No one has ever accused Sen. John Tower (R.-Tex.) -- friend of oil interests, the military and big business -- of taking from the rich to give to the poor. But in a few weeks he may do just that if he agrees to portray Robin Hood at a Dallas party that is becoming an annual tradition.
For the past five years Texas reporters and pols have fought for tickets to a theme party starring John Tower doing in public what many elected officials might not agree to do in private. Last year, for example, Tower played a 5-foot 6-inch Superman leaping to the rescue of a maiden in distress. In other years he played a cowpoke and recreated Peter Lorre's role in the movie "Casablanca."
Tower's office nixed a suggestion that this year's skit be based on the Battle of the Alamo; no one wanted to risk offending Mexican-Americans. So tentative plans call for the 1980 show to be based on the legend of Robin Hood, featuring Tower in green with bow and arrow.
The annual event is organized by a public relations man for Atlantic-Richfield, Buddy Beck, and his high school friend, Joe Barta, a former reporter who now does PR for a north Dallas shopping center where the event is held.
Tower, says Barta, is always a good sport on stage, as are two other Texas congressmen who have played roles in past theme parties, Democrat James Mattox and Republican James Collins.
Footnote: At the first gathering in 1974, Tower played a country-western singer and sang Gene Autry's "I'm Back in the Saddle Again," which became his unofficial campaign song. An aide traces Tower's love for the spotlight to his days as a radio disc jockey in Taylor, Tex., when he was known as "Tex Tower."