Burbankers Remember

Burbankers Remember

 

Edited by Wes Clark

 


An old TV show began, "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them." If this is the case for New York City, there must be over 100,000 stories for Burbank!

 

The idea of this page is to capture some of the memories, lore and interesting tales about life lived in Burbank. The criterion for inclusion is that the tales be specially about life in Burbank - there are other forums for the San Fernando Valley and elsewhere. And, after all, the web site is named "Burbankia," right? I'm looking for things like using old Lockheed linen for dresses, or Love From Above - stuff like that.

 

To submit your Burbank stories contact me!

 

Wes


10/20/16 - Midnight Special tapings by Marvin Steinberg

We would go every Tuesday night to see the taping of the Midnight Special at NBC; we would get the tickets in the morning at 8:00 am and be late for school. It was amazing and being so close up and seeing everyone from the Kinks, ELO, T REX, Badfinger, Chuck Berry, Loggins and Messina, Bee Gees, New York Dolls, Anne Murray, Little Richard etc. Gosh, it was fun and great! Edgar Winter!!! I could go on...


7/8/16 - According to Dodie Moore, Burbank High students from 1947 sang this song to the tune of "The Caissons Go Rolling Along" (The Army Song)

Give a cheer, give a cheer, for the boys who make the beer,
In the cellars of old Burbank High.
They are brave, they are bold, and the liquor they can hold,
Is a story that's never been told.
For it's guzzle, guzzle, guzzle as it trickles down your nuzzle,
Drink up and never go dry! So have one more, as the cops break down your door,
In the cellars of old Burbank High!


2/25/16 - Various BHS Bulldogs from the Class of '74 remember the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake

Click here.


1/8/15 - I asked my father-in-law (Don Bilyeu) about the San-Val drive-in theater, which I spotted in a 1939 photo.

Oh, yes, the San-Val drive-in was there  for many years.  I don't think it closed until some time after WWII. I don't remember the last time I went there but it must have been after the war. Each parking place had its own speaker and you hung it on your window (driver side). A refreshment stand was near by and you could buy Cokes, etc. The first jet plane I saw was flying over the San-Val apparently demonstrating something at what is now the Burbank airport. I think it was made by Bell Aircraft. So that had to be 1945 or 1946. The Hudson Bomber was built by Vega Aircraft, later to become Lockheed Aircraft Plant 1, I think. I worked for Vega from June 1943 to 1945. So it seems logical that your 1939 picture could have included The San-Val Drive in.


12/31/14 - The Golden Mall's Chicken Lady and Paranoid Lady by Mike McDaniel

In the declining days of the Golden Mall, there were a number of interesting characters who were present on a daily basis; I would encounter them a number of times each week. One lady would be on a bench near the pavilion who had a chicken which would follow her around like a dog. She would feed it with corn and other seeds and it would hop up on the back of the bench and look over her shoulder as if it was reading her paper. Very weird.

Also there was a lady who would yell at anyone who got close to her. I was walking with my wife to lunch once and this lady came around the corner right in front of us, so we slowed down as not to engage her - but this was to no avail. After about a half block she wheeled around, looked right at me and yelled, "I know who you are! You Feds will never get anything on me!" Being who I am, I fired back, "We will too get you! You can't escape! We have people watching you every day!" At this point my wife hit me and told me to stop, so I did. The lady ran off in the other direction. She never yelled at me like that again but I saw her do it to a number of other unsuspecting people over the years.


11/25/14 - Skunk Works titanium by Wes Clark

My Dad - a Lockheed employee - used to relax at home in the summer by sitting in the pool in a floating chair, sunbathing. One day a little piece of metal holding the chair to the float part broke, so he took it into work - he was painting at the Skunk Works at the time - to get a replacement made out of a stronger metal. They made it out of the same material used on the SR-71: titanium alloy. It was incredibly light, and, as it turned out, I needed to impart a slight bend in it to get a tabbed end to fit into a hole. WOW. I was banging away on it with a hammer and it took me forever to bend that part. Just amazing. An aircraft that light and strong!


11/19/14 - Memories of the Chandler Trains (from Facebook's "You know you're from Burbank if..." group)

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10/10/14 - Radio things by Dave Williams

My name is Dave Williams and I just found your website and it brought back a lot of great memories as we had two houses in Burbank. One at 642 N. Screenland Drive that we bought from Doodles Weaver and his recently divorced wife Rita, and 910 E. Magnolia Blvd above 9th Ave.

During this time I was working at RCA Broadcast and Communications Division at 2700 W. Olive Avenue. It was the old Collins Radio building. We build the professional broadcast equipment and also the film recoding equipment for the studios. The best part of the job was going to the NBC studios and watching them tape shows from the basement on CCTV where the VTR's and audio recording equipment was located. Watching the segment of Laugh In being taped was the best.

In your "You Must Be from Burbank If" list you said your favorite TV channel was TV6. During this time in the late 60's and early 70's I also worked at Sammons Communications at night that had the local origination station TV6. I was chief engineer and program director for local origination. We called it KNTV, channel 6 for Glendale and Burbank. Both those jobs came to an end at the same time and I went to work for Litton Systems and moved to Northridge soon after the earthquake of 1971.

Sad to say I grew up in (gulp) North Hollywood one block from Burbank on McCormick Street which is one block behind Magnolia and runs into the Magnolia Theater parking lot. Some of the kids on the east end of that street were able to attend Burbank Schools. I also was a field reporter while attending college for a program called Motor Classics on KBLA which had their mighty 250 watt transmitter in the park on San Fernando Road. KBLA became KROC with an increase in power and a move from 1490 kHz to 1500 kHz.


9/30/14 - NBC Studios by Jimmy Koren

My first pair of cowboy boots are buried under the NBC building! I was ten years old when they were building that place, and we were playing in the piles of sand. Lo and behold along comes a tractor to start pushing the sand around... Goodby boots! Imagine getting home and 'splaining to Mom why you're barefooted...

We lived on Avon St. between Alameda & Olive, just 3 blocks from NBC. Aw... the memories...


8/20/14 - Growing Up in Burbank by Julie Grimm Gregg

My memories are a bit fuzzy because I lived in Burbank only from birth until the end of 5th grade in 1954 (when we moved to the San Fernando Valley, to get away from a new phenomenon called smog!) --- but those were formative and impressionable years.

My father worked as an engineer for Lockheed, and our family lived on Parrish Place, Clayborn, and Lamer – as each additional child required a larger house.  At the time of the move to Lamer, in 1948, ours was the last block of houses into the foothills --- and what happy memories I have of exploring the nearby vineyards, as far as the eye could see. It was not unusual that a brush fire would creep too close for comfort; though as a few more years went by, more blocks of houses, marching up Lamer Street, pushed back “nature.”  The front yards were playgrounds for emulating our hero Hopalong Cassidy, and we played ball at our peril --- since a rubber ball would sadly get away --- pick up speed and be gone forever down the Lamer hill and never seen again, alas! We had an incinerator in the back yard for burning trash, as did everyone else. The Helms (bakery) man came, the milk man delivered, the ice cream trucks came, the Fuller Brush man came, among other vendors to the door.

Even at age 5, I walked to George Washington Elementary School alone, under the watchful eye of the grandfatherly crossing guard at Glenoaks Blvd.--- passing young Rev. Campbell’s Bethany United Presbyterian Church, with the cross that could be seen from up the hill, glowing in the dark.  Our kindergarten class played in the surprise snow during recess that morning in 1949, with Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Garland. Little girls came to school with their milk money from home tied in a hanky and pinned to their dresses.

Once a week, we put quarters in our Bank of America bank books (which eventually paid dividends!).  Beloved teachers 1st thru 5th grades were Mrs. Boyd, Miss Gilbert, Mrs. Curtis, Mrs. Openshaw, and wonderfully creative Mr. Pollach (in our log cabin classroom)... and where principal Miss Spring married and became Mrs. Morgan.  In 1st and 2nd grades, three classmates were stricken with the dreaded polio virus.

In 3rd grade, the day came when the old-fashioned rows of desks were carted away, and replaced by modern stand-alone ones, without inkwells! On the playground, our hands became calloused from swinging from steel rings and crossing bars, and games of hopscotch went on for years. In the upper grades, recess was a time to exchange trading cards, play marbles on the dirt field, and pretend to be pioneers trekking west, as many of our forefathers actually had. The May Festival was the high point of the year, when we classes danced our way through the Mexican Hat Dance, the Lili Marlene, the Tarantella, and the Virginia Reel (to name a few). Sadly for me, I left Burbank before having the privilege of weaving the May Pole at Washington School as a 6th-grader. It was always curious to us students that Washington School was on Lincoln Street, and Lincoln School was on Washington. 

We also ventured out to Stough Park for picnics, to Hanson Dam for wading, and down the road to the Griffith Park Zoo for an exotic adventure. I also remember the 5-cent cones at Sav-on. The stately Burbank Public Library on Olive was an awe-inspiring place for a 1st-grader, old enough to print and own a library card. Our growing family shopped for groceries at Alexander’s.  Maestro Leo Damiani’s orchestra accompanied our ballet performances. De facto segregation was practiced, though we in Burbank were far removed from the civil rights movement going on in the South in the 1950’s:  I remember when a realtor conducted a survey on our block when a mixed-race couple wanted to buy a house across the street from us on Lamer (the wife was Korean).  Though my parents gave their assent, the vote apparently did not go in their favor --- and a Caucasian couple moved in instead.  For the first time I became conscious of the existence of racial prejudice. 

How times have changed!  Returning a few years ago to Burbank (from the greater Washington D.C. area) for the first time in memory, it was stunning to see I-5 passing right by our old kindergarten play yard! A child thought Glenoaks was a formidable thoroughfare!


2/5/13 - Memories of Humes Sporting Goods by Bob Pilatos

I was born in Burbank and grew up in North Hollywood (Cahuenga and Camarillo area). 

  A friend and I were outdoor enthusiasts and we would jump on our bicycles and ride to Humes.  From where we lived, I remember it was a long ride on a bike with no gears.  I guess we were in our early to mid teens back in the mid 1970's.  My friend was German and he and his family were outdoor enthusiasts.  They were climbers, hikers, campers, fishermen.  So, he would call up and say, "Let's go to Humes."  My main interest was fishing and hiking.  I think I bought my first Buck knife there as I was fascinated with the great wood and brass body.  I was there so often, one of the employees knew me by name.  It was a great place, with its log cabin style construction, and once inside, it made you feel as if you were in the wilderness.  As a kid, I dreamed of having a lot of the stuff in the store.   

