Captain America may be as patriotic as the next superhero, but he could use a refresher course on some of our other national figures. At a Los Angeles charity event, an actor dressed as the captain posed for a photograph with fledgling singer Patti Davis in his arms. "What does your father do?" he asked Patti. "He's President," responded the First Daughter. "President of what?" asked the captain. "President of the United States," answered Patti. Well, holy stars and stripes! Shocked by his gaffe, the superhero reacted with less than aplomb, dropping his charge right to the ground.
Arlan Day is one person who always drinks on the job. Now living in L.A., the singer-songwriter from Manchester, England is the creator of the Arthur-gram, a singing telegram in which Day impersonates the character Dudley Moore portrayed in Arthur. For $75, a tuxedo-clad Day slurps champagne, plays the piano and delivers some barely coherent jokes. In the past three months Day has wobbled through some 25 Arthur-grams, with recipients including Hugh Hefner and the cast of Dallas. But Day's stand-up/ fall-down comedy days may be over. Orion Pictures and Warner Bros. slapped him with a $1 million lawsuit to cover damages that they think Arthur-grams may cause. On the other hand, Arlan's inspiration doesn't seem to mind at all. "I delivered an Arthur-gram to Dud," reports Day, "and he sent me an autographed picture saying 'Thank you for keeping Arthur alive, and dead drunk.' "
Everyone Has His Price
Neiman-Marcus is getting some competition from, of all places, Congress. The National Symphony Orchestra's most recent fund-raising gimmick was a gift catalog and auction that included a collection of hitherto unavailable government goods and services. Items donated by politicos included a $10 personalized tape measure from Ohio Congressman Lyle Williams and a $25 letter opener from Nevada Sen. Paul Laxalt. Tennis buffs had to cough up $50 for a game with Maine Sen. George Mitchell, whereas Congressman Byron Dorgan of North Dakota placed a $100 price tag on a match with him. Dinner for two with Tip O'Neill and his wife went for $500. Who said politicians couldn't be bought?
Life on the Mississippi
Ralph Waite, best known for his role as John-Boy's father on The Waltons, returns to CBS this week in a series called The Mississippi. He plays a criminal lawyer who moves his big-city practice to the shores of the mighty river. Winning the trust and cooperation of locals was no easy feat—on camera or off. En route from Jackson to a location shoot in Natchez, Waite got a flat tire on a deserted back road. In desperation, he flagged down a pickup truck and offered the driver $100 for the hour-long ride back to his hotel. No deal. Waite recounts, "I said, 'What do you mean? Look at me! I'm Papa Walton!' " Upon closer scrutiny, the driver gave him a lift after all.
•Though Ted Turner may seek financial support from CBS to bolster his Cable News Network's budget, he isn't about to give up another costly investment: ownership of the Atlanta Hawks basketball team. The Hawks, who are hovering around .500, lost $3 million last year and reportedly will lose even more this season. But after Turner saw them beat the Boston Celtics last month he decided to hold onto the team, no matter what. "My wife and children are liabilities," reasoned Ted, "and I haven't sold them, have I?"
•Imagining her life 10 years down the road, Mariel Hemingway told a French magazine, "I will be very much in love. I'll have a big house hidden away in the woods, full of children and laughter, with animals everywhere. On the mantelpiece, there'll be a picture taken on our wedding day. I'll be wearing a white dress with lace, very romantic."