Courting Miss Piggy
The scene, from the Muppets’ first feature film—titled simply The Muppet Movie—was a long way from Sesame Street. Kermit the Frog sets off from his Southern swamp for Hollywood and encounters that swinish femme fatale, Miss Piggy, winner of a state fair beauty contest. He trysts her off to a mountain inn, where they are greeted by Steve Martin, a lederhosened sommelier. “You may serve me,” says Miss Piggy haughtily. “Well, thaaaaank yew,” replies Steve, proffering the best in the house: Vin d’ldaho, in a screw-top bottle.
Frank-ly fund raising
Casino action may be the big draw at Atlantic City, but 17,000 people anted up to $500 apiece to hear Frank Sinatra at a fund raiser for the town’s ailing medical center. Frank’s ace in the hole was Robbie Zastavny, 8, the 1977 March of Dimes National Poster Child, who gave the singer a big hug and a request for his favorite song. Sinatra later dedicated My Way to “a little boy I met backstage.” Though he declined his usual concert fee, Ol’ Blue Eyes received a remembrance: Hospital officials renamed a section of the center the Frank Sinatra Wing.
Who was that masked man at the Actors Studio benefit at Manhattan’s Roseland ballroom? Such fellow masqueraders as Marthe Keller, Ellen Burstyn and Eli Wallach had no need to ask. The chap in the cape was neither the Lone Ranger nor Dracula—it was Lee Strasberg, 76, the director of the institution and grand old man of Method, duded up as David Belasco, the legendary turn-of-the-century impresario. With his actress daughter, Susan (right), 40, and wife Anna, 41, leading his supporting cast, Strasberg played his guru role to the hilt, failing to impress only one irreverent ex-student. Greeted disciple Al Pacino: “Hello, six-eyes.”
When Barbara Walters attended the glitzy Manhattan premiere party for The Wiz, she picked an escort to match: Sy Weintraub, an ebullient Columbia Pictures exec who claims he has known her for “an enormous amount of time.” Boarding the elevator for a 107-floor ride to the top of the World Trade Center (did you expect them to climb Kong-style?), Barbara hardly needed the lift. A subject of her next TV special is Wiz star Diana Ross, and it was satisfyingly finished. “Although she was afraid of me and I thought she was going to be difficult,” confided Barbara, the interview just eased on down the yellow brick road.
A bridge too far
When the Oak Ridge Boys—(from left) Duane Allen, Bill Golden, Joe Bonsall and Richard Sterban—crossed over from gospel to country music two years ago they became both more famous (they just won the Country Music Association’s Vocal Group of the Year Award) and apparently frolicsome. While appearing in London, they capered across Westminster Bridge and nipped round to Buckingham Palace to introduce themselves to the Queen. “We’ll be happy to tell the Queen you called,” the guardsman at the gate said, but, sorry old chaps, Her Majesty is otherwise engaged.
After picking a few riffs with musicians at a Bradenton Beach, Fla. bar, rocker Gregg Allman found himself in another jam—with the fuzz. Seems Allman, out in the parking lot sipping Scotch and revving up a motorcycle, drew a crowd. Not to mention a cop, who heard Allman snarl: “You ain’t gonna write me one of those blankety-blank tickets.” Right. Though proved clean in the frisking, Gregg spent almost four hours in the slam before his release on $54 bond pending a hearing on the charge of “disorderly intoxication.”