• U.S.

People: Dec. 14, 1970

4 minute read

For the politicized person who has everything—including an Agnew wristwatch and a Spiro shirt—Santa Claus has several new possibilities in store. Those inclined to put the Vice President on the receiving end may look forward to a Spiro Agnew wastebasket, with decorations commemorating his crowning victories on the golf course and tennis court. A windup Richard Nixon box looks something like a toaster and contains a loose-jointed figure in the presidential image that dances to a tinkly Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay. Strangely silent, however, is the forthcoming Martha Mitchell doll, authorized by the Attorney General’s wife herself.

Was renaming Paris’ Place d’Etoile after Charles de Gaulle really enough of a tribute? Why not go all out and make the late general a saint? The idea was suggested by a German journalist and backed up by no less a dignitary than the Vatican’s Jean Cardinal Danielou, who said that the idea “does not shock me.” How about the miracles normally required for canonization? Merely an innovation of modern times, said Danielou. More important was the ability “to practice virtues with a certain degree of heroism.” In any case there was no particular hurry. Joan of Arc did not make it for 489 years.

The English are old hands at draft evasion, what with the dearth of central heating. But it’s harder with your clothes off. The London cast of Kenneth Tynan’s Oh! Calcutta! got so cold standing, sitting and walking around onstage in the nude or near-nude that they threatened to get dressed. “If they do it,” said Theater Owner Paul Raymond, “I’ll ring down the curtain and give everybody their money back.” But eventually he did turn the heating on earlier than usual; and stepped up the under-the-floor calorie content. “It’s made all the difference,” smiled Actor Noel Tovey. “I think the cast will be quite content.” Not the tweedy British audience, though. “Like being in the tropics,” muttered one lady in the stalls.

Billed simply as “Baptiste and Victoria,” a handsome man and a big-eyed girl in whiteface have been putting on what they call an “Imaginary Circus” on the streets of French provincial towns and in a small Parisian nightclub. Enthusiastic audiences have been unaware how Victoria comes by her wistful clowning; she is the 19-year-old daughter of Charlie Chaplin and his wife, Oona—who is herself the daughter of America’s greatest playwright, Eugene O’Neill. The circus she and Actor Jean-Baptiste Thierree, 33, have worked up “is not really for children,” he says. “It is partly political, partly philosophical. The important thing is to make people laugh.”

Her wedding plans are definitely off, said catlike Eartha Kitt, 40, in London last week. Then she added earthily, “I love him so much.” Him was Ole Broen-dum-Nielsen, 32, a rich Danish manufacturer of sound equipment. She had announced her engagement the week before over a Birmingham radio station. At that time Ole’s bemused reaction to the news was: “I have solved Miss Kitt’s electroacoustic problems. But from that to marriage is a long jump.”

After furnishing and furbishing his embassy residence to the tune of $1,000,000, the U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, Walter Annenberg, turned his attention to the 30 acres of garden. He ordered some 6,000 bulbs planted. The squirrels were delighted. They banqueted on the bulbs as fast as the gardeners could plant them. This meant war, decided the ambassador, and the order went out: Shoot to kill! Five squirrels bit the Regent’s Park dust. Television crews trundled up. The ambassador had second thoughts. Different means were studied—including poisons and ultrasonic noises. Meanwhile the squirrels and others returned to the offensive. Last week the embassy received a telegram: YANKS GO HOME. It was signed “The Squirrels.”

If privacy is getting to be a commodity only the rich can afford, the status symbol of the superrich can only be outright invisibility. Four years ago, the unseen presence of Mystery-Man Howard Hughes began to be felt in Las Vegas. From the ninth floor of his Desert Inn, he acquired hotels, gambling casinos and entertainment enterprises in quantity lots. Last week there was a sense of vacuum in Vegas, and the familiar emanations began coming instead from the Bahamian island of Nassau. Their center seemed to be the seventh floor of the Britannia Beach Hotel on Paradise Island, but what wheels and deals that might bode for the Bahamas was impossible to descry.

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