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Off We Go

What is beige and cocoa-brown, goes about on four wheels and has “a lot of suedes, leathers, cowhides and animal hair”? It’s the new pickup truck that Hollywood’s George Barris is customizing for John and Bo Derek while they’re off in Sri Lanka filming the new Tarzan. One little detail on the GMC 4X4 will have to wait, says Barris. “John likes to stitch the rawhide himself—as he did for Ursula.” (Derek gave ex-wife Ursula Andress a remake of Elvis Presley’s BMW two years ago.) The finished item, rhapsodizes Barris, will be “a very husky off-road vehicle.” The Dereks, he explains, “like to go off into the environment.”

Get the Mop

Being Vice-President sure has been fun so far, spilled George Bush at a private lunch, and he’s mighty pleased at how Walter Mondale made the job into something. But like some other Administration officials, he is appalled at the condition in which he found the White House and the Executive Office Building when he moved in. “The dirt was thick, junk was shoveled under the couches, obscenities were written on the walls, and there was a place where they had bounced a basketball,” tsk-tsked the Veep. He doesn’t care if Reagan cuts the budget for Lysol; Bush will be fixing his office with private funds.

Gaining Respect

Rodney Dangerfield, who was a paint salesman for 12 years before he broke through as a comic, is prepping for a White House date in which he’ll share the spotlight with Luciano Pavarotti and Marilyn Home. The company impresses him, but not so much as his own creeping sartorial splendor. “It’s been a good year for me,” he says. “It’s the fourth time this year I have to rent a tuxedo.”

Fancy Footwork

Ex-champ Muhammad Ali, who still believes in floating like a butterfly, recently stunned a cab driver outside a midtown Manhattan hotel by lunging into the front seat and demanding to be driven “downtown.” As they neared the island’s tip, Ali instructed the cabbie to turn around and head back up to Central Park South, where he keeps a hush-hush apartment. “I like to keep anybody following me off my track,” he explained to the hackie, slipping him a twenty.

The Sharing of the Green

Charismatic Irish flutist James Galway was at Heathrow Airport, waiting for American tenor Robert White to fly in for the taping of a BBC St. Patrick’s Day special. Then, as emergency vehicles foamed the runway, word spread through the waiting crowd that the plane, its hydraulic system failing, could be in trouble. Galway pulled out his trusty flute and started piping the plane to safety with the strains of Come Back to Erin. Between them, Galway and the pilot (and the ground crew perhaps deserve some credit) landed the plane safely, and the musician admitted to friend White, “I was afraid you’d never kiss the Blarney Stone again.” It was “a wee bit hairy,” said a much-relieved White, “when the stewardess kept coming around to ask if I’d like a little more coffee in my Irish cream.”

Furthermore

•At 80, Helen Hayes is reordering her priorities and no longer answers each fan letter individually. She’s using instead what she calls “the John Barrymore System”—”You let the letters collect until the pile becomes formidable, and then you chuck the whole thing. In brief, I am casting off the shackles of celebrity.”

•In the forthcoming CBS movie Rivkin: Bounty Hunter, Harry Morgan, usually the long-suffering CO of M*A*S*H, dons a Roman collar to play a Catholic priest who teaches the bar mitzvah broches (prayers) to a boy who plays the son of Rivkin (Ron Leibman). But off the set, it’s the teacher who needs the teaching. Before every scene, Leibman huddles with Morgan to instruct him in the proper Hebrew pronunciation.