We also rode to Kelty quite often as well (Dick Kelty manufactured lightweight aluminum-framed backpacks).  He also carried climbing equipment and other assorted outdoor related items.  If I remember correctly, that was on San Fernando Road in Glendale.  My dad knew Dick Kelty well, as he was a Scout Master and created a lot of business for him.  I have been searching for photos of the Kelty store as well, with no luck.  I even contacted Richard Kelty (Dick's son) for photos, but he had nothing of interest.   

So, the search continues!


12/5/13 - Memories of Sargeants by Duane Thaxton

I am a 1967 graduate of Burbank High.  I was talking with some friends and mentioned Sargeant’s Restaurant (I worked there sometime around 1965 to early 1967).  I think my hours working there were daily, 5pm to 9pm, except I think they were closed on Mondays.  Working there pretty much killed my high school social life. 

Regarding Sargeant’s Restaurant, I remember Mavis and Graham.  I remember a cook named Scotty (glasses and mustache) who cooked fish orders.  There was at that time another cook, a Blackfoot Indian – I’ve been told his name (or nickname) was Chick . . . and that sounds correct to me.  There was a younger waitress who was recently married to a Marine who was down at Camp Pendleton. 

I remember sweeping up after they closed.  If I were to find a penny I would hand it to Mavis . . . she would thank me and put it in the register.  Mavis and Graham were both pretty strict and frugal.

I remember Mavis had one eye that was out of whack (obviously not a medical term).  I remember when talking with her I would stare at one eye, then the other, back to the first . . . I’m sure she realized I was curious about her crooked eye.

I did a Google map search to see if the Sargeant’s Restaurant building itself was still at the same location . . . While continuing my search I happened upon your site with the postcard photo of the restaurant.  That snapshot brought back memories of the mid to late 60’s living and working in Burbank.


11/6/13 - The Burbank High School "Bridge of Sighs" by Ken Taylor

The"Bridge of Sighs" in 1930 remained a prime site for BHS students to meet and greet up through 1947, by which time it had become known as "The Arcade," a favorite hang out and meeting place of the socially acceptable "big men & gals" on campus. The site was memorialized on the cover of the 1947 "Ceralbus" by Ralph "Buddy" Day. It remained an open air and very popular location in which to see and be seen until it was closed in some time later. Day is still around and can be seen as an active member of the "Senior Bulldog" group. It is regrettable that students didn't get to see it in its iconoclastic, open air prime. - Ken Taylor, BHS '47


10/2/13 - The Alleys of Burbank by Mike McDaniel

I spent a lot of my childhood in alleys. It helps that I lived on an alley and thus a lot of the action in my neighborhood took place in the alley. We did bicycle dog fights and watched all the older men work on various projects.

Mr Coffman, who built our house, lived on Cedar one block over but was always in his garage doing intricate woodworking. I wish I had paid more attention as he was a real pro at it. He would build Grandfather clock cabinets and when he was done he would wheel them gently over to Mr Dewey who lived across the street from me and owned the court. He did a lot of gadget work in his garage and would put in the clock working parts and the face. He also did this in the alley behind his place between Elmwood and Valencia.

As I grew older I started noticing that people threw out a lot of things that were still good and usable. I found transistor radios that were still good and only needed a new battery. It boggled my mind why someone would chuck out a radio simply because its battery was out of juice. I would take things I found and trade them at a place on Glenoaks called Jim's used things next to the Chevron station at Olive Ave. He would either give me a few bucks for the stuff I found in the alleys trash or trade me for WWII items I liked.

Later as I became interested in rock music I wanted a set of speakers that sounded good, but could not afford them. So I devised a way to make my own from old TV speakers and cardboard paper boxes. I found the sound to be bass-heavy due to the deep hollow of the box, but acceptable. Later, a friend showed me the use of a 4 mfd capacitor to send high notes to a small tweeter speaker placed at the top of the box, which improved the sound quality greatly.

Dave Hoffman and I mapped out pathways using all the alleys in the neighborhood as a freeway system to get to places we went without riding on the streets. I could ride on my bike from my house to Pup and taco on glenoaks and Angeleno only using a street for the last two blocks. Once I ran through a stop sign and was pursued by a BPD officer. Fearing what my Dad would say I took a quick right and went between two apartment buildings into the alley and to a number of evasive alley connections and lost the officer rather easily. I will always be grateful for the Burbank alleys."

Additional, by Wes Clark:

Alleys are another interesting thing that distinguishes Burbank from other cities. They're everywhere. I have no idea why. When the city planners laid out the streets, for some reason they ensured that most of the lots were bisected with alleys. My favorite Burbank alley is the one at West Jeffries between Hollywood Way and Pepper; my mother called it "Hotsy Alley" - and that story is recounted here.

In general, alleys in Burbank were were one got beaten up in or abused in some way as a kid. On the last day of school in fourth grade, the story in the classroom was that the sixth graders - who were departing Monterey Avenue Elementary School for Junior High and who were consequently wild, reckless and cared not about school rules - laid in wait for underclassmen, whom they would drag into alleys and "scrub," that is, smear with lipstick. I recall getting on my bicycle when the final bell rang and fearfully pedaling for home as if on fire.

It's funny - for years I thought I was the only one who remembered this detail from 1965, until I mentioned it on a Monterey Ave. School Facebook page. One woman confirmed the story and said, "Yes! Scrubbing was the Terrors!" Hahahaha... indeed. The Terrors!


9/3/13 - Various Burbank Memories by Arnold McMunn

In 1959 and for a few years thereafter, Mr. Big was known as "Winky's" before it became Mr. Big Burgers. Winky's was where I became familiar with Taquitos, made with rolled shredded beef. My Mother worked at Winky's.

My father worked at Wayne Watson's Shell Service in the 60's. A scene in the motion picture, "Point Blank" (director John Boorman) was shot there. In the Summer of 1964 my Father came home after work and told us that he had serviced a Rolls Royce. The automobile was carrying four well dressed young men with long hair, and my father said that they were very well behaved. He said that he asked them were they were from. And one of the young men replied, "Liverpool."

Owl's Drug Store became Jay Scott's Drug Store. And up the street from it on Irving was the laundromat, a Winchell's Donut Shop, a carpet and wall covering store not necessarily at the same point in time, and Arnold's Department Store where you could buy incense, toy pop-pop boats, sundries, Beatles and Monkees banana flavored Bubble Gum Cards, and Sen-Sen and Fan Tan Gum, Greenie-Stickum Cap Pistols, and (hopefully) live turtles and goldfish. I think they sold James Bond bubble gum cards as well. Maybe I'm dreaming.

The San Fernando Rd. at Delaware location where Ralph's currently exists was formerly a Hughes Market which in 1959 was known as McDonald's Market which used a Scottish Piper as a Mascot. The Oscar Meyer Wiener Wagon made a stop at McDonald's Market one Saturday in 1960.

Shopping Bag became a Von's Market. When it was a Shopping Bag, they often gave away free samples. One Summer they gave away mini ice cream cones. My Brother and me got in line about ten times for that, and they still gave us the cones.

In 1959, the main building/rec room at McCambridge Park had a cigarette vending machine alongside the soda cup and candy bar vending machines. Across the street on Andover, we boys were removing the wheels from broken roller skates and nailing them to boards that we would then sit on or try to stand on as we coasted downhill.

I am looking for a picture of the Marlindo Bowl.

In the 1960's, you could buy a ticket to the Cornell Theater for fifty cents by showing your John Muir Jr. High School Student I.D. Card. And in 1965, the McDonald's across the street from the Cornell offered free Saturday Matinee coupons for kid's shows such as "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" and "From the Earth to the Moon."

The TV show "Laugh-In" held a cast party on The Golden Mall. The public was invited to watch from afar. White tents containing the festivities, out of public view, were pitched on the mall. Mike Connors (Mannix) was a guest.

Denco Department Store: Where you could buy a green plastic dill pickle key chain for 99 cents.

Skipper Frank was the host of the Popeye show on KTLA Ch. 5 in the early 60's. He played Santa Claus (unnamed) at the live reindeer display that was held near Owl's Drug Store in the late 50's/early 60's.

George Washington Elementary School held an annual White Elephant Sale and Carnival to raise funds. They sold items such as Confetti Eggs which were whole egg shells, emptied through a hole applied on the end of the eggs with care by concerned mothers so that the intact shells could then be dried and filled with confetti. The children were encouraged to buy these confetti eggs and throw them at anyone.

The "amusement ride" at this carnival was usually a ride in the back of a military Duck around the playground at whirling speeds. There were Carob Trees around the log cabin in the playground.

In 1965, in Sun Valley, California there was a short-lived commercial dragstrip just off of San Fernando Rd.

In 1968, local pranksters used to throw Salvo Laundry Detergent Tablets into the fountains on The Golden Mall, with predictable over-suds action.

In the summer, I used to swim in the pools at McCambridge Park, and at Lucile Cowle's Swimming School.

I also remember Don's Restaurant and the burgers with the green leafy lettuce. But the best burger that I have ever had was, bar none, the Mr. Big Double Cheese Burger from the management who ran the place in 1993. The next management who took over in 1994, about the time of the Northridge Earthquake, took it from being The Best to the absolute rock bottom Worst. But if I can find the former 1993 Mr. Big management with a current burger location, man, I'll be there!


8/22/13 - "Snow White Lane" from Facebook

Click here.


8/1/13 - Memories of the Handy Market from Facebook

Click here.


7/5/13 - The Swing Shift Dance by Don Bilyeu

Don Bilyeu (Burbank High, Class of 1945) remembers the Lockheed LERC "Swing shift" dances held in the Olive Rec Center during World War II. These started at 1 AM and lasted until 6 AM. The band would play a tune composed by them they called the "Lockheed Lochinvar."


6/19/13 - Memories of Thrifty Drug Store on San Fernando Road by various Burbankers


5/20/13 - How My Life of Crime Ended by Jim Voigt

My life of crime ended in the late 1940s at Winstead's grocery store in Burbank.

