'Jimmy Jimmy BoBo' Lehrer Makes Birthday Party Newsworthy

Wearing his Jim Lehrer party hat, Henry Schally, 3, gets ready to make a wish.
Wearing his Jim Lehrer party hat, Henry Schally, 3, gets ready to make a wish. (Jennifer Schally)
By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, June 15, 2006

A"SpongeBob"-themed birthday party? Maybe for little kids, but Henry Schally has moved past that. So it happened that the PBS studios in Arlington received a special request from Schally's mom:

Could they help her throw a "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer "-themed party for her son?

Henry was turning 3.

Honestly, when these photos turned up in e-mail, we wondered if it was a hoax. But we tracked down parents Troy and Jennifer Schall y in St. Paul, Minn., who say it's true! "He adores NewsHour," said Mom. "We watch it every night, usually during our dinner, and we listen to the podcast in the morning in case he missed something the night before. He talks about every reporter who comes on." As a baby, he became fascinated by the show's sparkling trumpet theme and took to calling it the "da-da-da" show. Now he recognizes many Cabinet and Supreme Court members, and he adores the banter of Mark Shields and David Brooks .

But his favorite is veteran anchor Lehrer -- or "Jimmy Jimmy BoBo."

"I don't know why he enjoys it," said Jennifer Schally. "It's not flashy, it's not quick. Just somehow he relates to Jim."

(Jennifer Schally)
NewsHour staff members sent the Schallys pictures of the NewsHour logo to decorate the cake as well as autographed photos of senior correspondent Margaret Warner and Lehrer (who gamely signed his 'Jimmy Jimmy BoBo'). Spokeswoman Anne Bell said the show gets "all kinds of requests." Birthday party favors? "That's totally new."

The party, over Memorial Day weekend, was a success. "All of our guests were really good sports," said the hostess, noting that serving the cake was a little awkward. Do you want ice cream with your Ray Suarez?

Tenor of Placido News Gets Lost in Translation

Placido retiring ? The story had the opera world abuzz yesterday, when MusicAmerica.com picked up a release from the Bavarian State Opera stating that the Washington Opera director had canceled his spring 2007 performances of "Parsifal" -- because he "will be retiring from the stage in the foreseeable future."

Within hours, though, a deeply apologetic correction: The opera "looks forward to Placido Domingo's continued stage appearance now and far into the future." His rep confirmed it: Domingo's not retiring. Apparently it was all a German-to-English translation error: The Spanish tenor is just retiring the difficult role of Parsifal from his repertoire. Whew!

Reporter's Sunglasses Left Bush in the Dark

"Are you going to ask that question with shades on?" George Bush teased L.A. Times reporter Peter Wallsten at yesterday's Rose Garden news conference, adding, "There's no sun." Wallsten retorted, "I guess it depends on your perspective." The president laughed: "Touche!"

What Bush didn't realize: Wallsten wears dark glasses because he's partially blind from macular degeneration. The gaffe got tongues wagging, but Wallsten told us he took no offense.

"There's no reason or way for his people to know" about his eyesight, he said. "I don't advertise it." Wallsten said he wished people had paid more attention to his question, about what lessons POTUS had learned from the CIA leak investigation.

Bush called later with an apology; Wallsten said it was unnecessary. "He said he needles out of affection. I told him, 'Feel free to needle away.' He said, 'Well, I will, but next time I'll use a different needle.' "

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

· Denver Nugget Carmelo Anthony watching the NBA finals Tuesday night at downtown's ESPN Zone (so athletes really go there?). The Baltimore native, in a white tee and long gold necklace, rolled in around 9:30 with four friends, and spent most of the time in a roped-off corner of the downstairs bar.

· Lionel Richie , hoping to resurrect his recording career by serenading a meeting of radio execs Tuesday at the Four Seasons. No idea if they dug the new stuff . . . but they sang along to "Truly"!

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