The recipient of NBC's donated "Meet the Press" programs was incorrectly reported in Tuesday's Style section. The programs go to the Library of Congress. (Published 10/17/87)
President Reagan wouldn't have done it for just anybody, but then USIA Director Charles Z. Wick isn't just anybody. he's the husband of Nancy Reagan's best friend, with whom Mrs. Reagan has been conspiring over Reagan and Wick family birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas Eves ever since they belonged to the same car pool 25 years ago in California.
This weekend they conspired again, successfully keeping Charles Wick in the dark about elaborate weekend-long plans to celebrate his 70th birthday. Flying in from everywhere were all five of the Wick children and their spouses. "They all just appeared," said Mary Jane of the complicated travel arrangements that even brought her only grandchild, 7-month-old Sarah Wick, to town.
Sunday night they all settled down to watch a made-for-home movie filmed and produced for the occasion by the Hollywood branch of the Wick family, together with the Reagans' son Ron. Last night the Wicks took over the River Room at the Watergate for a black-tie dinner.
Among the guests were the first couple, who kept their destination secret even from the White House travel pool until the last moment. Others at the party included Secretary of State George Shultz and his wife Helena; Deputy Secretary of State John Whitehead with Nancy Dickerson; Jean Smith; Armand and Harriet Deutsch; Buffy Cafritz; Lloyd and Ann Hand; Robert Strauss and his wife Helen; CIA Director William Webster; Canadian Ambassador Allan Gotlieb and his wife Sondra; U.S. Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt and his wife Gahl; and Este'e Lauder.
There's been a little less glitz and a little more genius in White House guest lists of late, reflecting a possible recent administration nod in the direction of academia. Actor Ernest Borgnine, Miss America Kay Lani Rae Rafko, ABC "Good Morning America" cohost Joan Lunden and country-western star Chet Atkins will be at the Reagans' state dinner for El Salvador's President Jose' Napoleon Duarte tomorrow night, but so will authors Nien Cheng ("Life and Death in Shanghai") and Allan Bloom ("The Closing of the American Mind"), conductor Lorin Maazel, United Negro College Fund founder Frederick D. Patterson, the Most Rev. James A. Hickey, Roger Kennedy, director of the National Museum of American History, artificial heart inventor Dr. Robert Jarvik and his bride Marilyn vos Savant.
Chinese-born Nien Cheng now lives in Washington, a city she likens to Shanghai in climate if not politics. It was here that she wrote much of her book about the imprisonment and abuse she endured both during and after China's Cultural Revolution. Bloom lives in Chicago, where he has watched his book, subtitled "How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today's Students," turn into a best seller. Bloom's disdain for liberalism quickly brought him to the attention of the Reagan White House.
"When President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union 'The Evil Empire,' " Bloom writes in his book, "right-thinking persons joined in an angry chorus of protest against such provocative rhetoric. At other times Mr. Reagan has said that the United States and the Soviet Union 'have different values,' an assertion that those same persons greet at worst with silence and frequently with approval." Bloom goes on to explain that he believes Reagan thought he was saying the same thing in both instances.
Among the evening's other eggheads, vos Savant is listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as having an IQ of 230. When she and Jarvik were married in August, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov gave the bride away. "If you have two people like that, it's very logical ... a meeting of the minds, so to speak," Asimov said of the newlyweds.
Lionel Hampton and a jazz combo will entertain in the East Room. Hampton played for the Reagans' Congressional Ball last December but this is his debut at a state dinner, just as it is for Jon Hill, the new executive chef at the White House. His predecessor, Henry Haller, retired Oct. 1 after more than two decades in the White House kitchen.
NBC, with an eye to history, has been donating its weekly "Meet the Press" programs to the National Archives through the years. The show holds the distinction of being network television's longest running program. Not long ago, when the show's producer, Betty Dukert, wanted to borrow back some of the film for a 40th-anniversary retrospective, she had to submit a petition for it the same as anybody else.
She did, of course, and guests will see the results on Oct. 27 at a big party NBC is throwing for the show at the Pension Building. All four of the hosts -- Lawrence Spivak, who retired in 1975, Bill Monroe, Marvin Kalb and present moderator Chris Wallace -- will be in the receiving line, along with Robert Wright, NBC president and chief executive officer, and Lawrence Grossman, president of NBC News.
Some of the former guests expected to be there include Moshe Arens, Julian Bond, William Colby, J.W. Fulbright, Alan Greenspan, Melvin Laird, Eugene McCarthy, Newton Minow, Sargent Shriver and Rep. Claude Pepper, who was a senator when he appeared on the fourth show, which was broadcast Nov. 27, 1947.
Among the press they and others met and will see again are David Brinkley, Tom Brokaw, Pat Buchanan, John Chancellor, Nancy Dickerson, Elizabeth Drew, Stanley Karnow, Andrea Mitchell, Sander Vanocur and Helen Thomas.
Nobody knows yet if President Reagan plans to attend, though Wallace personally handed him an invitation. Reagan's Jan. 9, 1966 interview on "Meet the Press" is one of a half dozen the Archives will screen for the public in a three-week series starting Nov. 6. Reagan was invited onto the show after announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the governor of California.
The new syndicated TV game show "Lingo," which Michael Reagan is hosting, may make it into the Washington market after all if it's picked up by one of the networks currently considering it, according to his publicist Dale Olson.
So far Reagan, who is the president's son from his first marriage to actress Jane Wyman, has done 40 of the shows. "Lingo," a Ralph Andrews production, is aired in a half-dozen markets, including Chicago and Dallas.
Michael's ability to communicate is what you might expect of somebody named Reagan. "He turns out to be a natural," says Olson.