Skipping school once from Bret Harte Elementary wasn't enough. No, I had to compound my flirtation with evil by shop-lifting a candy bar while marketing with my mother and little sister, Vicky.

When we got home from the store, located just south of us at the confluence of Burbank Boulevard and Wyoming Avenue, I went to my bedroom and devoured the loot.

Mom soon marched into my bedroom and asked, "Did you take something at Winstead's?" I fessed up only after she said my sister ratted on me - my word, not hers.

Mom then took me back to Winstead's where I had to fork over a quarter from my piggy bank and confess my sin to the head honcho, who limply said: "That's all right, kid. Just don't do it again."

Which prompted Mom to erupt with language I have rarely heard since: "That's it?" she yelled. "Don't do it again? You f--king idiot. You should threaten him with jail if he ever steals from you again."

We never shopped at Winstead's again. Too bad. Its candy selection was glorious.


5/20/13 - "A Christmas Story" in Burbank by Jim Voigt

Watching A Christmas Story is like reliving parts of my life in Burbank during the 1940s.

Granted, it rarely snowed or got below freezing in Burbank and Santa Claus only paraded in Hollywood. But at age nine in 1945, I was the spitting image of Ralphie, the film's star - eyeglasses and all.

Like Ralphie, I listened to radio melodramas and sent away for the Little Orphan Annie Secret Society decorder pin - even though I detested Ovaltine.

Like Ralphie, I peered with envy at the toys and electric trains in holiday windows of local department stores. Most importantly, I also lobbied for and got a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.

And Mom, a carbon copy of Ralphie's mother, really did tell me to be careful or "...it'll put your eye out."

The similarities ended there. My rifle was quickly confiscated and never seen again after someone saw me plinking at birds in the neighborhood.


5/15/13 - Gunny Sack Slide Ride by Wes Clark

Does anyone remember the tall gunny sack slide that sat for a time in a vacant lot on San Fernando Road just past the Cornell Theater? This was circa 1966; I was ten. The idea was that kids would pay their money at the base of the stairs, grab a burlap sack from a pile, and climb with it to the top where they'd slide down the slide while seated on the sack. It was a fun, fast ride down. As I recall I did this one day during the summer and it was hot work.

But what really sticks out in my mind after 47 years is a fellow gunny sack rider who happened to be a midget. After he laboriously climbed the stairs to where I was waiting, he wiped the sweat off his brow and panted, "All for the love of a gunny sack!" which I thought was hilariously funny.


5/13/13 - Post-war bubble gum by Jim Voigt

For most adults, Victory over Japan (VJ) Day signaled the end of war in 1946 and the return to peacetime life without rationing. But for hundreds of students at Burbank's Bret Harte Elementary, the end of war meant the return of something delicious. Word spread like a Verdugo Hills brushfire. The little store just north of the school was about to sell a childhood staple enjoyed during wartime only by GIs.

We stood in a block-long line to once again buy bubble gum for a few pennies a wad. The number available per buyer was severely limited to ensure fairness. I once thought the gum was Fleer's Dubble Bubble, but research revealed that the domestic production of that product didn't restart until 1951. Doesn't matter. All bubble gum was ambrosia, food from the gods


5/6/13 - Burbank Boulevard Memories 1952-1957 by Jim Peel

I lived at the Five Points so I will start there; these are my earliest recollections. At the point of Burbank and Victory Blvds. there was a building that was dark green. There was (running west on Burbank) The Donut Shop which had the following written on the wall: "As you travel through this life/whatever be your goal/keep your eye upon the donut/and not upon the hole." Then there was Burbank Cleaners, Maggie's Jet (a bar where many a fight happened nightly), Burbank Liquor which was owned by Hyman Zlozower and another man I only knew as Mr. Morry (sp?).

Then there was a parking lot and another light green building that had a TV repair and a couple of other businesses. Behind this was an auto repair business that fronted on Victory Blvd and a Shell gas station owned by Pete and Tony Incaudo (sp?) who were brothers. Then there was a vacant lot until you got to Mrs. Mann's house which is still there to this day. It is now a business.

Then there was another vacant lot and west of that were four duplexes. I lived in the first one, #1113. My mom and dad were Oscar "Bud" and June. My sisters were Ruth and Frances and I was called "Buddy." The Lentz family lived in front of us. Others who lived there were The Fishers, Bob and Irene. They had a son named Bob. There were the Battits, whose son Vince I used to hang around with. He had a sister named Judy. He became a sheriff in Orange County. The Akes (sp?) lived at the corner. His name was Dwight and his wife was Rose. They had a daughter named Sherry who became a sheriff for Los Angeles County. The Barrs, Mr. and Mrs., lived behind them. He was employed by Burbank Parks Dept.

Across the alley, which was unpaved at the time, lived Charles and Sabina Pelland whose son was Charles "Billy" Pelland. Their house faced Mariposa Street. North of the Pellands were the Danyluks; they moved to Glendale and started Danyluk Motors. I almost burned their house down playing with matches.

North of the Danyluks there was another unpaved alley and on the other side there was nothing but vacant lots from Mariposa to the Shell station. Across Mariposa from the Pellands was the home of George Ary who owned Ary's Gas Station which was on Burbank Blvd at about Reese Place.

Lorry's Market was across Burbank Blvd. from Burbank Liquor, and after they moved out Burbank Liquors moved into that building because the building they were in was razed to build a Chevron/Standard Station. There was a Union station east of Burbank Liquor. Mr. Morry died and Hyman got a new partner named Louie. He was a high strung, type A personality who had several heart attacks while I knew him. Maggie's Jet moved west to the light green building. The Donut Shop just went away.

Behind the building were several trailer parks. Down Burbank Blvd. west of there was Fitzptrick's Trailer supply. His kids raced 1/4 midget racers and Clint Walker, who played Cheyenne Bodie in the series Cheyenne, used to bring his trailer there.

West of that was a house and then a barber shop owned by Mr. Drybread and Bob Spencer. Bob gave me my first haircut as a child and I took my son to him for his first haircut in 1971. West of that was a brass instrument manufacturer and Dargenzio's Cabinets. Can't remember what was at the corner but Sobel's Realty was west of there.

Later on, Santoro's Submarine Sandwiches came and moved into the light green building (in about 1957). They are still located on Burbank Blvd. about a mile from the original location. We used to go in there and they would give us the end pieces from the bread.

In 1953/1954 the Burbank Car Wash was built west of, and adjoining, the gas station. I used to bring ice water to the (at that time) "negroes" who worked there. I remember Daisy and Tommy who were always nice to me. They would drive in every day from Los Angeles. This was back in the days when Burbank was almost exclusively white and there was a directive by some lieutenant that, after dark, all non-whites were to be stopped and questioned. Not one of Burbank's proudest moments.

The vacant lots that were from Mariposa to the gas station fronting Victory from the corner became apartments and Sargent's Restaurant. I liked Mrs. Sargent and they had a son named Russel. They built a house behind the restaurant where they lived. We would go up their stairs and their balcony was right up against the wall of the car wash. We would climb over onto the roof of the car wash and run around.

The question of the day: Does anyone remember 20,000 Guns which was on Burbank Blvd. and what ever happened to it? They had literally thousands of handguns wired to the ceiling that they purported to have been confiscated by Scotland Yard.


4/26/13 - Circus Memories by Jim Voigt

One of my fondest memories of Burbank occurred one day in 1945, 1946 or 1947. (I don't remember the precise year.) Our family owned a house at 1449 N. Frederic St. on the west side of the dead end. (That was before such housing arrangements were called cul de sacs.) My bedroom faced a huge vacant lot once used by heavyweight boxing champ Jim Jefferies as a cattle ranch.

One morning I was awakened by a loud belch at about five o'clock. Outside the window, right next to our property fence, was a tethered elephant munching on hay. My mother reluctantly let me venture into a quickly forming circus community, where the cookhouse chef gave me four free tickets to the Big Top Show for helping him serve breakfast to the crew of tattooed roustabouts. I later enthralled my classmates at Bret Harte Elementary with vivid accounts of my unique adventure. And that evening, my parents, little sister and I got to sit near the center ring in the VIP section.


3/7/13 - The Pollywog Pond by Dan Werner

"The 'pollywog pond,' aka Disney's pond, was located at the junction of Riverside Dr. and Keystone. (Between Riverside & the L.A. River) There was a large pipe from Disney's property that terminated at the pond. I'm assuming it was affluent from their HVAC systems. It certainly was enough to keep the pond full of water. It was a favorite swimming hole for those who lived in the adjacent area. I grew up on Brighton between Olive and Alameda."


2/15/13 - The Bulldoggettes by Jeri Morin Valencia

"We played girls high school softball for Burbank High. 1974 was the first year that Burbank entered into the girls softball competition and it was 1975 when Burbank High became Champs for the record books. We were not supposed to be anything to anyone that year. The papers called us the "Cinderella Team." We were lower than the lowest as far as any kind of threat to the competition. But one thing everyone didn't count on... we ALL liked each other! We didn't have any kind of any crap going on because we ALL loved each other, basically. All the other teams were just teams, but Burbank High was a family. We were all doing what we LOVED and we were doing it together, with each other. It is truly a blissful memory I hold so enclosed in my heart.

At the 100th anniversary of BHS event, since we were Softball CIF Champs for1975, we were invited to march in a little parade in front of the school. We hadn't seen each other in such a long time and then, the parade. It was kinda COOL!! There were little kids on the sidewalk waving to us like we were something special... I'll NEVER forget that! Thanks, Burbank High!"


1/30/13 - The Gypsy Camp by Dianne Postal-Simmons

"Does anyone remember the gypsy camp? It was behind the lumber yard at the end of Chandler by the lumber yard where the trains came in to pick up lumber; people lived in the trains. When I was in about 4th grade there was a girl who lived there and she invited me to go to her home. She took me there after school one day. I walked into her home and she lived in one of the trains with her brother and parents. She was so sweet... I gave her some of my clothes and thought how cool that she lived in a train. I remember asking her if I could call my mom to tell her I came home with her and she said “We don’t have a phone.” She was only at our school - Edison - for about a few weeks, then one day she didn’t show up at school. I went to check on her and everyone was gone. This was in 1965. I wonder what happened to her…"


1/30/13 - Leonard's by Nanci Potenza Chulack, Debi Glasgow and Debey Dick

A Facebook entry, click here.


