Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
About 150 people gathered in Vicki and Smith Bagley's Georgetown backyard Monday night for a garden reception fundraiser for the Washington Journalism Review. It was a small group compared to the 700 invitations that had been mailed out. And even was the woman of the hour, appeared not enough of a draw to gather a larger crowd.
"This could be written up as a fiasco," said guest Nancy Dutton, wife of lawyer Fred Dutton, once a special assistant to President Kennedy. "There should have been four times as many people here."
It was a lovely evening, and there was champagne, a buffet and the Mystery Band playing in the background.
Asked what brought him out to the event, John Fox Sullivan, publisher of the National Journal, said, "I only live a couple of blocks away and wanted to see what was going on. Besides, I can write off the $25 charge."
Other than MacLaine, the biggest drawing attraction was the vast area at the bottom of the Bagley's yard which was in the process of being black-topped. It prompted one guest to wonder why the Bagleys had a parking lot behind their house. The area wan't a parking lot, however, but the groundwork for a huge tennis court. Indeed, perhaps one of the key reasons people had come out was a curiosity about the Smith Bagleys, who are in the process of renovating their huge house.
Among the guests were newsman Jerry terHorst, author and newsman Les Whitten; D.C. Council member Marion Barry; Pamela and Averell Harriman; former Arkansas Sen. William Fulbright; Eugene McCarthy; author Kandy Stroud and Midge Costanza, special assistant to the President.
The size of the crowd was no disappointment to 23-year-old Valeria McGhee, associate publisher of the Washington Journalism Review, or Roger Kranz, publisher. McGhee is the sister of Dorothy McGhee, who ran the now-defunct Newsworks.
McGhee said, "I think we did pretty well. We only sent out invitations a week and a half ago and we didn't invite any drones and there are a lot of other things going on this evening."
"Everybody showed up," said Krantz. "We have some ambassadors and a senator. We wanted a mixture of people, not the usual ones you'd meet at a Georgetown party. I'd really like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Bagley. They had a lot to lose by inviting the press here."
Asked what they had to lose, Krantz was thoughtful for a moment and then repeated again, "They had a lot to lose. It was very nice of them." McGhee said that they had gotten MacLaine to come to the party almost by a fluke. She said that Warren Rogers, the editor of the review and formerly Washington editor for Look magazine, knew MacLaine's business manager. "She had a free evening. She liked the idea, and agreed to do it," said McGhee.
Then came the issue of where to hold such a function. Kranz knew the Bagleys, approached Vicki Bagley who asked to see a prospectus of the review and then agreed to the party, Kranz said.
Mrs. Bagley said she wasn't critical of the entire press, only certain members. That's why she is interested in seeing the review succeed.