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'Beverly Hills 90210' Stars Have Their Day in Court : Entertainment: Van Nuys courtroom is cloaked in secrecy as TV crews shoot mystery-marriage episode.

January 08, 1994|MIGUEL BUSTILLO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In Department A of the Van Nuys Superior Court, a palace of paperwork where civil cases are assigned out to judges, there usually is little noticeable action.

But on Friday morning--cloaked in intense secrecy--a drama was being played out in the courtroom's chambers. Was it about a verdict in the Menendez brothers' murder trial, or the sentencing of "Super Freak" singer Rick James on drug and assault charges?

Hardly. The television show "Beverly Hills 90210" was shooting a marriage scene, and Dylan, Brenda and company were present as a member of their clique tied the knot for an upcoming show. The episode will be the final chapter in the season's big mystery: Who got pregnant?

Attempts to keep that plot twist under wraps abounded: in the hallway leading to the courtroom stood a seemingly endless line of security guards. Three long black tarps hung from frames to block public view of the stars.

Nevertheless, curious attorneys and courtroom clerks gossiped and snooped on the proceedings, acting remarkably like the show's mostly teen-aged fans.

"Jason Priestley (who plays Brandon Walsh) looks real good," said court clerk Ann Papa, hoping for an autograph. "He's short though."

Some attorneys seemed less than impressed with the cast of the popular teen-age soap opera. Several, seeing all the movie trailers outside the courthouse, assumed that the jury had reached a verdict in the Menendez trial. Others knew what was up, but still got it only part right.

"They're shooting Beverly Hills 90275," said one man, when asked what the fuss was all about.

Before filming inside Presiding Judge Robert M. Letteau's courtroom, crew members had made cosmetic changes to make it look more like a courtroom. They placed fake wood paneling throughout and covered the clocks with California State seals.

"They said that the pea-green paint reflected badly on the female characters," Letteau said.

Letteau arranged for his two daughters, Lara, 23, and Loren, 14, to sit in on the shoot along with friend Amy Park, 23.

Atty. Erving Hudes was scheduled to settle a case in Letteau's courtroom Friday, but said he was not annoyed by the change in plans. Hudes now had a story to tell his 12-year-old daughter, Kristine. "When she hears that I was on the set of 90210, she'll go gaga," he said.

Despite all the show's security measures, most fans around the courthouse agreed that any discriminating 90210 watcher will easily guess who is getting married.

And just who is pregnant? According to the court clerks, it's Andrea Zuckerman, played by Gabrielle Carteris, who is pregnant in real life (big surprise). She's marrying the character Jesse. The episode is scheduled to air Feb. 9.

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