FRI, SAT, August 3, 4, 2012

SHUTTLECOCKY  -- Eight badminton competitors from China were summarily ejected from the London Olympics for trying to lose.  Attempting to advance to easier opponents, the players hit "soft" lobs, aimed outside the foul lines and did something unheard of in international competition -- they failed to properly cock their shuttle before serving.

PENTA-PORN -- Internal e-mail messages from top-level Pentagon officials to employees in sensitive security positions warned them that porn had been detected on their computers.  No employees were fired -- well, one was let go for a related offense.  A military satellite data analyst was canned for Photo-shopping Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wearing a pink polka-dot bikini pantsuit.

SAY "AHHH" -- Dr. Adam Levinson, a 39-year old assistant professor of urology at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital School of Medicine, was arrested in the Union Square station and charged with taking pen camera photos underneath womens' skirts as they rode the subway.  He was later released when government officials confirmed that he was in training to become a medical officer for the TSA. 

ORKIN MAN! -- In an effort to provide guests more sanitary rooms, the American Hotel and lodging Association commissioned a study to determine where hotel room bacteria congregates.  Researchers found that while the bathrooms are relatively germ-free, the TV remote control harbors the most bacteria.  And that just covers the physical body.  You contaminate the mind when you start pushing the buttons.

NO MAN'S LAND -- Olympic officials in London are denying that poor planning and inadequate logistics  are to blame for the dismal attendance at some events.  While
sell-out crowds were predicted and scalpers are thriving, many venues have been embarrassingly empty.  One British sports writer said of one, "There were more empty seats than a typical UK dentist's waiting room."



 In 1978, Ohio was celebrating its Golden Jubilee, and the dedication of the newly-refurbished Ohio Theater in Columbus where Hope had performed in vaudeville. Produced by Bob Banner, our hour-long special would include a parade in which Hope would be the Grand Marshal, capped by a black-tie, invitation-only stage show.

It had been a long day for Hope, and on the evening of the performance, about a half-hour before the taping was set to begin, he was standing in the wings with Elliott Kozak. Most of the guests had already filed into their seats, and a pianist was playing a medley of Ohio-themed songs. Hope turned to Elliott and said, “Feel my pulse.” Elliott did and was alarmed by what he felt. Hope’s heart was racing at about two hundred beats per minute!

As Elliott led him back to his dressing room, Hope said he felt all right and had no chest pains. Regardless of the absence of heart attack symptoms, his heart was racing abnormally, so Elliott insisted he lie down.  Banner was called in from the tech truck outside the theater and after speaking with Hope, told a production assistant to go out front — and without explaining why — locate the insurance executive whose company had sponsored the charity event. Banner wanted to avoid alarming the audience with the usual announcement that was sure to do just that.  The insurance guy told the PA that a well-known cardiologist was on the guest list, but hadn’t arrived yet. She got his number. Banner called him and described Hope’s symptoms. The doctor told Banner to take Hope back to his hotel — just a block from the theater — where the heart specialist could examine him more thoroughly.

With Hope still protesting that he felt fine, Banner and Elliott quietly slipped him out a side door.  Meanwhile, the audience — and most members of Hope’s staff — had no inkling of the emergency. Gig and I accompanied Hope to the hotel and went to our own rooms to stand by if needed.  As Hope lay on the bed waiting for the doctor to arrive, Banner had
second thoughts. Maybe they were being too cautious in their attempts to keep the episode under wraps. After all, Hope was 76.  Banner dialed 911.

Within minutes, fire engines, sirens blaring, pulled up to the hotel ntrance. Watching them from our balconies, Gig and I thought the unthinkable had happened. We rushed to Hope’s suite where he was being examined by the cardiologist while the fire department ME’s stood by in case their equipment was needed.  They were soon released by the doctor, and after they left, we learned that Hope had been diagnosed with nothing more than an episode of tachycardia — an anxiety attack. The doctor had reduced his racing heart rate by applying pressure on Hope’s femoral artery. He was back to normal. 

We all returned to the theater where some of our guest stars had kept the audience entertained during the hour-long delay they blamed on “technical difficulties.” The taping proceeded without incident with Hope as emcee.
Over Dolores’s objection, he did a few more personal appearances in the East, but when he returned home, he had a complete cardio-checkup at Burbank’s St. Joseph’s Hospital. His doctors declared that he was heart healthy, but he had to wear a device called a Holter monitor, which he
wore for a week. Connected by phone to the hospital, it measured his heart activity in real time.  I asked him one day how he was taking to having the electronic device strapped to his belt.  “No problem,” he said. “But every time I open Playboy, the phone rings.”

(Excerpted from THE LAUGH MAKERS (c) 2009 by Robert L. Mills and published by Bear Manor Media.  All Rights Reserved.)

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