Brady's Bunch

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Now that he's really Gonzo, and eternally to my shame, I must confess Hunter Thompson's charm always eluded me. But a couple of years ago when I was interviewing Johnny Depp for Parade, Depp talked about the month or more he spent at Thompson's ranch boning up for his role as the writer in a film version of "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas." What did you guys do all day? I inquired. Well, said Johnny, among other things, they made bombs. "Bombs?" Yeah, he assured me. Hunter made bombs and then both lads retreated a prudent distance and shot at them until they exploded.

Burnout? The note from Publisher Dan Lagani of Better Homes didn't tell you much. Or maybe it told you a lot. "After leading BH&G to its most successful year ever in 2004 ... I've left my job as publisher on an absolute high having closed April 2005 the biggest month in the magazine's history. In the coming months I hope to relearn my kids' names, find some warm weather and eventually find a spot where I can use my broad sales and marketing skills."

Publisher Lee D. Slattery says the bimonthly Golf For Women (Advance Mags) ran 500 ad pages last year for first time ever (a gain of 9%), and newsstand and subs are both ahead.

Jill Seelig tells me O marks its fifth year with a first quarter up 9% in ad pages, following a year when Oprah's baby was ahead 10% in pages (1,591 pages for `04) and 15% in bucks.

peter King Hunsinger checks in to report GQ is off to an elegant start, with "ad pages up 23% (58 pages) for the first quarter." He's boosting their rate base to 800,000 this August, with newsstand up 8.2%. "Long live the cravat," Peter adds buoyantly.

I am in the debt of William Bryk of The New York Sun for reminding us of the famous quote by Hippolyte de Villemessant, founder of Le Figaro, "If a story doesn't cause a duel or a lawsuit, it isn't any good."

Marcia Bullard says USA Weekend ad revenue last year topped $416 million, a 9.5% increase over 2004, and a new record for the 20-year-old weekly mag.

Top Hollywood producer Marty Bregman is redoing his classic "Carlito's Way." Since Pacino was bumped off at the end of the original, Marty's wife Cornelia Sharpe had to explain to me at Elaine's that this one will be a prequel.

Sales maven Anne Miller has a new book out from Chiron, "Metaphorically Selling," all about the use of metaphors (not similes, mind you) to sell or persuade.

Liz Smith's latest, "Dishing," comes out next month from Simon & Schuster. Both PW and Kirkus gave it pre-pub raves.

American Heritage Editor Richard Snow was at the White House the other day with Harold Holzer of the Met and Sam Waterston for a Lincoln Day reading. Snow thanked the Prez for having sat for an American Heritage (a Forbes book) interview. When Mr. Bush asked, "How's it doing?" Snow riposted, "Much better now, thanks to you."

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