In Hollywood where the star system is dead, the hottest selling tourist item is a map showing where everybody is buried.
In Washington where there are plenty of bodies buried, though not necessarily dead ones, the star system shows signs of becoming the city's newest cottage industry.
After all those years of hype - political as well as TV galas, Hollywood-type film openings, book-publishing parties and fund-raisers - now comes the "Confidential Guide to Homes of Washington VIPs."
Face for face, there probably is more recognition factor and high-profile quotient concentrated in metropolitan Washington than anywhere else on earth. Celebrities spring up almost overnight so that it's even hard for Washingtonians to keep them straight.
Not anymore, thanks to an unknown publishing house called Landmark Press. For $2, people who used to think the only way to see Washington celebrities was on Capitol Hill, at Sans Souci, in the Tidal Basin or through the White House fence, can start at the source - their homes.
Aided by this 25-by-35-inch annotated chart with area insets, the whole world can beat a path to the doors of 330 of everybody's favorite cabinet offficers, U.S. senators and representatives, White House advisers and media stars, all handly categorized as "Government" or "Media."
Thrown in for good measure are a couple of other categories - "Watergate VIPs" and "Historical," which goes to show just how much the past plays a role around here, for all the talk about SALT, gas lines, recession, inflation and Jimmy Carter.
If the VIPS selected offer some surprises, probably no one is more surprised than some of the VIPs selected.
"I never expected to be a tourist attraction," says Helen Thomas, UPI's White House correspondent. "There are more interesting historical monuments in Washington."
Nancy Dickerson, former TV correspondent who with her husband C. Wyatt bought Jackie Kennedy's childhood home in McLean some years back, says tourists will find heavy security and a new road "like a grand corniche" if they try knocking on her door.
"You have to be terribly interested in Jackie or me - in that order," says Dickerson.
Some VIPs, like Cece Zorinsky, thinks it's "cute" that she and her husband, Nebraska Sen. Edward Zorinsky, have been included even if they are only temporarily settled in a rented house. Some, like Rep. L. Richardson Preyer (D-N.C.), speak ominously of "a very vicious dog." And some, like a senior White House official who preferred to remain unidentified, says his address has already been published in both Washington newspapers "for every cuckoo who wants to knock at the door."
Sam Donaldson, ABC-TV's White House correspondent who is just kidding, of course, when he announces himself to colleagues as "Mr. White House," bristles at his newly-anointed status.
"I resent it. I tell you we're not in the telephone book purposely because I didn't wany any cranks calling me."
A beyond-the-beltway Virginia resident, Donaldson says there is nothing for tourists to see at his house other than "tall grass and unkempt roses - tell them not to waste their gas."
Tourist who do find gas to take a Washington vacation won't have to use all of it celebrity-cruising.Within Georgetown a little shoe leather will take them past homes of Allen and John Foster Dulles, Felix Frankfurter, Ulysses S. Grant, John F. Kennedy, W. Averell Harriman, Henry Kissinger (all "Historical"); Sens. Howard Metzenbaum, John Heinz, Charles Percy, Claiborne Pell, Reps. Paul McCloskey Jr., John Brademas ("Government"), Joseph Alsop, Joseph Kraft, Barbara Howar and Herman Wouk ("Media") or Elizabeth Taylor ("Miscellaneous).
As a genuine Tinseltown DP, Taylor has the distinction of being the only Washington VIP also listed on Hollywood star (living) maps.
Heading southeast toward the Potomac, the tourist wanders upon Watergate. The folks who brought you the caper of the same name have long since moved (a few left forwarding addresses) so what glamor remains is provided by Sens. Jacob Javits, Russell Long and Bob Dole ("Government"), with an assist from Pearl Bailey, Mstislav Rostropovich and Anna Chennault ("Miscellaneous").
Not everyone is going to agree with the guide's VIP choices.
What, someone may ask, are Robert T. Endicott and Marilyn Berger doing under "Media," a category no serious celebrity map would dare omit these days of electronic journalism. Endicott publishes a weekly newspaper in Potomac and has been off the air for ages; Berger hasn't lived here for years.
Where someone else might ask running a finger down the list, are such Capital Hill stalwarts as Sens. Thomas Eagleton, Robert Byrd or Mark Hatfield? ("Is anybody else missing?" asked one anxious Hill staffer.)
And just who, still someone else might wonder, is this guy Barry Lando ("Media") when established celebrities like Steve Martindale, Elizabeth Ray, Allison LaLand, Alejandro Orfila, Ardeshir Zahedi, Sonny Jurgensen or Edward Bennett Williams (some who might be "Historical," other "Miscellaneous") are missing?
Says an attorney for Landmark Press, "VIPs were chosen on the basis of their presumed national reputations."
Says UPI's Helen Thomas, official winder-upper of presidential press conferences, "It's really determined by television. You become a person, an image, because you ask the president a question. You can write for a thousand years but if they don't see your face, you're just a byline."
Jean Shaw Murray, publisher of The Green Book, one of several reference works used by the publishers, thinks the map "infringes upon the privacy of the individual because no matter how public a person is, when that person goes home he wants to be private."
The attorney for Landmark Press says he has received no complaints. All VIP names and addresses were taken from published material - Congressional Directory, Dossier, real estate transactions - available in any public library.
What congressional or administration names have been omitted, according to the attorney, were left out because their addresses were not readily available and the map's publishers felt "they deserved their privacy?"
Initially, about 25,000 copies of the map were printed and distributed to several Washington hotels, souvenir stands and book shops. Distributor L. B. Prince Co., of Fairfax, expects to place more in at least one area drug chain within the next few weeks.
Shareholders of Landmark Press, incorporated in the District of Columbia, are keeping low profiles. Other than "a couple of people from here and a couple of people in Hollywood," their attorney will identify them only as people who want "to focus attention on the map, not themselves."
Ditto for the attorney, with the Washington law firm of Leighton, Conklin and Lemov.
"We don't feel we're hiding anything," he says.
In papers filed with the D.C. Office of Recorder of Deeds on May 16, two Washington men, attorneys Douglas Woloshin and Jerald A. Jacobs, and a Beverly Hills resident, Thomas R. Ferguson, are listed as directors.
I think you wanted me to be out here in a hula shirt and cigarette holder," said Ferguson, an attorney, in a telephone interview, dismissing his own role as "merely acting on behalf of a client."
Reaction to the map has surprised "us all - it's a lot of fun. But we're not trying to cover anything up. There's nothing very exciting about any of it," he said. CAPTION: Illustration, Confidential Guide To Homes of VIP's, Copyright (c) Landmark Press