The Jean Blues
Her friendship with black cafe singer Bobby Short may have kept Gloria Vanderbilt out of Manhattan’s elegant River House co-op (as she thinks), but Short’s friendship with Gloria had nothing to do with his getting bumped from the Pump Room. Short was wearing blue jeans (not Gloria’s), a no-no at the posh Chicago restaurant. Meanwhile, in Hollywood, there’s a joke about Gloria starting a line of jeans for kids; they’re called Bobby Shorts.
The Carson Complex
Real People co-host Byron Allen, 19, has played the Tonight Show only twice with the cameras running, but “about 1,000 times” when Johnny, Ed and Doc were elsewhere. Back when his mom was an NBC page, she took him along to beautiful downtown Burbank and gave him the run of the empty Tonight set, where he started off with a “He-e-ere’s Byron!” and then went on with the show. When a janitor caught him, quick-thinking Byron brought the man onstage as “the author of that wonderful book, Cleaning Up after the Stars.” A grinning Irv Johnson went through an interview for the empty house. Years later, when Allen made his real Tonight Show debut, Johnson was among many friends in the audience. But Allen, who wants to be a talk-show host, is still afraid of his idol Carson, because “I’d always had this fear that somehow he knew what I’d done.” Now you know, Johnny.
Since Larry Hagman catapulted to astral stardom as Dallas’ J.R., he and his mother, Mary Martin, have been busily shrugging off the years when they were quite cool to each other. Recently she went on to explain. “We had a healthy, stormy relationship,” she says. “Hell, I was only 17 when I had the boy. My mother raised us both. He was the son she always wanted, you know?”
At a testimonial dinner for Neil Simon, venerable comedian George Burns lauded the playwright for Burns’ comeback in The Sunshine Boys. “Thanks to Neil Simon,” he said, “when I was 78 I became a dramatic actor. When I was 81 I played God. Now at 84 I’m a country singer [his single, I Wish I Were 18 Again, was on the C&W charts this spring]. For me it wasn’t easy to become a country singer. I had to give up skiing.”
Body and Sole
Linda McCartney, wife of multimillionaire ex-Beatle Paul, won a first prize at Cannes for Seaside Woman, a four-minute cartoon she produced, but Linda is still plain old Linda. For an interview with a British newspaper, she wore “a shabby brown jacket with a hole in the back,” jeans and muddy pink slippers. She made Paul sound old-shoe too. “He’s good to his woman, likes a pint, picks his nose,” she spilled. “Very normal.”
•Former Chicago Seven defendant Jerry Rubin, who used to warn the nation not to trust anyone over 30, is 41 now and singing a different tune. He told a Jaycees convention in Cleveland, “Now I don’t trust anyone under 30. You know how conservative young people are today.”
•Liz Carpenter, a U.S. delegate at the interim World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women, in Copenhagen, on the American reaction to the agenda: “The U.S. has more positions than Masters and Johnson.”
•Why doesn’t Severiano Ballesteros, the Masters golf champion and the heartthrob of the links, have a steady girl? Because “That would be like playing the same golf course all the time.”
•At the recent summit of Western leaders in Venice, an Italian journalist passed Rosalynn Carter a note as she inspected a lagoon. “Did you ever go see any of Ronald Reagan’s movies? Did you like them?” it asked. Rosalynn shrewdly scribbled back: “It was so long ago, I don’t remember.”