Former president Gerald Ford, who was vice president of the United States for only eight months, returned to the Capitol yesterday to witness the unveiling of a marble bust honoring that term. Former vice presidents are honored by having busts in the Senate side of the Capitol. A member of the House of Representatives for 25 years, Ford was sworn in as vice president on Dec. 6, 1973, almost two months after then-vice president Spiro Agnew resigned. Ford served until he was sworn in as president when Richard Nixon resigned the office on Aug. 9, 1974.
The well-liked former Michigan congressman, who held the country's highest office following a bizarre period of the nation's history, remembered his years on the Hill yesterday as "a magnificent experience. Congress is the greatest legislative body in the history of mankind," he said at the dedication ceremony. "It's an honor and a privilege to be part of it." The dedication took place on the second floor of the Capitol across from the Senate chamber where the statue will remain. Among the guests at the dedication were Sens. Charles McC. Mathias, Alan Cranston, Robert Dole and Robert Byrd, House Speaker Tip O'Neill and former senator Jacob Javits. Ford's only tenure in the Senate was when, as vice president, he presided over it. 'Obscene and Terrific'
There's always more than one way to promote a new show in town. New York's Wooster Group, a sassy theatrical company that Peter Sellars describes as "lewd, vulgar, obscene and terrific," opens its play "North Atlantic" Tuesday at the New Playwrights' Theatre. The play is about a military carrier off the Dutch coast where the female members plan to advance themselves by conducting a wet uniform contest.
Anyway, you're getting the idea. So, tonight, in connection with the upcoming play, there will be a wet uniform contest at the hot nightclub Tracks open to men and women. And any uniform, presumably even a Cleveland Park Yuppie Uniform, qualifies. But then yuppies often look all wet. Not only is the event unisex, but, concerned about the cold and flu season, Tracks has installed a wading pool for wetting down, a changing room and washers and dryers. The winner receives tickets to theatrical waterside offerings "North Atlantic" and American National Theater artistic director Sellars' "A Seagull," which opens Saturday at the Eisenhower Theater. End Notes
This is the weekend to go out and get the Christmas tree if you want to keep up with the White House. The White House received its 20-foot Fraser fir yesterday when a horse-drawn wagon with tinkling sleigh bells lumbered up the drive to the North Portico where First Lady Nancy Reagan was waiting. President Benjamin Harrison started the Christmas tree tradition at the White House in 1889, and since 1966 the trees have been provided by the National Christmas Tree Association. The tree will be trimmed this weekend with decorations that are reminiscent of Charles Dickens' era . . .
Singer Connie Francis does have her problems. Tuesday, she was forcibly removed from a Delta flight from Nassau to Los Angeles at a refueling stop in Atlanta when she refused repeated requests to stop smoking while the jet was taking on fuel. She is said to have kicked one of the police officers called to escort her from the plane and was later charged with simple battery and criminal trespass. The 48-year-old singing star threatened to sue the airline. She has had a series of difficulties dating back to her 1974 rape in a Westbury, N.Y., hotel room. In 1983, she was committed by her father for three weeks to a mental hospital in Palm Beach County, Fla. . . .
Academy Award-winning actress Anne Baxter was hospitalized in critical condition in New York last night with an undisclosed ailment after collapsing on the street, authorities said. Baxter, 62, was treated in the intensive care unit of Lenox Hill Hospital, said Sonia Casiano, an administrator on duty . . .
If "The Silent Scream" wasn't a shrill enough antiabortion film, the man who produced it is now promising a follow-up videotape that he says is more "staggering" than the first. In fighting the proabortion people, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who narrated "The Silent Scream," said the new film is "graphic to the extreme." He was criticized in the "Scream" narration for claiming a 12-week-old fetus being aborted feels pain. In part of the narration, he said, "We see the child's mouth wide open in a silent scream" as the abortionist's instruments enter the womb. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said there is "no legitimate scientific evidence" that a fetus feels pain early in pregnancy. Nathanson clearly is a zealot with a cause, so his new videotape promises even more controversy . . .