They're the newest thing in toys for grown-ups: first family paper dolls complete with Oval Office. There's Ronnie Doll and Nancy Doll in star-spangled undies (her designer girdle by "Adelfo," of course) and outfits for almost every occasion -- the ranch, the campaign trail, Camp David and an inaugural ball.
Just to show that the originators -- Dial Press managing editor Jim Fitzgerald, literary agent John Boswell and artist Al Kilgore, of Bullwinkle persuasion -- have thought of everything, there are a couple of Hollywood costumes in case Ronnie Doll wants to relive some old roles and Nancy Doll wants to try out for Cleopatra. And rounding out the first family are Patti Doll and Ron Doll, whose own fantasy fashions go with what they want to be when they grow up.
For props, in and out of the Oval Office: an autographed picture from Frank "you did it my way" Sinatra, a sunlamp, a hotline, a Richard Nixon victory paperweight, a 5 o'clock shadow, a jar of jellybeans, a handy quick-draw blow-dryer in holster (to go with Nancy Doll's cowgirl outfit), a pop-up portable hairdresser, an actor (Bonzo), a secretary (masquerading as a four-star general), a reporter (masquerading behind a question: "If you were a tree . . . what kind would you . . . ?" The answer Nancy once gave Barbara Walters was "an oak"), and a familiar-looking farm family fresh from harvesting a peanut.
Dell Trade Paperback of New York City, a subsidiary of Doubleday, is printing 50,000 copies in its initial run, according to publicity director Matthew Shear. It's satire "intended for anyone who wants a little fun," says Shear, and since that could just as easily include legislators as Reagan-watchers, he's sending complimentary copies to the entire U.S. Senate.
"If they have to cut something," says Shear, "why not paper dolls?"
Betty Ford once danced for Nancy Reagan -- and a convention hall filled with cheering Republicans. That was the year Jerry beat Ronnie in Kansas City and, to almost everybody's delight, Betty and Tony Orlando kicked up their heels in the Fords' presidential box while Nancy watched from her box high atop the bleachers.
Things do have a way of sorting themselves out, as a nationwide TV audience will see Thursday night when Nancy watches Betty dance again, this time from a considerably improved vantage point -- the Reagan presidential box. It happens in the Bob Hope TV special taped last month at the Grand Rapids, Mich., gala the night before the Gerald R. Ford Museum dedication.
This time Betty's dancing partner is Bob Hope, though she thought he was only kidding when he first suggested they do a little soft-shoe routine in front of the Reagans, George and Barbara Bush, the president of Mexico, the prime minister of Canada and 5,000 others expected at the show. She realized he wasn't kidding a few weeks before the event when Hope plugged his Oct. 22 special -- and their act -- on the John Davidson show.
The show always goes on for the former Martha Graham dancer, so she took it in stride, took off her shoes in private and practiced alone until the night of the show. "I may be 63, but Bob's 78," she now laughs. "I've still got a few years on him."
"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
That's the motto on Ronald Reagan's Oval Office desk, a little bit of corporate wisdom invented some years ago by an Oakland, N.J., consulting engineer whose son remembers how he debated over whether to use mind or care. ("There's a subtle difference," says Raymond Eisenhardt Jr. "You do care about something but you don't mind.") The firm had plaques made up for customers and eventually, unknown to Eisenhardt, one landed on Reagan's gubernatorial desk in Sacramento.
The junior Eisenhardt thought the motto sounded familiar one day last fall when he heard candidate Reagan quote it in a campaign speech. Not long after that he shipped Reagan a plaque and one day in January received a call from the White House thanking him for his gift. But getting a picture of the plaque on the desk proved a bit more difficult. Finally, one arrived showing only the plaque, not its position on the desk. Stamped on the back was a warning that the photo could not be used for commercial purposes.
"Good Lord," says Eisenhardt, who does not mind if the White House takes credit for the photo but does care that it's his motto being embargoed, "we've been giving this thing out commercially for 30 years."
Lamb is in and veal is out if what Ronald Reagan and Franc,ois Mitterrand served each other in Virginia is any indication.
Mitterrand's was served aboard the French frigate deGrasse Sunday at Yorktown and accompanied by a 1970 bordeaux: Cos d'Estournel.
Reagan's was served that night at the Governor's Palace in Williamsburg, accompanied by California's answer to a bordeaux: 1970 cabernet sauvignon, Freemark Abbey-Bosche.
The French served two other wines, a 1976 burgundy, Clos de Mouches, and a 1973 champagne, Dom Ruinart.
Ed Meese said later it was "the one place where the president would not insist on California wines."
The Reagans made an exception for the Mitterrands and served Portuguese and French wines in addition to those from California. One was a sercial 1950 Abudarham, and one a 1970 Chateau d'Yquem, which is a vineyard Thomas Jefferson patronized in 1787 and whose owner today is the great-great-great-grandnephew of the man Jefferson dealt with. Nobody knows what the Reagans paid for this premium dessert wine, but in Washington a 1970 Chateau d'Yquem sells for $75 a bottle or more.
With hors d'oeuvres, the Reagans served a second California wine, Domaine Chandon's Brut Special Reserve.
Pierre Salinger -- a press secretary, a Senate candidate, an airline vice president and a magazine writer in an earlier life -- made the Yorktown-Williamsburg scene this weekend as ABC-TV's Paris correspondent.
A frequent interpreter of les Americains to former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, Salinger helped interpret Americans to Franc,ois Mitterrand after his defeat by Charles de Gaulle in 1965. Mitterrand was a visitor to California when Salinger was vice president for international affairs at Continental Airlines, and Salinger put up Mitterrand for two days.
Salinger later introduced Mitterrand to George McGovern, who renewed that acquaintance a week ago in Paris. McGovern's Elyse'e Palace appointment was back-to-back with that of a former Senate colleague, Walter Mondale.