And Where Was Aunt Bea?

The shareholders showed up for the third annual meeting of Imagine Films Entertainment, along with the coffee and muffins--but the co-chief executives were nowhere in sight.

Not to panic. Company founders Ron Howard and Brian Grazer sent a videotape from Florida, where they are shooting “Parenthood” with actors Steve Martin, Jason Robards, Dianne Wiest, Mary Steenburgen and Tom Hulce.

The breezy meeting was chaired by Robert A. Harris, Imagine’s president of motion pictures and television, who said “The ‘Burbs"--Imagine’s first film to be distributed by Universal Pictures--has already grossed $25 million.

No profits were squandered on the in-house video. Instead, Howard--who played Opie on TV’s “Andy Griffith Show"--donned a baseball cap and introduced “Parenthood” stars by pointing to their mug shots on an office wall.

SEC’s New Drexel Tangle

Conflicts of interest are a big part of insider trading charges against Drexel Burnham Lambert. But does the law firm that is expected to monitor Drexel also have a conflict?


Lawyers quoted anonymously in Investment Dealers Digest, a trade publication, voiced the question because the SEC is expected to choose Morgan, Lewis & Bockius to review Drexel’s compliance with securities regulations.

Morgan also represents Setrag Mooridian, a key witness in the investigation of Drexel “junk bond” chief Michael Milken. The lawyers wondered whether Morgan can avoid a conflict if it is monitoring Drexel while a client is testifying against Drexel officials.

Morgan executives deny any conflict. Michael L. Klowden, a member of Morgan’s management committee, notes that the law firm will review Drexel’s future compliance, not past wrongdoing. Also, if Drexel settles, no further testimony from Mooridian against Drexel will be needed.

“It’s just plain wrong,” he said of the allegations.

Presidential Soft Sell

Don’t look for former President Ronald Reagan to appear in commercials anytime soon. At least, that is what the retired actor said Friday after a speech to executives of the Los Angeles ad agency Chiat/Day.

Asked if he would do any ads or commercial voice-overs, Reagan replied: “No, I’ll leave it to the new guys to play the Gipper.”

Of course, years before Reagan was elected President, he appeared dozens of commercials, including one for Boraxo grease repellent, which Chiat/Day Chairman Jay Chiat showed the group just before Reagan’s speech. Since leaving the White House, Reagan has been flooded with offers to appear in ads of all kinds.

There’s No Place to Hide

In the old days of cellular phone service, way back a month or two ago, when you left your service area you were mostly out of luck. Someone wishing to reach out and touch you at your car or briefcase phone had to first know where you were and the 10-digit access code for that area.

This month, however, GTE Mobilnet introduced a service that lets callers easily follow you around North America. The “Follow Me Roaming” service routes local calls to cellular customers traveling in 140 cities in the United States and Canada. Starting today, the service is available in every California metropolitan area with cellular phone service because GTE licenses the technology to many other operators, such as PacTel Cellular and Contel Cellular.

Of course, there is a catch. In addition to a “roaming” access charge of $2 per day, the long-distance tolls are billed to the subscriber, not the caller.

Swell Choice

UCLA has picked an appropriately named instructor for a management seminar on employee relations offered in June through its extension program.

According to the program’s catalogue, the course, “Handling People with Tact and Skill,” will taught by consultant Shirley E. Nice.