It usually helps in politics to have a famous family name, even if it sometimes clouds the campaign issues. Two famous sons, B. Evan Bayh and Robert O. Bowen, are running for secretary of state of Indiana. Bayh, 30, a Democrat, is the son of former senator Birch Bayh. Bowen, 33, a Republican, is the son of former two-term Indiana governor Otis R. Bowen, now head of the Department of Health and Human Services. The two keep trying to discuss the issues, but family relationships keep getting in the way.

Bowen acknowledges that his famous name "had something to do with" the party's decision to recruit him to run against Bayh. But to really test the issue, will the fathers show up for the campaign? Bowen says he campaigned for his father in 1972 and 1976. "I'm sure if I asked, he would campaign for me, but that decision hasn't been made yet." Bayh, on the other hand, said, "I have no plans to have him campaign actively on our behalf." Out and About

Martin Rubenstein, president and chief executive officer of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, has joined the Voice of America private-sector advisory committee. Rubenstein will join 10 others, mostly broadcast executives, recommended for the committee by U.S. Information Agency Director Charles Z. Wick to assist the agency in "telling America's story overseas." Rubenstein will help in programming guidance and in securing funds for special projects. Among the others on the committee are Randall Bongarten, president of NBC Radio; Jack Clements, president of Mutual Broadcasting; and Eddie Fritts, president of the National Association of Broadcasters . . .

Actress Shelley Duvall, producer of cable TV's "Faerie Tale Theatre," was in town Saturday for a private premiere screening of her new film, "Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp," in the Westin Hotel's private theater. James Earl Jones, who plays the genie in the film, was there for the showing. He's in town filming "Gardens of Stone." Also in the movie, but not in town, are David Carradine as Aladdin and Valerie Bertinelli as the princess . . .

Gerald Rafshoon, the former president-maker turned movie producer, has purchased the movie rights to "The Landing," the new World War II suspense novel written by Washington Post columnist Haynes Johnson and Harvard University Nieman Foundation curator Howard Simons. Rafshoon, who is credited with helping bring Jimmy Carter to the White House, was the executive producer of the CBS mini-series "The Atlanta Child Murders." He said yesterday that he is planning to develop "The Landing" into a commercial movie ready for release in 1988 or 1989 . . .

Colonial Williamsburg has named Librarian of Congress Daniel J. Boorstin, author Ralph Ellison and Alan Simpson, president emeritus of Vassar College, to its newly established Council of Distinguished Research Associates . . .

Hospital report: Roy M. Cohn, the controversial defense lawyer who was disbarred last month in New York State, has returned to the National Institutes of Health for treatment, hospital spokeswoman Irene Haske said yesterday. Cohn, who was treated last year at the National Cancer Institute for liver cancer, has been admitted to the NIH Clinical Center, which specializes in testing experimental therapies for cancer and other conditions . . .

After a one-day postponement, the "Twilight Zone" manslaughter trial of film director John Landis and four associates is scheduled to begin today, one day short of the fourth anniversary of the July 23, 1982, accident in which a helicopter used in filming a Vietnam War scene crashed and killed actor Vic Morrow and two child actors. The prosecution is expected to call a number of Hollywood "expert witnesses" who are reportedly knowledgeable about the motion picture industry's safety record. Among them are well-known directors Richard Brooks and John Milius and former child star Jackie Cooper. If convicted, Landis, who is charged with five counts of involuntary manslaughter, could be sentenced to as long as six years in prison. The other defendants, associate producer George Folsey Jr., unit manager Dan Allingham, helicopter pilot Dorcey Wingo and special-effects coordinator Paul Stewart, could also face prison terms if convicted