Erma Bombeck had every reason to feel catty when she flew to Boston with Morris the Cat to film a bit for last week's Good Morning America. Though both got first-class plane seats and free tickets to see the musical Cats, Morris laid his finicky head to rest in a $300-a-night Ritz-Carlton suite provided by 9-Lives cat food, while Good Morning America only bought Erma a $130 room. What's more, the Ritz staff didn't once yell, "Morris, time for din-din!" They received a two-page memo about his care and feeding: He dined on pâté and 9-Lives out of crystal dishes with appropriate garnish and there was a 14-inch wax swan on the plate. Asked if all that fine treatment made Morris into a desirable traveling companion, Erma answered wryly, "No, he's younger than me, shorter and his whole body is covered with hair."
They're Playing His Song
Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau doesn't always stand on ceremony. Or so it seemed at an Ottawa reception for China's Premier Zhao Ziyang. As the band began a martial tune, Trudeau motioned for Zhao to sit down and enjoy himself. For some reason, Zhao struck a formal pose instead. So Trudeau broke the ice by sitting and motioning to his guest, who reluctantly followed the leader. Perhaps Zhao's preference for standing had to do with the music playing: a little ditty, unknown to Trudeau, called the Chinese National Anthem. Trudeau knew the next selection better: the Canadian National Anthem. He proudly stood, thus giving Zhao a chance to show his diplomacy. Without holding a grudge, Zhao stood too.
At an NBC news conference in L.A., TV journalists mingled for two days with a bearded guy in a sports coat, jeans and boots who claimed to be one of their own. That man was an impostor. In fact, as entertainment division president Brandon Tartikoff finally revealed, the character in question—who gave Tartikoff a wet kiss on the cheek—was actually a female actress named Robyn Douglass. The star of an upcoming NBC-TV movie called My Life as a Man, Douglass pulled off a convincing try-out of her role as a woman who masquerades as a male: The journalists let out gasps of disbelief when they discovered her identity. Robyn, normally a svelte brunette, admitted to only one problem: "I missed my purse. It's a real drag sitting on your wallet."
A few days before the Super Bowl Ted Koppel answered a knock at the door of his surburban Maryland home. There he saw the familiar face of a woman who is a cashier in the checkout line at his local supermarket. "Mr. Koppel, can you do me a big favor?" she asked. She then explained that she desperately needed two Super Bowl seats for her store manager. She had promised to get him a pair but unhappily lost access to the tickets. Ted said he would inquire at ABC but he came back with bad news: He just missed out on the final pair. Luckily, few network mandates are permanent. Ted received another call saying he could have tickets turned in at the last minute by ABC News chief Roone Arledge. After handing over the choice seats, Koppel asked for one small favor in return from his checkout friend: "When I come to the express line, I don't care if I have nine, 10 or 25 items, I want to come right through." If his wish comes true, he better not make eye contact with the customer behind him.
Face in the Crowd
After maneuvering backstage to congratulate Glenn Close and Jeremy Irons for their performances in Broadway's The Real Thing, Sally Kellerman prepared to leave via the stage door. One of her companions saw the crowd outside and suggested they wait it out. But Sally, best known for her role as "Hot Lips" in the movie M*A*S*H, snuggled up in her white fur coat and walked unmolested out to 45th Street. "They don't care about us," she said. "They're here to see the stars."