During their trip to Los Angeles from July 8 to 10, newlyweds Prince William and Kate Middleton will have a hard time topping William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth II in the royal-visit glitz department. When Her Majesty and Prince Philip came to the West Coast in February 1983, they attended an event in their honor that rivaled any premiere: a lavish 500-guest dinner on 20th Century Fox's Sound Stage 9. Famed production designer Walter Scott transformed the M*A*S*H set into a garden setting with 19,000 square feet of AstroTurf. The guest list included Rod Stewart, Lucille Ball, Joan Collins, Elton John, Fred Astaire, Jimmy Stewart and Henry Kissinger. For the main course, Chasen's prepared chicken pot pies -- a favorite dish of President Reagan (who didn't attend, though his wife Nancy did). Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and Dionne Warwick sang. George Christy wrote in The Hollywood Reporter that one guest described the queen applauding as "the sound of one hand clapping. Her hands never touch." And, of course, in the entitlement department, the royals had nothing on Old Hollywood. Barbara Davis recalls that her late husband, Marvin -- who bought Fox in 1981 and hosted the event -- was deluged by requests to attend. One came from Bette Davis, who asked why she hadn't received an invitation. The studio owner told her the event was "full up." She replied, "I want a f--ing invitation." Somehow it was arranged, and at the dinner, the actress shook hands with the studio owner on the receiving line and said, "I'm so glad I was able to change my plans so I could attend."
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