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HONEY, SET AN EXTRA PLACE: When Stanley Fischer talked shop over dinner, not even the kids wanted to be excused from the table. Fischer is president of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers local in Freehold, N.J., where the 3M company plans to shut down a plant that employs Fischer and 400 other workers next spring. The plant, which makes audio and video tapes, happens to be located in tape user Bruce Springsteen’s hometown. And when the Boss expressed support for the workers’ fight to keep the 3M plant open, a dinner was arranged at Fischer’s house for him and his wife, Julianne Phillips. Fischer’s 12-year-old son, Brian, says he had to keep the Bess’s visit a secret from his friends, who later didn’t believe he dined with Bruce until Brian showed a snapshot as proof. What did Springsteen have to say? “The first thing he asked me was if I was born in New Jersey,” reports Brian. “And he also said he liked his job because people clap for what he does, while my dad doesn’t have people clap for him when he does his job.”

AIRING HER GRIEVANCES: Ahmad Rashad’s recent marriage to Phylicia Ayers-Allen may have struck many as the ultimate in romance, but there are a few dissenters. Among them count his second wife, Tilli Rashad, 36, whose three-year marriage to Ahmad ended in 1980. A Sacramento resident, Tilli doesn’t think her ex’s celebrated on-the-air proposal had a beneficial effect on her and Ahmad’s children, daughter Maiysha, 10, and Ahmad II, 8. “Did he have no feelings for the kids?” asks Tilli. “Did he even think about how they would feel?”

AN AUSPICIOUS CAUCASIAN: Continuing his chronicle of The History of White People in America, fillet of sole brother Martin Mull is writing another book and creating four more episodes for cable TV. The book’s tentative title, says Mull, is The Color Beige. For the dust jacket he wants a picture of himself sitting “on a porch in a rocking chair, eating a cheese sandwich, probably Velveeta, on white bread, drinking a glass of low-fat milk.”

FACE VALUE: In Crossings, an ABC miniseries based on Danielle Steel’s best-seller, the love scenes between Cheryl Ladd and Lee Horsly will have a lot more steam than skin. “I’d rather see touching and sensuality than boffing,” explains Ladd. “We were trying to build sexual tension and obviously it was working.” Horsly seconds that emotion. “These are old-style love scenes. They leave more to the imagination. They’re very sensual as opposed to sexual—face-touching, things like that. That really gets me going. I’d just as soon grab a handful of face.”

SHUTTLE-BUS DIPLOMACY: When Susan Akins, Miss America, was touring Dallas recently, she had a run-in with the driver of a shuttle bus. According to her, “He couldn’t understand why we had so much luggage, so my traveling companion said, ‘Let me tell you who’s on the bus. This is Miss America.’ ” The driver answered, “I’m not impressed. I’ve been with the President.” Then Akins stepped in and said, “So have I.” Driver: “I’ve been with foreign dignitaries.” Akins: “So have I.” Driver: “I’ve been with famous actors and actresses.” Akins: “So have I.” Driver: “I’m an ex-Marine.” Pause. Akins: “I’m not impressed.”

PLUCKY LADY: Once a pincushion for put-downs, Pia Zadora is winning praise for Pia & Phil, the LP of standards she recorded with the London Philharmonic. But the newly acclaimed singer now admits that some of the knocks against her acting were justified. Zadora says she tried to stop the release of her 1983 film, The Lonely Lady, by threatening suicide. When that didn’t work, “I kept praying that the plane carrying the negatives would crash.” The movie has been edited for possible network broadcast, but Pia’s opinion hasn’t changed. “I’m leaving the country if it airs.”