Question: Where in Southern California can you go to see stars and superb, live, family entertainment--for free?
Answer: A Hollywood TV show.
It's easy to attend the filming of "Happy Days," "Family Feud," "The Tonight Show," and dozens of other programs if you know how to go about it.
None of the networks sends tickets to people living outside California. ABC and NBC send guest cards instead. You can exchange them when you arrive in L.A. for tickets to whatever is available at that time.
Some regular tickets for every performance are reserved for people who show up with guest cards.
CBS also sends guest cards, but theirs don't give you any advantage unless you want to see "The Price Is Right."
For ABC guest cards, write: Guest Relations, ABC TV Center, 4151 Prospect Ave., Hollywood, Calif. 90027. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope when writing ABC or any of the other places mentioned in this article.
For NBC guest cards, write: Tickets, NBC, 3000 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, Calif. 91523.
For CBS guest cards, write: Guest Relations, CBS, Television City, 7800 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90036.
With or without guest cards, you can almost always pick up tickets in person at the networks for some show to be presented that same day or a few days thereafter. In addition, you can pick up ABC tickets at 2040 Avenue of the Stars in Century City, and 1313 N. Vine St., Hollywood.
Having a ticket won't guarantee you'll get in as more tickets are always handed out than there are seats. So to avoid disappointment, come at least 1 1/2 hours before showtime.
Even if you have no tickets for a show, it may be worth taking a chance by waiting in a "no-ticket line." You will be admitted if there is room after all ticket-holders have been seated. Your chances are often pretty good, except during the summer, when people in "no-ticket lines" are almost always turned away.
The networks are still adding and dropping programs for this year's shooting schedule, so there will be tickets available for lots of pilots, regular shows and specials not included in this list.
* Programs staged by ABC in Hollywood: "Benson" (minimum age 16), "Happy Days" (minimum age 16) "Family Feud" (16) and "9 to 5" (16).
Tickets to "Happy Days" are all given out in advance to Californians who request them and there's really no use waiting in the "no-ticket line." However, you can still see the dress rehearsals, which are held weekly from July through mid-December at Paramount Studios in Hollywood by writing to ABC for tickets. Minimum age for dress rehearsals is 8.
* Programs produced by NBC in Burbank: "Cheers" (minimum age 16), "Dream House" (12), "Family Ties" (16), "Fantasy" (14), "Real People" (12 for the dress rehearsal, 14 for the actual taping), "Sale of the Century" (12), "Tonight" (16) and "Wheel of Fortune" (12).
* Programs staged by CBS in Los Angeles: "Alice" (minimum age 16), "Child's Play" (14), "Mama's Family" (14), "Tattletales" (16), "The Price Is Right" (18) and "The $25,000 Pyramid" (14).
A few major Hollywood shows are shot away from the networks. To see "The Merv Griffin Show"' (minimum age 18), write at least two months in advance to: Merv Griffin Tickets, P.O. Box 828, Los Angeles 90028. Tickets to "Dance Fever" (18) can be obtained by writing to: Dance Fever Tickets at that same address. Or, you can often pick up tickets for both shows at the box office, 1541 N. Vine St. in Hollywood.
To see "Hour Magazine" (minimum age 14), call 460-5984 when you get into town and ask when they're taping. For "Solid Gold" (16), which resumes taping Aug. 21, write P.O. Box 6968, Burbank 91510.
For an invitation to dance on "American Bandstand" (couples age 14-20 only), write to: Chris Cavarozzi, American Bandstand, 3003 W. Olive, Burbank 91505. Send a picture together with a description of your dancing style, your ages and the dates you'll be in L.A. Or, when you arrive, call Cavarozzi at 841-3003 on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 5 and 6 p.m.