1/2/13 - The Pig Lady by Dave Boido

A Facebook entry, click here.


12/31/12 - Shoman's Dairy by Bob Thomasson

"I was reminded of Shoman's Dairy, which occupied the land near Hollywood Way and Empire, where the Unimart store was built that  Fry's Electronics is now. It was a huge part of our neighborhood and also the location for many childhood adventures. The dairy buildings seemed old in the 1950's, and I think the dairy was there for many years. I'm surprised that not many people remember it and Google doesn't turn up anything. It was a surprising piece of rural America right in the middle of the Burbank suburbs.

Here's a copy of one of the 1950 aerial photos of Lockheed from your website. The dairy had a concrete or brick silo and I've circled what I "think" is the silo in the picture.

There were several popular playgrounds for kids in our neighborhood in the 1950’s, including Shoman’s Dairy, Valhalla Cemetery , the national guard armory and Pacific Park ( later renamed Larry Maxam Park, a Vietnam war Medal of Honor winner)

Shoman’s Dairy was a small surviving piece of rural America, wedged between the Lockheed factory and suburban residential neighborhoods. There was a small dairy retail store with a driveway on Hollywood Way, with a large sign proclaiming “Shoman’s Cash and Carry Dairy” with the price of milk listed like gas station prices. Door to door milk delivery was common then, but the only way to get Shoman’s Dairy milk was to visit the store.

The dairy store door had an imitation Coke bottle for a handle. Inside were refrigerated coolers filled with milk, chocolate milk, soft drinks and popsicles. On the counter were Hostess Twinkies. There was a shady knoll out front, with a picnic bench that overlooked Hollywood Way.

A private road led past the dairy store to the dairy itself. On the right was a concrete milking barn, with automatic milking machines and benjo type drain gutters where the cow manure was hosed away. There was also a bottling facility but I don’t remember much about it.

Further up, on the left, was a private residence, a white clapboard house with a fenced yard where the dairy foreman and his family lived. I remember the house as being fairly old and I wonder how long the dairy was there. My guess is that it was established prior to WWII.

Other buildings included a concrete silo that didn’t seem to be used much. There was also a hay barn, a small maintenance shop, and one of the favorite places for elementary school age visitors, the employee break room with a pool table. We weren’t allowed in but that didn’t stop us from squinting through the dirty windows at the pin up girl posters.

The rest of the dairy consisted of pasture area for the cows.

Our Providencia Elementary School classmate, Larry Dennis, lived at the dairy. His Dad was the foreman and took care of the cows and milked them, while his older sister, whose name I don’t remember, worked at the store. I barely remember Larry’s mother, but I remember the family as good people, maybe more at home in Iowa than Southern California.

Larry’s Dad was nice to us kids and we’d sit on the concrete wall of the milking barn, watching him milk the cows. Occasionally he’d slip off an automatic milker and squirt milk in our faces. I don’t remember his name, we just called him “Mr. Dennis.” He reminded me of Roy Rogers.

There were a couple of other noteworthy dairy employees. One was a former boxer named Pedro, who could wrap a chain around his biceps, flex his muscles and snap the chain. Pedro was a legendary man, worthy of much awestruck discussion between us kids, although I don’t know of anyone who personally witnessed the chain breaking.

The other main dairy character was a fellow known to us only as The Carpenter. Although we visited Larry Dennis on legitimate and authorized trips to the dairy, we also had a habit of sneaking in past Larry’s house or hopping the pasture fence and getting into mischief, playing in the haystack or climbing the ladder up the silo. The Carpenter was also the tractor driver, and his job duty seemed to be mainly chasing kids out of the dairy. A cry of “Here comes The Carpenter!” would send us running for our lives.

Sometime about 1960, Larry Dennis announced that he was moving to Simi Valley. The dairy closed, a Unimart department store was built on the land and I never heard from Larry again."


12/12/12 - Mention of Sonic booms by various Facebook Burbankers

Click here.


12/3/12 - CBS by Patrick Thompson

"I worked at Lil' Abners Liquor Store 1968 to 1972, it was located at Screenland and Burbank Blvd. A great place owned by some special guys, the Oliva Brothers - Johnny, Mike and Key. Those guys sure showed a young kid what life was all about. I used to deliver to the CBS studio in Studio City. The sets of Gunsmoke, Wild Wild West and Gilligan’s Island were located there. I remember the first time I delivered to Gunsmoke and they had me park the car we used in front of the Long Branch Saloon. Got to meet all the stars of the show and they even invited me to their Christmas party at the studio!"


11/21/12 - Vineyards by Barbara Riiff Davis BHS '42 (from the Senior Bulldogs Newsletter)

"I grew up on Walnut Avenue. Across the street were the grape vineyards as far as the eye could see. A couple of people kept burros to ride tied up out there, but I don't remember who. The vineyards were abandoned and the vines were all dried out for all my growing-up years. I was long gone when houses were built on the property, though my parents were still there."


11/21/12 - Drive-In Movie Theaters by Len Osterberg BHS '50 (from the Senior Bulldogs Newsletter)

"In the last issue ofthe Senior Bulldogs Newsletter there was mention of the two drive-in movies that were in Burbank so many years ago. I am sure that there are a few Burbank High graduates that remember those drive-ins. For those that may not recall these theaters, there were a total of two drive-in movies. We had the San-Val Drive-In on one side of town, and the Pickwick Drive-In on the other side of town. These open-air movie houses were in operation during the late Forties and Fifties. This type of drive-in movie was fun for the young and the old alike, where they all had a nice, laid-back way to enjoy a movie from the convenience of their own automobile." (The San-Val and the Pickwick continued operating through the 1960's and the 1970's.)

"Though most of us never performed this act (but having little money), made entering a drive-in pose some access problems. Some folks overcame this money problem by sneaking extra bodies into the drive-in via the large or little trunk of their car. Placing three people in the car trunk of a Studebaker was not uncommon in those days. However, it was a dead give-away to any suspicious ticket-taker when a car's front wheels were not quite on the ground as it moved through the entrance. Those folks with claustrophobia were a definite no-no for this type of caper, and Studebakers were near useless for pulling this operation off. The perfect date for a drive-in was the girl who would either get into the trunk, or hide under the dashboard without complaining."

"Once a car was in the drive-in, and the trunk was unloaded, there were other problems that could arise, such as the problem of going to the snack bar for popcorn and a soda pop-ricky, there was a chance that you might notice that your car was not where you thought you parked it. This loss of car and search for it could cause the missing of the Movie-Tone News and the Bugs Bunny cartoon while strolling around the drive-in searching for one's car. There often was the added complexity for some of the audience in trying to watch a movie with one eye while playing kissy-face with their date. Those folks from that era may still wonder what the movie Viva Zapata was all about. You could easily notice the folks that never saw any of the movies being shown. Their cars were parked down front and the windows were all fogged over."

"A special expensive downer came while driving away at the movie's end, when the driver side window might get torn off when some ding-a-ling would forget to put the speaker back in its place. The bent over speaker holder pole was also not a nice sight to see."

"Yup, the drive-in movie went south in history many years ago, which might have been due to the lost revenue from the petty larceny folks and the added loss of speaker poles, but I am certain that most everyone who lived in those days might still have a hankering to go back in time to enjoy once more, the old time drive-in movie."


11/21/12 - Theaters and Mom and Pop Stores by Patsy Cooley Hamilton BHS W'51 (from the Senior Bulldogs Newsletter)

"In regard to the movie theaters on San Fernando Road (guess I go further back), you left out the Burbank Theatre that was next to the Burbank Hotel. It was between the other two, the Major was near Verdugo and the Loma was near Orange Grove and the Burbank was, I believe, near Olive. Old pictures show a Burbank Hotel sign and the theatre was toward the Verdugo side. They were owned by the Minor family, and my Dad used to usher at them. Boy am I dating myself!"

"Also, do you remember (on the hill) the Mom and Pop stores? One was a Santa Anita and Tenth St., another on 7th St. between Olive and Orange Grove and another on Cedar across the street from Joaquin Miller Elementary School. There was also a market on Glenoaks Blvd., between Santa Anita and Providencia, and I believe it was called "Johnson Bros. and Craddock" where you could buy a huge dill pickle from an 18-inch plus glass jar for a nickel."

"Just thought I'd throw in a few great but obsolete places. They were great dill pickles!"


10/31/12 - The Albino Midgets of Wildwood Canyon (a topic on a Facebook Burbank group)

"I remember hearing that there were a lot of albino midgets living up Wildwood Canyon and that they would chase you down the hill throwing rocks as you as they ran. Truth or fiction, I don't know, but I remember running away, not seeing anything." - Jodean Ardizzone Myers

"Yup, that's what I heard, too! At that age I didn't even know what an albino was... all I knew was that I wanted to just stay out of their way!" - Jeri Morin Valencia

"I grew up in those hills, and know every square inch from bottom to the abandoned Boy Scout camp on the top! There are no albinos there and there never were. It's a fake story to scare people, and I helped to spread it. The albino feature was a part of the urban legend, but I made them into midgets to make them scarier." - Louie Zamora

 


10/22/12 - James Jeffries and other stuff, by Jim Peel

When James Jeffries died, he collapsed on the sidewalk which runs down Buena Vista adjacent to his house. The city of Burbank placed a small bronze marker (I have seen it when I was younger) in the sidewalk at the spot where he died. Where is that marker now? I looked for it several years ago and it was nowhere to be found. It was about 200 yards south of Victory Blvd. on thre east side of Buena Vista street. I was small, maybe 4" x 6" or 5" x 7". I forget the inscription.

Any thoughts on this?

By the by. I would be willing to bet that you do not know that Sally Field went to Thomas Alva Edison Elementary School in the early 50's. Her stepdad was Jock Mahoney, who played The Range Rider on TV back then, and he only had one other daughter who was born in 1955 after the series had ended. He would show up at my school in a tricked out tan T-Bird with "Range Rider in lariat written on the side, pistols for door handles, and bull horns on the front. I remember it being a T-Bird but they came out in late 1954 and the series ended in 1953. (shrug)

Also, actress Lori Martin went to Luther Burbank Junior High School in ~1959-1960. Her real name was Dawn Menzer and she was in my Social Studies class. She played in the role of National Velvet and also was the daughter in the movie "Cape Fear." She recently passed away. She was always nice to me. There is a tribute to her on youtube.

