March 25, 1985 12:00 PM

Don’t make any promises your body can’t keep. Actress Lina Raymond almost did just that when, on the verge of being cast in the syndicated TV production of Ken Follett’s spy novel The Key to Rebecca, she told the producers she would learn how to belly dance. Ten weeks of cramming later—with the producers growing increasingly curious—Raymond announced on the set in Tunisia that she’d perform without rehearsal. “I knew it was now or never,” says Raymond of her three-minute shimmy. Cameras rolled, cymbals clanged, and Raymond wriggled without a hitch. Confident she could do it even better, Raymond asked for one more take and finished to the cheers of Tunisian extras. “It is a good thing that was wearing a long skirt,” she says, “because my knees were shaking.” Luckily, so was the rest of her.

And on to politics: The most irreverent line about the recent surge in Soviet state funerals comes from Britain’s Denis Healey, the Labour Party’s spokesman on foreign affairs. “When I went to the Brezhnev funeral,” says Healey, “I should have asked for a season ticket….”

Back in the U.S.A. former Mondale campaign chairman Jim Johnson, who had hoped to be President Mondale’s chief of staff by now, is running a consulting business in Washington, D.C. and, by his own account, planning to play a lot more tennis. For that matter, “You’ll be seeing a lot more of Fritz Mondale on the tennis court, too,” says Johnson. “We’ve both got our priorities back in order.”

Whose dress was it anyway? It seems the white silk taffeta gown Joan Collins wore on the December 5 episode of Dynasty was not created by Nolan Miller, the series’ official costume designer. The dress was the work of Japanese designer Tadaomi, whose assistants saw the episode and called Dynasty’s production office to invite Collins to Tadaomi’s New York showroom. Says Tadaomi’s publicist Kim Ronemus: “The production office said it was impossible that Joan Collins wore a Tadaomi gown, because all of her dresses are designed by Nolan Miller.” But Miller’s sketch artist, Donna Peterson, says, “It could have been a Tadaomi gown. We don’t give screen credit to other designers, but we occasionally buy other designers’ dresses for the girls. Sometimes the girls see clothes in the stores that they like, and our wardrobe people buy them, though I don’t often approve of what they buy.” No offense, Tadaomi.

Lee de Broux of ABC’s MacGruder & Loud will play New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson, who died in a 1979 airplane crash. The producers of the feature film, due out next year, want Yankee owner George Steinbrenner to portray himself and may offer some Yankee players a chance at achieving screen immortality.

Stuttering C&W singer Mel Tillis worked hard to keep his famous speech impediment under control while making a comedy called Uphill All the Way, which also features Roy Clark, Glen Campbell and Burt Reynolds, in a cameo role. But during a big scene, Tillis got so nervous that he uttered an ad-libbed stutter: “I think we just took up b-b-b-b-bank robbin’!” Says the film’s executive producer, Renee Valente: “It wasn’t in the script. But it was so funny, we had to use it.”

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