Dinah Shore likes the Los Angeles Rams' new coach because George Allen is "good looking."
Bob Hope said, "I'm delighted to see the old antique dealer back . . . although I don't know if he can handle kids that young."
Fred Dryer, a traveled defensive end, said the hiring of Allen is terrific because, "I've always wanted to play until I'm 40. Now I'll get that chance."
And Isiah Robertson, the outspoken linebacker, wants to take it all back. "I never said I was going to retire. Who told you that? (A Los Angeles newspaper, with direct quotes.) Nah, I can play for anyone. I just don't want any of those 3 1/2-hour practices I keep hearing about."
Rams quarterback Pat Haden apparently is delighted with the choice to Allen.
"It's a fantastically good choice and he will do a terrific job," Haden, studying at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, told the Associated Press. "He has a good reputation as an excellent coach and he has met all the challenges that have been given to him. He is inheriting a team with great talent."
Now that George Allen has officially returned to the team where his professional head-coaching career began, it is time to take sides.
No one in the ticket office is complaining. "In the last two days since the thing broke, I'd say we're getting 60 to 70 inquiries a day and that's way up for this time of year," said assistant ticket manager Jerry Mickelson. "Usually we're getting 10 to 20 at this time. Now, I'm not talking about actual requests for tickets, just people wanting information.
"Yes, we've had a few calls for cancellations, too."
Radio station KABC took an informal poll of its listeners this morning and sportscaster Tom Haskins said only about 2 of 30 callers disagreed with the selection of Allen. Calls also have been running favorably for Allen on the station's daily three-hour sport call-in show.
"The Ram situation is all anybody's been talking about the last two weeks, whether it's Allen, Namath retiring, or all the people they brought in for the coaching job," Hawkins said. "People are talking about the Rams, and that can't hurt them."
The newspapers have been friendly to Allen the last few days. The lead headline in the sports section of yesterday's Herald Examiner exclaimed, "The 2nd Coming," and a picture inside of Allen standing with owner Carroll Rosenbloom was captioned, "By George, Allen's born again."
Examiner columnist Melvin Durslag no doubt will be the first Los Angeles writer to receive Allen's unlisted telephone number for his observation that, "He was made the fally guy in Washington by an ownership which, seizing upon its weaknesses, vilified him suddenly while getting fat on stock behind the scenes."
Most of the Examiner quotes from celebrities, city officials, former and present players and plain old football fans were positive. Man-on-the-street reaction in the Times was more snippy. Allen was described, among other things, as, "A phony, the Richard Nixon of football and a retread." A season ticket-holder said he expects "more of the same: two runs, an incomplete pass and a punt."
"That's what I'm waiting to see," said Ram wide receiver Harold Jackson, a man Allen traded in 1969. "If he opens it up, we'll be a much better club, but right now, nobody knows what to expect. We keep hearing all those stories about long practices and nobody wants that."
Particularly not Isiah Robertson.
"Knox let us go on the field, do our work and get out of there," Robertson said. "I hear that's not the way George operates. We also had a very warm relationship with Knox. It was a close, together, honest operation with no bull.
"I'm not going to say anything bad about George Allen because I didn't know the man. I'm willing to give him a chance to show me what his program has to offer. If he can show me I can be an asset, then I can play for him. If not, I'll take my body some place else.
"I never expected this to happen, to tell yoiu the truth. I'm still kind of stunned. But I'm coming out of it. Now, I got questions that have to be answered."
These days in Los Angeles, he is not alone.