De De Lind also went to Luther Burbank and was the "It" girl in those days. I was in seventh grade and she was in ninth. She went on to be the Playboy centerfold model of the month for August 1967.

I remember when there was a whole lot less of Burbank, the alleys weren't paved, and there were - gasp - vacant lots. The overpasses at Burbank, Magnolia and Olive didn't exist. Burbank got its first hook and ladder truck, when there were no tall buildings, and it promptly got t-boned by a train killing the Tillerman (c. 1957?). That happened at the Magnolia crossing as I recall before the overpass was built.

Jim Peel
Born Glendale, CA while parents lived at 1113 W. Burbank Blvd. at the five points.
Went to Thos. A. Edison elementary and Luther Burbank Jr. High.
Dad worked at Burbank Chemical Co. / Horn (&)? Jeffries on Lake Street. It used to blow up with frightening regularity.


9/7/12 - Catalina Street, by Richard Dixon

209 North Catalina Street... just writing this address down or thinking of it brings a rush of memories which make up some of the best times of my early childhood.

In 1942, when I was seven years old, we moved from Highland Park, a suburb of Los Angeles, to Burbank. We lived there for what turned out to be five amazing years for me. "The Valley," as it was and is known, runs from Glendale in the South some seventy or more miles to Chatsworth at the north end. It was interspersed with various communities which were connected by several two lane roads laced through vast orchards of oranges, lemons and other citrus fruit.

Burbank was a well established city by then and my father located a small bungalow on Catalina Street just off Olive Avenue.

209 N. Catalina St. - This little house, set way back upon the lot, was a typical two bedroom ranch style home with a porch running across the entire front. It had a fireplace and an oversized paned picture window which looked out over a large front yard and had variegated ivy clinging to the edge of the porch roof running all the way across the front.

A white picket fence surrounded the front yard and a large wooden post at the front of the driveway on which our big gate hinged was designated "home base" whenever we played "Hide and Go Seek," which, it seems, we played almost every summer evening.

In the middle of the front yard was a gigantic three foot deep diamond-shaped fish pond teaming with large gold fish. In the middle was a fountain with a stone statue of a small boy peeing. Actually he was really holding a fish between his legs which had water coming out of its mouth but, unless you looked really close, it did look like the boy was peeing.

The fish pond had a large red brick cap running all the way around which defined the diamond shape. It was common for friends and various visiting cousins, who inevitably would run around on this cap, to fall into the pond. Since it was three feet deep the smaller ones would sometimes disappear and then bob to the surface, screaming and crying. This was always followed by an aunt or an uncle rushing out to the rescue. The whole ordeal turned a little nasty as although the water was clean it had lots of slimy green algae growing in it and floating around.

It became clear as time passed that the pond was losing favor and its days could possibly be numbered; a thought that distressed me because it was so great to be the only one on the block that had this huge diamond shaped fish pond in our front yard.

As the list of victims the pond had claimed grew I became convinced that if any further major event occurred it would be the end!

Sure enough, one day it happened: The Attack of the Giant Cranes. A neighbor called my mother on the phone and hysterically yelled something about giant birds attacking our fish. We raced outside to see four or five really big cranes there in the pond snacking on our beautiful gold fish. We all rushed over shouting and waving our hands and the birds took flight. They were big... I knew that they could have taken a small child with them had there been one nearby. We did not see any fish for several days; they must have been totally freaked out.

And so that was it. The following week my father drained the pond, gave away our beautiful fish, filled up the space with dirt and planted grass leaving not a sign that it had ever existed. We found out later that the attacking cranes had escaped from the big aviary over at Warner’s Studio. After a few days of complaining about the loss of my wonderful pond I recovered and life went on.

There were several kids my age living up and down our block which was a quiet street lined with large English walnut trees. Darrell Woodhouse was my best friend and the Woodhouses lived right next door. Other kids in our gang were Patty Blue, Marlene Elilly and Burton Pines. Burton was younger and kind of a sissy, so Darrell and I teased him incessantly. He got even by growing up to become a successful lawyer and later a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge.

The Valley had some amazing places like Pickwick Swim Park, Jeffrey’s Barn, Hansen Dam and right at the end of our block... Forty Acres. This was a real adventure land with no "E" ticket required. It was, in fact, forty acres. The whole area had been fruit orchards. The trees had all been pulled out or bulldozed under which left huge dirt mounds and pits full of water. It was the perfect place for us to have our war games and other adventures.

The big secret about Forty Acres was our underground fort. The fort was a pit about four feet deep, which we had dug in the ground, with boards over it covered with dirt, leaves and other camouflage to disguise it completely from ground level. Our fort was where we would go to plan any important action or mission or sometimes just to get out of the searing heat of The San Fernando Valley summers.

You wanted to go into Forty Acres in a group as it was a little scary. I did cross through it twice every week day on my way to and from Lincoln Grammar school, sometimes alone, although you tried to be with a group.

After the war Forty Acres was developed into what became some of the first tract houses in Southern California, built to accommodate the masses of returning World War II veterans. This was also, sadly, the beginning of a distinct decline in architectural integrity and creativity. "Just pour a concrete slab, sit a box on it and make every third box the same and nobody will notice." It is interesting and a little sad to drive the length of my old block on Catalina, then cross Oak where the tract houses begin on the right, and see what a loss it was when builders ditched their dedication to their craft and stopped designing homes and started putting up these boxes... a loss that America did not begin to recover from for many years.


9/6/12 - The Ranch (1946), by Richard Dixon

"Lady, if you don't keep that boy of yours back out of the shot I'll be forced to cast him in this movie!" It was LeRoy Prenz, the director, speaking. The film being shot was A Boy and His Dog. The year was 1946 and I was eleven years old and already fascinated by any and everything about movies. This Warner Brothers production which, by the way, went on to win an Academy Award for Best Short Feature of 1947 was on location and I couldn't help myself from being as close to the action as I possibly get. You see, I was now living on a movie ranch... no kidding! (2012 photo of the same area.)

This ranch had once been the Lasky-Paramount movie ranch back in the very early days of film making. Cecil B. DeMille once shot parts of Squaw Man (1914) there. Also, D.W. Griffith shot scenes for Intolerance (1916) here as well. The studio moved most of the standing sets up the coast to Agora in 1924 and opened the new Paramount Ranch there, but this entire area remained a film shooting location and on this day the movie was being shot, literally, right in our front yard.

My father had taken a job as manager of part of this movie ranch which was just across the L.A. River from Warner Brothers Studio. We lived up at the foot of Mt. Lee, just over the crest from the Hollywood sign. We were on the east side of the mountain facing the San Fernando Valley. It was the end of my Catalina Street adventure and the beginning of another very special time of my childhood.

The area covered a thousand acres of mountain oaks and sycamores with standing sets here and there. Dry stream beds ran down deep gullies and there were mountain lions living in the caves up on the bare face of Mt. Cahuenga to the West. Although Hollywood was only a twenty minute drive from our home, coyotes howled outside our house in the night. It was a child's living fantasy... and I was that child.

You entered the ranch area at a wooden gate on Hollingsworth Drive onto a dirt road. There was a dirt race track on the left and up ahead a ways was the famous Hudkins Brothers Ranch on the right side of the road. This ranch was mostly made up of a few stables housing movie horses.

Some of the most famous horses in film history had been stabled there over the years. Included among them was Trigger, who was purchased by Roy Rogers from the Hudkins Brothers back in, I believe, the late 1930s; Silver of the Lone Ranger fame; Smoky, and a lot of amazing stunt horses like those owned and ridden by Fred Kennedy.

There were also big barns housing all kinds of wagons, buckboards and stage coaches just beyond the stables. We would drive through this area on to our place which, if I remember correctly, was about three quarters of a mile or so on up the road through a forest of Mountain Oaks...

My Father was back in his element. Having been raised on a West Texas cattle ranch and possessing a true love for horses, he had not hesitated a minute when this job was offered. After all, he was leaving a conventional job in Burbank and taking up a position where he would be working with horses every day. This was really his calling, to wake up in the morning and work with horses all day long. A lot of the Western stars were friends of my Father: Preston Foster, Bill Williams, Ken Curtis and others. Some of these folks would visit us at the ranch and it was always a thrill for me to see them in person.

My Mom was always game for any of the many moves we made while we kids were growing up. She was totally devoted to my father and an equal partner in all they did. As a matter of record we had occupied eight different residences by the time I went off to college.

We had a stable with about ten horses and a small herd of about twenty cattle. The horses were owned by wealthy businessmen and western actors who boarded them at our stable and rode mostly on weekends. The cattle were there to be used in films. We also had a paddock for exercising the horses and miles of beautiful, rolling woodlands where I would ride my beloved Idaho, a horse that although not technically mine, was all mine. She and I were like one unit; I could ride her bareback with nothing more than a halter and rope. She seemed to always know where I wanted to go.

And go we did, each day after school and most Saturdays and Sundays, in search of any film crew shooting in the area. And there were many in those days. Sometimes Idaho and I would just wander through the countryside dreaming of being in an adventure movie. There were a few standing sets left from the old Lasky/Paramount days and I would make up scenes for my "movie" and act them out.

One Saturday we rode out looking, as usual, for a movie crew on location. After searching and finding nothing I decided to ride over to Gopher Flats. This was a large open area which was about a mile long and had a dirt track that was suitable for stage coaches, buckboards and horses to travel on.

Running parallel to the track was a smooth, paved road which ran its entire length. This road was used by a camera truck to film running horses or stage coach rides. The camera car, usually a "Woody" station wagon with a camera and a couple of chairs mounted on top, would travel along with the action, with a camera man and director sitting in the chairs on top filming the scene smoothly. What a thrill to watch these people work! They were different from anyone I had ever known. I wondered... "How do you get a job like this? What a life!"

On this day there was a totally different reason why the Warner's film crew had chosen the Flats as their location. The film being shot was called Stallion Road (1947), a typical B movie which starred a rather young Ronald Reagan. Recently I figured out that he was about 39 at the time. Playing opposite Reagan was another star of the Forties, Alexis Smith, and rounding out the cast was Zachery Scott and Harry Davenport. Harry Davenport was the consummate character actor of his time. He played many different parts in his 178 plus film roles but is best remembered for playing the old family doctor or the friendly country squire.

