HOW TO MAKE A SPLASH: Allan Carr has launched even his flops (Can't Stop the Music, Where the Boys Are) with such lavish bashes that some Hollywood wags have suggested he skip the movies and just direct the parties. Now Carr is talking to L.A. matrons about what he does best. The first forum took place at the Broadway department store in the Beverly Center, where about 30 women paid $7 each to partake of iced tea, cheese squares and Carr's insight. Among his tips: "The best way to really enliven an outdoor party is to have a girl dressed in a full mermaid outfit floating around the pool. The only problem with that, of course, is that eventually someone may have to carry her to the John, so you have to hire someone with a strong bladder."

MINT CONDITION: Nearly everyone in the Pasadena Civic Auditorium was startled when Barry Bremen, a manufacturer's rep from West Bloomfield, Mich., disrupted the Emmys by accepting an award for Hill St. Blues' Betty Thomas, whom he claimed wasn't present. (After Thomas appeared, Bremen was arrested.) But Tony Roberts wasn't as surprised as some. Roberts and his date, actress Penny Fuller, were sitting across the aisle from Bremen and thought he was a bit weird. "He started a conversation with us about breath mints—Dynamints," says Roberts. "I thought it was a little overly familiar of him, but he was interested in that stuff. He was sitting at this very prestigious event talking about Dynamints! Next thing I know, the guy's onstage grabbing the statuette."

BESIDES, THE HOURS ARE BETTER: Dolly Parton, who's now touring with Kenny Rogers, was asked to compare two of her movies: Nine to Five and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. She said she had a "better time" filming the former but felt that the casting of the latter was more authentic. "I really believe I make a better whore than a secretary."

I'D RATHER BE RATHER: Charles Kuralt's On the Road TV series and his recently released book of the same name have earned him a reputation as a leading chronicler of the American life. But could Kuralt be saying that he'd like to come off the road? "CBS never let me cover anything important," he jokingly told a literary brunch crowd at New York's Plaza Hotel. "For 18 years I've been covering church suppers and county fairs. My job is to cover the swimming pig or the car that runs on corncobs. They have instructions at CBS: If I find a good story they thank me and say they'll call a real reporter. You won't hear the real stories of our times from me. I've missed them all."

SCALES OF JUSTICE: Florence Halop, who played St. Elsewhere's perpetually ill Mrs. Hufnagel, is losing weight in her new role as Night Court's wisecracking bailiff, Florence Kleiner. "I'm bringing in prisoners, I'm taking out prisoners," says Halop. "I'm trimming down thanks to all the exercise I get. On St. Elsewhere I was always on a gurney, always in a wheelchair or always in bed." You could call that lying down on the job.

DID HE EVER WRITE SPEECHES FOR MONDALE? Now that they're both best-selling authors, Jimmy Carter (Keeping Faith) and wife Rosalynn (First Lady From Plains) are collaborating on a book. The subject, Rosalynn told the Detroit News, will be personal health. "It won't be preachy at all," she said, "but it will have to do with lifestyle." The title? "Well, we're having a bit of a disagreement. I prefer How to Add 11 Years to Your Life. Jimmy wants to call it Death by Choice." She thinks the publishers just might be leaning toward her version.