The difference between movies and made-for-TV movies could be the difference between Great Britain and New Britain, Conn. Perhaps that's how to explain Monday night's largely glitzless party. It seems a shame to blame TV-movie czar Chuck Fries--an extraordinarily nice guy who manages to get some good stuff on the tube--like "Toughlove" and "Children of Times Square." The fete, to celebrate the "re-dedication" of Fries' star on Hollywood Boulevard and the opening of his offices at the top of the former Max Factor Building, was supposed to produce old-time glitz, glamour and, in light of the reportedly highly paid public-relations people abounding, some good press. It included a finale of fireworks that could be viewed from the party in the revolving restaurant high atop the pink-and-blue Holiday Inn, where folks ate California Roll sushi, breaded chicken strips and very black and sticky caviar.
As far as stars, the very pregnant Barbi Benton, with husband George Gradow, was one of the few. Benton said her first club date way-back-when was in a Holiday Inn in Des Moines, with a similar revolving room. It was a hard room to play since "just when I got a good guy in front, he would move."
One TV crew was so desperate that they shot footage of the food, which a disgruntled person described as "bar mitzvah fare." Creative Artists Agency's Bill Haber had his dessert ripped off by producer David Gerber as Haber attempted to have a conversation with a person standing in the non-revolving part of the room.
The band played "Eleanor Rigby" (All the Lonely People), the spectacular fireworks went off outside, the guests twirled around their fluorescent swizzle sticks in the darkened room. Suddenly, thankfully it was over.
Many fans downstairs rushed up for snapshots of the departing Benton. Gracious, in the way old-time stars were gracious, she posed.
One fan asked her about the impending birth. She said the baby was due in August. "Oh my gosh, perhaps it will come on your wedding anniversary," the fan said. (Actually, the anniversary is in October.)
COMING UP--Look for an announcement in July from the Food and Drug Administration giving Mark Hughes and his Herbalife products a "total clean bill of health," according to a Washington source close to the matter.
VOTING--The family names are the kind that made fortunes--David Rockefeller and Ted Field. But they met here last week on civic matters. Rockefeller has put together a massive registration and get-out-the-vote project, called "The Other Half." It especially aims at involving "typically disenfranchised communities" in the political process. One meeting here last week with Rockefeller and a group assembled by Field and his political operative Bob Burkette reportedly raised several hundred thousand dollars for the project. While here, Rockefeller also met with McDonald's heir Joan Kroc and attorney Lynne Wasserman.
IN THE NEWS--Gosh, the junior Ron Reagan is on the cover of Vanity Fair this month, jumpin' for joy because it's the Fourth of July. And a picture of him appears in People, showing him taping his American Express commercial. And they said the kid wouldn't go far.
WAIT A MINUTE--The letter from rainmaker Bruce Corwin asking folks to breakfast with Delaware Sen. Joe Biden on Tuesday is a little confusing. First, Corwin writes, "I want you to join me for breakfast with the next President of the United States. . . . He has the magic of a Kennedy and the brilliance of a Stevenson and will take the political presidential race by storm." But the tab for the breakfast is $1,000 a person--made out to Joseph Biden for U.S. Senate, all very proper since Biden--like every other hopeful--has not said whether he's running for President. But wait, Biden runs again for Senate in 1990--and that's two years after the U.S.A. chooses its next President. Then again, Corwin's letter does promise that "if you're not as excited as I am about Joe Biden after you have heard him, we will return your contribution or as much of it as you request . . . ."