So, why was Gopher Flats chosen for the scene being shot? You won't guess it so I'll tell you: the scene was a beach scene, and believe it or not it made sense to use this location.

When I saw the film some time later I realized why they chose this place. The scene starts with Reagan and Smith riding in the shallow surf of the Pacific Ocean (this had been shot at the beach in Santa Monica). Presently they come out of the water up on the beach and play out some dialogue at the water's edge. The script called for a wilderness background and unfortunately the beach at Santa Monica had a city background, with cars whizzing by on the highway.

For some reason, perhaps because I was riding a horse, I was always able to get right up to the edge of everything that was going on; no one ever asked me what I was doing there. This was all right with me as I was in a different world as I witnessed the magic that was going on before my very eyes. For even a small scene there are always dozens of people making up the film crew. Large foil covered reflectors are all around, directing sunlight into any shadows that might need filling in. My impressions of these experiences were so vivid that to this day I can picture every detail of what I saw there that day.

So... on a slope of the Flats thirty miles from Santa Monica beach the studio crew had spread sand over a large area and scattered wet seaweed here and there. A fire truck was standing by with several large hoses that were fitted with special nozzles that produced a wide volume of soapy water.

When the director said "Cue water!" the hoses gushed and a mountain of foamy water roared up the slope. As the water retreated back down the director called out "Action!" and the players rode into the frame. The result was stunning to me knowing already how it would look on the screen. They were emerging from the surf - it was completely believable.

When this shot was cut together with the previously filmed ocean footage and projected on the screen the audience would never think for a moment that they had been visually "taken." This was the reality the director sought and he was successful.

A year or so later I saw Stallion Road in a movie theater and although it is, in many ways, just another B movie, I was thrilled to see the beach scene that I had witnessed being shot and, yes, I was taken in just as everyone else in the theater was.

I have come to understand that this aspect of the making of a motion picture... this creating something that really isn't... this visual fraud in which the director and his cohorts take bits and pieces of film footage, which are usually shot out of sequence in locations far apart, then hand them off to a talented editor who, in the darkness of his cutting room, cuts and splices these various bits of business together into a seamless motion that glides across the screen with complete believability... all of this is what makes me totally and helplessly enamored with the making of movies.

ADDENDUM: "By the way, I was recently reading Richard Dixon's additions to your 'Burbankers Remember' page posted in September. I was thrilled to find his map that included the Hudkins stables. I have gotten some questions about it and was trying to figure out the exact location and Richard Dixon's map cleared it up. Dixon mentions that Roy Rogers bought Trigger from Hudkins Stable and he thought it was in the late 1930's. I discovered the bill of sale for Trigger when I was researching Hudkins - Roy Rogers purchased Trigger in 1943 for $2500. Fun stuff. - Patrice Samko"


9/5/12 - Warner's Jungle (1945), by Richard Dixon

Sometimes, in the summer, when we weren't cooling off at Pickwick Swim Park we would cross Olive Avenue and walk over to the back of the Walt Disney Studio Lot, which was only five blocks away, and swim in the amazing crystal clear pond which was created from the water runoff from Disney's cooling system. In those days air conditioning was not yet available. Disney had installed water sprinklers on top of all the offices and sound stages which cooled them. This water runoff was then piped out the back of the studio and into a large pit which formed a perfect swimming pond of crystal clear water at the edge of the L.A. River which had only dirt banks back then.

Next to the pond was a huge burn pile where the studio burned all the thrown away film clippings, sketches & cells from the animation department. I have always wished I had collected these drawings that were lying all over the place as they would be worth a fortune now. I got another chance at these many years later when, in the 1970s, I worked at Disney. We burned everything in L.A. in those days; every house had an incinerator in the back yard. Should anyone wonder why we had and to a degree still have smog? We invented it!

Darrell's father, Mr. Woodhouse, or as he was known "Ding" Woodhouse, was the head electrician at Warner Brothers Studio which was located on Olive Ave., not far from our house. The "Back Lot" of Warner's was only four blocks away and just like Disney, Warner's had its own water cooling system pond outside the fence. This was our alternative swimming hole. We had a raft there and a tire swing which hung from a large tree and we spent many a summer day swimming and playing at Warner's pond.

Something else very special about Warner's was that there was a hole in the back lot fence near the pond that led right into the famed "Warner's Jungle." Only a few of us knew about this way to get in and we often talked of how, one day, we would plan a secret mission into that unknown jungle where so many of the old "B" jungle movies and Saturday afternoon serials were filmed.

Although Warner's was not as famous for serials as the smaller studios like Monogram, they did produce their share of really bad black and white jungle movies. There were always a lot of natives in these awful films and you would notice right off that they were all white guys with burnt cork smeared on their bodies. Even we kids saw through this.

Studios in those days had no tours at all. These were mysterious places where movie magic was made and they did not really want anyone to know how it was all done.

An operation such as sneaking into Warner's was nothing to be taken lightly. We had heard rumors about kids who had been caught inside the fence and they were not funny stories... at all.

Planning for "Operation Warner's Jungle Adventure" took place in our Fort in Forty Acres, of course. The plan was complex and detailed and we drew diagrams of how we would carry it out although by the time we decided to execute it we had lost all of these "Eyes Only" documents.

And so, at the appointed time, which, I believe was a Saturday morning, Darrell Woodhouse and I, along with Burton Pines and some other foolish neighborhood kid calmly strode down Olive Avenue to where it intersected with Verdugo Road and after checking both directions, smoothly and stealthily slipped under the security chain link fence surrounding the back lot. Crouching down, we ran a few yards and disappeared into the steaming hell of the jungle.

When our eyes became accustomed to the darkness we saw huge tropical trees of every kind (not real, of course) and vines that you could actually swing on as well as a clear stream winding through the area. Large elephant ear plants and other tropical vegetation loomed up in front of us. Unfortunately we did not have one of those machete knives they use in the movies so we had to duck under these enormous plants as we went.

We followed the stream which led us to a clearing at the edge of the jungle and, to our surprise, found ourselves staring at a full size submarine. Forgetting that we were trespassing and in mortal danger we began playing submarine games as if we were in a movie. We must have made quite a racket because suddenly we heard bursts of machine gun fire. We all froze, realizing someone was shooting at us so we dove for cover back into the dense jungle and raced along tracing our path to our entry point which was about fifty yards from the submarine set.

We slipped under the fence and raced across Olive Ave., all the while still hearing the guns firing at us.

I'm not sure where the others went but I ran into Sanford's market which was right across Olive from the back lot jungle. I ran through the store and must have knocked down several elderly shoppers although I don't clearly remember. I hid in the men's rest room at the back of the store for what seemed like several hours. Finally I slipped out the back service door and walked up the ally which ran parallel to Olive. This took me up to Catalina within three houses of my home. I sat on the edge of our fish pond and relished in the thrill of what we had just done... and we had come out with our mind and bodies intact. Mission accomplished!

Mr. Woodhouse got quite a chuckle out of our story and when we told him about the machine gun fire he laughed even more which confused us. He then told us that the guards who patrolled the fences of the back lot had recordings of gun fire to scare off intruders and had been "shooting" just to scare us. We, of course, knew what we had experienced and did not for one minute believe him. From that day forward we felt sort of like veterans who had lived through some very dangerous battle.


7/31/12 - Ralphs, by Wes Clark

I have fond memories of the Ralphs grocery store at the corner of Victory and Buena Vista for three reasons: 1.) I used to go to the liquor department (on the right side of the building) where the magazines and comic books were kept, to read comics. I would spend an hour or so, sitting by the magazine stand, reading comics that I might or might not buy. Every now and then I'd get routed off by an irate adult employee because I'd crease the magazine covers by sitting on them. 2.) The huge parking lot was where my friend Richard and I would give each other shopping cart rides (we'd tear the basket part off at the welds and have a perfectly usable cart). I, in turn, would give Lincoln Street rides to the girl across the street, Viki. 3.) Five years later in that same huge parking lot I learned the mysteries of standard transmissions in my Dad's Karmann-Ghia. Every Sunday afternoon we'd do practice drives.

As I recall, the building had a semi-flat roof which leaked all over whenever it rained. I remember buckets in the aisles all over the place.

My first memory of the place was the parking lot carnival located there in early Spring 1965, just after we moved to Burbank from Los Angeles. It was the usual traveling thing, seemingly run by tattooed fifteen year-olds. The ride that we kids all talked about was "the Hammer," which did a 360 degree rotation and held one upside down for a moment or two. The test of manhood was to endure this ride without barfing. Childhood lore was that the inside of the ride smelled like vomit. When I finally rode the thing I was a bit chagrined to discover that not only did it not smell like vomit, I was in absolutely no danger of vomiting. It wouldn't be the last time I'd ask myself, "Is that all there is?"

I also recall that very cheesy carnival haunted house in a trailer, backed along Victory. Walking through it, I kept thinking how I could do it better. When the Disneyland Haunted Mansion opened in 1969, I was gratified to see that it fully met my expectations!

Addendum by Shel Weisbach: "The Ralphs was designed by Stiles O. Clements and with its sweep of windows and arched roof was a great example of 60's architecture. Clements was a partner of Hearst Castle designer Julia Morgan and did several local Ralphs and the North Hollywood Sears."


4/25/12 - The Burbank Cross, by Monte Thrasher

Burbank Cross

I moved away from Burbank recently and took a few final photos. For years I've gone on a sunset walk up towards the sagebrush and often lingered at this spot, where Countryclub Drive has its fancy gate on Sunset Canyon, looking straight down Olive. It's quite lovely and I've come to watch the slow changes of light and color of thirty years or so. The streetlights have gone from a sweet starlight blue in my childhood to the ugly brown "crime lights" of the 80's, now being usurped by the new pure white lights. You can see the brilliant LED green traffic lights for miles across the Valley; that really struck me when I moved back a decade ago. So this lovely cross has evolved over time.

