People Staff
September 23, 1974 12:00 PM

Ford Jester

A gag writer who has fed lines to Jack Paar, Red Buttons, Dick Gregory and Red Skelton and authored 43 “how-to” books for aspiring comedians? Hardly shoo-in credentials for a White House “consultant.” But that is the resumé of Robert Orben, 47, who from all reports is ghosting material for President Ford’s speeches, like the recent quip that “the Marine Band’s so confused they don’t know whether to play Hail to the Chief or You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby.” Orben won’t confirm authorship of that or any other Ford funnies, explaining that that would jeopardize his position. But Orben, who commutes from New York, admits that “if a touch of humor is needed, likely as not they’ll come to me.”


TV stars on a publicity tour are freewheelers, especially and, not surprisingly, Ironside. Raymond Burr, hard-nosed headliner of that NBC series, and his sidekick Don Galloway (who plays Sgt. Ed Brown) recently barnstormed through Israel, where the show is so popular in syndication that some kibbutzim have rescheduled their traditional Saturday-night meetings to watch. But the promotion message turned outto be a jeremiad. Burr has already decreed that the upcoming eighth season is the end, and Galloway expressed some qualms even about last year’s efforts. “The seventh season of Ironside,” he confessed, “has been a veritable crock of garbage.”

Jimmy One-Note

James Caesar Petrillo, the trumpet-player who for years was diehard president of the American Federation of Musicians, has, at 82, lost none of his spit and vinegar. A holdout for the rights of live bands against canned music, he was pastured in 1962, then went on to a race-relations post with the Chicago local. But in his heyday Petrillo played duets with Harry Truman, packed a revolver, drove a bulletproof car and was a target of several congressional investigations. During one grilling in 1948, Petrillo recently recalled, a young representative named Richard Nixon vowed “he would put me in jail if it was the last thing he ever did. I told him that if I went, he was going with me.” Now, a slightly mellowed militant, Petrillo says he drafted a wire to San Clemente just before the presidential pardon but never sent it. The message: “If you go to jail this time, you’ll go by yourself.”

As Miss World Turns

For Marjorie Wallace, the 20-year-old Indianapolis beauty who was stripped of the Miss World title when her worldly social life became an embarrassment to the contest’s proprietors, the beat goes on—and now with a distinct R&B flavor to it. She had already conquered a wide world of sports, spinning through the arms of pop star Tom Jones, British soccer whiz Georgie Best and deceased race-car ace Peter Revson in one dizzying year. Now, to complete a grand slam unlikely to be equaled, she is reported in dalliance with Berry Gordy, the 44-year-old founder of the rock conglomerate Motown.

Lenny in Love

“I have simply fallen in love with you,” said conductor Leonard Bernstein to Margaret Whitlam, wife of Australia’s prime minister and hostess of the first TV talk show on which the maestro said he had ever appeared. “I never go on talk programs,” he announced on the air. “I’m very proud of that. I am the only human, walking American who has not been on all those nightly talk shows of which we have a plethora.” With that prelude, the first lady cooed, “You may call me Maggie.” He replied, “Then you may call me Lennie,” and added, “this is my deflowering.”

Charity Ends at Home

Paul Mathewson of Colorado Springs, who was discharged less than honorably from the army in 1962, sought to restore his good name by re-enlisting under a pseudonym in 1968. Successful completion of this second tour of duty emboldened Mathewson to seek an official upgrading of that original discrediting discharge. The matter was presented to the White House, and several weeks ago Mathewson’s attorney, Shephard Kole, received a letter which reads in part: “Since there was no conviction, there is no basis for the granting of a presidential pardon. Therefore, we cannot be of aid to him.” Meanwhile, back in San Clemente…

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