August 27, 1984 12:00 PM


Lynda (Wonder Woman) Carter and Loni (WKRP) Anderson want to be taken seriously. In Partners in Crime, their new NBC series, they vow no cheese-cakey exploitation of their bosomy figures. “We’re playing very independent women,” says Lynda, but maybe she needs to say it louder. A high-ranking NBC exec has referred to the series as Terms of Endowment.

Partners pairs the two actresses as the inheritors of a San Francisco detective agency that—get this—was owned by a man previously married to each of them. Partners is part of a new trend in TV: comedy-adventures featuring female crime stoppers. Cagney & Lacey and Scarecrow and Mrs. King started it; this fall we have Partners plus Lindsay Wagner as a police psychiatrist in Jessie and Jennifer O’Neill as a model-turned-sleuth in Cover Up. In a timely casting coup Vanessa Williams will guest star in late September as a rock singer who hires Loni and Lynda to protect her from a dangerous fan. “We just happened to have a script already written about a beautiful black singer, and she just happened to be available,” says Loni. Sure.

Bill Cosby is not at all pleased with TV. “I’m tired of shows that consist of a car crash, a gunman and a hooker talking to a black pimp,” complains the comedian. “It was cheaper for me to do a series than throw out my family’s six TV sets.” The result is The Bill Cosby Show, his first TV series in 13 years. In the NBC sitcom, filmed in New York, Cosby is an obstetrician who raises his four kids with his lawyer wife, played by Phylicia Ayers-Allen. Of the upscale nature of the show, Cosby says, “This is a black American family, and if people have difficulty with that, it’s their problem, not ours.” With an all-black cast Cosby is a departure from shows like Webster, where cute black kids are parented by whites. Cosby is a truly funny, sweet-tempered show about ordinary family problems. Bill, who is the father of five kids, says, “I hope people will see the show and say, ‘How did they get in to see what goes on in my house?’ ”

When Ellis Island, a seven-hour miniseries, premieres on CBS in November, viewers will have the bittersweet opportunity of seeing Richard Burton play the father of his real-life daughter, Kate, 26. Just one month before his death Burton completed two weeks of filming with Kate in England, playing a wealthy Congressman whose daughter marries a poor Italian immigrant (Greg Martyn). The large cast also includes Ben Vereen, Claire Bloom and Faye Dunaway as Burton’s actress bride. “Richard was wonderful,” Dunaway says. “You can only be as good as the people you work with, and he was the best.”

If something works, rip it off. That golden rule of programming is nowhere better illustrated than in Streethawk, an ABC clone of Knight Rider, starring former teen heartthrob Rex (The Pirates of Penzance) Smith, 28, and a super-charged motorcyle. The bike comes equipped with heat-seeking missiles, infrared detectors and other high-tech goodies—and gets top billing. But, says Smith, “No way am I second fiddle. The bike doesn’t talk back to me.” Honk.

Nice work if you can get it: Mistral’s Daughter star Stefanie Powers spent her summer on location in France and reportedly enjoyed an offscreen romance with co-star Timothy Dalton. Powers, 41, is an aspiring model who falls in love with a Picassolike painter (Stacy Keach) in the CBS miniseries based on Judith Krantz’ best-selling novel; Dalton, a British actor, 38, is cast as a wealthy businessman. Powers ages more than 40 years and was outfitted with 12 different wigs and 52 costumes. After the show wrapped, she reports, “Most of the cast filtered back on to the set the next day. It was a letdown when it was over.” Stefanie had another reason to feel low: During the filming, she got notice of the cancellation of her series, Hart to Hart.

“It’s a glitzy bitch part and, intellectually, everything I was trying to get away from,” Morgan Fairchild says of her latest acting assignment as a nasty modeling agent in Paper Dolls, the new ABC pulp opera. “But I read the script and thought it was very special. The character is really a hoot to play. Let’s face it, if they offered me a role like Sophie’s Choice, I wouldn’t be doing this. But no one has, and someone has to make the house payments.”

Lou Grant it ain’t. Glitter—the ABC series based on a popular personality magazine—has virtually nothing to do with journalism and everything to do with the Aaron Spelling anthology formula: guest stars to play opposite reporters David (St. Elsewhere) Birney and Morgan (Dallas) Brittany. One inspired example: Harriet Nelson (of Ozzie and Harriet) will do a guest shot as a dedicated clerical employee of Glitter magazine who is forcibly retired. In the episode Harriet, 70, will be befriended by the Glitter receptionist, a series regular played by her granddaughter, Tracy Nelson, 20. Says Tracy of Grandma, “She’s comfortable with the fact that I’m in the business. We have a common ground.”

