BOB HOPE, who's honorary chair of the Triple Crown Ball on May 16 (which had a kickoff fashion extravaganza Wednesday at Nan Duskin), got the royal treatment while in town this week to perform at a USF&G-sponsored benefit at the Meyerhoff to end paralysis.
Hope, wife Delores, and poodle Baxter occupied a penthouse suite at the Harbor Court, where they had Sascha's Silver Sacks for lunch and a seafood platter and veal chop from Da Mimmo for a pre-dinner snack, personally delivered by the very pregnant Mrs. Mimmo Cricchio. "The veal chop was for Baxter," she howled.
THERE WAS MUTUAL admiration expressed between Blast owner and businessman Ed Hale and Gov. William Donald Schaefer at Wednesday's Ad Club Luncheon at the Hyatt honoring Hale.
"I think he's the best governor in the entire United States, and I don't think he should be dumped on like so many people do," he told the assembled, which included the Guv himself.
"Speaking of dumped on," he chuckled, "the Blast didn't have a great season last year."
Among the attendees were Ad Club president Kip Mandris, who's now touting building supplies for Burns and Russell; Ad Club founder Clarisse Mechanic; Comcast's Terri Ezrine; MISL Commissioner Earl Foreman; and State's Attorney Stuart Simms.
ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE Joan Erbe and husband, George &L Udel, founder of the Baltimore Film Forum, were pleasantly surprised when, while checking out of the Trump Palace in Atlantic City, they found that the tab had been graciously picked up by their chums Jerry Stiller and Ann Meara, whom they'd come to visit.
SOCIAL SCENE: "Sunday in the Park With Saks," the first event of its kind to raise funds to fight sexual assault and abuse, takes place from 7 to 10 tonight at Saks in Owings Mills Mall. Tickets at $25 per person are available at the door.
SPIED AT THE Polo Grill -- actress Shelley Fabares -- an avid supporter of the Alzheimer's Association. . . . Uptown at Michael's Cafe and Grill in Timonium, owner Michael Dellis is sporting a new Bart Simpson-type buzz-cut. "I drove to Ocean City for it," he grinned.
Meanwhile, it was a family affair for the Midtown Yacht Club's owner Eddie Junghans, who gathered sisters Loretta and Lisa for a birthday celebration at Michael's Cafe for their darling mom, Marie. "It's my 30th," she winked.
BLOCKBUSTER: Producer/director Steve "On the Block" Yeager returned to his favorite location -- the Block -- recently when he was hired to shoot an episode of the popular Fox TV show "America's Most Wanted."
The segment, which focused on a stripper from the Block who shot and killed a doorman at the old Judges Musical Lounge back in 1969, is set to air Friday at 8 p.m. (Channel 45).
A WELCOME TO Crabtown to all the United Way Conference attendees in town this weekend. . . . Euro-Disney Inc. president Robert Fitzpatrick will deliver the keynote speech at Tuesday's luncheon celebrating National Tourism Week at the Baltimore Convention Center.
Former USF&G Chairman Jack Moseley will be honored at the luncheon for his tourism leadership. For ticket info, call Carol Shelton at 659-7300. . . . Georgette Mosbacher, CEO of La Prairie, will be the keynote speaker at the Governor's Conference on Small and Growing Businesses at the Omni tomorrow.
EYE OPENERS: Save a Heart Foundaton's Humanitarian Honoree for the year is Phyllis Brotman, president and CEO of Image Dynamics. ABC's Jim McKay will receive the Jerry Turner Memorial Award
BALTIMORE ORIOLES star shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. and his wife Kelly launched their latest show of support for literacy, dubbed Reading, Runs and Ripken, this week at a kickoff reception at Memorial Stadium in support of Baltimore Reads Inc. Companies and individuals will be asked to pledge $10 to $100 each time Cal Jr. hits a home run.
In return, they'll receive gifts and tickets to a game plus an invite to a grandstand party hosted by Cal and Kelly later in the season. For info, call 752-3595.