David Susskind says that he took one look "at all those madras jackets" having dinner at the Gloucester House in New York that Saturday before the convention "and knew they had to be Carter people."
He was right, and when he left the restaurant after stopping to talk to them, he was either $2,200 richer or $4,400 poorer.
Susskind, like a lot of celebrities, has betting fever over this year's presidential election. He keeps one of his secretaries busy with a file marked "Bets," into which she dumps "all the little pieces of paper" he keeps bringing back into the office each day as he makes his rounds of the best restaurants and bars in Beverly Hills and Paris.
At the Gloucester House, Susskind bet Carter-Mondale campaign manager Tim Kraft $1,000 at 2-1 odds that Jimmy Carter will not win in November. Two others at Krafts table wagered another $1,200 at the same odds.
"If I lose," Susskind says, "that will turn out to be the most expensive dinner I've had since I got a check for $1,200 for dinner for five at L'Archestrade in Paris in July."
Susskind, who is a disillusioned 1976 Carter contributor, says, "There is more betting on this election than any I've ever seen."
He bet Carter media adviser Gerald Rafshoon $200 that Carter wouldn't even be the nominee -- and lost. The same wager is now riding on the November election.
Susskind's bet file, which is growing, includes wagers with Motion Picture Association president Jack Valenti, Minnesota businessman Dwayne Andreas, and Rep. James Scheuer (D-N.Y.).
All bet him 2-1 that Carter will win.
California's Howard Jarvis of "Proposition 13" fame has dinner for four at "21" in New York riding on Carter.
Michael Korda, the publishing executive and best-selling author, has a bottle of the most expensive champagne riding on the president.
Susskind has already won a bet with Gene Kelly, who said that the 1980 ticket would be "Connally and somebody . . . I don't remember who . . . it doesn't matter anyway, because he has already lost."
"Now those were the bets I wish I had," Susskind says, positively drooling as he pronounces John Connally's name. "I heard there were all these people betting a lot of money on Connally -- BIG money. Businessmen were positively girlish and giggly in the kinds of bets they were making."
The only Carter money Susskind didn't want to take was Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas W. McGee's.
"I'm from Brookline, Mass.," Susskind says. "I told McGee I may get caught speeding there some day. I want SOME friends left after I collect my bets in November."