Angela Lansbury stars as Jessica Fletcher, an eccentric mystery writer who solves real-life crimes in Murder, She Wrote, a stylish CBS series from the producers of Columbo. Despite Jessica’s similarities to Agatha Christie’s doughty heroine, Miss Jane Mar-pie, Lansbury, 58, says, “The character is totally original,” but she admits, “a lot of Christie herself has crept into the part.” That, plus the show’s lead-in of 60 Minutes, could strike a blow for the grown-ups in the TV audience.

In Forbidden, an HBO TV movie, Jacqueline Bisset appears as an aristocratic German who falls in love with a Jewish professor, played by Jurgen (Das Boot) Prochnow, during World War II. Shot on location in Berlin, the movie is based on a true story. Bisset, 39, was intrigued not only by the role but by the role reversal involved in a woman protecting a man. “She had to be mindful of his well-being, overriding him and telling him when to shut up,” Bisset says. “It made me feisty.”

Two miniseries from recent headlines may be the most controversial projects of the upcoming season. In CBS’ The Atlanta Child Murders, Calvin (Open Admissions) Levels plays Wayne Williams, the convicted murderer of two children in Atlanta in 1982; also in the cast are Jason Ro-bards and James Earl Jones. Says producer Abby (Judgment at Nuremberg) Mann, who has made a specialty of controversy, “The movie will raise the question of whether Williams really was the murderer of all of the Atlanta children.” In NBC’s Fatal Vision, newcomer Gary Cole plays Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, a physician and former Green Beret who was convicted in 1979 of murdering his pregnant wife and two children. MacDonald, who has professed his innocence, is in prison on a life sentence in Texas. But Cole did not talk to him before filming and says, “I never heard anything about the case. I was only 12 or 13 at the time.”

After eight seasons and almost 170 episodes, ABC’s Three’s Company was wearing out its welcome. So this season Jack Tripper (John Ritter) will get a new, true love—a stew, at that. But don’t look for another bimbo in the long line of Ritter’s previous “roommates” on the sitcom. “My character is the antithesis of everyone Jack has ever dated,” says preppy Mary Cadorette, 27, who was in the chorus of the Broadway musical 42nd Street when she won the prize role of Vicky Bradford. “Vicky’s bright and honest, and she’s the one who suggests they live together.” The downside is that Vicky’s father owns the building. Hence the new title: Three’s a Crowd. Take that, Suzanne Somers.


The sugarplum fairy has been banned as too saccharine, but marmalade groves, marzipan castles and swans that wear golden necklaces still drift in and out of Nutcracker (Crown, $19.95). This new version of the E.T.A. Hoffmann classic, which Tchaikovsky turned into a long-running musical, is illustrated in whimsical pastels by the renowned children’s book author Maurice Sendak. “What intrigued me about the Nutcracker,” says Sendak, “was how I could find a point of view in this great galumphing work. I discovered it’s about a little girl changing to a big girl.”

When two of the scariest writers in America decide to collaborate, the results should be literary mayhem. But The Talisman (Viking, $18.95), co-authored by Stephen King and Peter Straub, is a surprisingly cheerful, upbeat novel about a teenage boy and his quest to save his mother’s life. King, who lives in Maine, and Straub a Connecticut resident, transmitted passages back and forth via telephone attachments on their word processors. “The process,” jokes King, “was like playing tennis by mail.”

From “East to Welch,” as the author likes to put it, what the world needs now is the right beauty book. Naturally Raquel Welch, 44, thinks that her opus, which champions the joys of hatha-yoga, is the answer. But don’t take Raquel (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, $19.95) too literally. “Now, of course,” writes Raquel modestly and immodestly, “I’m not promising that if you follow this method you’ll end up looking like me.” Probably you won’t: Raquel cuts her own hair but she won’t do yours.

Poor King David. His wife is the first JAP in the Old Testament, his harem isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and the Promised Land has searing sands and the PLO. The trials and tribulations of this beleaguered hero are the subject of Joseph Heller’s irreverent novel God Knows (Alfred A. Knopf, $16.95). “I felt in reading David’s story in the Bible that there was room for improvement,” says Heller, 61, who threw in some of today’s Middle Eastern perils in the process. But might not readers be put off by his portrait of David as a priapic braggart? Oh, no, protests Heller, who claims that he and presumably his character are “lovable.”


