updated 01/11/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/11/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

Thumbs Down
A funny thing happened to Rod Stewart on the way to a pre-Christmas gig in San Diego. Five miles from the arena, a rear tire on his rented motor home blew out so badly it had to be ripped from the rim. Still hoping to make the concert on time, Stewart tried hitchhiking. Scores of concertgoers passed by as the raspy rocker stood on the side of the road, but no one stopped. "They missed their chance," huffed Rod, who gave up after five minutes and climbed back into the motor home, which limped to the concert on three wheels and a rim.

Language Barrier
On Golden Pond director Mark Rydell is traveling to London this month to meet with the experts who will dub his film into four European languages. The reason for his personal involvement? Rydell hopes to avoid errors like the one he saw in the Paris editing room where An Unmarried Woman was translated into French. "There was a scene," he reports, "that called for Jill Clayburgh to say to a cab driver, 'Pull the bleep over,' and the French were changing it to, 'Pull over and let's bleep.' "

That Takes the Cake
Faith Stewart-Gordon, the owner of New York's famous Russian Tea Room, recalls that for 30 years the restaurant employed two bakers "who worked side by side every day without saying a word to each other." One was Bavarian and the other Armenian, she explains, and neither could speak English. Once, she reports, a cake that was supposed to say "Happy Birthday Ellen" came out of the kitchen with four words carefully written in icing: "Hold for Tuesday morning."

Out in the Cold
For years the big three auto companies have been advertising heavily on televised pro football games. So it seemed a nice thank-you to the sponsors when Detroit was chosen to host this year's Super Bowl, the first cold-weather site in the championship game's 16-year history. But even on the home field, the American automakers couldn't move fast enough to beat the Japanese. Commercial time was sold out by last month, and of the 11 spots devoted to auto advertising, eight of them will be for Japanese cars. Toyota alone, with four ads, will outweigh all of Detroit's entries. Ah, so it goes.

Artful Dodger
At the Kennedy Center Honors gala last month in Washington, Art Buchwald renewed an old friendship with Audrey Hepburn, whom he'd met while writing for the Herald Tribune in Paris in the '50s. Both remembered the time Art brought his three children to meet the then pregnant Audrey. It turned out one of the kids had measles, and Hepburn had to undergo an unpleasant gamma globulin injection. Prompted by their reminiscences, Buchwald decided to go public about his relationship with Hepburn. Cracked the columnist, "She went through a lot of pain and suffering for me."


•Is Captain Mark Phillips still nervous about visiting Buckingham Palace after eight years of marriage to Britain's Princess Anne? "I don't feel as relaxed as I do in my own home," he ventures. "But then, I don't expect anyone does when visiting their mother-in-law."

•Heather Thomas, the bosomy 24-year-old actress featured on the new TV show Fall Guy, shot much of a recent episode clad in nothing but a bikini. That was copacetic, but she wishes Hollywood producers would be a bit more up-front on the subject of unclad women. "What I'd love," she explains, "is if somebody would just come out and say, 'We want you naked because it will bring in more bucks.' Of course, they never do."

•At a multiple sclerosis benefit in New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Sugar Ray Leonard told the black-tie crowd, "We're all given some sort of skill in life. Mine just happens to be beating up on people."

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