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Spelling Criticizes Ruling on '90210' Filming in Hermosa : Television: Producer says such decisions encourage filmmakers to work out of state.

October 09, 1993|TED JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Producer Aaron Spelling, lashing out at a court ruling that forced "Beverly Hills, 90210" out of a Hermosa Beach neighborhood, said that such incidents encourage filmmakers to work out of California.

Spelling called on Gov. Pete Wilson and other state officials to prevent similar actions elsewhere.

In his first comments since the brouhaha began, Spelling also bristled at an insulting banner targeting his daughter, a cast member, that was displayed by a resident.

Torrance Superior Court Commissioner Abraham Gorenfeld this week banned the popular series from filming at a beachfront home, ruling that it violated city laws prohibiting business activity in residential neighborhoods.

The ruling, Spelling said, "is like Detroit saying no motor companies can be in town."

"It's mind-boggling," he said. "We were there for three days of filming. It's not as if we were filming at all hours of the night and kept everyone awake."

Gorenfeld's decision came in response to a group of Hermosa Beach residents' complaints that the show's cast and crew, trucks and heavy equipment disrupted their neighborhood. The residents sued the city, saying that its film permit to the show violated zoning laws.

Spelling, however, claimed that it was just a small group of neighbors who opposed the filming but nevertheless were able to prevail with their suit.

"We can't understand how one man can force an issue," he said. "If it can happen here, it can happen elsewhere."

State Film Commission officials say they will seek legislation to allow filming in residential areas where zoning laws may prohibit it.

The series used a home on the Strand for a story line in which three characters--Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth), David Silver (Brian Austin Green) and Donna Martin (Tori Spelling)--rent a beachfront home.

In July, on the first of three days that the show has shot in Hermosa Beach, one resident in a boat tried to disrupt filming by displaying a banner that read "Go Home, Tori!"

"I was rather upset by that," Spelling said. "Come on, that man could have called Tori's father and not have had her in tears."

Most of the interior scenes were shot elsewhere. But the series went to Hermosa three days since July to shoot exterior scenes where characters could interact on an ocean setting.

"We're going to have to find another beach location and redo the set," he said. "It's aggravating. But we're not complaining about '90210.' We're complaining about the loss of work in the state."

Attorney Jim Hamilton, a neighbor who represented plaintiffs in the suit, has said that such fears are overblown and that producers have a host of other options from which to choose.

In his ruling, Gorenfeld said that there were "many miles of seashore available" to shoot in Southern California.

Spelling's response: "There are great beaches in Galveston, Tex."

Spelling Entertainment already has shot other series and TV movies in Florida, Louisiana and Canada, which regularly place ads in industry trade papers to lure production.

"We're going to do everything we can to stay here," Spelling said. "But we will leave if we don't know what will happen day to day."

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