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Catch Him on the Flip-Flop

Giancarlo Parretti is working overtime to become a bona fide Hollywood movie mogul. But the Italian’s buying binge so far has been limited to independent producers such as Cannon Group and New World Entertainment. What happened to his intention, proclaimed a few months ago, to buy a major--MGM/UA Communications?

Smiling at the question in a recent interview, Parretti said MGM/UA controlling stockholder Kirk Kerkorian is “a good friend and I respect him.” The problem, he said with a broad smile, is this: “In the morning, he will sell, and in the afternoon he won’t sell.”

Elaborating, Parretti said Kerkorian is so wealthy that there is no pressure on him to sell for anything except for “a max, max, max price.”

Digital Dressing

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No one doubts that facsimile machines have changed our lives, but perhaps people are starting to expect too much from them.

Overheard at the Port O’ Call gift and clothing boutique in Brentwood, as a customer tried to buy a dress for a friend: “Don’t you have a store in Palos Verdes? Couldn’t you just fax this to her?”

Getting the Word Out

The Securities and Exchange Commission has hatched some pretty novel ideas in its current crusade against the growing problem of penny stock fraud.

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An SEC official in Washington said the agency is considering its first broadcast advertising campaign to warn investors of schemes that marry telephone sales techniques with penny stocks to bilk the unsophisticated or unwary.

And the SEC in Los Angeles has taken to the mail boxes, persuading state banking authorities to send a warning to every bank in California. The warning also asks the banks to send their customers copies of the flyer, called “Beware of Penny Stock Fraud.”

So far, there are no reports of banks passing along the information. But Pacific Brokerage Services, a nationwide discount brokerage based in Los Angeles, recently mailed the flyer to 25,000 customers.

Just Kidding

They’re loath to admit to it publicly, but the folks at Microsoft weren’t exactly laughing it up last week when the April issue of Macworld hit newsstands. The problem was that columnist Steve Levy decided to celebrate April Fool’s Day with a lengthy description of how Microsoft and IBM had teamed up to build a Macintosh-like computer that would sell--complete with a cellular telephone modem--for a mere $1,000.

“Satire, just satire,” Macworld Editor Jerry Borrell insisted after hastily issuing an apology for causing any confusion. Borrell, who said the column has generated more response than any other in the San Francisco-based magazine’s five-year history, won’t say whether Microsoft demanded the clarification.

A Microsoft official, who didn’t appear to be smiling, said only: “They didn’t do a very good job of communicating to people that this was a joke.”


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