updated 03/08/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/08/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

The show Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean opened to reviews that could have pooped anyone's party (a "dreary amateur night," decreed the New York Times). But that didn't stop cast and crew from enjoying the opening night bash, which took place, fittingly enough, in a Woolworth's near Madison Square Garden. Some 600 guests munched on tacos and chicken-fried steak and mingled among the counters. The temptation, it seems, was too great for a few light-fingered revelers. Not that anything big was taken—"just a piece of candy here and there," reports the manager, adding, "You can't have that many people without a bit of petty theft. It's human nature." But don't count Cher—who stars in the show with Karen Black and Sandy Dennis—among the suspects. So many photographers were blocking her way when she arrived that she announced, "This is a mess," and scooped up daughter Chastity for a quick, er, getaway.

Credibility Gap
Gore Vidal, whose political melodrama Best Man was a Broadway hit in 1960, claims that when he was casting the part of William Russell, a fictional presidential candidate, Ronald Reagan's agent asked if his client could be considered. The vitriolic Vidal, who may be a candidate for the Senate in California this year, recalls answering: "No one would ever believe him in that part"—and hired Melvyn Douglas.

Good Help Is So Hard to Find
Zsa Zsa Gabor, no stranger to acrimonious breakups, is suing her former housekeepers, Pennell and Jalaine Spencer, and is asking the court to decide on monetary damages. Zsa Zsa's suit was actually in response to one the Spencers filed against Gabor back in 1980 for libel. Zsa Zsa says the couple, who worked for her from November 1979 to May 1980, failed to separate her eyedrop bottles from the jars containing the cement adhesive for her capped tooth. As a result, darling, she practically glued her left eye shut one day. She also accuses them of letting her Persian cat, Mr. Blackout, out of the house, where it was mauled fatally by her German shepherd and Shih Tzu. But worst of all, the couple quit, Zsa Zsa claims, before she was able to find suitable replacements. The nerve!

Pope John Paul II, back from Africa, will be paying a visit to England this May, and some of the same entrepreneurs who cashed in on last summer's royal wedding are readying an assortment of commemorative bowls, portraits, books and even teaspoons. Other items approved by Mark McCormack's International Management Group, the Vatican's souvenir clearinghouse, include special papal bricks, beer coasters, plastic bags and busts and a $2,400 platinum medal with John Paul II's likeness on one side and the Queen's on the other. All this may smack of crass commercialism, but at least these folks have some standards. Dozens of proposals were vetoed because the products were poorly made or would, by their very nature, get soiled (i.e., aprons, doormats and tea towels). Also rejected were "papal perfume" and lollipops bearing His Holiness' official logo.


•Laurence Olivier's memoirs will be published in the U.S. early next year. Sneak previews reveal that Lord Olivier, 74, is unusually discreet as showbiz chroniclers go, but he did have this to say about his 20-year marriage to Vivien Leigh: "She wanted us to be like brother and sister. But, fortunately, occasional incest was allowed."

•Katharine Hepburn, in a London newspaper, pooh-poohed the idea that acting requires a special talent. "It is the most minor of gifts," she insisted, "and not a very high-class way to earn a living. After all, Shirley Temple could do it at the age of 4."

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