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Atop Stage 6 Hangs Quite A Tail

November 23, 1986|Rhys Thomas

Recall that the folks at Lorimar-Telepictures--new owners of the MGM lot--recently disengaged Leo the Lion from his lair high atop MGM's studios and put up their own sign.

But did Lorimar know they were tampering with Culver City zoning codes when they unceremoniously spelled out their mammoth logo on what remained of the legendary 105-foot-wide sign that had loomed over Stage 6?

The City Council supposedly has the final say on as to whether Lorimar's sign stays or goes: Though codes now forbid rooftop signs, the council made an exception for old Leo six years ago because--after more than 50 years up there--he'd achieved historic significance. The city added a clause outlining such exceptions: "All modifications (to a historic sign) shall be made pursuant to the city approved plans and applicable city permits and inspections."

Oops! Neither MGM/UA nor Lorimar notified the city of the sign change. Which means, says City Planner Jay Cunningham, they violated the ordinance. Another nagging question: Does a sign that simply says "The Home of Lorimar Telepictures" really have "historic significance"?

MGM/UA's aware of the uproar. The company plans to relocate the famed leonine portion of the sign to the company's new hq across the street from the old MGM, a spokesman said, and "we are working with the City Council and the city planners to come up with a legal solution."

The jungle of regulations apparently has Lorimar up a tree. "We can't apply for modifications until we know what we're going to do with the sign," said a spokeswoman, who admitted, "It was our understanding that we could paint over the lower marquee without a permit. We have since been notified that to do that we need a permit."

So far, no fur has flown because, said Cunningham, the City Council is "confident that both (parties) will come forward with requests for modification."

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