GOOD MORNING: Universal is pouring champagne for two celebrations today. The first toasting notes the 40th anniversary of the studio’s tour and tonight, Universal helps Hollywood celebrate another step in its rejuvenation with a multi-starred preem party following “The Bourne Supremacy” at the Cinerama Dome. Vine Street will be closed from Sunset to Hollywood Blvd. Preemgoers will enter the Sunset & Vine 750,000-square foot party site on Vine St., decorated with montages of the movie’s locations — Berlin, Moscow, etc. The full square block extending east on Sunset to Morningside and north to Selma has replaced Hollywood landmarks (Wallichs Music City, Merv Griffin’s Studios, etc.) with 300 urban apartments from the second to fifth floors. The ground floor contains Schwab’s restaurant and C.C. Brown’s ice cream shop, Borders, Bed, Bath and Beyond, etc. Larry Bond, who partnered with brother Robert, Bruce Sagan, Bobby Turner and Magic Johnson, tells me they obtained rights from the Schwab family to use the name of the onetime famed Sunset Blvd. drug store/soda fountain where Lana Turner was supposedly discovered. “We believe in Hollywood,” Bond told me. They plan to avoid errors of another Hollywood rejuvenation project, the Hollywood and Highland complex. There are 830 parking spaces.
REMINISCING ABOUT THE OPENING, 40 years ago of the Universal Studios Tour when tix were $2.50 for adults and $1.25 for children, we again played tourist. On our tram a talented “conductor” described the studio and its history to fans as they took countless pix of the movie lot’s stages, outdoor sets, and of course, the many examples of movie magic. We were reminded of the changes from the origins of “Uncle” Carl Laemmle’s studio –where chickens and wild life once roamed the backlot. The “guide’ loudspeakered how Universal is now part of the giant, 350,000-employees, GE family as she spieled-off Universal’s NBC partnership and its many TV shows — upcoming, as well as the other partners, Bravo, USA, Trio, Sci Fi. CNBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. I couldn’t help rereading my column of July 14, 1964, the eve of the bow of the Studio tour when I wrote: “Cary Grant is one of Universal’s moneymakers who doesn’t look forward to the advent of tourist trade on the lot. He sez, ‘There are only two places where I want privacy — at home and at the studio.’ Grant grants it’s only logical tourists feel they should go inside a stage after paying for a studio tour. ‘I know if I paid to get inside a studio, I’d want to see Rock Hudson’.” Grant had just wound filming ‘Father Goose” for Universal … P.S. I think Cary would have loved going on the tour with us today — and later catching the “Spider-Man Rocks” show.
THE FIRST THING you’ll see upon entering the Bill Clinton Presidential Library is a film starring the former president. It is being written by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry T. will interview Clinton for the intimate “Bill on Bill” welcome. The library bows Nov. 18 in Little Rock … At the private funeral service for Ronald Reagan we were moved hearing Reagan’s voice — emanating from an Oval Office set re-created in the Ronald Reagan library … Simon & Shuster is releasing the paperback of “Four Trials” by John Edwards with John Auchardbefore the convention bows. William Morris’ Norman Brokaw and Mel Berger made the publishing deal for Edwards who visited the Morris office in BevHills … The hymn, “Mansions of the Lord,” which was played as the closing of the Reagan services in the National Cathedral was the hymn from the film “We Were Soldiers,” written by Randall Wallace and Nick Glennie-Smith. Wallace was honored by the Daughters of the American Revolution as the key speaker Saturday at D.C.’s Constitution Hall … TV producer Gary Grossman’s political thriller “Executive Actions” (Simon & Schuster) , a Literary Guild selection, will also be out in time for the conventions … Bill Haber is “enhancing a run” of Alan Katz’s play “Partners” to bow at the Delaware Theater Festival. Lee Stalmaster is casting the two-character comedy. Meanwhile, Haber is readying the B’way bow of giant “Monty Python’s Spamalot” with hefty cast including David Hyde Pierce and Hank Azaria. But first — and closest to Haber’s heart — is Save the Children and he’s next off to the Sudan with food relief to their hungry children … Paul Newman and Gore Vidal have joined the board of the Institute of Modern Letters working to save persecuted writers. The institute was founded by Glenn Schaeffer, head of Mandalay Bay … Casting for TBS’ “Gilligan’s Island Survivors” moves a step closer to airing with finalists appearing before producers Sherwood and Lloyd Schwartz and Mike Fleiss today at the Meridian Hotel. Ten contenders each for the roles of the Skipper, Professor, Farm Girl, Millionaire and Gilligan have arrived in town. “Ginger,” a bon fide “movie star” and host are also about to be set for the November start — mebbe in Cancun … Roger Ebert, Peter O’Toole and Olivia de Havilland will be honored at the Savannah Film Festival, Oct. 23-30. Olivia will be also be there for the 65th anni of “GWTW” … PAX TV will air the multi-starred 31st Vision Awards, held June 27 at the BevHilton … David Larible, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s “Prince of Laughter” and Italy’s most famous clown, displays his other talents — in the kitchen — Tuesday at the Italian Cultural Institute in Westwood. He’ll stir up some food fun along with chefs Mark Peel and Paolo Pasto. Laribe, a seventh generation circus performer, is joined in this the 134th edition of the circus by daughter Shirley, 14. … Producer-director-writer Steven Sawalich and producing partner Brett Donovan have set up offices on The Lot in Hollywood to cast their feature, “The Music Within.” They describe it as “Forrest Gump” meets “A Beautiful Mind.” … The Concern Foundation’s Block Party Saturday at the Petersen Auto Museum will boast auctioneers Brad Garrett and Monty Hall … On Monday, the Gersh Agency’s Leslie Siebert and Barbara Halperin celebrate their 20th and 15th annis, respectively, with the firm.