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November 09, 1987 12:00 PM

NEWS, MAN: Billed as the keynote speaker at a bash honoring Lorimar pictures chairman Merv Adelson (also known as Barbara Walters’ hubby), ABC newsman David Brinkley claimed ignorance of understanding just what “keynote” meant. So, after a few brief remarks, he opened the floor to questions. “The harder the better,” was Brinkley’s only stipulation. Ready to oblige was none other than Johnny Carson, 62, in attendance with his stunning new wife, Alex Maas, 36. Queried Carson: “Do you think my fourth marriage is going to work?” Never at a loss for words, Brinkley replied, “I’ve just met your wife for the first time tonight, and if it doesn’t work, all I can say is you’re a damn fool.”

LAUGH STYLES: Robin Leach, the voluble host of TV’s Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, has trouble getting away from himself even when he goes out for a night of distraction and entertainment. “One evening,” he recalls, “I sat in the audience at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles. I was anonymous, and no one knew I was there. I watched 21 comics and they all did me. Apparently I’m an easy target, and I don’t know why.” Sure he does.

FISCAL SUPPORTER: Ann Wilson, lead singer of the rock band Heart, is tired of being labeled anti-feminist because of the provocative black leather and lace stage garb she and sister Nancy wear. Ann insists the matter is merely one of economics. “Nancy and I are artists who are free-spirited,” she explains. “We’re proud of our female-ness. There’s nothing wrong with showing what you’ve got. I don’t go along with women being enslaved, of course, but I’m not going to rip off my bra and put a match to it. I mean, what a waste of money.”

GUN SHY: For Eddie Murphy, the loophole in Florida’s new gun law that allowed anyone to carry an unconcealed sidearm was no laughing matter. Before the loophole was closed, Murphy bought five hand-held metal detectors for use at the entrances of Miami’s James L. Knight International Center, where he was appearing in concert. No guns were found among concertgoers, but the comedian ordered 10 more detectors for his other Florida shows. When asked about the need for such costly self-preservation procedures, Murphy proved himself an effective silencer. A staffer offered a chuckle and a polite “No comment.”

MASTER BLASTER: Not everybody is displeased by Florida’s loose gun laws. Don Johnson apparently made the most of the regulations at an outdoor cookout—much to the regret of some neighbors in the rural Miami suburb of Redland. Recalls Linda Jennings, a Redland resident who called the police to complain of gunshots in the area: “It was a quiet Sunday. We heard a helicopter landing; we didn’t know who was in it. Then there was a bunch of firing—incredible gunfire, like BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.” But according to Dade County police, who were dispatched to the scene, Don and 20 or so pals were just “having a barbecue, and they set up targets they were shooting at with shotguns.” Metro-Dade Sgt. Ed Hafner was quoted in the Miami Herald as describing the outing as “more like a family thing. Cooking chicken and having a family type of picnic.” Sounds normal: Praise the bird, and pass the ammunition.

GENDER OFFENDER: In Venice to promote her latest novel, Serenissima, a love story set in the city of gondolas, Erica (Fear of Flying) Jong, 45, told the newspaper La Stampa something about literary double standards. Known for her erotic themes, Jong snapped back at critics who have called her a purveyor of pornography. “I don’t understand why when a man writes about sex it is [considered] literature, but when a woman does so it is pornography,” she said. “In my books I deal with eroticism, which is my way of demonstrating the force of life. Pornography is something else again.”

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