A New York columnist reported that William Goldman wasn't in Hollywood to pick up his Oscar for best original screen-play (for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) because he had preferred to stay in New York to see the final game of the Knicks-Bullets playoff series. True? Mostly. Goldman and Elliott Gould, nominated for Best Supporting Actor (for his role in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice), sweated out the Knick win together the night before the award ceremony. "Elliott is as big a sports nut as I know," observed Goldman, who is himself as big a sports nut as his friends know and has been in a state about the Knicks all season. "I think it's the most exciting thing I've been through since the Chicago Bears in the early '40s," said the Chicago-born author. As for the Academy Awards, Gould went to the airport from the game, made it to Los Angeles and didn't win. "I didn't expect to win," says Goldman, who did but stayed home. And if he had known, and the game had taken place the same night? "Frankly, I don't know what I would have done." He paused. "Yes, I do. I would have watched the game."
A bigger loser than Gould was 6'6" Gus Johnson of the Bullets. But there's still hope for a champion in the Johnsons' Akron household, which consists of Gus, his wife Janet, Stephanie, 5, Belinda, 2, Julie, 2 months, and Shane. Shane, a 1-year-old Great Dane, is fast accumulating championship points, having recently added a blue ribbon for best-in-show in Battle Creek, Mich. "My dog's had more success than I," says Gus, gloomily. Could it be the difference between Akron and Baltimore?
The French newsmagazine L'Express recently ran a full-page ad that showed President Pompidou seated in the stern of a Mercury powerboat. The caption read, in large letters, "If we've been striving to win every race for 10 years, it's for your security, Monsieur le President," and in smaller letters, "When you feel like a run in a powerboat, we're sure your trip will go without a hitch." The same cannot be said for this particular Kiekhaefer Mercury campaign. An outraged Pompidou brought court action and compelled L'Express to rip the ad out of the 150,000 copies that were to have been sold in Paris. It was too late, however, to get to 450,000 copies already shipped to the provinces. Thus Mercury may have lost the court battle and won a publicity war, but the real winner of the latter, since he managed it without firing a shot, was René Lacoste. In the now famous photograph Pompidou is clearly wearing a Lacoste crocodile shirt.
Dick Hall, the Orioles' relief pitcher, passed the difficult exam that qualifies him as a certified public accountant with a score that tied him for second place among the 300 Marylanders who took the three-day test. Hall got word that he'd made it on April 3—in other words, just in time.
"Personally, I wish it had never happened," says Frank Howard, and if that sounds like an unappreciative thing to say about a kiss from a microskirted young woman, it may be because Howard was unappreciative. A burlesque dancer from the Gaiety Theater in Washington clambered over a box-seat railing during the season opener against Detroit, rushed to the plate and planted a kiss on the flabbergasted Howard. "It was very embarrassing to me," he says, adding, unnecessarily, "and I know it was embarrassing to my wife, who was sitting in the stands." The dancer, Morgana Roberts, has struck before. Clete Boyer, Pete Rose and Bob Verga have all been objects of her affection or whatever. "I just pick a team I like and then pick the best player," she explains, but there was something special about the Frank Howard episode. "The other times," says Morgana, "I got thrown out of the park."
Word has been going around that in order to keep up with the times Johnny Unitas has let his hair grow. Now he has decided that it is long enough, but his more swinging fans may be disappointed—hairwise, Unitas is not as groovy as Tiny Tim. He isn't even as groovy as Lyndon Johnson. "Long enough" turns out to mean that his hair lies down and he can part it.
Queen Elizabeth's jockey, Joe Mercer, is in jail in India for attempting to smuggle diamonds and foreign currency out of that country; a sneak thief recently pinched the Queen Mother's binoculars after the third race at Folkestone; and the next day the van carrying her horse Chaou II was involved in a collision with two other vehicles near Hampton Court. It's enough to make a queen give the sport back to the kings.
"I don't intend to go back," says A.J. Foyt, home in Houston after a trip to Alaska to hunt polar bear with a friend, Luke Johnson. "We were snowbound for seven days, and it was so cold [45° below, with winds up to 60 mph] that when we took our mittens off to shoot our fingers turned blue in two seconds." A.J.'s previous hunting experience consisted principally of "practice shooting out at my ranch," but whatever he's got around the place to practice on filled the bill. He bagged a 1,200-pound, 10-foot bear, and the first thing he did, reports Johnson, "was to rush up and put an STP sticker on it."