August 06, 1979 12:00 PM


The Wednesday after the Carter Cabinet resigned en masse, Treasury Secretary Michael Blumenthal moved into his new Washington digs, a $200,000 Watergate bachelor penthouse. Early Thursday morning, as he was unpacking books, the telephone man arrived to install a special “hot line” to the White House—a necessity for all Cabinet members. At 11 a.m. the phone rang for the first time—summoning Blumenthal to the President’s office to be fired.

When, When, When

The Broadway-bound play If, If, If recently suspended production amid talk that star Dick Van Dyke was unhappy. Producer Philip Langer denies the rumors and blames the show’s postponement on the New York Times’ powerful drama critic, Richard Eder. Noting that the Times has announced that Eder will resign his drama duties in September (“He’s panned about every show that opened since he took over [in 1977]”), Langer says If, If, If has simply been rescheduled until after that date—in hopes of getting “reviewed by somebody who understands theater.”

Birth of a Notion

Amid a lot of old-fashioned finger counting, the English are wondering whether something other than the impatience of love may have hastened the wedding of Lord Snowdon—Princess Margaret’s ex—and lady friend Lucy Lindsay-Hogg last year. Providing proof positive that The Book of Lists goofed by including Snowdon in a roster of vasectomies (PEOPLE, April 30), the countess has given birth to a girl seven months after marrying Snowdon last December 15. His lordship maintains that the baby’s arrival was a “surprise,” but notes, “I don’t think I should discuss medical problems.” On the other hand, a spokesman for Westminster Hospital, where the child was born, reportedly said, “It was a perfectly straightforward birth. As far as I know, the baby was not premature.”

Nielsen Tip

Now that House debates have been televised for four months, Speaker Tip O’Neill is sorry he ever ‘let the cameras in. “It’s a complete disaster,” snaps O’Neill, who’s annoyed that image-conscious representatives are now actually delivering windy speeches they used to insert into the Congressional Record—and acting like peacocks. “Their hair is groomed, they wear blue shirts,” marvels Tip. “It’s unbelievable.” He’s had odd reactions to his own TV exposure: One long-lost high school chum phoned from a Boston bar just to win a bet that he could get the Speaker on the line, while another old buddy called to observe, “You look just like W.C. Fields—I’m proud of you.”

Pussy Footing

In a way, some measure of artistry crept into American dance on big cat feet. “When I was first in New York,” reports legendary choreographer Martha Graham, 85, “there was no dancing to watch, so I would go anywhere to see physical things in action—prizefights, baseball, the zoo. I used to walk with one particular lion. He would pace up and down his cage and I would pace with him. He had a way of turning, and a curious spiral balance, and I wanted to get it in my body.” Adds Graham unnecessarily, “The guards thought I was a trifle touched.”


•Dolly Parton, on her way to Japan for a series of concerts, told friends she expects to be popular. “The Japanese should like me,” figures Dolly. “I’m as short as they are—four feet 11 inches, without wigs and heels. And six-foot-four with them.”

•One of the most likable things about Britain’s Prince Charles is his unabashedly common sense of humor. The other day, for example, he was shearing a Highland sheep when the animal started bucking furiously between his legs. “I was really worried where its horns might go,” quick-moving Charles joked to onlookers. “That sheep nearly ruined the dynasty.”

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