Selling Spelling Manor

What most people know about the lavish L.A. home built by the late TV producer Aaron Spelling and his wife Candy in the late ‘80s is that it’s gargantuan. Some know that it has over 100 rooms—including three devoted solely to housing Candy’s gift wrapping supplies—or that famous folks like Prince Charles and Ronald Reagan have attended functions at the home. But what you may not know about The Manor, as it was dubbed, is that it’s recently been sold to 22-year-old Formula One heiress Petra Ecclestone, and she’s given Spelling just one month to clear out her belongings from its more than 70,000 square feet of space.

Selling Spelling Manor is a series intended to showcase the overwhelming task of emptying out such a massive space. But what the producers might not have realized is that Candy is so bonkers wealthy that the “hectic move” is essentially just a matter of bringing in a big ol’ team of movers, organizing lots of stuff, and, you know, moving it out.  It hardly feels high stakes when there are teams of dozens on hand to do the work. Though a mover named Ricardo sums things up well when describing the home pre-move, “It’s too much. It’s real big.”

What the show does become about is Candy’s oblivious over-the-topness. This is great because Candy, in all her nipped and tucked glory is like a wild-eyed queen who has been tucked away inside her bloated castle for so long that it’s made her cringingly unaware. Like when she talks about how the original plans for the house included a zoo for little Tori. Or when she describes demanding the glamorous Joan Collins—then the star of her late husband’s show Dynasty—come to a movie viewing at The Manor with absolutely no makeup on in order to keep things “plain and simple.”

But the house’s actual facts are really what are worth absorbing:

  • The Manor is situated on nearly five acres in L.A.’s posh Holmby Hills neighborhood.
  • It has 14 bedrooms and 27 bathrooms.
  • It is larger than the Beverly Hills Hotel, Taj Mahal, and White House
  • There are a bowling alley, a barbershop, a screening room, a dining room for 30, a rooftop rose garden, a wine cellar and tasting room, a humidity controlled silver room, parking for 100 cars, the aforementioned gift-wrapping rooms, and a terrifying doll museum.
  • When put on the market, it was the most expensive listing in the world at $150 million.
  • It was sold for $85 million after 840 days on the market

As far as the design history of The Manor, we learn that over the seven years it took to be built, Candy and her interior designer Robert Dally took trips to Europe to buy fixtures and art for the home. Candy proudly notes that not a single fireplace, chandelier, or wall sconce is new. And not just that, but they were purchased in Europe to give the home “integrity.”

We also see Candy’s mostly off-putting collections, including thousands of Beanie Babies, fancy dolls known as Madame Alexanders, and mechanical moving toys called automatons. Hanging on a wall is one of the original Dogs Playing Poker paintings, which she admits she loves for the poodle with the bow in her hair.

There’s certain relief in learning Candy plans to auction off most of these collections and a good deal of art when she moves into her luxury high-rise in Culver City, just down the road from The Manor. But in the meantime, it’s a matter of just showing her walk around the cavernous space, describing the 500-person galas she used to throw in the home and how her "bow machine" really makes gifts look amazing.

It looks like Candy’s two adult children, Tori and Randy, will appear in future episodes of the show, which is a relief, given the awkwardness of watching the wealthy widow amble through the mansion alone, gazing adoringly at her thousands of porcelain dolls. The only question is whether brother Randy will eventually join his mom and sis with a concurrent reality show of his own, so as to not be the odd Spelling out right now (though true Randy fans will remember his short-lived A&E reality show Sons of Hollywood back in 2007). And for all you Beverly Hills 90210 nuts, HGTV pulls off a nifty bonus by having Steve Sanders himself narrate the program. Lucky you, Ziering Heads!

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