TV's 39th annual, Prime-time Emmy Awards and the first Charity Starscene '87, a festival at North Hollywood Park, have something in common besides being held today.
Actually, they have someone in common, though that someone has nothing to do with producing the nationally televised awards show.
The someone is Kenneth H. Adkins, a real estate developer and prime mover behind the festival and future home of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the 6,000-member nonprofit organization that presents the Emmy Awards.
"It's no coincidence that the festival is being held today," he said. "The (Universal City/North Hollywood) Chamber of Commerce wanted to put on some kind of a charity event, and I had the idea that three or four years after the Academy opens, we could put on a festival built around celebrities during the weekend of the Emmys."
Adkins decided not to wait until the Academy that he was talking about got built. He shared his festival idea with the chamber, and a 120-member committee made it a reality.
Now, as co-chairman of the multifaceted Kensley Corp.--general partner of the Academy Venture, he is working with KG Academy Corp., a subsidiary of Kumagai Gumi Co. Ltd. of Tokyo, and the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency to make the $350-million, 22-acre Academy in North Hollywood a reality.
Kumagai Gumi will be the general contractor, and McLarand, Vasquez & Partners is the architect, with landscaping designed by the SWA Group.
"Kensley was organized in 1981 to develop the project," Adkins said in his office, across the street from the construction site on the northeast corner of Lankershim and Magnolia boulevards.
Leo Chaloukian, the Academy's building committee chairman and newly elected first vice president, has worked on the project for six years, or three Academy president's terms.
"It's really going to be something for North Hollywood," he said in his office on Vine Street in Hollywood. "And for the Academy, it will finally be a home for everything we dreamed of--for things like this. . . ."
He pointed to some of the Emmys and Oscars, including one for the movie "Platoon" that Ryder Sound Services, the 39-year-old company he has owned since the late '70s, won. "And for things like this." He gestured toward some old microphones and other antique professional equipment.
Museum, Library Included
The Academy project will have a museum with exhibits of such items--"or maybe scenes from, say, the old 'I Love Lucy' show, which you can see by just pushing a button," Chaloukian suggested.
It will have a library, he said, "open to students like the library of the motion picture academy's."
It will house busts of the 21 stars already in the 4-year-old Television Hall of Fame and the seven more to be installed Nov. 15.
The Academy also will have a 25-foot tall replica of the Emmy statue, which is expected to become another Hollywood-industry landmark.
What Chaloukian views as "the most exciting thing," though, will be the 600-seat theater, which will have a kitchen, 55-foot wide screen, five projectors and a capability of projecting slides and various sizes of videotape.
Academy 'Theme Tenant'
It's being designed by Jeff Cooper Architects AIA, which also designed theaters and studios for George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, among others. The Academy theater will be available for lease when the Academy isn't using it during an estimated 90 days of the year.
The Academy, known as the "theme tenant" of the project, will have about 10,000 square feet of offices and meeting rooms, which about doubles the size of its current headquarters in Burbank. The project is being described as the Academy's "first permanent home," since Academy facilities were previously on short-term leases.
"And we can expand and have a total of 20,000 square feet if we choose," Chaloukian said. "We also have an option to buy the building within five years, and/or we can buy--at very favorable rates--some property directly behind the theater, which could be our library site."
At what rates? Nobody would say, but when asked why the Academy was willing to move from the more studio-oriented, newer environs of Burbank to North Hollywood, the first area of the San Fernando Valley to undergo redevelopment because it was one of the first communities to be built, Richard Frank, president of the Academy and Walt Disney Pictures & Television, said:
'An Incredible Deal'
"For us, it was an ability to get an incredible deal in what appears to be a really fine development. It wasn't like matching Burbank and North Hollywood, but so much of the (movie and television) business has moved to this end of the valley, anyway--I'd guess that 60% is on this side of the hill now--that 10 blocks farther away, in North Hollywood, isn't that far to go."
Besides, before the Academy's headquarters was moved to Burbank, it was in North Hollywood, so the area isn't new to the group.