Alan Rachins, "L.A. Law's" acerbic bald-headed attorney, was looking rather humbled by the time he stepped out of his rented Cadillac limousine and onto the red carpet leading to the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. "Do you know what it cost to rent a limousine tonight?" he asked a reporter. "Four hundred fifty dollars. I gulped. I've rented a limousine to go to the airport before, but never for 10 hours."
Welcome to the new network austerity. (Yes, Rachins groused, he had to foot the bill himself.) Welcome to limo gridlock ("We've been stuck on Colorado Boulevard for 15 minutes," sighed Barbara Bosson with her husband Steve Bochco, who arrived in the nick of time). Welcome to the 39th Annual Emmy Awards.
Grim realities aside, the stars of prime time gave glamour their best shot as a mass of mini-skirted women--from "Family Ties' " Justine Bateman in the shortest and tightest dress of all and a Madonna-style crucifix dangling from one ear, to "L.A. Laws' " Susan Dey in Bob Mackie spangles--and tuxedoed men made their grand entrances into the auditorium.
Variations on the regulation black tux were attempted by "Growing Pains' "Alan Thicke in a fuchsia bow tie, "Night Court's" Harry Anderson in spats and "Moonlighting's" Bruce Willis in a rakish 1880s-style suit and matching ankle-length duster coat. Willis and his date, Demi Moore--she in a coordinating period piece--were clearly crowd-pleasers judging by the timbre of screams from fans stuck behind barricades across the street.
Then there was Michael Gross, "Family Ties' " father traveling up the walkway toting a shopping bag from Montana Mercantile. What was inside? Fresh fruit. He's on a diet, you see, and didn't want to eat the fattening fare offered to presenters backstage.
Jayne Meadows and mate Steven Allen rode up in a sky-blue Rolls-Royce and posed for photographers. Then, about a half hour later, the twosome was there again--for entrance No. 2, although they came on foot for their second arrival. "We came back just for you!," Meadows cooed to photographers, as she posed with fur coat in hand. "I want you to see the chinchilla," she added.
Sharon Gless also knew how to please the crowd of about 400. She traded in her "Cagney & Lacey" police garb for shades of Princess Di--a drop-dead, sophisticated beaded gown that revealed her powdered white shoulders. "I decided, why not," giggled Gless.
Cut to Jean Kasem, late of "The Tortellis," teetering up the red carpet, towering over her husband Casey, in a dress that deserved an award of its own. "Tell me what it represents," inquired one dumbfounded TV interviewer. "I'd like to describe it as a violet and lavender bed of roses," she offered with accuracy of the flower-bedecked creation.
Otherwise, it was business as usual. Fans screamed. "Mallory, Mallory," came the cries for Justine Bateman. Reporters scrambled for the right words. ". . . Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry, the Lunt and Fontanne of the '80s. . . ." And the stars didn't disappoint.
"Cheers' " humble bartender Woody Harrelson, one of the last to show up before the telecast began, stepped out of a limo wearing a black fedora, a gardenia in his tuxedo lapel and began shooting photographs of the scene with a camera of his own.