His wife and fans had deserted him, Yé-yé Singer Johnny Hallyday, the French Elvis Presley, told a reporter last September. "My life is finished." Whereupon he downed a bottle of eau de cologne, dosed himself with barbiturates and slashed his wrists. Johnny was rushed to a hospital where he apparently recovered, for he is now planning a new career as a Mustang GT driver for the Ford team at this month's Monte Carlo Rally. Hallyday has been training for the race on a track near Paris and will spend next week in the Alps practicing on snow and ice. He says of auto racing, "It's good for the spirit and soul. It involves every human faculty. It has cured me of my depression and my run of bad luck. I owe it a lot."
Somewhat resembling an exercise boy, with high boots, faded blue jeans and a pale-pink protective helmet, Philadelphia Phillie All-Star Rich Allen (below) takes his quarter horse for a workout daily in Fairmount Park. "I wish I could weigh 115 pounds for a couple of hours in the afternoon and then go back to my own size at 5 o'clock," says Allen. "That way I could be a jockey and still play baseball." At present the third baseman owns three horses, and he may expand his string. "They're not so expensive to keep," he says. "They're just like people. They eat three times a day. Besides, I figure on being a little higher-priced next season."
Don't knock a dog's life—at least not Derrycarne King Fisher of Derravara's. The 6-month-old Irish Setter was bought recently by King Baudouin, who sent his twin-engined Aero Commander from Brussels to Dublin to pick up the puppy. King Fisher was driven from his kennel in County Westmeath to the airport in the back seat of the Belgian ambassador's Rolls-Royce. Said the ambassador, who acted as royal purchasing agent, "I cannot say what the dog cost, but we got a good bargain." It looks like the dog has a pretty good deal, too.
It was error enough, Floridians felt, when TV's Ed Sullivan introduced Syracuse Halfback Floyd Little as Florida Quarterback Steve Spurrier during the celebrations surrounding the naming of the American Football Coaches All-America Team. It got positively ludicrous when Sullivan, attempting to make amends, summoned Spurrier on camera and introduced him as Steve Spurrier of The University of Miami. Then, a few days later, when people were about to forget the whole thing, a long-distance telephone call from Sullivan's office came to Florida State at Tallahassee, asking for Ray Graves. Graves, of course, coaches at the University of Florida at Gainesville—where Spurrier happens to attend school.
Soviet Writer Sergei Vasilyev, who visited the U.S. last year and was taken to a Chicago Bears football game, has set down his impressions. "The game," he says, "is one of bloody battle. Everything is allowed—to strike one's foot into the groin, to clutch at the throat of the opponent, to twist his arms back, to knock one's head into his stomach, to cripple, crush down, crawl on one's hand and knees, and heap the whole group onto I one player. Players sniff, growl and bellow. Ribs are cracking. Sweat and blood are shed. Tens of thousands of fans roar with pleasure. Through my mind raced visions of bulls killed by matadors, and gladiators fallen under the stroke of a sword and wolves during the roundup." Vasilyev, it turns out, is a poet, but hardly one with the same tastes as soccer-playing Yevgeny Yevtushenko, whose verdict on American football was: "too dull."
The other day the Los Angeles City Council presented a large, hand-lettered scroll engraved with the city's seal to Dodger Catcher John Roseboro. The award was made for Roseboro's efforts after the riots in Watts to improve relations between the community and law enforcement. "Last year I was explaining the police role to the community," says Roseboro. "This year it looks as though I'll have to explain Mr. O'Malley's moves to the citizens."
Onetime Boston Celtic Star Ed Macauley, now sports director of a St. Louis TV station, returned from a two-week mission to Uruguay on behalf of the Peace Corps to announce that one thing the country needed badly was the very thing Easy Ed knew best. "Our Peace Corps people," he says, "were frustrated when they arrived in Uruguay because they were all set to wade into the muck and slime to help the destitute but found little more poverty than in the U.S. What local leaders requested was help in improving the quality of their athletics." So Macauley taught local coaches and Peace Corpsmen some of the finer aspects of basketball. "Uruguayan boys have good reflexes," he says, "in part because they have been dribbling and passing soccer balls for years."
With only a miniskirt to make her passes with, Actress Raquel Welch is portrayed in the movie Fathom as having a moment of truth (below) in a bull ring in Mijas, Spain. But the true truth is that Raquel, cast as a spy, skirted the dirty work in the ring and left it to a 25-year-old matador, El Terremoto (The Earthquake). When word got out that The Earthquake had donned a wig and doubled for Raquel, the matador bellowed that the movie company had "gone back on its word. It promised if I went through with the scene, nobody would ever know I was involved. Just imagine what this will do to me professionally. Me, The Earthquake, in a miniskirt!" A student of El Cordobes, whose bravura he imitates, El Terremoto declares the job was "so dangerous nobody else would do it. I didn't have a cape or a muleta. I just had to fight the bull a cuerpo limpio [with a clean body]." Seems apt.