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Fistful of Dollars

When he read the rescripting he had ordered of Freebie and the Bean, Alan Arkin found the super-violent tale of two homicidal cops was no longer “unintelligible”—it was just flat-out “disgusting.” Nevertheless, he was so “really strapped for bread,” that he went ahead and shot the soon-to-be-released Warner Bros, property. The result, Arkin concedes, is “absolute garbage,” but he figures that it might be the box office hit that revives his flagging career.

Seniority System

Her office romance with executive editor Ben Bradlee, 53, did not deter the Washington Post’s Sally Quinn from a hot city-to-city pursuit of Fanne Foxe. Finally, the newshound cornered her quarry in a New York hotel and managed to slip a beseeching three-page longhand interview request to the stripper at 3 a.m. Why did this approach convince the 38-year-old Argentine Firecracker to talk about her dalliance with Rep. Wilbur Mills, 65? Reports the 33-year-old Quinn: “I poured my little heart out about the problems we both shared being in love with older men.”

Spring Cleaning

President Ford’s first Cabinet cleaning is expected by spring. Nixon appointees likeliest to be returned to private life: Attorney General William Saxbe, Agriculture’s Earl Butz, Treasury’s Bill Simon, Commerce’s Fred Dent and Transportation’s Claude Brinegar.

Title Search

Truman Capote may just knock Joseph Heller out of the Guinness Book of World Records for the most protracted novel-in-progress. After more than a dozen years (Joe finished his in 12), Capote blames both the contrary “narrator” he contrived to tell the story, plus a working (which is to say nonworking) title, Answered Prayers, that the characters apparently cannot live up to. So now, in hopes of unblocking his cast and himself, Capote has crudely retitled the work The Nigger Queen Kosher Cafe.

Terra Unfirma

Unsensitized by his conviction for contributing to Sen. Ed Gurney’s secret kitty, Miami builder John Priestes last summer began to develop a tract he brazenly called Watergate Hills—and even recruited as salesmen Watergate burglars Bernard Barker, Virgilio Gonzalez and Eugenio Martinez. But lately after Lake Wales, Fla. neighbors of the development reacted with “disapproval and bad talk,” Priestes jettisoned the plumbers and rechristened his project “Walk-in-the-Water Lake Estates.”

Ms. Ten Percent

Hollywood was atwitter with leaks that superagent Sue Mengers was about to head first Paramount and then Columbia. Insiders were baffled because Mengers—who was caricatured by Dyan Cannon in the film The Last of Sheila—earns more off clients like Ryan O’Neal and Peter Bogdanovich than any studio could match. Now it’s reported that Mengers planted the whispers herself to increase her personal negotiating leverage with employer Creative Management Associates. If so, the campaign worked. She has re-upped at CMA.


•When the Queen of England recently asked the Duchess of Windsor (through channels) to turn over some of her late husband’s old dress uniforms to London’s Imperial War Museum, Her Majesty received back from her Paris-based aunt (through channels) a curt non.

•Rosebud, which Otto Preminger filmed as a sober political melodrama, had a New York sneak preview audience suppressing inappropriate giggles until ex-Mayor John Lindsay appeared in his screen debut as a senator; then, the house cracked up out loud.

•For a royalty of approximately two cents a pack, Charlie Chaplin has authorized display of his famous image on a new continental brand of cigarettes called “Tramps.”

•Petrodollars may be the way the West was ultimately bought, but there is a certain poignancy in the buy-out of a 1,200-acre Champagne vineyard by Sheik Zayed ibn Sultan of Abu Dhabi, a devout Muslim and teetotaler.

•Presumably Eleanor Guilfoyle Daley, wife for 38 years of the Chicago mayor and erstwhile Democratic kingmaker, drew on experience when she straightfacedly told a household-hints columnist that bowls of vinegar are the best air-clearers in stale, smoke-filled rooms.