William Shatner may be taking his new series, T.J. Hooker, just a tad too seriously. Shatner plays a cop, and the other day, he reports proudly, “I settled a traffic accident.” Actually, Shatner may have caused it. The actor was crossing an L.A. street in his sergeant’s uniform during a break from shooting when a motorist who recognized him rear-ended a Jeep whose driver had also stopped to stargaze. “It was the fault of the person behind,” says Shatner. “So when the driver of the Jeep came out to look, I said, ‘There’s no damage to you. Move on.’ And I told the other driver, ‘It was your fault. You got a little damage. Keep moving. Don’t block traffic’ And they all really thought I was a policeman.”
In Washington a Democratic Congressman tells of an unusual encounter in a D.C. movie theater. The Rep. went to see Absence of Malice, the movie about a newspaper reporter who smears an innocent man, then gets used by him. The theater was half empty, but one moviegoer, who was sitting directly in front of the Congressman, enjoyed the film immensely. Every time Paul Newman made a crack about the press, or reporter Sally Field acted particularly ineptly, he would roar with laughter and chortle, “Way to go!” The Congressman thought he knew the voice, and sure enough, when the lights went up, he recognized the heckler as Interior Secretary James Watt.
Eileen Fulton, 50-ish, has played the role of Lisa Coleman on As the World Turns for 22 years. Fulton’s contract with CBS includes the unusual proviso that her character will never become a grandmother on the program. That’s made things tough for actor Justin Deas, who plays her son, Tom Hughes. Both of Justin’s onscreen marriages have ended in divorce, as the show’s writers struggle to keep him childless. “Kids upstage you anyway,” philosophizes Deas. Besides, he says of his predecessor, “Richard Thomas used to play Tom Hughes, and look how many children he has now.”
Anyone who owns a jalopy can have vanity plates, so Hollywood’s unflagging status-ticians have found something more upscale to tag: the names of production companies. Valerie Harper and boyfriend Tony Cacciotti call their firm TAL Productions—”Together at Last.” Those ultimate show-offs, Pia Zadora and Meshulam Riklis, call their company Par-Par: It’s the Hebrew word for Butterfly, their first (and current) picture. But Mrs. Riklis also likes to say that PAR stands for “Pia and Rik.” Henry Winkler has named his company “Fair Dinkum,” the Australian equivalent of “straight shooter.” Then there are the nature lovers, like actor Tom Skerritt, whose company is called Oak Enterprises, for an old tree on his property in Malibu, and Clint Eastwood, whose Malpaso Productions is named after a creek in Monterey where Eastwood has his home. And finally, take John and Bo Derek, who dubbed their company Svengali Productions—but in a twist, the letterhead shows Bo as puppeteer and John dangling from the strings.
•New York City Police Commissioner Robert McGuire says he isn’t worried about an enemy invasion—not, at least, until the local crime problem is solved. “If the Russians come here,” he explains, “they’ll get mugged—and they know it.”
•Billy Gaff, Rod Stewart’s manager for 12 years, was fired recently after Stewart complained of communication problems. “Without a manager, Rod will be like a little boy lost,” Gaff warns. “His behavior is irrational and self-destructive.” Still, Gaff admits he shed a few tears when fired, and now he says he might want his job back. “I’ve been offered a fortune to write a book, digging the dirt about Rod. But I’m not interested in kiss-and-tell. I want to kiss and make up.”