•Strong Medicine, by Arthur Hailey (Doubleday, $16.95): The master of Hotel and Airport takes on the pharmaceutical industry.

•Superior Women, by Alice Adams (Alfred A. Knopf, $16.95): Sex and scholarship at Radcliffe.

•Home Before Dark, by Susan Cheever (Houghton Mifflin, $15.95): John Cheever’s demons and genius as recalled by his daughter.

•Crescent City, by Belva Plain (Delacorte Press, $16.95): Lust and high society in Civil War New Orleans.


If the idea of a warming, honey-on-buckwheat December breakfast appeals to you, here’s something else to look forward to: Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, who established their credentials in the duet business last year with Islands in the Stream, are teaming up again for a Christmas album. Five tunes are Parton originals, with such titles as Once Upon a Christmas and I Believe in Santa Claus, while the traditional tracks include a Rogers solo, The Christmas Song. The album’s title will be Kenny and Dolly: A Christmas to Remember and we are talking heavy-duty folksiness: The cover photo of two of Nashville’s most cuddlesome stars looks like a Norman Rockwell portrait. No wonder RCA marketers have visions of the LP selling as long as there’s a Christmas.

Quincy Jones produces record albums the way Porsche produces cars. To start with, his material isn’t exactly trashy—Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson, to name two clients. What he does with that material is unique, though: He has won 15 Grammys for producing. His next customer is himself. Jones, who started as a trumpet player and progressive-jazz bandleader in the ’50s, is making his first album since 1981’s The Dude, which introduced singer James Ingram. There’s no guarantee this new LP will uncover anyone so talented. But Jones, known as “Q” in the studio, does seem intent on making his music live up to his middle name: Delight.

Eddie Murphy has an LP slated for November. Don’t laugh. This is Eddie the comedian we’re talking about, but if the album is funny, it won’t be on purpose. It’s supposed to be serious stuff, Murphy singing rock tunes written by himself and others. He is hoping no doubt that some of the ability rubbed off on him from all those vivid impersonations he has done of his buddy Stevie Wonder.

Having made the pop music world safe for androgyny, Boy George and his Culture Club will introduce their third album, Waking Up With the House on Fire, in October. Meanwhile, back at the hairdressers, Boy has opted for a new look, though his blond tresses resemble President Monroe’s more than they do Marilyn’s. B.G.’s golden mane comes straight out of the bottle, but if he has taught anything, it is that appearances can be deceiving.

The Rolling Stones, after all, never sang about spending their whole careers together, just the odd nights. So Mick Jagger isn’t violating any pledges with the solo album he has scheduled for a fall release—the first result of the Stones’ $28 million worldwide contract with Columbia, which covers group and individual recordings. Given the short attention span rock ‘n’ roll seems to generate, the marvel is that Jagger has never gone solo in the 20 years the Stones have cranked out albums. In any case, this isn’t a breakup. The group plans to return to the studio next January, and Jagger insists (despite perennial hyping that makes every tour sound like the final one) “the Stones will roll on forever.”

Do It Again wasn’t among the pop standards on What’s New, the 1983 Linda Ronstadt album that was a hit among record buyers and the moldy-fig community, to use the jazz-world term for admirers of old-fashioned sounds. She’s planning to do it again, anyway, on a follow-up LP, with arranging and conducting once more handled by Nelson Riddle. After wrapping up the recording, Ronstadt is off to New York to begin rehearsing her operatic debut in Puccini’s La Bohème for producer Joseph Papp, but Ronstadt shows no undue anxiety about getting back to rock ‘n’ roll. A higher priority seems to be recording an album in Spanish in honor of her German-Mexican-American father, a hardware merchant. “To me,” she told the Los Angeles Times, “nothing is more satisfying than going home to Tucson and singing with my dad.”

Rickie Lee Jones has taken up co-producing on her new album, The Magazine, with partner James Newton-Howard. “James brought the character and mood,” she says. “I gave the emotional direction in the way I move, sing, play and just stamp my feet. But people think I want to take over. It’s like what happened to Barbra Streisand. If a man does three or four things well, he’s brilliant. But if a woman does that, she’s overbearing.”

