JONES' NIGHT OUT: James Earl Jones returned Monday night to the Washington theater scene, where he was 'discovered' some 20 years ago. Jones was the recipient of the American Express Tribute at the annual Helen Hayes Awards that single out the best in theater in the nation's capital. Jane Alexander, who was his co-star in the world premiere of 'The Great White Hope' at Washington's Arena Stage, narrated a film depicting highlights of the actor's life. 'I've never worked with a finer actor,' Alexander said. 'I'm pleased tonight to recognize a man who has electrified the American theater.' In accepting the award, Jones said, 'I acknowledge all of you of the D.C. theater, one of those special tinder boxes. When brought into contact with even the smallest spark in the theater, it creates light, warmth and combustion.' The night's entertainment included Joel Grey, Anthony Quinn and Carol Lawrence. Estelle Getty, Anne Jackson, Eli Wallach, Roberta Flack and Andrea 'Annie' McArdle were among the presenters.
WARLOCK FOR MAYOR: And you thought Gary Hart had problems with reports about his sex life. But someone in Salem, Mass., is trying to torpedo the mayoral campaign of Robert E. Gauthier with rumors that he is a warlock. 'At this point I really don't know who said it or why,' said Gauthier, who is a city councilman. 'It's never been said before I ran for mayor.' Witches are a popular topic in Salem but Gauthier says his main connection with the occult is his late wife's friendship with Laurie Cabot, the 'official witch' of Salem.
TONY GOES POP: Tony Bennett was the star attraction Tuesday night at the opening of the Boston Pops 102nd season. Bennett says he's 'played in every major orchestra that plays American popular music around the world, and I consider this (his solo appearance on opening night) a very special highlight of my life.' 'It's great to be able to start this season with Tony Bennett,' conductor John Williams said at a news conference before the concert. 'Every time he sings a song it's as if it's the first time, and that's the mark of a great artist.' The performance featured the premiere of Williams' 'We're Lookin' Good,' which he described as a 'jazzy, hopefully upbeat march' composed for the Special Olympics to celebrate the 1987 International Summer Games. The Pops will be on a 10-city tour this summer.
MAKE HEADROOM FORMAX: Some may be upset that Max Headroom now does Coca-Cola commercials, has his own television series and is no longer just a cult figure. But Matt Frewer, who plays Max as well as journalist Edison Carter on the TV show, says television is the perfect vehicle for Max because the show is a multilevel satire. 'He's a product of television on a television screen in a TV series about TV,' Frewer told The Washington Post. 'It's also, from my point of view, a very cheap way to justify making a lot of money.' Frewer says Max didn't have a well-defined personality when he went to audition for the part. 'They chucked some sample script at me and said sort of said,'Do what you want with it,'' he says, 'and we sort of mucked around with it from here. The thing I had in mind when I started doing Max was to have the professional slickness of somebody like Johnny Carson but with the goofy charm of Ted Baxter (the vapid anchorman from 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show').'
GLIMPSES: Paul Simon is adding eight benefit concerts to his 'Graceland' tour. One-third of the proceeds will go to th United Negro College Fund, one-third to local charities and one-third to Children of Apartheid, an organization started by South Africa's Rev. Allen Boesak to aid children jailed in South Africa ... Dancers Fred Astaire and Rudolf Nureyev and choreographer Bob Fosse were honored in New York with Capezio Dance Awards. All were on hand to accept at Lincoln Center except Astaire, 88, who sticks close to his California home and sent dancer-choreographer Merce Cunningham in his stead. The presenters included Gwen Verdon and Mikhail Baryshnikov ... Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Jimmy Breslin is moving from the New York Daily News to join the Newsday newspapers. He doesn't start the new job until October 1988.