It may have been an election avalanche that all the pollsters were predicting, but the news weeklies weren't taking any chances. There was always that 1948 Truman upset, so it was considered better to be cautious and prepare a Walter Mondale victory cover. Time had a Mondale victory cover with the headline "Amazing," and Newsweek had one with the title "Upset." Time closed work on "Reagan's Triumph" on Wednesday and the magazine was on some of the newsstands yesterday, four days ahead of time. Newsweek put out a special election extra it had been working on for nearly a year that was also on the newsstands yesterday. The regular edition of the magazine will be out Monday as usual. U.S. News & World Report will be out as normal on Monday. The National Journal prepared its election edition with the entire election results, which will be out today.

Time spokesperson Brian Brown said the election edition, dated Nov. 19, brought in $12 million in advertising revenue, making it the biggest moneymaker in the history of the magazine. The Newsweek extra is a behind-the-scenes story entirely devoted to the election that contained such inside tidbits as:

President Reagan saying "shut up" to Budget director David Stockman, who was playing Mondale too earnestly during the first debate rehearsal . . . Mondale throwing his cigar across a San Francisco hotel room, shouting in frustration, "I can't get at this guy, how do you go at somebody sideways?" . . . During the second debate rehearsal the president was told the age issue might be brought up. He reflected a moment and then said, "I can handle that."