The mine of John Lennon outtakes, leftovers and marginalia would seem to have been long since exhausted. But his widow, Yoko Ono, and her associate Sam Havadtoy have found another way to celebrate the singer’s memory: a new album, Every Man Has a Woman, consisting of Ono songs recorded by various artists. The project was conceived by Lennon as a birthday present for Yoko. The LP includes 12 songs, all but one recorded since his death. They’re performed by such people as Roberta Flack, Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello and Harry Nilsson. Most touching are Lennon’s version of Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him and It’s Alright, sung by John and Yoko’s son, Sean, 8, and recorded last year.

Donna Summer is perfecting her ability to blend the sacred and the profane. Her album Cats Without Claws will offer such post-disco rock tracks as Supernatural Love and There Goes My Baby, a Summery version of the old Drifters R&B hit. The religious overtones, most apparent in a ballad called Forgive Me, reflect Summer’s continuing attempts to create a kind of born-again rock. She is a very vocal Christian, and producer Michael Omartian is a proud member of the faithful too. Where Summer once punctuated her singing with orgasmic moans, there are now only “amens.”

Overnight successes in country music usually take 10 or 15 years. Ricky Skaggs is no exception. But after 15 years of playing behind and writing for such performers as Emmylou Harris and Ronstadt, Skaggs is exploiting his solo success with two new LPs this fall. Country Boy will include some guest picking by Bill Monroe, 73, the Babe Ruth of bluegrass music. The other, My Favorite Country Songs, is a collection of songs Skaggs recorded for minor labels before the world discovered him. “It didn’t occur to me when I was little that you could make a living out of music,” Skaggs says. “But it ain’t how much money you’ve got in your back pocket. It’s how much love you’ve got in your heart.”

No, that Paul McCartney needs the spare quid or two he could pick up by moonlighting, but Her Majesty’s Secret Service might consider hiring him as a consultant for clandestine operations. Give My Regards to Broad Street, a film with screenplay by McCartney, has been sneak-previewed in Atlanta. The size of its cast—including McCartney and wife Linda, Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach (Mrs. Starr) and teen singer Tracey Ullman—would seem to guarantee some leaks. Thanks to the top secrecy McCartney has mandated, however, about all that’s known is that Broad Street is a “musical mystery” about a pop singer whose master tape is swiped, and there will be a sound-track album and a video game based on the film.


Sure, you still go to the movies, spin tunes on the stereo and maybe even pick up a book once in a while. But if you’re one of more than three million Americans who in the last seven months have joined the video revolution, you know that right now the hottest spot in the entertainment industry is your own armchair in front of the VCR.

Since 1982 VCR sales have tripled, putting machines into 13 percent of the nation’s homes. That should hit 20 percent by year’s end with sales of another 4 million predicted. Already you can buy or rent some 35,000 titles. To help you spot what’s hot, here’s a look at new trends.

Just as music video is making bands worry about their images, it’s making the customer image conscious,” says New York designer-musician Lloyd Allen, whose hit MTV video, I Keep Looking at You, last January introduced the world to watch ‘n’ wear. Now such couturiers as Leon Max, Willi Smith and Norma Kamali are bringing out music videos to tout their fall ’84 clothing lines. Michael Jackson is reportedly licensing his name to Seventh Avenue fashion houses, and CNN is planning a 90-minute fashion-oriented video presentation. “Both music video and fashion reflect what’s happening on the streets,” says Kamali rep Jo Watson. “That’s why they’re so compatible.”

If you want to know who pioneered the home-video industry,” says a home-video publicist, “it’s those people who bought all the porno tapes.” Until 1979, X-rated was the only way to go in home video, and titles like Deep Throat and Talk Dirty to Me still represent about 9 percent of the market. It’s only that small because clean titles have burgeoned. “Everybody has to have their obligatory X-rated tape,” says Video Shack Vice-President Marcia Kesselman. “People will buy a children’s film, a comedy, a drama and Debby Does Dallas.” An ever-popular set is the Inside series: Inside Seka, Inside Desiree Cousteau and, coming this fall, Inside Little Oral Annie. There’s even a book that bares all—Robert H. Rimmer’s The X-Rated Videotape Guide. O (blush) Pioneers.

After The Jane Fonda Workout and some 50 copycat cassettes, the fitness-tape market looked worn out. But the game isn’t over. Enter L.A. Raiders all-pro defensive lineman Lyle Alzado with No Sweat!, set to a score by Michael (Maniac) Sembello and Mark Hudson. Raves Alzado: “It’s a physical high.”


