Star Tracks

updated 09/15/1980 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/15/1980 01:00AM

John finds a Paycheck
The sure sign that hick is chic is that MCA Records now throws parties for rockers like Elton John at L.A.'s hillbilly Palomino Club. Captain Fantastic arrived in an Excalibur roadster and wearing a $5,000 rhinestone cowboy outfit from Hollywood's Mr. Nudie. One scruffier cowboy in sight was C&W singer Johnny Paycheck. They could have discussed their superstar tax troubles—after all, Johnny wrote Me and the IRS—but perhaps Paycheck was mulling another title. Why not, for starters, "Take Your Sunglasses and Shove 'Em"?

Killer Diller
Chrissie, shmissie—the most inimitable form in whites belongs not to any of last week's U.S. Open stars but to tennis buff Phyllis Diller, 63, here cavorting on the Woodland Hills, Calif. court of her 30-year-old businessman son Perry. "It's a scream to play with Mom," says Perry, who teamed with her for "hit-and-giggle" doubles with friends. "She's small, but she puts her weight into it. She's taken lessons from hotel pros around the world." Has it helped? Sure, backhands Perry. "Her tennis game is a perfect 10—on a scale of 100."

Diana's baby loves
The city fathers dreamed up a supreme treat for Diana Ross when the singer played a week at Atlantic City's Resorts International Hotel Casino. To celebrate Diana's 20th year in show business, they paraded her up and down the famed Boardwalk; Mayor Joseph Lazarow (above) made a speech and gave her the keys to the city. "There sure are a lot of black people in this town," marveled Diana at the local turnout. After planting her palms in some nearby wet cement, she suddenly exclaimed, "Where are my babies?" Then she swept up her three daughters (clockwise from bottom left) Tracee, 7, Chudney, 4, and Rhonda, 9, and her niece Monica, 11, and whisked them off.

Conner's big splash
The little plastic cup wafting over the head of skipper Dennis Conner was appropriately symbolic. He and the crew of Freedom had just been tapped to defend the America's Cup against the foreign challenger next week, after beating Russell Long's Clipper for their 43rd victory (out of 47 races) in the trials. They had sent their major foe, Ted Turner and his Courageous, packing the week before. Before the hurrahs died down, the crew celebrated in the traditional way—heaving all hands into the biggest drink in Newport.

Martin's bottled up
What's so thick and rich it will hardly pour? Why Steve Martin, of course, swallowed up in a papier-mãché ketchup bottle for his NBC special, All Commercials, to be aired September 30. Martin, who thinks Americans aren't getting their minimum daily requirement of TV advertising, will enrich the dose with an hour of jingles and slogans putting on everything from buns to Barbasol to designer jeans. As he sees it, "Who wants to sit through a bunch of singing and dancing and people getting shot, when you can see real people solve real problems—like stains, smells and that embarrassing itch?"

Main Danes
Every summer Denmark's Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik head south to France and freedom from official duty. With their sons, Crown Prince Frederik, 12, and Joachim, 11, they spend several weeks at their summer place, the Château de Caix, north of Toulouse, near Henrik's parents' home. They do nothing, Queen "Daisy" says, "like everyone else." Prince Henrik is especially fond of doing nothing: Unlike his bicycling family, he avoids a royal flush by using a motorbike.

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