I should have sent it for Easter, now that I think of it. For years I've practiced a little trick of the light: blur your eyes a bit and it's easy to pretend this flat glowing spread is standing upright, like a Christmas tree, half a mile tall. I'm not sure I'd call it a cross, it seems more like a standing figure with outstretched arms, I see it sometimes as a white lady, or a vast glittering robot. It's quite distinct and should be a part of local lore, feel free to add it to the Burbankia site. I have an ancient drawing of it my late brother Mark did when we first moved to Burbank in '74: you can see the old Van de Kamps windmill, long gone. - Monte Thrasher, San Pedro California


3/7/12 - Burbank parties, by Joseph Modglin (from Facebook)

Who remembers the machinist hall party on Victory Blvd. next to Ralph's when Quiet Riot was playing? It was during a full moon in 1976. The party turned into a barroom brawl with maybe 50-60 people fighting. The band got involved in the brawl and either came down to take part or were pulled down into the melee. It was like something you would see in a Hollywood movie! As the BPD were arriving I was detained along with several others, gunshots went off close by and Burbank's finest headed into that direction as we headed for home. (Another Facebooker wrote, "I remember that night. It was summer and it was hot. Bunch of dudes from North Hollywood tried to start some crap, if I recall correctly.")

On another occasion a guy and his brother had a party one night. There were maybe 250 people there. When the BPD rolled in to break up the party someone threw a beer bottle out at the police officers, hitting one in the head! It didn't take long for the helicopter and CHP as backup to show up in force - they meant business, they were pissed off! My friend Alan and I hid in the front yard bushes laying down until it was finally cleared out. Lots of people went to jail that night! Not me! And no, I didn't throw the beer bottle!

(From Wes Clark: I lived on Lincoln Street not far from the International Association of Machinists (IAM) hall on Victory Blvd. Joe speaks of; my father was a senior steward at Lockheed and so had occasion to go there many times. It was a fascinating building, of a modern industrial metal design with water courses running through the interior. They used to rent out space for weddings; it seems that there was always some police action going on after subsequent drunkenness. I read about a number of stabbings in the paper, and used to hear and see the BPD helicopters flying to and circling around the place. It got to be a standing joke in my house as we were buzzed: "Another union hall wedding reception, I see." I was stationed at Camp Pendleton in the Marines in the summer of 1976, and therefore missed the not so Quiet Riot which took place. As a kid, me and my pal Richard used to give each other rides on broken shopping carts - the basket section removed - in the huge parking lot behind the hall. I also learned to drive the standard transmission of Dad's Karmann-Ghia there. There are times when a big paved expanse is useful.)


2/23/12 - The Silver Dollar Cafe, by Bob Thomasson:

This image shows the approximate location of the "Silver Dollar Cafe." As I recall, it burned down sometime maybe in the early 1950's. There was also a robbery there in the early '50's. I don't know how long it was there, perhaps it started during the war to feed all the Lockheed employees. As I also recall it was located near a walking ramp from the Lockheed plant, across the tracks. But things have changed a lot and hard to remember exactly where it was. At the time, it was the only building there. It was on the same side of the road as the Valhalla Cemetery.

I couldn't find anything by googling "Silver Dollar Cafe," or "Shoman's Dairy." Someone in one of the letters on your site called it Thompson's Dairy. There was sign in the early 1950's until it closed when Unimart was built that said "Shoman's Cash and Carry Dairy." I don't know how long it was there, or when it might have been Thompson's Dairy.

There's also a picture and text in the Burbankia site that shows the old Unimart building and describes how it later became a Lockheed building and then later Fry's Electronics. That Unimart store was the reason they tore down Shoman's Dairy and the Unimart store was built right on the old dairy location. Might be worthwhile to edit the descriptive text to include mention of Shoman's Dairy. I used to have an old Shoman's Dairy bottle that I found at an old aqueduct construction camp site near Bishop, but it was accidentally broken by a house guest years ago.

Perhaps there might be old business license records for both businesses, and maybe an old police report about the Silver Dollar Cafe robbery...


2/21/12 - High Times at St. Joseph's, by Ray Torella:

"...we were fortunate to have those times to reflect back on. My wife thinks that we are juvenile delinquents. I had always told her that most of my friends and other students in Burbank all partied, galivanted and enjoyed our youth. About the cops and parties in Burbank: Our Friday night spot was the park behind the hospital on Buena Vista and Riverside Dr., St. Joseph's. We would show up just before dark. A bunch of us had "usual stops." For the first hour or so, everyone would drive to our Burbank parks to find the group. I cannnot believe that the hospital never once called the cops. We would have up to 100 drunks and stoners, with our blaring rock 'n roll (Zep, Foghat, etc.) and solid noise for hours, right behind the hospital. Once in awhile, we would climb the outside back fence of the hospital to where they kept the large tanks of oxygen bottles and also nitrous oxide (laughing gas). They were not locked in those days, so most of the party would partake of the free gas. The cops would always show up at the park, one patrol car. They would turn on their flood light and shine it. It was real obvious: 50 cars, beer bottles, etc. on all ten picnic tables, but no people. We always thought that we were outsmarting the police by hiding behind the trees. It was summer and I am certain that they could hear us very well. Someone would yell (over the music) 'It's the cops!,' and everyone behind the trees could not stop laughing from the gas and other 'vitamins.' Those were certainly enjoyable times. My two daughters are jealous that they did not have the opportunity to do some of the things that I did as a youth. They said that it would be worth the butt kicking that they would have received."

And when St. Joe's nitrous oxide wasn't available: "We also used to go into the liquor store, grab the canned whipped cream, turn it upside down, and inhale the gas from the can. It contained the same compound and several of us would exit the store, not buying anything and unable to stop major laughing at one another. My friend turned the can upside down and inhaled the gas, so I tried it. We could not stop laughing, stood there and emptied a can each. Staggered out the door with uncontrollable laughter. The merchant had a funny accent when he asked us 'Are you going to buy anything?' We looked at each other and that is when we loss any control. We did make a certain store a regular weekend stop to bring others as the merchant never stopped us. Eventually, there were four or five of us; we never purchased a thing."


2/8/12 - Buena Vista Street Memories, by Wes Clark:

I posted an interesting photo to Burbankia, Lockheed workers rolling out assembled P-38 "Lightning" warplanes. This image should cheer any lover of liberty because the P-38 was the scourge of Nazi Germany. Indeed, there is flyer testimony that these planes terrified Nazis. Anything that would terrify Nazis has to be praiseworthy, right?

I like this photo because I know this intersection very well; I used to ride my bike up Buena Vista St. (left to right) past it. Later, with my driver's license, I'd drive past it on my way to work at the family business, The Lincoln Cafe, a hole in the wall which catered to Lockheed workers. In fact, I lived on Lincoln St. 2 1/2 blocks away to the left of this photo. I know that marked Buena Vista and Vanowen intersection very well, too. I once led an expedition of two into a flood control waterway tunnel and emerged back into the sunlight there. We carried rolled up burning newspapers for light like the angry peasants in a Frankenstein movie.

Vanowen ran parallel to the railroad tracks and ended at a tee at Buena Vista; you had to take a left and head towards Lockheed (and this photo site) or a right and down towards my neighborhood. During the Sixties, at this tee, there lived a single mother whom I am convinced was one of the most unfortunate women in Burbank. She owned, or more likely, rented, a house which was set down at the end of Vanowen. Despite the fact that the Burbank traffic engineers put red flashing lights and barriers in her front yard, drunks heedlessly roaring down Vanowen frequently wound up in car wrecks in her front yard when they didn't turn onto Buena Vista. I said that it was set down; what made it worse was that her house was inset somewhat low into the ground at that point, so that cars got some air time on the way into her front yard. This happened innumerable times in my youth; my Burbank pal Mike says it still does. (In fact, there was a crash about three weeks ago. He says the street hardware there always looks new!) She had an emotionally unstable son whom all the neighbor girls were afraid of. I was never glad of his company at the nearby park. As I recall, he talked about sex constantly. At the time I thought that if ever a kid was destined to be a rapist, it was he. Life must have been hell for that poor woman.

Inevitably, I was a Lockheed employee for a time (my father worked there and it was the biggest employer in town), from April 1979 to February 1980, and I labored in the area shown in this photo. A menial maintenance worker, I used to drive a small, gasoline powered Cushman scooter and picked up various bits of trash found collected in this area. Once, somebody had called in a bomb threat in the building later erected where this shot was taken. Lockheed management cleared the building and deployed myself and some other dispensables from floor to floor to empty waste cans. When our labor senior steward learned of this, he told us to cease and desist immediately. It was the one and only time I felt like the union was on my side.

Lockheed was driven out of California by the strident anti-business regulations as well as the environmental costs levied by the state legislature. The astronomical Worker's Comp rates didn't help, either. Making calculations with a Google street map based on the lengths of P-38s from Lincoln St., it appears that there is a Marriott Hotel swimming pool now where this image was taken. Where there was once bustling wartime activity there is now leisure activity.

Two last bits of hometown trivia: Buena Vista Home Entertainment, part of the Disney Corporation, was named for the street in Burbank. Why? Because the Disney Studios sits on the lower end of the street, about 2 1/2 miles away. On the northernmost terminus of Buena Vista St. sits St. Francis Xavier Church, which Mike and I have always informally called the "Flip Off Church." Why? Here's what you see from the street.


12/19/11 - I Know Who Killed Burbank's Celebrated Breathing Bush, by Rob Weaver:

"Steve Brown. He was my little brother's best friend. They were in about 5th grade when we took them to the breathing bush late one night around 1969 - 1970. They just about jumped out of their skin when the bush breathed. But then on a dare, Steve, who was built like a fireplug, suddenly let out this terrific yell and ran as hard as he could into the bush. We heard a loud crack and thump and Steve, howling in pain staggered back out of the bush. In the dirt under the bush was what looked like half a metal football with a broken pipe sticking out of the end. Silence fell upon us. The bush breathed no more. Pandemonium broke loose as we realized that Steve had killed the breathing bush. But then a dower sadness ensued as the consequence sunk in. We would no longer be bringing the unbelievers to the bush to savor their terror when the bush took a breath. It was a long drive back to Van Nuys."


12/5/11 - Some notes from Marti Baldwin's mother, as told to her:

The first has to do with the Gregg Building which is located on the south east side of Olive, just above the Radio Shack (formerly the drug store). This probably took place in the mid to late 1920's or early 1930's but I am not sure. Apparently the man who owned the building did not like it when anyone parked their car on his property. He would be upset if even part of their car was over the property line and would go out and carefully pile rocks on the part of the car that was over the line.

