Of course, Bruce Davison wanted to see the polar bears and the baby tigers when he went behind the scenes of the Ringling Bros, and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Manhattan, but the main attraction for him was the elephants. That's understandable, since Davison has taken over the title role in The Elephant Man on Broadway. "I've always been attracted by the complacency of the pachyderm herd," he said, and indeed one big fellow, of a freckled Indian variety, was laid-back enough to take a handout. Of course, making friends with an animal of this size was a real step up for Davison, who advanced his budding reputation in 1971, at 24, co-starring in Willard with all those rats.
Play, Misty, for me
Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and his wife, soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, have performed together publicly before, notably at a tribute in February to dissident Soviet scientist Andrei Sakharov. But this time the occasion was more personal: their 25th wedding anniversary. The event, in Paris' Salle Gaveau, was a family affair, with daughters Olga and Elena and their husbands—musicians all—playing Schubert, Handel and a 1967 work that Shostakovich had personally dedicated to Galina. Then the jubilee couple brought down the packed house dueting on a Tchaikovsky serenade. "I've never heard Galina in more beautiful voice," murmured violinist Isaac Stern in his seat, and, to a standing ovation, the ever-romantic Mstislav bussed her hand.
Paul's Bronx cheer
On a blow between location takes of Fort Apache, the Bronx, Paul Newman demonstrated that he was, temporarily at least, at peace with the local citizenry. Some Bronx residents had decried as racist the filming of Puerto Rican gang scenes in the police precinct that got its moniker for having one of the highest crime rates in the city. But on this particular warm spring day, the star stopped off at the production company trailer and grabbed not just a brew for himself but two cases for the spectators. Suddenly even the indignant among them were in the thrall of Cool Hand Paul.
Paul & Art strike back
The real princess at the London premiere of The Empire Strikes Back was Meg (page 40), but the film's Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher, got royal treatment too. Sometime beau Paul Simon and his ex-partner, Art Garfunkel, teamed up again to squire her to the gala. Garfunkel, who is also a big hit in London in Bad Timing, a movie about two Americans in Vienna which is his first in years, escorted his current squeeze, Penny Marshall. Just possibly the evening should have been billed Simon and Garfunkel Meet Laverne and, well, Carrie.
An eerie thing happened to Jack Nicholson on the way to a Manhattan screening of his new film, The Shining. No, the elevator didn't gush blood as it does in the psychic chiller, but two lifts, packed with Nicholson and chums like Diane Keaton, wouldn't budge for a few hairy minutes. The real suspense concerned whether Jack, who had just vetted the $18 million Stanley Kubrick-directed opus, would approve. The hint of his "killer grin" as he clowned with Dick Cavett told the tale. He calls it, claims an aide, "the best piece of material I've ever done."
In her new movie, The Blue Lagoon, Brooke Shields grows up without PG and without any clothes to speak of (a double plays her nude scenes with heartthrob Chris Atkins). But back on the mainland she'll be all duded out in her big new career. In the ever-escalating Battle of the Blue Jean, the now 15 and lissome Shields is getting ready to model and talk up the Zena line to teens. That will pit her against Blondie rocker Deborah Harry, who has enlisted to wriggle for Murjani. It's no contest, says Brooke's mom, Teri. "Murjani wanted Brooke first, but they couldn't afford her—so they hired Deborah."