01/14/1980 at 01:00 AM EST
Gentlemen, Be Seated
On the Florida location of Caddyshack, the set was thick with comedians (Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase) and off-camera gags. Though competition was fierce, perhaps the best was pulled off by Ted Knight. In a Ted Baxterish move, he had his name stenciled on all the performers' chairs, then reacted with mock fury as soon as the cast had settled in for a break. "Whenever I look for my set chair," Ted roared, "somebody's always sitting in it." "Everybody looked at the back of their chairs," says a source on the set, "and all started to apologize at once."
Getting It Straight
While sedately mothering their 4-month-old daughter in England, Alana Hamilton Stewart is learning to make steak-and-kidney pie and trying to soften her husband Rod's gossip-column image. For one thing, she says, Rod is not stingy. "He's charitable and kind. He's simply sensible about money." How about the Stewart temper? "Rod and I never fight. We sulk." And those oft-published tales of Rod's previous blondes, including Britt Ekland? "I've never been jealous," she allows, adding: "I don't know what has happened to good taste in this world. It reaches the point where nothing is sacred."
As year-end bills flood in, Houston businessmen are laughing over an anonymous letter making the rounds, addressed to the president of Shell Oil and signed John Doe:
"Due to a money shortage, it will no longer be possible for me to mail my gas card payments. It will be necessary for a representative of your company to come and pick it up each month. I will be available to disburse payments between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. and again from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Thursday and Friday, but will not be available on weekends. Should your representative encounter a line at my door, please advise him to be patient. It would be best if he would come only on odd-numbered days (as I have Mobil and Exxon coming on even days) and preferably before the 20th of the month, as my allocation of money will probably be gone by then. Also, the bills may not be payable in full as I have allocated only 80 percent of my last year's salary toward current bills. A green flag at my door means that the supply of money is good. A yellow flag indicates a possibility of payment, and a red flag means your representative is too late."
Keep Off the Grass
BBC interviewer Roy Plomley asked author Norman Mailer what luxury he'd most like to carry along to a deserted island (besides the music Mailer had selected to play on Plomley's long-running series, Desert Island Discs). The answer caused Plomley, whose audience is largely conservative, to "reprove him gently." The remark also worried BBC executives, who threatened not to air the tape, then finally gave a brave go-ahead. Mailer's fondest wish would hardly raise an eyebrow on this side of the pond. It was "a stick of the finest marijuana."
•Interviewed in Chicago about his favorite guests, Dick Cavett listed Katharine Hepburn, Noël Coward and Groucho Marx. The worst? "Some people from television series" and the late, irascible Al Capp. Others haven't given him a chance to judge—he'd still like to snare Cary Grant and Jackie Onassis. Most hopeless request? Shrugs Cavett: "People always say, 'Why don't you get Garbo sometime?' That's an idea!"
•An early entry in the 1980 execrable-taste sweepstakes is a joke going around Washington: Good News—Barbara Walters will be exchanged for the hostages in Iran. Bad News—Ted Kennedy will drive her to the airport.
•Canadian thrush Anne Murray tells the story: At a Save the Children fund raiser in Toronto, a terrified cub reporter met Princess Anne. Tongue-tied before royalty, the young man finally stammered: "How's your mother?" Contrary to her reputation with journalists, the princess was sympathetic and amused. Quoth Anne: "She's still the Queen."