Twosomes are the thing onscreen this season, and the oddest couple by far is Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin in All of Me. In this screwball comedy the pair share a body as well as top billing. Tomlin plays a wealthy, eccentric invalid who at the moment of her death inadvertently gets trapped in the body of an unhappy lawyer, played by Martin. Explains Lily, “All she wants out of another life is the first one she’s never had.” All she gets, of course, is trouble: Martin controls the left side of his/her frame and Tomlin the right, which makes one bathroom sequence an exercise in tortuous detente. Says Steve: “I suspect I’m the first actor to play both sexes simultaneously.” (September)

Considering that the character was the rocker shocker of his age, it’s not surprising that Mick Jagger and David Bowie reportedly wanted to play Wolfgang Mozart in Milos Forman’s screen version of Peter Shaffer’s hit play Amadeus. Thomas (Animal House) Hulce, 29, snagged the role of the boy wonder whose crass behavior outraged 18th-century Vienna. The $17 million drama shifts the emphasis from Wolfgang’s rival, Salieri (F. Murray Abraham), to Mozart himself, whom Hulce sees as “The John McEnroe of his era.” For Forman, the movie, which was shot in Prague, brought a perk: the first chance to work in his homeland since his dismissal in 1971. (September)

Not all rockers are flunking their screen tests. As archvillain Feyd in the much-ballyhooed $40 million screen version of Dune, Sting is giving his movie career a rocketlike boost. Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel needed seven rewrites by director David (The Elephant Man) Lynch and years to reach the screen. Even so, he fears a lynching from sci-fi purists “who will go into the film with a chip on their shoulders waiting to be convinced,” Lynch says. They’d better not expect Sting to police the music. The group Toto is already on the case. (December)

In Johnny Dangerously, Michael Keaton, the man of the house in Mr. Mom, is trying to avoid doing time instead of dishes. As a ’30s gangster who is a criminal genius so successful his gang has its own dental plan, Keaton teams up with Marilu Henner. “The people who made this movie really loved old films,” says Marilu, “so there are a lot of subtle allusions that film buffs will get a kick out of.” (December)

His recent film notwithstanding, Robert De Niro isn’t usually thought of as a king of comedy. But in Falling in Love, which teams him with Meryl Streep for the first time since The Deer Hunter in 1978, De Niro gets to display his funny bone. The romantic comedy-drama, shot in New York City, is conceived as the movie equivalent of a John Cheever short story: Two commuters have a blissful but misbegotten affair against some of the city’s most spectacular backdrops. In this case it was Streep and De Niro who saw themselves as two of a kind: They originated the project and convinced Paramount—probably without much trouble—that they were a dream team. (November)

For Jessica Lange, Sally Field and Sissy Spacek, the place to be this season is home on the range. In a crop of issue movies, each actress is wrestling with the various problems plaguing good country folk. For Lange, who was born in a Minnesota town of 9,000, Country was two jobs in one: She is both star and co-producer of the contemporary drama about a family-farm crisis. Producer Lange cast her real-life love, playwright-actor Sam Shepard, as her husband, but everything wasn’t hearts and flowers during filming. On location in Waterloo, Iowa last fall, director William Wittliff, who was also co-producer and screenwriter, clashed with his stars and quit after 10 days of shooting. Richard Pearce, who replaced him, was confronted with an early winter and a wind-chill factor of 43 degrees below zero. “The fact that all of this was happening in a town called Waterloo wasn’t lost on anyone,” says studio exec Richard Berger. (October)

Like Dune, the season’s other sci-fi spectacular takes place in the realm of outer space: In 2010, director Peter (Outland) Hyams takes up where Stanley Kubrick deigned to leave off. But, says John Lithgow, who plays a U.S. space engineer in the sequel, “2010 is more nuts and bolts than 2001. It’s more like The Right Stuff with lots of grit and dirt and real characters. Instead of being dreamlike, it captures the drama of a crisis in space.” Roy Scheider co-stars and the story’s creator, novelist Arthur C. Clarke, makes a cameo appearance as a wino feeding pigeons outside the White House. (December)

Audiences snapped to attention when Charles Fuller’s A Soldier’s Play-opened off Broadway in 1981 and won a Pulitzer Prize. The searing drama about a murdered black officer on a military base in 1944 has been transformed into A Soldier’s Story and for Howard (Ragtime) Rollins Jr. snagging the lead was a bittersweet triumph. While filming in Arkansas, Rollins “had to leave and bury my father, and then return to the set. In a way it was a blessing, having to go right back to work. It helped me focus.” (September)

