OPENING NOTES

Status in the sky with Brian Mulroney; a swift pat for John Turner; claw marks from Joan Collins

October 17 1988

OPENING NOTES

Status in the sky with Brian Mulroney; a swift pat for John Turner; claw marks from Joan Collins

October 17 1988

OPENING NOTES

Status in the sky with Brian Mulroney; a swift pat for John Turner; claw marks from Joan Collins

FLYING WITH THE BOSS

Winning a seat on the boss's campaign plane has become a highly prized confirmation of status among Prime Minister Brian Mulroney'ss staff members. But despite his expressed desire to join the Mulroney air squad, principal secretary Peter White is conspicuously absent from the rented Boeing 727. Instead, Mulroney ordered the former Saturday Night publisher to remain in Ottawa—where chief of staff Derek Burney is firmly in command during the Prime Minister's absence. Meanwhile, Stuart Murray—who usually wears a Tory-blue suit and suede running shoes of the same shade—keeps the Mulroney road show on schedule. As tour co-ordinator, Murray oversees such details as arranging accommodation and laying on transportation. He has impressive credentials for the job: during the late 1970s, Murray performed similar duties for the rock band Blood, Sweat and Tears. He maintains that there is little difference between travelling with a band and co-ordinating a leader's campaign appearances. Play it again, Stu.

SEX AND THE STOCK MARKET

A Nevada business syndicate plans to sell $28 million worth of shares in order to buy the Mustang Ranch, a thriving operation 11 km east of Reno. Indeed, the famous ranch’s main assets, two bordellos that operate openly under state law, generate over $1 million proñt on gross revenues of more than $6 million. While U.S. federal authorities consider that request, a syndicate prospectus states that factors such as adverse publicity could later affect the proposed stock offering of $24 per share. The pleasures of the ñesh carry high risks.

A surprise rearguard attack

When John Turner publicly tapped the bottom of Liberal party president Iona Campagnolo in the 1984 federal election campaign, it created an unwelcome controversy for him and his supporters. But the opposition leader has avoided that kind of turmoil in this year's fledgling campaign. Still, at least one woman has clearly not for gotten. Last week, as Turner was leaving a routine ribbon-cut ting ceremony at the headquar ters of Ottawa South Liberal can didate Jqhn Manley, a small, middle-aged woman came up be hind him and gave him a swift, hard pat on the hips. "I've been wanting to do that for years," the unidentified woman told the startled leader before

she turned and quickly walked away. The sneak attack left Turner with another flank to guard.

How to charm a house buyer

As affluent Hong Kong residents buy large quantities of Canadian real estate, agents in Vancouver and Toronto are receiving a crash course in Chinese beliefs. In Vancouver, where Hong Kong purchases are expected to reach $1 billion this year, Chinese buyers recently snapped up 30 per cent of the units in a new development—because the front and back doors were not in a direct line (toprevent money from leaving) and the addresses did not contain the unlucky number four. Still, realtors say that many Chinese buyers will choose an unlucky house if the price is right. Clearly, a good deal is still the best luck of all.

POOR RECEPTION FOR USA TODAY

Before its debut last month, producers of the syndicated program USA Today: The Television Show, promised viewers exciting fare: bite-sized items without the heavy content of other news programs. A total of 156 U.S. TV stations bought the fast-paced, 30-minute show, a spin-off of the Gannett Co.'s strikingly successful national newspaper, USA TODAY. But steadily declining ratings have led many stations to consider dropping the evening news program—despite promises of improvement and Gannett7s assurance that it will continue to subsidize a show that has already cost more than $48.4 million to produce. Still, unless it experiences a dramatic increase in viewer approval, the program seems destined to become USA Today. The (cancelled) Television Show.

No space, sorry Your Majesty

King Carl Gustaf will still have to use authorized parking spaces when he or his servants pick up the royal

laundry and groceries in Stockholm. The Swedish court recently applied for six permits granting special parking privileges to the king and other royal drivers. But last week, municipal officials denied that request on the grounds that it would set a precedent. In the struggle for scarce parking spaces, social democracy rules over royalty in the streets of Stockholm.

BLASTED BY THE QUEEN OF SOAP

Valerie Pringle, the host of Midday, CBC TV’s noon-hour current-affairs show, says that she has recovered from a stormy encounter with nighttime soap-opera star Joan Collins. Last week, the CBC paid a $309 transmission fee for a 10-minute satellite hookup between studios in Toronto and Los Angeles so that Pringle could interview the Dynasty star about Prime Time—her steamy new novel on the making of a TV mini-series. But before the interview began, the raw satellite feed caught Collins eating a banana.

And Pringle’s remark, “Sorry to interrupt your snack, Joan,” seemed to irritate the actress-turned-author. During the still-unaired interview that followed, Collins appeared to have difficulty hearing Pringle’s questions. Still, she smiled widely for the camera as Pringle concluded the taping. Then, just before the satellite link was broken, Collins snarled, “What a bitch.” Responded an initially shocked Pringle: “If you’ve been called a bitch by Joan Collins, you figure you’ve made it.” Some stars do get testy.

Flagging the issue

George Bush often displays the U.S. national colors—a red-striped tie, blue jacket and white shirt—while delivering speeches that question the patriotism of Michael Dukakis, his Democratic rival. And a Bloomfield, N.J., factory that manufactures 1.3 million U.S. flags yearly appeared to be the perfect backdrop fo r an appearance by the Republican presidential candidate. But it was not. Most of the Annin & Co. plant’s 200 workers said that they had attended Bush’s rally only because management suspended operations for it. Even then, many of them added that Bush had not persuaded them to vote for him. Indeed, the vice-president left the plant with his campaign banner drooping. One reason: the factory’s United Textile Workers’ local stuck with its endorsement of a man who has yet to show his flag at that site: Dukakis.