I'd much prefer a long walk on a short pier

September 20, 1994|By ELISE T. CHISOLM

I saw the ad in New Yorker magazine, it's usually there along with the clothes, gifts and fabulous vacation spots I can't afford unless I win the lottery. The ad makes me laugh every time.

It read, "Sail with the Stars, the QE2 . . celebrities at sea . . . offers cruises from April to December . . . and appearing on the QE2 Shirley Jones . . . Bob Newhart . . . Neil Sedaka . . . Add this star power to all of the things to do on the QE2 and you're bound to have an unforgettable experience."

I have to say I would not cross the street to hear or see Shirley Jones or Neil Sedaka. Oh, maybe Bob Newhart on a rainy day at sea.

I'm not knocking cruises in general -- they are a great way to travel, probably less expensive than flying to Pango and staying in a good hotel.

I have been on one cruise and I got seasick. My husband was on a very long cruise during WWII and after two and a half years at sea, he does not care to cruise either.

But I think it is amazing so many people would want to sail with Shirley Jones and Neil Sedaka.

Anyway, the reason I'm laughing all the way through the New Yorker is that it's made me look back over the "stars" (celebrities) I had to interview 15 or 20 years ago, most of them are now has-beens, nearly dead, or really dead, and three or four times wed. And some of those past-their-prime celebs are the reason I would not sign up for a cruise just for the star power entertainment. But I might go for the food, the view and the chocolate candy on your pillow at night.

I realize I am slightly jaded from having to listen to the celebrities prattle on about themselves and how great they are, or were once.

Let me name-drop a few of the ones with whom I wouldn't want to cruise: Zsa Zsa Gabor, a narcissistic beauty, who talked about cars, furs, diamonds and men -- all hers; George Jessel, obnoxious; Mickey Rooney -- the same (and by the time I had interviewed him a second time he was between his fifth and sixth wives, and he asked me for a golf date); Ginger Rogers and Buddy Hackett -- rude and crude in that order. Then there was Gloria Swanson, an early health devotee, who was so obsessed with keeping young that we talked of nothing else. Then there was Tony Randall, who was boring and conceited.

Remember, this is just my editorial opinion. Here are the celebs I really liked and could have taken home with me, or with whom I'd have gone on a cruise: Vincent Price, he was polite and very erudite; Mitzi Gaynor, fun and down to earth; Rich Little, super talented and nice to be with; Perry Como, just like the man next door, an old shoe but one who could sing; and (don't be amazed) Tiny Tim -- very gentlemanly and a serious-type man who lived inside that "tiptoe through the tulips" entertainer.

I loved Carol Channing, she was friendly and intelligent, as was Phyllis Diller -- did you know she plays the classical piano beautifully? Then there was Carroll O'Connor in his Archie Bunker days -- a great actor, he used to do Shakespeare. I liked his wife Nancy, too.

Well, a young friend of mine just told me I was crazy, she would pick the cruise ship that featured Mel Gibson, and her husband would set sail to get a small glimpse of Meg Ryan.

Hey, maybe 50 years ago I would have gone whitewater rafting with Cary Grant, but now as I age I'd rather cruise with the celestial stars overhead, they are always there for you, don't tarnish and don't talk. And then of course, there's that chocolate on the pillow at night.

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