headache."

BRAVES NEW WORLD: Talk show host LARRY KING wants to be on deck as the next broadcaster for the Atlanta Braves. "If I could take a year off, I would like to do baseball games," says newlywed King (see PEOPLE, Oct. 23, 1989), who will get a chance to whet his athletic appetite this summer as host of the 1990 Goodwill Games on the Turner Broadcasting System. "In fact, I told TED TURNER that at the end of this contract [with CNN], I'd like to do Atlanta Braves baseball games for a year—sports is my avocation. The reason I'm not doing it full-time is that sports is really just a place. What would eventually happen is, I'd be driving to the stadium while the Braves are 18 and 70 and I'd hear someone interviewing [HENRY] KISSINGER on the radio, and I'd want to be doing that."

CLASS ACT: Actor JAMES WOODS, in an appearance at instructor THEODORA SKLOVER 's film course at the French Institute in New York City, responded to a question about the value of taking acting classes. "I found it didn't work for me, "said Woods, who is currently starring in Immediate Family with GLENN CLOSE and MARY STUART MASTERSON. "I really didn't (give a s—- what Hamlet had for break-fast. A lot of teachers think they're psychotherapists—there are enough bad psychotherapists out there. I just feel silly pretending I'm a radish." Besides, he added, "anybody who has cheated on their spouse—it's astounding how good people are at acting when they want to be."

GREASY DOES IT: "Dinner scenes at South-fork are notorious," says actress CATHY PODEWELL, who plays Mrs. J.R. Ewing on CBS's Dallas. "LARRY [HAGMAN] and PATRICK [DUFFY] are like 5-year-olds when they sit down at the table, There's all this prop food that they play with. They throw rolls across the tables and stick olives on the ends of their noses. I had a scene where I'm yelling at Larry at the table and I turn to him, and he looks up at me and out comes mashed potatoes oozing through his teeth. The prop food is the lot cafeteria food, which is cold and lousy. I pretend to eat it during scenes, but Larry loves it. I mean, there's greasy bacon, sausages and hash browns, and he shovels it in. That stuff is gross."