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'1st Tour' Set of Former MGM Studio

March 01, 1987|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

Ever wanted to take a peek at the "Dallas" sound stage, the area where the Yellow Brick Road made its way to Oz, the rehearsal studio of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, the place where Spencer Tracy first met Katharine Hepburn?

The Los Angeles Conservancy will give what is billed as "the first public tour of the former MGM Studio," where all of these can be seen, March 8.

The Culver City studio, which was purchased by Lorimar last year, has been in continuous use since it was built for Triangle Pictures in 1916. Today, it's a production facility for "Dallas," as well as other TV shows, including "Knots Landing," "Perfect Strangers," "Valerie" and "Our House."

Many of the original buildings are still there, though, and the studio lot looks much the same as it did when "Singing in the Rain" (1952) and "The Wizard of Oz" (1939) were filmed.

The tour will begin with a 1925 film showing the stars, directors and studio at that time. Then, the docent-led walk. Among the features: the location of Esther Williams' water follies and the schoolhouse where Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland and Elizabeth Taylor studied as children. The hourlong tour will end with a reception in the commissary.

Start times: 11 a.m., noon, 1 and 2 p.m. Price: $25 for Conservancy members, $35 for others. Reservations: through the Conservancy, 849 S. Broadway, Suite M22, Los Angeles 90014, telephone: 623-CITY.

Evangelist Oral Roberts' quest to raise $4.5 million before the end of this month prompted the query: Why not sell his house in Beverly Hills?

Southlanders remember that a four-bedroom, five-bath structure, on .8 of an acre, was bought for Roberts in 1982 for $2.4 million. With the subsequent rise in prices, it's now probably worth close to his $4.5-million goal.

Neither Roberts nor his son, Richard, was available for comment, but City National Bank holds a title-holding trust. Richard Roberts was quoted in 1984 as saying that the home was for use of family members and a few of his father's top executives.

Oral Roberts said then that it had been purchased from the Oral Roberts University's $60-million endowment fund as "an office and a residence together that could be sold quickly for endowment purposes."

Deanna Durbin, that cute and talented singer/actress who was so popular in the '30s and '40s before retiring to live quietly in France, resided for awhile during her movie heyday in a sprawling Mediterranean-style, Los Angeles-area villa, which has just been sold.

Entrepreneur Steve Lenci, who owned the one-acre estate in the Laughlin Park section of Los Feliz since 1979, has sold it after extensively restoring and renovating the 20-room, walled and gated home. (He employed a small army of craftsmen from Europe and had--among other things--lacquered walls installed.)

The buyer was described as an L. A. businessman.

The home went for close to its asking price of $1.5 million. It was listed with Keith Biggar of Rodney Page of Page/Wingate Realtors. The home was termed "perhaps the highest-priced individual property sold in the Los Feliz area."

The neighborhood around Durbin's mansion (with vintage soda fountain, butler's pantry, silver safe, chauffeur's waiting area and living room the size of a small ballroom) also was home to Cecil B. DeMille, whose family still owns his compound, and W. C. Fields, whose house is now owned by actress Lily Tomlin.

The Beverly Hills Country Club, which happens to be in Cheviot Hills, celebrated a reopening last Thursday after $10 million was spent renovating the 50-year-old facilities: a 34,000-square-foot clubhouse, swimming pool and tennis courts where Charles Boyer, Humphrey Bogart and Errol Flynn are said to have played.

There are some other heavy hitters, though not necessarily in a tennis sense, on the current membership list. Among them: Armand Hammer, Rafer Johnson, Sherry Lansing, Charles T. Manatt, Jim Nabors, Martina Navratilova and Tom Selleck.

Memberships range from $3,000 to $10,000.

Speaking of clubs, the South Bay is getting a private dining one on the top floor of the six-story Commonwealth Bank Building in Torrance.

Albert Brett, formerly head of food and beverage at multimillionaire real estate developer David Murdock's successful Regency Club (private dining club in Westwood), is general manager, and Jeffrey L. Garner, also from the Regency Club and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, N. Y., is chef. Opening date: No fooling, it's April 1. Memberships: $2,500 for the first 100, $3,000 for the second.

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