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Their ancestors are from Ireland, but somehow President Ronald Reagan and Treasury Secretary Donald Regan managed to be born into families of different persuasions concerning the spelling and pronunciation of their name. Regan reports that the President talked to him about their name problem when the Secretary was appointed late last year and even had a joke ready for the occasion. “When I was first running for office and wasn’t well known,” Reagan began, “this gentleman was preparing to introduce me at a luncheon in New York the next day.” The man tossed in bed trying to figure out if the candidate’s name was pronounced ‘Ree-gun’ or ‘Ray-gun.’ Finally he got up and went for a walk, and ran into Henny Youngman out walking his dog. He confided the problem to Youngman. Henny asked whether the candidate was Irish. Told he was, Youngman declared, ‘It’s Ray-gun, I guarantee it. I know how those Irishmen pronounce their names. It’s definitely ‘Ray-gun.’ ” The gentleman thanked Henny, then politely admired his dog and asked what kind it was. “Thank you,” said Youngman. “it’s a bagel.”

Fly Now

Some good news has come from a conference of airline pilots in Washington. Since May 1979, including the period of the air traffic controllers’ strike, there have been no major accidents on U.S. commercial flights. The safety streak results partly from the current cutback in flights, of course, but also, the pilots say, from better relations between pilots and the fledgling controllers. To allow for what one pilot called the new kids’ “learning curve,” everybody is being extra careful and considerate. Nobody’s complaining either about the CB language the new controllers like to use. As a senior United Airlines captain said, “Plain old ‘Roger, thank you,’ has turned into ’10-4, good buddy,’ but they get you there safely.”

Mutual Glitz

In Rich and Famous, Candice Bergen plays a nice housewife who turns into a best-selling author of popular novels. Bergen says she modeled her characterization on Judith Krantz, who wrote Scruples and Princess Daisy. “I thought of her a lot,” says Candy. “She’s always impeccably dressed and made up. I also read her interviews. She’s a nice lady.” Upon hearing this, Krantz was flattered. “Actually, I’m working on trying to look like Candice Bergen,” she says. “Wish me luck.”

The Third Man

Unwinding on Air Force One on the way home after the Sadat funeral, South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond flashed his bulletproof vest for his colleagues, explaining that as president pro tem of the Senate, he is third in line for the Presidency. Thurmond, 78, is the father of four children between 5 and 10 years old, has had a hair transplant and jogs two miles almost every day. The protective vest, recommended by the Secret Service, struck House Majority Leader Jim Wright as redundant. Quipped Wright: “I thought he was a man of iron!”


•At a tribute dinner for veteran statesman Averell Harriman, former President Jimmy Carter said he was once amused to hear Harriman described, in a congressional hearing transcript, as an “ambitious 70-year-old man.” “In 1976, I thought that was funny,” said Carter, now 57. “In 1980, I was no longer laughing at ambitious 70-year-old men.”

•Indiana football coach Lee Corso still remembers when he tossed the pigskin for Florida State with college chum Burt Reynolds. “With his looks and my car [a 1952 metallic green Chevy with whitewalls], we were dynamite,” recalls Lee. “Sometimes I’d send him out as bait.”