September 28, 1987 12:00 PM

For most of us, doodling is simply a way to pass some time, the result invariably ending up in the circular file. But if your name is, say, George Bush, Candice Bergen, Stephen King or Amy Irving…well, there’s no telling who might dash off to buy something you just dashed off. That’s the thinking behind the annual fund raiser for L.A.’s Back Alley Theatre, which auctioned off 114 celebrity doodles for a total of $23,000 a couple of weeks back. Top dollar went for John Huston’s spare and dramatic Hamlet, dated only a week before the director entered the hospital for the last time. Artistic merit wasn’t crucial. A simple drawing by Muhammad Ali of a ship passing between two cliffs drew $600, while Amy Irving’s crayoned portrait of her family brought $500. But not all the artworks were so well-treated. A Spaceballs movie poster (“May the Schwartz be with you”) signed by Mel Brooks drew big laughs but went for a paltry $80. Adding insult to injury, its new owner left it behind.

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