Alan Alda has proved himself the ultimate Mr. Sensitive in many a human drama. Now he's brought out the schmaltz to grease the bearings of a new cause: an endorsement for Warner Communications' ailing Atari computer and video game division. Rhapsodized Alan, when announcing the deal, "I sometimes imagine a computer as a wise old person at whose knee I find myself like a child, knowing I can learn a lot." What transported Alan to such techno-poetic heights? Could it be his five-year Atari contract, which is reportedly paying Hawkeye in excess of $10 million?
Another Page in Sports History
Anyone can listen to headphones while running, so ex-Playmate Barbi Benton has gone those run-of-the-mill runners one better—she reads as she does her 12 miles a day. "I perfected it out of necessity," she told the Hollywood Reporter. "There just wasn't time in the day to study scripts and plays, do my weight lifting and my running." Benton carries a few pages rolled up in her palm as she runs with her husband, businessman George Gradow. So far her divided attention hasn't resulted in any serious spills. Explains Barbi, "I have good peripheral vision, and I definitely avoid grassy areas where they have sprinklers aboveground." Barbi ran in her first marathon earlier this month in L.A. and finished in 4:43. Pretty impressive. How far did she get on War and Peace, one wonders?
Where There's Smoke, There's Ire
"Haven't you about had it up to your ash with these holier than thou non-smokers?" So begins the first newsletter of the nation's fiery special-interest clan, the Smokers' Club, a nonprofit group dedicated to "upholding and promoting smokers' rights." Bob Carli, 45, owner of a Terre Haute, Ind. mail-order electronics company and a three-pack-a-day man, formed the club two months ago. With 18 newspaper ads, he got smokers from 46 states to cough up $5 for ID cards and the quarterly newsletter. The son of two smokers who lived to be 85, Carli puffs up with pride as he points out that his wife and three of his four kids (ages 18 to 24) smoke. As for drawbacks like heart disease, cancer and plain old halitosis, Carli believes in laissez-faire. To naysayers, he—and all his club members—passes out a card reading: "Oh Lord, please help me to keep my nose out of other people's business."
In a speech to Harvard's graduating class, cartoonist Garry Trudeau joked about his current sabbatical from drawing Doonesbury. "I bring you heartfelt greetings from the ranks of the unemployed," he told the class of '83. "I realize that espousing the cause of indolence to a class like this is a dubious undertaking. But it's certainly no worse than Mother Teresa's valiant attempt to promote chastity to last year's class."
•Sean Penn, 22, really believes in getting into a role. Before filming a scene in an upcoming flick, Racing With the Moon, in which he plays a naive teenager, Sean decided it was a good opportunity for life to imitate art. Sean is supposed to be drunk in the scene, and, sure enough, he showed up on the Mendocino, Calif. set totally blotto.
•Word is out: Reaganomics has zapped another industry. According to an L.A. movie memorabilia firm, Bedtime for Bonzo posters brought in $600 when Reagan was running for President. Now they are going for a mere $200 to $300. Times are tough all over.