updated 01/24/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/24/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

Road Worriers
Moving from plush hotel to plush hotel, a star is practically in heaven, right? One night during a recent tour, reports Ben Vereen, 36, "I laid out my clothes for the next morning, as usual. When I woke up, I found my road manager had packed all my belongings, including the clothes, and had sent them on to my next date, apparently unaware I was asleep in the next room with absolutely nothing to wear." Ben had a set of clothes rushed to him from a men's shop. And Morgan Brittany, 32, who plays Katherine Wentworth on Dallas, recalls that she was forced to stay at an old hotel in Indianapolis before doing a very-early-morning talk show. "When I went to leave my room at 6 a.m., the doorknob came off in my hand, and I couldn't get out. There was no telephone in the room to call for help. So I climbed through the transom and made the show on time."

Shaggy Man Story
Maria Callas never wrote her memoirs, but before she died in 1977, the diva reportedly said, "The only person who knows everything about me and could write my biography is my husband." He took her up on it; before he died in 1981 at 85, Giovanni Battista Meneghini wrote the recently published book My Wife Maria Callas. Not surprisingly, Meneghini's description of the 1959 cruise on Aristotle Onassis' yacht during which Callas first took up with Ari is a tad waspish: "Many of the couples split up and found other partners. The women, and also the men, often sunbathed completely nude and fooled around in broad daylight in front of everyone. I had the impression of finding myself in the middle of a pigpen. One of the things that made the strongest impressions on me was to see Onassis naked. He didn't seem to be a man, but a gorilla..."

Near Miss-ile
Deal of the Century, a picture scheduled to open next fall, finishes shooting in L.A. this month; it stars Chevy Chase as an international weapons dealer. And one of the weapons he deals, according to producer Bud Yorkin, is a multimillion-dollar remote-control attack plane called a Peacemaker. That sounds strangely like Peacekeeper, Ronald Reagan's tag for the MX missile. "He must have read the script," says Yorkin, whose picture went into production before the President unveiled his missile moniker. Adds Yorkin, "I was stunned. It's ironic that Reagan now uses a name like that—it's pure advertising hype. We are being satirical."

Writers' Block
It could only happen in South Africa. The outstanding work by the country's leading playwright was banned by a committee that controls reading matter but has no jurisdiction over theater. Thus Athol Fugard's Master Harold...and the Boys (which has been a hit on Broadway for nine months) could be staged in its native land, but it was illegal to read it. Which meant the forthcoming production at Johannesburg's Market Theater was okay so long as the actors didn't rehearse with written scripts. Even the publications committee realized the Catch-22 aspect of its ruling, and it lifted the ban five days after it was imposed. The World According to Garp and Lady Chatterley's Lover were also recently removed from the list of forbidden works.


•Since 1979 the rock group Van Halen has insisted on dressing rooms equipped with bowls of M&Ms—with all the brown ones removed before they get there. Why? Why not? According to a spokesman, that's the group's way of ridiculing the outrageous—but completely serious—demands that other rock groups make of their promoters.

•Leonard Nimoy says he doesn't watch sitcoms "because the laugh tracks are distracting. I have as good a sense of humor as anyone else, and I'm not sitting there laughing. Why are those people laughing?"

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