June 13, 1988 12:00 PM

FRANN MAIL: Although she plays Bob Newhart’s middle-aged wife on the Newhart show, Mary Frann, at 44, is so attractive that the bulk of her fan mail is from young men wishing she’d break her vows. “Eighty percent comes from 22-year-olds,” she says. “They start off saying, ‘Hi, I know you like country inns. Would you join me?’ ” Frann says her favorite letter came from a young man who didn’t have the money to take her to a country inn but noted, “My parents have a guest house.” Frann admits she has “fantasized about turning up with my suitcase, ringing the bell and saying, ‘I’m here to join your son in the guest house. I like coffee in the morning.’ ”

HEAVY MEDDLE: During their recent concert tour in the Soviet Union, the Scorpions, platinum-selling heavy metal rockers from West Germany, discovered their biggest followers weren’t young screaming fans, but middle-aged, somber KGB agents. “They were in the hotels, in the hallways, you name it,” says guitarist Matthias Jabs. “I’m sure they even tapped our telephones. Every time I made a call, I’d hear a click. They also didn’t like it that we had our own rented cars. The chief of the Leningrad police actually said, ‘Ask your driver to slow down, otherwise we can’t follow you.’ ” But could the band handle the new girls of glasnost? “It’s not the typical groupie situation there,” reports Jabs. “I got the feeling every girl in Russia is available because to them it’s a dream to be with a rock band. But the KGB makes certain they don’t visit backstage or in the hotels.”

LOST BOY FRIEND: Whitney Houston may find it impossible to start saving all her love for Boy George after his remarks to a British newspaper. She’d already hit one sour note during her final concert in London by gushing to the crowd, “I’ve had seven consecutive number ones—I’m bigger than the Beatles.” The remark was met with a cool silence. Then she turned up two hours late to a private postconcert party, keeping guests such as Elton John and the Boy waiting. “What a rude cow,” Boy George told the Daily Mirror after his two-minute chat with Whitney. “I’ve met most of the royal family, including Princess Diana. Yet royalty wouldn’t treat people that way. She made me feel like a nothing.” Could Boy be a tad jealous: His last album, Sold, didn’t.

HOLY ERRORS: In the past year Dennis Quaid has played a frisky cop in The Big Easy, a frisky juror opposite Cher in Suspect and a poisoned professor in D.O.A. Who would he like to be next? “I’d love to play a preacher, a modern-day Elmer Gantry,” says the actor. But the seemingly endless parade of troubled preachers in the news is making things sinfully difficult. “I was working on a script with some people, and then all of this Jim, Tammy Faye [Bakker], Jimmy Swaggart stuff came up,” says Quaid. “I’d like to do a film about the sincerity of some of these religious figures, showing where the faith leaves off and the money begins, but now just isn’t the right time. There’s too much of a carnival atmosphere out there now. No script could equal that.”

THE RIGHTEOUS STUFF: Author Tom Wolfe, who defined the 1970s as the “Me Decade,” recently looked ahead to the 1990s and saw it as the “Dull Decade.” At a commencement speech at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., Wolfe said that the past 20 years were “the age of the sexual revolution-or what we very primly called it. Twenty years ago we couldn’t imagine an institution called the coed dorm, where young women in a nubile state and young men in the season of the rising sap would live in the same building.” Wolfe suggested that the liberal mores of that age are eroding and the swing back to conservatism has started. “We’re in the beginnings of our period of relearning, which is not exciting and often uncomfortable. The 21st century has already begun, and it will be known as the 20th century’s hangover.”

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