Chatter

updated 01/16/1984 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/16/1984 01:00AM

Now That Takes the Cake Carol Burnett, Ethel Kennedy and others had a heck of a time at Washington's Jockey Club when they helped singer Andy Williams celebrate his fifty-third birthday. First, they all got a laugh when a cake arrived with a message on top: "Sorry we have no candles." But the party had just begun. "Smell the cake, it's scented," encouraged Ethel, Andy's longtime pal. As he leaned over to take a whiff, Ethel, always the joker, smashed his face into the icing. She then continued her dinner conversation, seemingly oblivious to the mess. After muttering something about sending her his cleaning bill, Andy decided to count his blessings. As he announced to the crowd, "It's not as bad as the time she dumped a bottle of red wine over my head, spilling it onto the Persian carpet."

A Good Impression Rich Little, the master of impersonation, recalls an odd exchange with a female fan after a performance. Fan: "I love your Anthony Newley." Rich: "Thank you. Are you a big fan of his?" Fan: "No, I've never seen him." Rich: "If you've never seen him, how can you love the impression?" Fan: "Well, I've seen you do him before and you've gotten better."

Chow Mania Confucius say man who eat Chinese food in Atlanta may think fortune-cookie maker is crackers. For interpretation of that truism, just ask Hiroshi Kondo, manager of a large L.A. fortune-cookie company called Hapi Products Inc. A while ago Hiroshi's company made a lot of humorously off-color fortunes for a distributor called Miss-Fortune Inc. When that company went out of business, Kondo meant to set aside his surplus of raunchy fortunes. But before he got around to it, Mexican workers who didn't understand the slogans mixed the Miss-Fortunes with the usual upbeat Hapi stock. So far 2,000 cases, each containing 40 to 45 unkind cookie messages, have been sent to Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C. and Miami. With some customers returning the cookies in anger, Kondo probably has thought more than once of the saying one indignant diner found in his cookie: "Your wheel of fortune has a dented rim and rusted bearings. Better luck next time."

Hang It Up, Henry The State Department created a fuss in 1978 when they commissioned Boston artist Gardner Cox to paint Henry Kissinger's portrait, then rejected the painting because they thought it was ugly. Now Cox feels vindicated: He says a couple of museums have offered to buy the likeness for their collections. Explains Gardner, "Some people would like to see him anywhere but in the government."

Furthermore

•Gene Kelly, who lost his Beverly Hills mansion—and nearly his life—in a pre-Christmas fire, may have gained a bit of credibility in Las Vegas at the same time. Visitors to that city's MGM Grand Hotel, which nearly burned to the ground in 1980, get to watch with every visit a free videotape about what to do in case of a fire. The narrator: Gene Kelly.

•Reuben, Reuben, the new Tom Conti film, opened in only a few U.S. theaters at first. Explains director Robert Ellis Miller, "It wasn't thrown to the wolves...but fed to them slowly."

•Nashville must love Joan Jett and the Blackhearts as much as Joan loves rock 'n' roll. During the band's Tennessee stopover, Davidson County Sheriff Fate Thomas overlooked the Blackhearts' "bad reputation" and named them deputy sheriffs. Joan really took to her new title. "Now I can do body searches legally," she said.

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