When Princess Grace addressed the topic of "Birds, Beast and Flowers" last week at Catholic University, as part of a six-city tour which ended yesterday, some folks thought that birds and beasts, if not flowers, would be the beneficiaries. It was widely reported that the poetry readings would benefit the World Wildlife Fund.
They won't, as matters stand now. Though the show was advertised and reportedly conceived as a "tribute" to the Fund, there are no plans for the Fund to receive any share of the $20 tickets. The money goes instead to the universities and other local organizations that sponsored the show and to produser Arthur Cantor, Princess Grace and the rest of her company.
There is no evidence that anyone connected with the "Birds, Beasts and Flowers" company, or anyone at Catholic University, claimed that the proceeds would go to the Fund. But the season program bulletin of the Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge, Mass. - one of the theaters that presented the show - said revenues would go to the Fund. And several publications made the same error, including Newsweek, The New York Daily News, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.
In response to the references in the press, World Wildlife Fund executive director Godfrey Rockefeller wrote to Princess Grace requesting a public clarification. But producer Cantor and company replied that they wouldn't correct a mistake they didn't make.
At one point the Fund suggested that the whole matter could be cleared up if the Princess would contribute part of her fee to the Fund. But she reportedly plans to give her share to the Princess Grace Foundation of Monaco, which supports "children's charities," said Cantor.
So the relations between the "Birds, Beast and Flowers" troupe and the Fund that inspired it are somewhat strained. Aspokeswoman for the Fund claimed that no one from the Fund had even been invited to attend the show. (A spokesman at Catholic replied that no special invitations were sent to anyone except critics.
Producer Cantor charged yesterday the Fund "has behaved very badly." He declared, "They trying to exploit the Princess" for their fund-raising. Concerning his own fund-raising, Cantor denied that the show could be characterized as a commercial production. So was it a nonprofit enterprise? No, said Cantor. He declined to reveal who was making how much. Catholic University officials also would not say how much they made, or lost.