Real estate magnate Donald Trump, 35, has come up with another unthinkable idea to enhance the value of the already pricey pads in Trump Tower, the office-and-condo complex under construction on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. Since higher-in-the-sky apartments are worth more than lower ones, he plans to call the 20th floor, where the condos begin, the 30th floor. The 21st will be called the 31st, and so forth. Trump slyly points out that the office ceilings on the first 20 floors are higher than normal, thus justifying the renumbering. Will anyone bite? So far, Johnny Carson, Sophia Loren and David Merrick have pledged to buy the aeries, which range from $800,000 (one bed-room) to $15 million for the triplex penthouse.
At the heady Washington think tank called the Institute for Policy Studies, author E.L. Doctorow (Ragtime) delivered a lecture with the unlikely title “American Fiction and the Neutron Bomb.” His thesis was that American writers are too concerned with personal lives at the expense of world politics. The questions afterward stuck to the subject until they, too, veered off into personalities. How, Doctorow was asked, did he like the current movie version of his 1975 best-seller? “I was hoping to finish before that question came up,” hedged the author and then dropped this little bomb: “I thought it was a pretty good picture inspired by one of the great novels of our time.”
From our Only in Hollywood department comes this report of a new service called Mail-a-Rat. For just $8.95, a rubber rodent will be posted to one’s favorite creep. It was founded by Stephanie DuBois, a former showbiz reporter who sent the first rat to a man who’d done her wrong. Erik Estrada got his after he upset a fan by threatening to leave CHiPs. The rats are mailed with a message of the sender’s choice and have been startling recipients since last August.
San Francisco Police Lieut. George E. LaBrash, 56, volunteered to guard the mask of the Egyptian boy king, dead these 3,300 years, when the much-touted Treasures of Tutankhamun visited the city in 1979. While standing in front of the mask, the “perfectly healthy” cop felt his jaw begin to twitch, his fingers go numb and his knees buckle. Doctors called it a “very mild stroke,” but it kept LaBrash out of work for eight months, some with pay, some without. The city’s retirement board turned down his request for full disability compensation, saying the stroke was not caused by his work. Now LaBrash is taking a new tack, claiming the stroke could be the result of King Tut’s curse, a legendary hex that has brought woe to several curators, professors and visitors who had contact with Tut after his tomb was uncovered in 1922. LaBrash, who has sued for $18,400 in disability pay, says he is “not superstitious” but nevertheless is fretting some because he was told the curse can result in death. “I certainly hope I won’t have to bear the full brunt of the King’s anger,” declares LaBrash, “and that he’ll let me off with a little sting.”
•After six years David Lander is a tad fed up with playing Squiggy on Laverne and Shirley, and nothing bugs him more than the show’s bouncy musical theme. “I hate that song,” he snarls. “I hate the guys who wrote it. I hate the girls who sing it. They sing, ‘I never heard the word “impossible.” ‘ If you never heard the word, how can you sing it? It’s the worst song I ever heard.”
•Director Sydney (Absence of Malice) Pollack’s next project is a comedy called Tootsie, which stars Dustin Hoffman as an actor who dresses like a woman because he can’t find work as a man. Transvested, Hoffman looks “great,” says Pollack. But, he adds thoughtfully, “he’s not the most beautiful woman in the world. I wouldn’t want to take him out on a date, myself.”