THE EVENT SOUNDED LIKE A PARODY OF A SOCIETY PARTY: Marvin’s Million Dollar Dream, a $1,000-a-plate gala celebrating the seventy-fifth birthday of that disturbingly loud Houston TV personality, Marvin Zindler. It would be held in late August, the sweatiest month of the year—precisely when people of money and taste scrambled to get out of town. Had chairwoman Carolyn Farb lost her mind? God, no one held black-tie parties in August.
But Farb, one of Houston’s most elegant blond swans, was determined to make history. She even predicted in a press release that the party—a benefit for the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center—would “set a new fundraising record” for a one-night event. Old society hands were skeptical. There was no way, they said, that Farb was going to beat the $1.56 million raised at a 1991 gala for M. D. Anderson by Nellie Connally, the widow of John Connally, and Barbara Hurwitz, the wife of controversial Houston industrialist Charles Hurwitz. “Honey, I’ll tell you, we put the screws on that year,” Connally told me before the Farb fete. “We just went out and told everyone they had to give us