12/17/1984 at 01:00 AM EST
When pop chart-topper Prince played a free concert in Washington, D.C. last month, the crowd got up to leave before a single encore. As it happens, Prince's audience at Gallaudet College, the liberal arts college for the deaf, didn't know better. They never learned about encores because they rarely attend concerts. When sign language interpreters, all dressed in Prince's favorite color purple, explained that the rocker would return, the crowd cheered him back onto the stage. Swaying to the vibrations they felt from his super-loud music and gawking at erotic stage gestures that spoke for themselves, the students looked like any other group of Prince addicts. They did, however, express gratitude in an unusual way: Some 2,000 pair of hands reached into the air and repeated "I love you" in sign language throughout the encore of Purple Rain. Afterward, two students taught Prince the same gestures. "I'll remember this the rest of my life," he said. Then he turned to the crowd and signed, "I love you."
When Donna Mills looked surprised in an episode of Knots Landing that called for co-star Ted Shackelford to appear naked before her, she wasn't acting. During rehearsals of that scene, led stepped into the shower, whipped off the towel wrapped around his waist and revealed his underwear underneath. But, says Donna, "When we actually went to do it he didn't have on nothin'. The camera couldn't see him—but I could. He threw his towel, and there he was, bare-assed naked. I almost died."
At a benefit dinner for L.A.'s Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, Abigail "Dear Abby" Van Buren shared a letter from one of her readers who expressed some confusion about lesbians. "Dear Abby," read the letter, "A couple of women moved in across the hall from me. One is a middle-age gym teacher, and the other is a social worker in her mid-20s. These two women go everywhere together, and I've never seen a man go into their apartment or come out. Do you think they could be Lebanese? Signed, Curious." Abby gave a straight response to the malapropism. "Dear Curious," she wrote. "The chances are one in 10 the answer is yes."
Michael Landon took his wife, Cindy, and two of his kids to an L.A. party, where a fan stopped them to rave about 15-month-old daughter Jennifer. When no compliments followed for Landon's son Christopher, 9, Dad pointed to the boy and joked, "Hey, what do you think this is? Chopped liver?"
"It's ridiculously easy for a good-looking, well-built blonde to get into show business in California," The Fall Guy's Heather Thomas told the Toronto Star. "All you need is to meet some sleazeball in the business who wants you to be an extra on his show." Say it ain't so, Heather.
The history of civilization, as Ted Koppel sees it: "In the days of Caesar, kings had fools and jesters. Now network presidents have anchormen."