Teri (Tootsie) Garr usually plays the sweet supporting character who either gets married to or, more likely, dumped by the lead. In the drama Firstborn, Teri lands the lead (if not the man) for a change. As a just-divorced mother with two teenage sons, Garr sinks into an emotional abyss with the help of drugs and an abusive lover, Peter Weller. The experience raised Teri’s consciousness but left her drained. The movie “brings up and clarifies injustices toward women,” she says. “I came away mad. I’m still mad.” (October)

“There are some movie parts you can’t wait to get rid of,” says Sissy Spacek. That wasn’t the case in The River (December), in which she plays a Tennessee farm wife fighting flood and foreclosure with husband Mel Gibson (above). “My daddy was an agricultural agent where I grew up in Texas, so I’m real tied into the land. There were so many warm feelings connected with the movie. I’ll consider myself lucky if any of Mae Garvey’s traits rub off on me.”

Columbus, Ohio students got a fast Hollywood education when Teachers was filmed at Central High there last winter. A black comedy about incompetence and inhumanity in the public school system, Teachers stars Nick Nolte as a burned-out case instructing a social studies class. JoBeth Williams plays a former student and lawyer now involved in a suit against the school, and she qualifies as Teachers’ pet. The climactic sequence originally called for Williams to march down the hallway completely nude, but she considered the five-minute skin sequence “gratuitous,” so accommodations were made. In the finished film, Williams keeps her underwear on, and eventually Nolte offers the shelter of his jacket. (October)

Tom Selleck, who seems to be trying to shake his association with a certain TV show in favor of a movie career, had a different sort of blast from his past with director-writer Michael Crichton in the action-adventure Runaway. In Crichton’s 1978 Coma, the director recalls, Selleck played “a victim who went into a coma and was later seen being cut up for spare parts.” In the duo’s latest effort Selleck is a police officer on the trail of a high-tech killer, played without makeup or music by Kiss singer Gene Simmons, who is also tuning up a movie career. Cynthia (Staying Alive) Rhodes is Selleck’s partner. As the title suggests, the extensive physical action turned the performers into marathon men (and women). But Selleck insists the picture is more than a workout. “What’s nice about it is the characters don’t get lost. And that’s important to me.” (December)

For Places in the Heart, director Robert (Kramer vs. Kramer) Benton relied on family ties. His Depression-era rural drama “draws upon stories I heard as I was growing up in Texas, although none happened specifically to me.” The Heart of the matter was “loosely based on my great-grandmother, who lived in the 1880s. I updated it.” Playing a gritty, quietly strong widow with two small children, Sally Field was overcome emotionally. “There are only two roles I’ve ever felt this way about: this one and Sybil. At least in Sybil I got to scream.” (September)

Even Bill Murray has a period piece of the action this fall. In The Razor’s Edge, he tries to best the ghost of Tyrone Power, who played the lead in the famous 1946 original. As a globe-trotting nonconformist in search of peace and happiness in the ’20s and ’30s, Murray takes on a serious role for the first time. Without his enthusiasm for the $12 million adaptation of Somerset Maugham’s novel, the summer might not have had its biggest hit. Says director John Byrum, who co-wrote the screenplay with Murray, “He only agreed to do Ghostbusters if Columbia would make this film.” (October)


Ten years ago it was the Annie Hall look: floppy menswear with a feminine tilt. This fall Annie Hall has been sharpened up and made more obviously masculine—on the outside. Oversize single-breasted balmacaan overcoats and big, pleated trousers are the fashion. Women’s underpinnings, however, will be frilly—camisoles and panties cascading with lace. “When ready-to-wear gets tailored,” observes one design firm exec, “lingerie usually gets more feminine.” Even last year’s Jockey-style bikinis for women are being laced up, and they’re already a hot seller. In clothing, look for innovative wool textures, black knit jersey fabric and sexy knee-length body dresses. “The androgynous look is indeed in the air,” says Ellin Saltzman of Saks. “We expect that women will dress masculine one day, feminine the next, or switch from day to night. It’s the two faces of Eve.” Or Jekyll and Hyde.

