GOOD MORNING: “I remember they said we were crazy,” Lew Wasserman reminisced at Universal Studios Hollywood’s 30th anniversary. “They said talent wouldn’t want people staring at them — and that it (the tour) wouldn’t do 50,000 people a year.” Yes, Wasserman admitted, talent did not delight in seeing the tourists invade their sanctum sanctorum. Then, one day, Robert Taylor, coming out of the commissary, saw a tram (there were only two running four times daily, with a capacity of 70 people). Taylor walked over to the fans, who were totally respectful. And Jimmy Stewart, coming out of his “Rare Breed” stage, walked alongside a tram, talked to the fans. No star complained thereafter. And when Alfred Hitchcock did his famous commercial, riding in a tram and talking to a likeness of himself walking alongside, the floodgates were opened. I wrote the initial “Universal City Studios Story” book for the tour, 29 years ago. That tour has come a long way from the Quonset huts on Lankershim Boulevard and an entertainment center in the basement of the commissary, plus a fashion show by Edith Head and Perc Westmore doing makeup on a lucky fan … Wasserman says 5 million visitors will pass through the Universal City tour gates and 7 million in Orlando this year. A 3,000-car parking garage is added next to the 18-screen Cineplex Odeon Universal, the country’s most successful house(s). And a new office building will soon open on the hill, replacing trailers, making room for four more acres of a second CityWalk, which will double its present size … Tuesday night, 700 guests helped Universal celebrate the anni. They were red-carpeted from the new live “Flintstones” show, to “Cinemystique” starring Jonathan and Charlotte Pendragon, then to the Spectrablast, cornerstone of the new nighttime summer program. Among those on hand who’ve worked or played at Universal: Tony Curtis, Charlton Heston, Tom Selleck, Tippi Hedren, Howie Mandel, Suzanne Pleshette, Malcolm-Jamal Warner. And Wasserman and Sidney Sheinberg. The latter were also celebrating the latest “Schindler’s List” figures –$ 210 million foreign — and the “Flintstones’ ” blockbuster bow in Singapore!
MIKE MEDAVOY’S MAKING friend$ “all over the place.” Now in Toronto, he’s raising hundreds of million$ for his filmmaking consortium. “It’s going really well,” he reported. Asked when he will return to production, he noted, “I can’t wait”… Following Tuesday’s special and successful “Turning Point” O.J. Simpson show with Sam Donaldson, Barbara Walters, Forrest Sawyer and Diane Sawyer pressed into duty, ABC has six staffers frantically searching for something new to air in an O.J. seg on tonight’s regular “PrimeTime Live.” Diane Sawyer winged to SanFran, tried (unsuccessfully up to our deadline) to get an interview with O.J.’s mother … NBC’s Jay Leno, seeing that Donaldson was here for the Simpson stuff on ABC, tried to get him to guest on his “Tonight” show … Garry Shandling’s paged Steven Spielberg to guest on his successful HBO’er, “The Larry Sanders Show.” It’s looking good. Shandling, enjoying the raves for his new season, also got high compliments from Warren Beatty on his (Shandling’s) performance in Beatty’s bigscreen “Love Affair.” He also has a small role in the Steve Martin untitled pic for Nora Ephron. Garry and Michael Leeson (“The War of the Roses”) are scripting an untitled Columbia “relationship” movie in which Shandling’s an alien who comes to Earth … Talking of Spielberg, he appears next week before Sen. Paul Simon’s (D-Ill.) Senate Committee hearings on hate crimes … The joint Demo National and N.Y. State Committees hold two fundraisers Monday with President Clinton and Gov. Cuomo on hand. The earlier feed, $ 25,000 a couple, is at the St. Regis, and the second, $ 1,000 per person , at the Sheraton. Kirk Douglas, Carly Simon and Bob Altman are among those attending.
MICHAEL JACKSON TOOK A BEAT from recording his “History” album (Sony) to visit stroke-stricken Cab Calloway in White Plains … It pays to advertise — in Daily Variety: Manager Aaron Gordon’s ad Tuesday, requesting writers for John Wayne Bobbitt’s upcoming standup saloon act, got hefty response from scripters plus — curious national press and many comedy clubs. Gordon also told me Bobbitt is “80% functional, but won’t be able to have children”… Karen Gee marries Skeet McAuley Saturday at Deer Valley. Marci Blaze is matron of honor … The BevHilton Trader Vic’s has a new maitre d’, Nino Osti, well known to Hollywood pals he’s greeted for years at the Polo Lounge of the BevHills Hotel … Terry Bradshaw delivers the keynote address to Fox affiliate owners and general managers today at the Century Plaza.