The ‘It’ Girl Needs a New Press Agent

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Pardon Bob Woodward’s French.

In his new book, “Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate,” he refers to “Clara Bow syndrome” as a condition characterized by “romantic and sexual delusions.” Actually, the term, as he has since admitted, is “Clerambault’s syndrome.”

But Woodward’s mistake calls to mind an old tale about Bow, the “It” Girl and late screen star of the Flapper Era. The book “Hollywood Babylon” said that “she’d play party girl to the entire Thundering Herd (crack University of Southern California football team) during beery, brawling” sex parties in the late 1920s. Handsome tackle Marion Morrison (later actor John Wayne) was said to have been a participant.

But David Stenn, author of “Clara Bow Runnin’ Wild,” contends she wasn’t that wild.

While Bow did phone USC star Morley Drury at his Sigma Chi fraternity house and arrange a date, Drury later said there was no “bedroom scene. . . . We were too damn innocent.”


She did have some USC football players over for parties, but Stenn says that the nearest thing to a scandal occurred when Bow asked USC star Jesse Hibbs to show her how to tackle and inadvertently broke his thumb. Trojan coach Howard Jones then ordered his players to stay away from the star.

ON A RELATED NOTE: Ellen Sawyer reports that she heard a local radio broadcast accuse Bill Clinton “of the one thing he (probably) isn’t guilty of.” Sawyer said the news anchor told of the auction of the legendary tight-fitting dress that Marilyn Monroe wore when she sang “Happy Birthday” to “President Clinton.”

RECOUNT! Some covers of publications have stirred controversy, but the cover of the Thomas Guide?

It happened in 1997 when the L.A./Orange County guide listed, as one of its selling points, “666 New Streets This Year!” The Irvine company received complaints from people who asserted that 666 was the mark of the devil in the book of Revelations. So the issue was recalled and the new cover read, “665 New Streets This Year!”

The Thomas Bros.’ year 2000 guides are out now, and there shouldn’t be any problem. The Orange County book lists a non-devilish 640 new streets.


The downtown Orpheum Theater’s Halloween show on Friday night offers “the bizarre magic of Christopher Wonder and his trained rodents” as well as burlesque dancer Cynthianna’s “sassy interpretation of the ‘Perry Mason’ TV theme.” The “Perry Mason” theme? Della, get me Paul Drake on the phone.


Steve Harvey can be reached by phone at 1-800-LATIMES (Ext. 77083), by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, Times Mirror Square, L.A. 90053 and by e-mail at steve.harvey@