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Hoping to Put Anaheim on the Star Map

Entertainment: Plan calls for Hollywood-themed dinner-theater to join proposed Sportstown complex.

October 17, 1997|JAMES S. GRANELLI and DEBRA CANO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

ANAHEIM — A group that includes retired Disneyland executive Jack B. Lindquist is bringing the first major business--a $15-million themed dinner-theater attraction--to Anaheim's proposed Sportstown complex.

Tinseltown Studios, if approved by city officials, will give patrons a sense of what it's like to walk down that red carpet at a big Hollywood awards event, said Jim Garber, who worked with Lindquist in developing the concept.

Stage shows would include film clips, movies and live entertainment, and the entire event would be highly interactive, he said.

Lindquist, Garber and Ogden Entertainment in New York, which operates the Pond of Anaheim, will provide details on Tinseltown at a work session Tuesday for city officials. The City Council will vote on it that evening.

If the proposal is approved, construction would start immediately and would be completed by next fall, said Tom Etter, Ogden's project coordinator for Tinseltown.

Tinseltown is expected to give the 40-acre Sportstown complex the adrenaline it needs to court retail, hotel, commercial and entertainment tenants.

"Whenever you have a major attraction like that, it certainly does help to attract additional interest from other potential tenants," said Victor Grgas of Forest City Development California Inc., the city contractor marketing the site.

He declined to identify any other possible tenants.

Ogden, which also is the concessionaire at the Pond and at Anaheim Stadium, would buy a 1.25-acre parcel from the city on Katella Avenue north of the stadium, Etter said. The dinner-theater, which would be built on Katella, would seat 700 patrons and employ more than 100 workers.

The project brings Lindquist, 70, back to the forefront of themed entertainment. Though he retired as president of Disneyland in 1993, he has been busy ever since with numerous projects, said Garber, 50.

"I don't think you can take anybody with that kind of creativity and imagination and ask him to go into retirement," he said. "The mind doesn't stop working."

Garber, who worked at Disneyland and the Walt Disney Co. for 14 years before forming his own marketing company in 1984, said he and Lindquist began brainstorming about an attraction for Sportstown nearly a year ago as the city neared approval for the retail and entertainment complex.

In developing the concept, they examined the popularity of themed entertainment attractions, looked for something that would include audience participation and capitalized on "the world's infatuation with Hollywood and movie-making," Garber said.

Then, after talking with several companies, they sold the concept to Ogden. Garber and Lindquist created GarLin Productions to produce the stage shows and handle the sales and marketing.

Garber said the "energetic" Lindquist was enthusiastic about the project.

Lindquist, widely credited for helping to make Disneyland a world-famous tourist attraction during his 38 years there, couldn't be reached for comment.

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