One of the few people coming to Robert Stempel's defense last week following his abrupt resignation as General Motors' chief executive was none other than Ross Perot, the presidential hopeful, ex-GM director and "infomercial" star. Said Perot: "Make no mistake, he is a world-class man."
That isn't a description Perot uses lightly. Eyeing what he once called a "world-class opportunity to win in November," Perot in his first run for the presidency promised a "world-class campaign" as well as a "world-class, properly financed campaign."
He looked for "world-class vice presidential prospects," said he favors building a "world-class health care" system and expressed his belief that schools need both "world-class books" and "world-class teachers."
On the personal side, Perot's wife, Margot, is a "world-class mother." Perot boasts of having a "world-class daughter" and a son who is a "world-class young businessman" and "a world-class father of three."
Perot may not be fond of President Bush, but does call Barbara Bush a "world-class First Lady wife."
Perot even called former campaign advisers Ed Rollins and Hamilton Jordan "world-class talent." That, of course, was before they quit his campaign in frustration.
Explosive Offer Gets Response
There was a brief mention here last week that First Hawaiian Bank plans to blow up a city block in Honolulu--including its 18-story headquarters--and wants Hollywood producers to film it on a BYOH (bring your own helicopter) basis.
So far, some 20 callers have responded to the bank's ads in the Hollywood trades, First Hawaiian Vice President Brandt Farias says.
Calls have included a director willing to rewrite a script to include the blast and someone identifying themselves as from the hit show "Beverly Hills 90210."
No fee is involved. All the bank wants is a mention in the credits and a tape of it.
Sounds More Like a Seance
Los Angeles writer, actor and Michael Milken nemesis Ben Stein no doubt has a flair for drama, as his new book shows.
In his "A License to Steal" book about Milken, Stein relates a near-spiritual experience when a real estate agent left him alone briefly during a tour of the empty floor in Beverly Hills that once housed Milken's junk bond operation for Drexel Burnham Lambert.
Says Stein: ". . . I could almost feel that even though the Emperor was gone, his spirit might still be around, lurking.
"The Power might still be ready to tap into the most basic parts of the human psyche and thrive and throb again, buying and selling, turning the whole world upside down."
Briefly . . .
Power outage: Lame duck Paramount Pictures chief Brandon Tartikoff ranks 33rd in Entertainment Weekly's just-published "Power 101" list of "The 101 Most Influential People in Entertainment Today" . . . Flattering the bosses? The Time Warner-owned magazine ranks Time Warner's Steven J. Ross and Gerald M. Levin in second place . . . Sign of the times: The antsy seller of a Tarzana home, after chopping the price by $200,000 to $759,000, is advertising it with the slogan, "Frankly My Dear, I Don't Give A Damn. I Want This House 'Gone With The Wind.' "