HOTELS: Luck of the Irish

Even blase Hollywood was impressed by the invitations from Houston. They were in gold, on white doeskin. For this week's opening of his $21 million Shamrock hotel, hustling Oilman Glenn McCarthy had requested the company of a trainload of movie and radio stars. He had the forethought to rent a Santa Fe Super Chief to carry his guests free to Texas and back. As a St. Patrick's Day touch, McCarthy had ordered 2,500 shamrocks flown over from Eire.

Some 2,000 of Houston's wealthy and others forked over $42 a head to eat imported...