July 25, 1983 12:00 PM

Loose Lips Sink Spitz

Mark Spitz, winner of seven gold medals at the 1972 Olympics, learned an elementary lesson in etiquette at last month’s National Sports Festival in Colorado Springs: If you’re commentating on swimming for ABC, don’t call the event “a joke” or “an exercise in futility.” Some of Mark’s sweeping comments to Detroit Free Press columnist Mike Downey included, “None of the top-notch athletes are here”; “Most of these people are just being babysat.” ABC immediately dissociated itself from Spitz’s comments and US Olympic Committee executive director Don Miller sputtered, “Who is Mark Spitz? He has no loyalty to anyone or anything except Mark Spitz.” Mark tried to clear himself by claiming he was quoted out of context, but Downey stood by his story, dubbing the swimmer “Chicken of the Sea.” Said Downey in his final column on the topic, “Now I know what they mean when they say, ‘I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can spit.’ Somebody left off the z.”

His Coy Mistress

Though the London papers have reported several cat-and-mouse chase scenes during which Koo Stark has attempted to retreat from pesky paparazzi, she chose to make a grand entrance before flashing bulbs at a recent London musical show opening. Not only that, but Koo brought her own pocket camera along, playfully snapping the photographers at their own game. Well, apparently the joke wore thin too soon. Koo ran into a tiny private room after her entrance and refused to leave “until those terrible photographers have been removed.” Stay tuned for the next episode, when we find out whether Prince Andy’s pal ever got out.

This Spud’s for You

If you defend Laverne and Shirley as “actually a pretty good show” or consider a balanced meal to be white bread and Cheez Whiz from a toaster oven next to your TV set, then you rank as one of that vast (but until now unnamed) tribe called the Couch Potatoes. In his Official Couch Potato Handbook, due out this fall, author Jack Mingo delivers the final word on addicts of prolonged TV viewing. Labeled Couch Potatoes because they celebrate the recline of civilization and because a potato, covered with eyes, is “the essence of vegetation,” the Couch Potatoes fall into several key groups: M*A*S*H Potatoes (“addicted to relatively sophisticated, intelligent and sensitive comedy shows”); Spec-Taters (“your basic drink-beer-and-watch-football-till-you-pass-out types”); and Uncommon Taters (PBS viewers who “feel guilty if they don’t promise their life’s savings during pledge week”). All this for only $4.95—small potatoes.

Pedals for the Duchess

Martina Navratilova may have earned the royal treatment along with her fourth championship at Wimbledon, but her No. 1 status didn’t keep her from a humble act of friendship. When she heard the Duchess of Kent was under the weather (reportedly suffering from severe depression) and couldn’t present the winning trophy as in past years, Martina sent a bouquet of yellow roses. In fact, so anxious was she to send the flowers, she forgot to enclose a note identifying herself. When the court’s reigning queen realized her mistake, she rose to the occasion. Still dressed in her Virginia Slims sweat suit, Martina hopped on her 10-speed bike, raced into town for a new bouquet, and returned to the stadium to deliver it to the Duke, with best wishes for his wife. And you thought FTD was the only way to say it with flowers.


Who says Hollywood holds a patent on lights-camera-action? On location in the Big Apple to film Max and Sam, a made-for-TV movie for NBC, Dick Van Dyke applauded his favorite metropolis. “I don’t think one can overuse New York City as a location,” he said. “As for L.A., there isn’t a tree there that isn’t getting a residual.”

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