Texas supporters of President Carter tried -- unsuccessfully -- to get the White House to postpone his scheduled appearance there next Monday because a Ronald Reagan fund-raiser in Houston the next night is expected to be the biggest in history.
As of the middle of this week, the Texas Victory Committee had already raised nearly $2.5 million for the Reagan-bush ticket. That breaks down to 199 tables at $10,000 each and 467 individual tickets at $1,000 a plate.
One oilman, T. Boone Pickens Jr., chairman of Mesa Petroleum of Amarillo and the subject of a business page story in Time magazine this week, sold 38 of those $10,000 tables.
Texas Gov. William Clements, who is Reagan's landlord at the Virginia hunt country estate that the candidate is using through the election, is running the dinner, to be held at the Albert Thomas Convention Center.
"Authorized" by the state-wide Republican organization, the dinner will finance a "get-out-the-vote" drive with $1.6 million budgeted for phone banks, brochures, buttons and mailings.
All that money has Carter supporters worried since Texas is one of the five targeted states which he must carry to stay in the Oval Office. Carter carried that state in 1976.
Democrats would have been happier if the president could have delayed coming into the state until after the glitter of the dinner had faded. But the White House decided he wasn't going to duck.
He's going anyway, even though the psychological momentum could be better.
According to Democratic Party sources, the largest fund-raiser to date is believed to be the one for Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne that raised $1 million. b
When Universal bought the movie rights to Washington author Larry L. King's "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," one executive told him all they really wanted was the title.
Now King, upset at the changes he says superstar Burt Reynolds is demanding, thinks the title should be changed to "Smokey and the Bandit Go to a Whorehouse."
"It's kinda disgusting, really," King says. "I'm not even going to see the sonnavabitch . . . everything you ever heard about how crazy Hollywood people are is true, believe me."
First, King claims, Reynolds refused to play the sheriff like the 62-year-old character in the phenomenally successful stage musical, which has been earning King $1 million annually in royalties.
"We made him 50," King says. "And Reynolds complained that was still 'an old -- ' so now he's a young macho 35-year-old.
"Then he added car chases and more sex scenes with Dolly Parton . . . one of the Universal guys told me that all they really wanted was a vehicle for Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton to -- themselves to death on screen."
The movie, scheduled to commence shooting in Lockhart, Tex., on Sept. 24, is several months behind now because of the actor's strike.
That should give Parton plenty of time to make some changes of her own.
"There's a rumor that she wants to write some of her own songs," King says, so even the music won't be the same.
"I also hear that she's gonna wear those oulandish wigs of hers," he complains. "I don't believe she's got real hair. I think she's bald and that hair may not be all that's false in my opinion."
Thom Mount, Universal Studios senior vice president of production, said he has not had a discussion with King about his concerns. "Larry has been a partner in development of the script and we're unaware he's unhappy about it."
David Gershenson, Reynolds' agent, is unhappy that King is blaming his client.
"Burt Reynolds is a hired hand in this move," Gershenson said. "He's just an actor in this film . . . Neither Burt Reynolds nor Dolly Parton has autonomy. They have suggestions ans since those people are consummate professionals, hopefully some of those changes are implemented.
"It's pretty incredible for anyone to believe that Burt Reynolds is 62."
Reynolds himself caimed later that he "loved the challenge of playing an older man" and was "thrilled about it" until the studio decided to make him 35. o
"I knew I would be the heavy," Reynolds said through his agent, "and I'm not going to be."