MGM LIONS STOLEN; UNUSUAL REWARD OFFERED

Associated Press

Two MGM lions are missing from the studio's former lot in Culver City, and their current owners are offering a unique reward to anyone whose tip leads to their return: lunch with "Dallas" star Larry Hagman and an appearance on the television show.

The life-size mahogany sculptures were stolen when Lorimar-Telepictures, which produces "Dallas," moved onto the lot last month. The lot had housed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Co. since 1924.

While Lorimar's staff was moving in and MGM's was moving across the street, thieves dressed as porters took advantage of the confusion to take the lions in broad daylight, said Burt Vaupen, Lorimar's senior vice president for administration. The sculptures had flanked the entrance to a building on the lot.

A Lorimar receptionist saw the men but didn't suspect that a crime was being committed, Vaupen said. Several weeks passed before Vaupen realized that no one knew where the lions were.

"I don't know how you would price them," Vaupen said. "They're part of the history of the lot."

Hagman, who plays J.R. Ewing on "Dallas," and the show's producer, Leonard Katzman, volunteered to help with the hunt after the thefts were discovered. Hagman had previously tried to buy the lions from Lorimar but was turned down because of their historic value.

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