A couple of years ago, secretaries at 20th Century-Fox in Hollywood were told to answer their phone with the names of films under production.

"Hello, the Naked Lady," grumbled some.

"Worlds Greatest Lover", moaned others.

Hollywood, the Taste Factory, never on hold for long, gave official Washington a taste of the product yesterday morning.

Corrine Alphen, Penthouse's July '78 centerfold, attracted the most stares during Filmways' six-barreled attempt to promote its new film, "How to Beat the High Cost of Living," on the Lafayette Park sidewalk opposite the White House.

That's right. Six persons -- young, good-looking, model-like -- each in a cardboard barrel. As in "over the barrel." As in "barrel of laughs." As in "bottom of the."

"My agent said there's this thing on, so get down there and do it," said Christopher Arnold, the token male, a Washington actor who'd rather be remembered for his speaking part as an aide to Sen. Joe Tynan (D-Hollywood). "It's a quick sixty," he acknowledged impassively about his day's fee, a little peeved at the photograper who told him, "You don't count." d

Mostly, they stood around with their anit-inflation signs on their shoulders. Alphen, who got her big break by winning "Miss Nude International" at Atlantic City, said she never received instructions to wear shorts and a tube top.Her thin purple maillot, tight enough to suffocate polite thoughts, hid just as neatly behing the barrel. The other diehard "picketers," all Washington models, ad-libbed unevenly about double-diget inflation before Filmways' national director of publicity, Dick Delson, hustled them into a rented Ford pickup for the next stop.

The spiritual heirs of Kroger Babb headed for the Hill. Babb, a legendary publicist, liked to hire winos, dress them up as street preachers and have them rail against the immorality of his films. Ever since, Hollywood has tried to emulate the man who one associate said "could take any piece of junk and sell it."

Stunts are as much a part of Hollywood as starlets. One studio feted the original Brink's robbers to promote a film about the famous crime. Publicist Allan Carr gave a party in the New York subway system to get the musical "Tommy" rolling. It's been suggested that a giant shark sighted off Long Island a few years ago had more than natual instincts urging it on. But that only shows that the public will never underestimate the depths to which show-biz promoters will go.

Once on the Hill, Delson's Washington PR man had to explain some facts of Washington life to him. He came running when the rented protestors started waving their signs for a photographer.

"No signs! No signs!" he said, noting that their "protest" permit only covered the White House. "Will you listen to me?" he told Delson. "Do you want a picture for life? You don't know what you're doing. This isn't California."

Next they went to the office of Rep. Richard Bolling (D-Mo.), vice chairman of the Joint Economic Committee. Bolling was off fishing.

"Will you thank the congressman for us please?" asked one "picketer" after the group deposited its movie flier in the hands of Bolling's administrative assistant, Nancy Lowe.

"Thank him for what?" replied Lowe.

Undeterred by the empty hallways, they plugged on to the offices of Rep. Gillis Long (D-La.) and Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) long and Sarbanes were safely gone.

Along the way, Delson gave them guidelines on meeting officials.

"Now ladies and guy," Delson cautioned them about one Hill staffer who had threatened to call the police, "be espically nice to this one because he's a banana."

They never met the banana. But Delson sounded satisfied with the afternoon. "C'mon girls, we've got it," he announced finally, calling it quits.

Back by the truck, Alphen ditched the barrel that had standardized her measurments ("37-24-35," she volunteered) to something like straight 40s. The group talked about their next assignments. Cindy Manion will be doing a hot-tub demonstration at White Flint. Alphen will be working at the Veterans Administration today.

Another opening, another show.