The race that had everything, the wildest, most wide-open Senate campaign in the country, now has all that and more.
In addition to Sen. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. and Rep. Toby Moffett, known to their detractors as "Loudmouth Lowell" and "Terrible Toby," Flip-Flop the Clown, the Clinch River Turkey, butterfly nets and binoculars have all gotten into the act.
And now, by golly, Gen. Patton and the Sundance Kid (a.k.a. George C. Scott and Robert Redford) are in the fight, and the Moffett people are trying to figure how to sound the air-raid sirens on election day if they don't like the way the vote is going.
All this is true. But truth is an elusive commodity in a race where the rivals are quarreling constantly about who voted to raise or cut taxes, to save or gut programs for the elderly, and to bring in or keep out jobs for Connecticut.
No one is sure what is happening. On the same day last week that the Hartford Courant reported Weicker, the two-term Republican senator, was 16 points ahead of Moffett, The New York Times said its polls showed Moffett had moved five points in front.
The betting -- based on private statewide and congressional district polls -- is that Weicker is ahead, but probably by less than 10 points.
One in-depth survey of a bellwether community supports Moffett's claim that he is dead-even with Weicker, but experienced politicians in both parties give Weicker the edge.
The main reason is that the 51-year-old senator, who has given a new dimension to the word "maverick," is enlarging the reputation for independence that has made him unbeatable for 20 years.
At a fund-raiser in Hartford Tuesday night, Senate Majority Leader Howard H. Baker, Jr. (R-Tenn.), who has seen Weicker break party ranks more often than any other GOP senator, told the dinner crowd he had just watched a Weicker commercial with the closing line "Nobody's Man But Yours."
"God, is that ever true," Baker said, before going on to praise Weicker for his "special independence, intellect and integrity."
Ever gracious, Weicker responded to Baker's praise by saying, "I'll promise you one thing, Howard. I'm not going to listen to you any more in the next six years than I have in the last 12."
Moffett, a 38-year-old former Nader's Raider who often has been at odds with his own party leadership during his four terms in the House, has tried to make the race a partisan contest.
His TV spots were redone to put more emphasis on his party label in the closing lines. Moffett plays up his working-class background and depicts Weicker, the heir to the Squibb fortune, as friendly to "big oil" and insensitive to problems of workers threatened by foreign imports, and to oldsters fearful of Social Security cuts.
But every poll shows Weicker cutting heavily into several Democratic constituencies. He used his Labor Committee post to stymie Moffett's bid for AFL-CIO support and took the National Organization for Women's endorsement away from the pro-choice and pro-ERA congressman. Weicker has particularly strong Jewish support against Moffett, who has a Lebanese background.
And Weicker has dominated a series of debates. In the latest, held here Monday night, Moffett was ahead on points until the closing statements when, on impulse, he offered to yield Weicker "five seconds" if he could back up his charge that Moffett had twice voted against moves to restore the Social Security minimum benefit.
To Moffett's evident chagrin and to the cheers of his supporters in the audience, Weicker was immediately able to cite two somewhat cloudy procedural votes that appeared to buttress his contention. The exchange was played over and over on TV news shows.
The weekly debates have provided a continuing stage for "political theater" by the Moffett campaign. The senator was greeted here by Flip-Flop the Clown, a Moffett staffer carrying a signboard pointing out Weicker's reversal of position in condemning the Reagan tax and budget cuts he supported in 1981.
A week earlier, Weicker was caught in a revolving door with the Clinch River Turkey, a costumed symbol of his support for the breeder reactor project in Tennessee.
Weicker played his own theatrical trump last week, when he unveiled a TV spot in which actor George C. Scott, a Connecticut resident, declaimed in his best "Patton" manner, "If you want a senator with guts . . . vote to reelect Lowell Weicker."
Moffett is countering with a visit next week from Robert Redford, a leader in environmental causes.
Still, the Weicker campaign is concerned about whether pro-Reagan Republicans will turn out to support a senator who flaunts his criticism of Reagan's domestic program. Weicker has devoted time to stressing his hard-line defense and foreign policy views and his advocacy of less regulation.
A weak and underfinanced Republican gubernatorial campaign by state Sen. Lewis B. Rome against Gov. William O'Neill also worries the Weicker camp. "I think we are winning our race," said Weicker campaign manager Tom D'Amore, "but I'm not sure we can survive a 150,000-vote loss in the other race."
Moffett also has put lots of money into a computerized voter identification program for election day, but he was reported to be asking other Democratic candidates for financial and organizational help and he took two days off from campaigning to try to raise more money.
That plus persistent reports of coolness to the challenger and support for Weicker in such blue-collar Democratic cities as East Hartford, New Haven and Waterbury, cloud Moffett's prospects.
But his campaign manager, Bob Hanson, says that if all else fails, he may try to get local officials in heavily Democratic towns to sound the air-raid sirens at 5 p.m. election day to remind the faithful to vote.
It's a wild and crazy idea, he conceded, but this is a wild and crazy race.