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Historic Film Studio Up for Bids

October 29, 1986

CULVER CITY, Calif. (AP) _ The studio where ″Gone with the Wind,″ ″King Kong,″ ″Rebecca″ and ″Citizen Kane″ were filmed will go on the auction block Dec. 15.

Laird International Studios, built in 1918 by silent film producer Thomas Ince, will be sold to pay off creditors of Kings Point Corp., which bought the 14-acre center in 1977 and filed for protection from creditors under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in 1982.

Curtis B. Danning, bankruptcy trustee for Kings Point, said he expects the historic studio to sell for at least $20 million.

The studio, named for Kings Point shareholder Joseph Laird, is doing well financially with 15 to 20 independent producers occupying its offices, according to Danning and studio manager Jack Kindberg.

Among the tenants are producers Blake Edwards and Norman Jewison and filmmakers the Cannon Group, Feldman-Meeker Co. and Turman-Foster Co.

Previously known as Selznick Studios, RKO and Desilu, the 12-stage studio has been owned by Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., producer David O. Selznick, billionaire Howard Hughes and television stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

It includes two movie stages built in 1918 with glass roofs and canvas walls. Also on the property are two bungalows, one built by Kennedy for actress Gloria Swanson and the other used by director Orson Welles during filming of ″Citizen Kane.″

The backlot appears in ″Gone with the Wind″ as the Tara plantation and also was used in scenes of the burning of Atlanta. The administration building, modeled after Mount Vernon, is shown briefly behind the Selznick logo at the beginning of the movie.

Located in downtown Culver City, Laird is just blocks from the 44-acre Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot, where nearly 2,000 movies were filmed since 1924.

On Monday, MGM Pictures Inc. and MGM Television Prods. moved off the historic site, scene of such classics as ″The Wizard of Oz,″ ″Doctor Zhivago,″ ″Singin’ in the Rain,″ ″Tarzan″ and ″Ben Hur.″

The lot was purchased by Lorimar-Telepictures, the Hollywood entertainment company that produces television’s ″Dallas″ and ″Knots Landing.″

Danning said Laird is a major asset of Kings Point, and its sale is expected to help the investment firm pay off its creditors.

In the mid-1970s the company organized a number of limited partnerships for investments in coal subleases.

But the Internal Revenue Service refused to allow tax deductions for the investments, forcing the company into bankruptcy protection.

A film company is expected to be the buyer, the trustee said.

Lorimar-Telepictures and Filmcorp Group, both of Culver City, have filed statements of interest with the Culver City Redevelopment Agency in case the agency decides to acquire the lot through condemnation.

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