• U.S.

People, Nov. 27, 1972

5 minute read

“I didn’t realize it was real until I saw the gun aimed directly at my bosom, which at the time was full of Indonesian rice.” So said Peripatetic Fabulist S.J. Perelman, as he recounted the unnerving experience of watching a skyjacker take over an Australian airliner with 38 persons aboard. “When the plane stopped in Alice Springs, the hostess advised us that anyone who was ill or subject to heart attacks would be allowed to leave,” said Perelman. “To my surprise, everyone but seven or eight immediately got up and left. I couldn’t imagine why the others stayed. As we left, the hijacker asked each passenger to show his ticket, examined them, and then said, ‘Get out.’ My immediate reaction was to ask myself how a poltroon would behave in these circumstances. That’s exactly how I behaved. I got off the plane.”

“Ah! I hear the creatures of the night!” gloated Bela Lugosi as bats squeaked and ladies shrieked in Dracula. To recapture those dear old days in Transylvania, International Playboy Günter Sachs decided to celebrate his birthday by inviting nothing but vampires to his party. Dressed in capes and fangs, and liberally sprinkled with gore, came such pseudo sinners as Film Director Roger Vadim, the first husband of Brigitte Bardot (Sachs was the third); Director Roman Polanski, who once made a vampire movie starring his late wife Sharon Tate; Christina Onassis and German Automotive Heir Mick Flick; Baron Guy de Rothschild; and Elsa Martinelli. The bash lasted until 5 a.m., and there were no casualties—perhaps because the police were standing guard. According to one bystander, they kept out “anyone who looked normal.”

Anyone for the Howard Hughes Game? Players equipped with dice, cards and one gold brick begin as the young Howard Hughes hoping to amass a fortune. As they move around the board, they meet Hollywood actresses, earn money in airlines and so on. One trick is to obtain an injunction preventing an opponent from making inroads on one’s own empire. The real-life Howard Hughes’ reaction? He sent his lawyers to court in New York and got a temporary injunction preventing the Massachusetts gamemaking firm of Urban Systems Inc. from making inroads on his own real-life privacy.

Dashing across her mother’s domain in a Scimitar sports car, Britain’s Princess Anne, 22, paid no attention to the speed limit of 70 m.p.h. The bobbies patrolling a highway near Windsor Castle stopped her and gave her a warning; a fortnight later, they stopped her again while she was tearing along another highway to the north. But can a princess be prosecuted? The authorities hastened to say that they had no such intentions. Toward lesser members of the royal family, however, justice proved troublesome. The Queen’s cousin, the Earl of Lichfield, was fined $125 and lost his license for a year for driving while intoxicated. Even worse embarrassment awaited the Queen’s uncle, Lord Mountbatten of Burma, fined $50 for the watering of milk sold from the family estate in Hampshire.

“Yes, they are plotting against your dad,” Senator Harry S. Truman complained to his daughter Margaret back in 1944. “Every columnist prognosticator is trying to make him V.P. against his will. It is funny how some people would give a fortune to be as close as I am to it, and I don’t want it.” Her father’s reason, revealed by Margaret in LIFE’s excerpts from her upcoming biography, Harry S. Truman: “I’d rather not move in through the back door.” Truman suspected that Franklin D. Roosevelt would not survive another term in office. The suspicion grew when Truman had lunch with F.D.R. in August 1944, found the President’s hands shaking, his speech difficult. “He asked Dad how he planned to campaign,” Margaret relates, “and Dad said that he was thinking of using an airplane. The President vetoed the idea. ‘One of us has to stay alive,’ he said.”

As polished literature, they may leave something to be desired; but as a lesson in prophetic hindsight, McCall’s offered a sample of poems written by entertainers when they were too young to know better. From a twelve-year-old Elizabeth Taylor: “Loving you,/ Loving you,/ Could be such heavenly bliss…” Joan Crawford, who became an expert at playing distraught ladies, offered this line at age 16: “Where are you?/ My heart cries out in agony…” At eleven, Bob Hope began, “I dreamed I was a circus clown./ I wore a funny suit.” In his dream, Hope was caught by a lion. When the boy pleaded for mercy, the beast responded: “I’ll let you free to do a show,/ And come again another day.”

“There are so many great habits that are good for you, and more fun too, than smoking,” Actress Eva Gabor declared on becoming national women’s “I.Q.” (“I Quit”) chairman of the American Cancer Society. Eva, who has just filed for a divorce from her fourth husband, urged women to make their spouses give up tobacco. Said she: “Nagging won’t do it. You should blackmail them. I did that with one husband. We had a terrific argument and I said I would only forgive him if he’d give up his three packs a day. Now I have a new beau and I’m sending him to a hypnotist to help him give it up.”

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