This is a lull in the action,” said Garry Trudeau 20 months ago when he announced he would temporarily discontinue Doonesbury. “It’s not, repeat not, a mid-life crisis.” Welcome back, Zonker. On Sept. 30 the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip, a hip, sarcastic, controversial example of so-called investigative cartooning, will return to 700 newspapers around the land. While the Walden Puddle Commune has been taking a sabbatical, its creator has been busy: He authored a Broadway musical based on the strip (a modest success), worked on a screenplay for Robert Redford and fathered twins by wife Jane Pauley, co-host of NBC’s Today show. So what have Joanie, Zonker, B.D., Duke and the others been doing? Trudeau has promised only that, being children of their times, they have changed with the times.

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous Dept. From Oct. 18 to Dec. 30, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will show 140 works by Vincent van Gogh (75 paintings, 65 drawings) in its Van Gogh in Aries exhibit. It highlights the 15 months when the artist moved from Paris to the south of France, began his boldly experimental swirly style and eventually cut off his ear. Among his subjects: a postman, orchids in bloom, wheat fields and sowers in the sun. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) will present Automobile and Culture, a celebration of America’s love affair with the car, featuring 30 vehicles and about 200 paintings and other artifacts. Labor Day weekend brings to the Mark Taper Forum something called Carplays, and Sept. 9 will be Hot Rod Day at the museum. In California they’ve got Surf Jets, motorized surfboards that do about 25 mph, so you can guess what the next major exhibit will be.

Christie Brinkley really loves her huge, solitaire diamond ring, and little wonder: No Innocent Man, Billy Joel consulted her business manager before he bought the rock. The couple—it’s the second marriage for both—live on Billy’s Lloyd Harbor, Long Island estate and have been inseparable since two months after Christie’s former boyfriend, champagne heir Olivier Chandon, was killed in an auto-racing crash last year. With Joel’s career skyrocketing and Brinkley launching a line of sports-and swimwear this fall, the household budget should be in good shape. Even though Christie has said yes, neither of them is saying when. One good bet: The wedding probably won’t be in Allentown.

The really big boys will slug it out on Oct. 26 in Las Vegas, when undefeated heavyweight Larry Holmes (45-0) takes on Gerrie Coetzee (29-3-1), the South African who has been living in New Jersey. It will be a big payday for both: Holmes, 34, the undefeated champ who now wears the International Boxing Federation belt, will take home an estimated $6.5 million; 28-year-old Coetzee an estimated $3.2 million. The on-again, off-again fight was canceled earlier this year due to financial squabbling among its promoters, but now it’s on. Holmes, possibly in the twilight of his career, will pit his ring savvy against Coetzee’s explosive right, which has a bone graft from his hip. Look for fireworks, especially if Ali turns up in Coetzee’s corner. Gerrie says AN is considering it.

If your kid or parent asks for a pommel horse this Christmas, don’t get a saddle. He (or she) only wants to be a gymnast, and requests for tumbling mats, uneven bars and balance beams will soon follow. The Olympics and the amazing success of the U.S. team have made gymnastics the hot new workout. “People are recognizing the sport because it’s being shown on television,” says Lloyd Wilfong of Gymnastics Olympica U.S.A., a facility in Van Nuys, Calif. Naturally celebs have gotten into the act too. At Carreiro’s gym in West Hollywood, clients include Drew Barrymore, Roy Scheider, Brad Davis, Valerie Bertinelli and Pam Dawber. “Bette Midler came in here before she made The Rose,” says owner Robert Carreiro. “She weighed 92 pounds and was in fantastic shape.” Two pounds more and she could have been Mary Lou Retton.

Marvelous Meryl Streep will narrate the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s production of Joan of Arc at the Stake Dec. 5-8 and 11. The performance will move to New York for two shows (Dec. 12-13) at Carnegie Hall. The oratorio, by the late Swiss composer Arthur Honegger, will be spoken in French—she’ll have to brush up—and Seiji Ozawa will conduct. Meryl will be in full costume, but there’ll be no stake.

“I was an innocent virgin when I married. I wrote about what I related to,” recalls Ellie Greenwich. And a generation of rock ‘n’ rollers related to her boy-meets-girl hits of the ’60s, including Be My Baby and Da Doo Ron Ron. Now Leader of the Pack!, a musical about her, is Broadway bound, with the writer playing herself. “I had nervous breakdowns in the ’70s,” Ellie admits. “Musically I felt like a misfit. Songs got too heavy and cerebral.” Of today, she says, “Were I to write Chapel of Love now, it would be called Chapel of Lust and sound the same.”

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