There were 88 people at the head table including Jayne Meadows and Roddy McDowall. Pat Boone introduced Oliver North by quoting from "Man Without a Country." Now throw in God, the flag and 1,100 points of light -- the number of guests who turned out last night -- and you've got a rough idea of the Washington Charity Awards Dinner at the Washington Hilton.

The black-tie event is sort of a Charities R Us, a marathon recognition of good deeds and good doers throughout the country. The 10th annual dinner honored 18 charities and 14 individuals for their charitable work, not to mention the 13 honorary co-chairmen, 34 celebrity honorary chairmen and 44 on the dinner committee.

"We said, 'Let's have an awards dinner. We'll do something like the Academy Awards to honor those who are already doing something,' " said Boone, who co-founded the event in 1979. "We thought as the media took note of it, it would probably encourage the whole idea of volunteerism."

So there were plenty of stars. Diane Keaton and Kenny Rogers couldn't make it, but Joan Rivers sent a videotaped greeting and Cliff Robertson and Christopher Lloyd were part of the Hollywood contingent flown in for the dinner.

Guests fluttered around actor Robert Duvall, sidling up for a picture next to him.

" 'Tender Mercies' is my favorite," whispered one in his ear. "Loved 'The Great Santini,' " said another. Duvall took it all with a bemused grace.

"I don't know a lot about {the dinner}. They just roped me in. I live 50 miles west of here so I came in," he said. "But it seems to be well organized and a very good thing. There's a lot of people honored in different areas -- battered children, AIDS, everything. It covers a lot of ground."

Duvall, like actress Mary Steenburgen, said he was there because his acting teacher, Sanford Meisner, was receiving a humanitarian award for his charitable works.

Ditto June Carter Cash and her husband, Johnny Cash. "I don't really know much about it," he said. "I only came because they asked me to introduce Mr. Meisner."

Charity Awards Dinner co-founder Doug Wead, former motivational speaker and now special assistant to the president for public liaison, said the celebrity factor was a key to the success of the dinner.

"They're important. A lot of people come into this dinner -- they come from every state -- and a lot don't recognize Washington celebrities," he said. "So it's meaningful for them to see someone from public life who's in entertainment. That's special to them."

Of course, handing out a hefty number of awards always beefs up the audience. Each of the charities sold tickets at $500 apiece to the dinner. Organizers said the charities had raised $700,000, similar to last year's total. In exchange for 80 percent of the proceeds (the organizers got the rest), charity representatives got to rub elbows with the stars and see their organizations in the spotlight.

North, attending for the Alliance to Save America's Future, a Washington-based drug abuse prevention organization, pronounced it "a great occasion to get together to help worthy causes."

North, who received a standing ovation from the audience, was on hand to introduce Amway President Richard DeVos, who gave a spirited speech in defense of capitalism. "Poor people can't help poor people!" he exclaimed.

Sally Atwater received one of the President's Awards on behalf of her husband, Lee, for his work with the "boarder babies" program at D.C. General Hospital. And Coretta Scott King was on hand to introduce Altovise Davis, who accepted a Humanitarian of the Year award on behalf of her late husband, Sammy Davis Jr.

"We're here with MADD {Mothers Against Drunk Driving} and we're here to star-gaze," said Beckie Brown of Newport Richey, Fla. "I can't believe I forgot my camera!"