At a climactic moment in the current revival of Annie Get Your Gun, Debbie Reynolds is suspended in midair on a trapeze while she puts on a knock-’em-dead display of target shooting—bells ring and pinwheels fly with every bullseye—and the wildly whooping audience can’t keep off its feet. But the other night, at a performance in L.A., the 45-year-old actress went up in the air, and nothing happened—the stage manager had forgotten his cues and the star was left hanging in the dark with no special effects. A fuming Reynolds supplied a few fireworks of her own after her descent, promptly belting the hapless stage manager before she had him canned.
Casting about for someone to play a 90-sec. cameo as an English insurance agent in his 1973 classic Day for Night, French director François Truffaut met “John Graham” at a party in Nice. The face looked familiar, but without revealing that he’d later been told the man’s real name, Truffaut signed him for the part. The amateur “was petrified and almost canceled at the last minute,” Truffaut said, but “was a very good actor, and I would certainly use him again. He has a presence somewhere between James Stewart and Ray Milland.” Confronted four years later, Truffaut now fesses up that the one-shot novice was author Graham Greene.
Boston Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk is baseball’s new sultan of smarts. If having finished Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book on Lyndon Johnson was not pleasure enough, he discovered the author is a Red Sox season ticket holder. So he huddled with the bedside historian of that quintessential American politician. As to who picked whose brain, well, Fisk is a household name back home in New Hampshire, and the suspicion is that his future is in the political ballpark.
Sid the Kid
“When I was 9 or 10 years old and saw Lilies of the Field for the first time, Sidney Poitier blew my gourd. I wanted to grow up and be like him.” Unlike most hero-worshipping youngsters, LeVar Burton, at 20, has just about gotten his wish. After playing the young Kunta Kinte in TV’s megasmash Roots, Burton was auditioned by Poitier, 50, last summer. “The first thing he told me,” Burton recalls, “was that I reminded him of when he was a young man. I said, ‘Oh, no, c’mon!’ ”
“James Bond’s an idiot who wants to blow up everything. Me, I don’t particularly like explosions.” That’s actor Roger Moore quaveringly knocking the onscreen role that he maintains has put his hide in almost constant jeopardy ever since he took over playing Sean Connery in the last three of the ten 007 epics. “The only time I can trust being safe is in the middle of a picture,” Moore has found. Should he be hurt in the first two weeks of shooting, “they can always collect the insurance and won’t have to make the picture,” he says. “During the last two weeks they have enough in the can to finish without you, and it would be great publicity—BOND KILLED!”
•Argentine tennis whiz Guillermo Vilas almost foot-faulted in his mouth when, after winning the Washington Star International Tennis Championships, he thanked the rival Washington Post. Glinting the dismay of Star publisher Joe L. Allbritton, Guillermo apologized and recovered brilliantly, explaining diplomatically, “It’s just that we have only one paper in Argentina.”
•Rod McKuen, gentleman songster and lately crusader for homosexual rights, found unexpected sympathy on the celeb party rounds from Ruth Carter Stapleton, the President’s evangelist sister. “We had a long talk,” reports McKuen, “and she said to me, ‘I resent very much what Anita Bryant is doing in the Lord’s name.’ ”
•At 47, Dick Clark had produced thousands of hours of TV and two failed marriages. So he wanted a video record when he sanctified his third—and hopefully last—spin to the altar, with Kari Wigton, 33, his assistant and lady since 1971. It couldn’t have gone smoother. He got to the ceremony on time, and remembered the ring. Only trouble was someone forgot to turn on the tape machine.