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Hammering Out a Role

As the Godfather, Roots’ George Lincoln Rockwell and Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, Marlon Brando has specialized in eccentric megalomania. But in the upcoming oil-and-money epic called The Formula, he decided to base his character on Dr. Armand Hammer, who is not a baking soda but a mild-mannered oil entrepreneur, art lover and advocate of Soviet-U.S. cultural and trade relations. “He’s made himself up with glasses, cotton in his nose and a wisp of hair over the bald spot,” tattled writer-producer Steve Shagan. “Brando saw a picture of him in FORTUNE.”

Breaking Wave

Patti Smith and her guitarist husband, Fred “Sonic” Smith, left jaws agape at their benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Instead of the New Wave rock the folks paid to see, Patti and Sonic served up a mixed-media evening of poetry, Bible readings, Debussy and Dylan, complete with the National Anthem. When some fans stomped out, Patti felt “very hurt.” “We were trying to break away from the standard rock’n’roll format,” explained Sonic, and Patti added: “The whole idea of the New Wave is the word new. It is like being at an Abstract Expressionist baseball game.” Where the pitcher, presumably, is just a pattern.

The Political Grind

Independent presidential candidate John Anderson got more than he bargained for at a San Francisco fund raiser—an eye-boggling dance routine featuring a woman in chains, pelvic thrusts and hair-pulling. The 350 supporters at the $125-a-plate dinner were as unamused as their guest as dance troupe leader Gary Poole lamely tried to explain that it was all meant to be a spoof on punk rock and disco. Sighed Anderson, who hails from Rockford, Ill.: “I’m guilty of a certain Midwestern naiveté. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was unique.” Then he added, unnecessarily, “I’m rather unsophisticated about the dance.”

One Small Hop for Womankind

Excommunicated Mormon feminist organizer Sonia Johnson was stunned to get a letter from the Playboy Foundation naming her winner of a $3,000 Hugh Hefner Award for her work defending First Amendment rights. She didn’t hesitate to accept, however. Though sisters have given her a lot of flak because Playboy has “made so much money exploiting women,” Johnson plans to plow the cash back into the ERA ratification cause. “Receiving this award isn’t ironic but, rather, poetic justice,” she beams. “I would never think of profiting from bunnydom.”

The Fearless Phrasebook

Making the rounds at the White House is a list of fake Farsi phrases described as useful for Americans traveling in Iran. Among the printable English translations: “It is with great pleasure that I sign this confession.” “I agree with everything you have ever said or thought in your life.” “It is very kind of you to allow me to travel in the trunk of your vehicle.” Easiest to master is the phrase for “Whatever you say.” In pseudo Farsi, it’s just “Yu bhet.”


•Lindy Boggs, Louisiana’s redoubtable congresswoman, was extending a helping hand to the Cajun greenhorn who had just been sworn in to fill a House vacancy and was pondering committee assignments. “How about Foreign Affairs?” she asked Billy Tauzin. Cajun Billy pretended to be aghast. “Back home,” he cracked, “they think that’s an illicit relation with someone who speaks English.”

•Although singer Jack Jones is offscreen when he croons the theme from The Love Boat to launch each episode, he’s still raking in the clams. Last week he boarded the new cruise ship Norway (née the France) for a working voyage to the Bahamas and agreed to sing the Love Boat song in that ultrasuitable setting at every show—for an extra $7,500.