Matsushita meeting matters to trio

GOOD MORNING: Whether Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg will set up their studio on a proposed 75,000-acre site in Playa Del Rey — or on a 35-acre setting on the backlot of Universal — may well depend on the outcome of the trip by Lew Wasserman and Sidney Sheinberg to Japan Sunday and their meetings with Matsushita. “Conversation awaits other decisions,” is the way Sheinberg puts the discussion about a Universal site. He added, “The first thing on the agenda that the ‘Dream Team’ wants to know is whether we’ll be here.” Sheinberg reminded that the outcome of his and Wasserman’s meetings also depends on what evolves from what Matsushita is going through with its bankers. And thus, whether this trip will have any bearing with the future alliance of Universal and the troika … Susan Powter filed for Chapter 11 in an L.A. federal court on Tuesday. The dynamic Aussie-born hostess’ show, produced by Katz/Rush Ent., is syndie’d by Multimedia and seen on 193 stations — here on KCAL, Mon.-Fri., 9-9:30 ayem. Ray Katz says the filing has no bearing on the show, which starts taping its new season Friday. Powter claims the legal move is a direct result of two lawsuits filed in early October, in which she is opposed by Gerald and Richard Frankel of Dallas, the latter 50% owners of the Susan Powter Corp. She says, “The Frankels have a stranglehold on my career and I can no longer function either personally or professionally under their constraints.”

During the holidays, Glenn Close invited the cast and crew (74) of “Sunset Boulevard” for a private premiere of “Serving in Silence,” the Margarethe Cammermeyer story, co-starring Judy Davis. The real-life drama about a career officer who fought to stay in the Army even after it became known she was a lesbian is scheduled to air on NBC Feb. 6. Further, Close took over the lobby of the Minskoff, where she stars in “Sunset,” to party with the audience after the screening. The audience had given a standing ovation. “I was overwhelmed,” she told Craig Zadan, who produces with her, Barbra Streisand, Neil Meron and Cis Corman. The TV film finales with a note that the government is appealing Cammermeyer’s win which allowed her to remain in the armed services. (She works in the Veterans Administration hospital in Tacoma, Wash.) And as for a reported demand (NBC hasn’t seen it) by the Family Defense Council that the kiss between Close and Davis be eliminated from the airing, NBC says the movie will be aired exactly the way it was filmed. It preems here Jan. 23 to benefit GLAAD and Lambda Legal Defense Fund. Streisand will intro Cammermeyer. And in N.Y., a Jan. 30 screening will benefit Equity Fights AIDS with Cammermeyer again on hand. Streisand is now prepping her two pix, “The Normal Heart” and “The Mirror Has Two Faces.” She nixed her hefty Japanese concert offers.

ALTHOUGH THE CLOSING OF CHASEN’S was expected (reported here Dec. 13, and confirmed Dec. 29), it left everyone shocked. General manager Ronnie Clint told me he had gotten calls from around the country from chagrined old — and new — customers. And, wouldn’t you know it, the place has been packed ever since I announced its demise. Among those there New Year’s Eve, the Aaron Spellings and Frank Mancusos. The eatery’s top catering crew was on hand over the holidays at Mickey and Dick Fleischers’ “Boxing Day Party,” where some of the town’s elite traded their worst Christmas gift — and gave a toast to the hoped-for return of Chasen’s when/if the mall envelops it … Restaurateurs around town were sadly talking to us about the el foldo during the week. David Slay, who tops his also-classy restaurant, La Veranda, lamented his confrere’s departure. And recalled his father’s Kansas City eatery’s demise after an equally long run. Slay has added Friday night music to his popular South Beverly Drive boite … Dan Tana, also saddened by his neighbor’s departure, said 1994 was the best year — his restaurant’s 30th anniversary.

IT’S ELVIS’ 60TH birthday Saturday and Life magazine is devoting its entire issue to him. Hard to believe, but it wasn’t until 1988, more than 11 years after Elvis died, that any Presley appeared on the cover of Life — ex-wife Priscilla and daughter Lisa Marie. It went on to become one of the bestselling issues in the history of Life. The mag chides itself as “one of the vultures who tried to make a fast buck off Elvis’ death and should be cast into hell” for having printed Albert Goldman’s “inescapable conclusion that Elvis’ death was the result of suicide”… Mel Torme will be saluted by the Pacific Pioneer B’casters Jan. 20 at the Sportsmen’s Lodge … Willie Nelson and wife Ann will be Frank and Barbara Sinatra’s house guests in Rancho Mirage when Frank and Willie headline Sinatra’s Celeb Tourney Feb. 25 benefiting the Sinatra Children’s Center in Rancho Mirage.

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