Another story had to do with the old John Muir building which was located across from Burbank High where the Office Depot is now. Apparently, also in the 20's, on Halloween, some boys swiped someone's cow and somehow got it into the school and led the cow all the way upstairs to the cupola area at the top of the building where they left the poor thing tied up. They did not find it until the next morning when its frantic mooing caused someone to go look for the source of the sound.

My parents were married in 1937 and lived on Doan Drive. At that time, the street was not paved and there was a woman who was agitating for pavement. Her name was Mrs McCoy and she said that she wanted the streets paved with "Ashfeldt." Consequently, they called her "Ashfeldt McCoy." Around this time, there was a huge rainstorm and the street got a large pothole in it which got larger by the day. The residents had complained about the pothole which had grown very large and when it rained the hole filled with water so it could not be seen. The city's police car came down the street and almost disappeared in the water filled hole. Shortly after that Mrs McCoy got her wish and the street was paved.


11/11 - Some random notes from Fermer Kellogg, a Burbank old-timer, as told to Mike McDaniel

The 3G Distillery was made into a sub factory for Lockheed just before WWII; that is how it went out of business.

The winery that is now Jefferson Elementary school had a guard who drank a little too much and once broke open one of the big vats; it flooded several of the homes below it.

Fermer and his father (who after working at the Empire China factory went to work for the Union Ice Company here in town) would go to Jeffries Barn on fight nights and shave ice off of big blocks into troughs to put beer in. These would be chilled by fight time for the patrons to buy.

A hobo jungle was a place under the Verdugo Bridge where people who rode the freighttrains would stay. It was off of a railroad spur that went by. One guy would come by to Kellogg's mother's and grandmother's house and ask to trim bushes for a meal. He brought his own shears. Kellogg found out from one of the guys there that his grandmother's house was noted and described on the underside of the bridge as a friendly place to get a meal for a little work.

The Menasco property was once a dairy and his family would go into the cow fields and pick mushrooms that grew there fertilized by the cow dung.

Another dairy was at the intersection of Hollywood Way and the tracks called Thompson's Dairy. There was also a slaughter house near there and his family went there to get meat.

The original Valhalla Cemetery entrance was off Hollywood Way where the Portal of the Folded Wings is today. The famous Aimee Semple McPherson had an interest in an adjoining cemetery; she also built the church on the corner of Providencia and Third Street; Kellogg heard her preach there every Sunday.

Kellogg knew of a bookie house on the corner of Delaware and Sixth Street it had 26 phone lines going into it.

There was a Montgomery Ward store on San Fernando Road between Magnolia and San Jose. No one shopped there so they left and it became a junk yard by the name of Martins' Junk Yard.

The area below where Glenoaks and Elmwood intersect was originally wheat fields; many people went there to work the wheat.


7/5/11 - From Bruce Foreman (via the BHS Senior Bulldogs Newsletter) - The Snow of '49

Herb, Your photo in the last issue of the recent snow storm brought to mind my experience of the snow storm on Jan. 13, 1949. I remember it well but not because it was your wedding day! I was in the middle of my first year at the University of Redlands, and that was the day, with the foolishness of youth, I decided to ride my Whizzer motor bike from Burbank back to the University (72 miles away). It was a one cylinder, belt drive miracle on a reinforced bicycle frame and might go 35 mph on a level road with the wind behind me. I started about 2 PM, struggled over the hills in Eagle Rock, through the Pasadena traffic. It was getting cold and dark and it began to snow! In Southern California? Who ever heard of such a thing? On Foothills Blvd. just beyond Upland some Bozo made an illegal u-turn in front of me and WHAM!, I smashed into driver's side door. (Did I mention that I had no lights?) I'd burned out both generators about Covina but thinking myself invincible, I decided to keep going. Well, after a delightful ambulance ride to the Fontana hospital, and a half dozen stitches to my forehead later, I called my family to tell them I was okay. "What do you mean 'okay?' What happened? Where are you?" The upper classman who lived across the hall came and drove me on to Redlands not too much the worse for wear. But that was the end of the Whizzer. It was trash. I lost my driver's license for a year and lost any desire to ever get on a two wheeled motorized death trap again. My next vehicle and the first car I ever owned was a tank, a 1932 Oldsmobile!


7/1/11 - From Charles Catlin - The Family Home

My name is Charles Catlin. I was looking over your collection of early Burbank photographs and found my uncle, Louis Catlin, in the John Muir Junior high school program 1933-4. The Catlin family are one of the founding families of Burbank; we moved into the area just before the turn of the century. My grandfather, Charles W. Catlin, already in law enforcement as a sheriff, hired on as a constable in 1911. My father, William E. Catlin, was on Burbank's police force for 38 years and I believe Louis, also, was on the force. Our home built before 1900 is on 915 E. Orange Grove St. and is still there.

It was moved to its current location by a coal-powered tractor in 1901 from the area down by the Los Angeles river because of issues with annual flooding. The story goes that my grandmother wasn't comfortable with the whole idea of moving a house so she sat in the front doorway for the whole trip! My family sold the house several years ago and I have no interest in reacquiring the house. I will be moving to Arizona in the next couple of months and saying goodbye to California after living here for 57 years.

(The story about the house came down to me from my father who was born in 1911, so it is third hand.)


6/27/11 - From Nickolas Carreon - The Dip

Every day I would travel east on Victory Boulevard to go to school, and I would pass the Dip. At five points - the most dangerous intersection on the planet - there was a hand-made sign in the median in the middle of two-way traffic on Victory Boulevard that read: "Left Turn OK For The Dip." I don't suppose we'll ever know how many people lost life and limb crossing oncoming traffic from multiple directions in an attempt to get a pastrami sandwich.


8/16/10 - From Tim Avery - Best Airport Food Ever

Click here for article


7/9/10 - From Mike McDaniel - Operation Cookie Lift

One way Burbank supported the troops in the Vietnam War was via "Operation Cookie Lift." This was started by Doris Vick, who would have people bake cookies for the soldiers from Burbank and ship them to Vietnam in old film cans from the studios.


6/4/10 - From Wes Clark - Walking Home From School


6/3/10 - From W. Martin - the Cornell Theater

Ahhh....The Cornell Theater. As I sit back enjoying a cold bottle of my favorite suds, a warm breeze gently stirs the leaves, and my mind drifts off to the summers of my youth, a lifetime ago. The Cornell was the place to be on Saturdays. We would pile into our parents cars and get dropped off for an afternoon of movie fun. The experience started with the line forming outside, usually for a double-feature matinee. The line was a place to clown with your friends, ogle the girls, and of course, stare in wonder at the coming attraction posters on display. The lobby of the theater was a mind-blowing assault to the senses. The smell of butter-drowned popcorn tickled your nasal cavity, while the candy display case delivered the fatal blow to your wallet. With a garbage can sized drum of popcorn, you would race to your worn-out, taped-up red felt chairs, planting your feet firmly to the fly-tape like sticky floor. The lights would dim, the camera would whir away, and the film would begin... Truly the best days of my life.


5/28/10 - From Wes Clark - Pneumonia Alley

I want to preserve the Burbank memory of one of the interesting features of life working in Lockheed's B-1 plant: Pneumonia Alley. My father, who worked often at the B-1 plant adjacent to Empire Avenue (he was a Lockheed employee from 1955 to 1976), first described the place to me. I found the term amusing. Later, when I worked at the Lockheed reclamation yard at B-1 (1979 to 1980) I got to know the place well. It was a breezeway formed by two closely adjacent buildings which obtained a common roof at some point in its life - at least, that's what it seemed like. The name came from the fact that both ends were open, and a constant breeze flowed through the place. It was pleasant in the summer, but foul and objectionable on very cold days - hence, "Pneumonia Alley." You can see workers emerging from the alley in this wartime image by no less a photographer than Ansel Adams!

Like my father who got me my job, I used to work in plant maintenance, which meant that I was required to shuttle around B-1 in a small Cushman scooter picking up trash, moving things, etc. Whenever I had to drive through Pneumonia Alley I got the distinct impression that I was not in a plant where cutting edge technology airplanes were built, but, rather, a Disney dark house ride. Specifically, the Snow White ride, at the part where the dwarves were working in the mine and singing "Heigh Ho." Pneumonia Alley was always rather poorly-lit, and looking to the left and the right while driving through it one could see the various cutting machines being used to manufacture parts, with machinists walking around tending big pieces of aluminum and pushing what looked like mine cars. It was actually rather picturesque in an industrial fashion - or hellish, depending upon your point of view.

I was once given the assignment to clean the interior of some large ductwork that extended over a portion of Pneumonia Alley; I have never forgotten this job. Being 23 and agile, I was the stuckee for this mission, which required me to fit into a metal space approximately three feet square (I am 6' 4"), and to crawl along its length, all the while swiping the interior tops, sides and bottom with a rag. The length of the ductwork was perhaps 150 feet. Fortunately I didn't suffer from claustrophobia! What they didn't tell me, however, was that hot air normally flowed through this ductwork. Whatever it was that produced the hot air was shut down, but I found things getting quite warm about mid-length. It took me about 45 minutes to an hour to do the job, and it felt like the air in the long middle section of the duct was over 100 degrees. A Tunnel through Hell! By the time I emerged on the other side I was thoroughly drenched in sweat, and spent the next few minutes gulping down large amounts of water.

So it is a curious fact that my most vivid memory of a place called Pneumonia Alley is of suffering from great heat!

I performed three other interesting maintenance jobs while at Lockheed... One required that I wear rubber hip waders into pool of God-knows-what-chemical and manually peel off big accumulated hunks of plastic from the surroundings. This was on a device that carried big sheets of aluminum along a track and sprayed a very thin coat of the yellow chemical and the plastic onto the sheets, the excess falling into the pool. I recall thinking when I was standing in the pool, "Well, it doesn't get much more industrial than this!" How wrong I was.

One time somebody phoned in a bomb threat, and management sensibly had the interiors of the buildings cleared. The Burbank Police arrived with Fire Department pumper trucks, etc. Quite a scene. We maintenance guys were assigned to go from office to office emptying trash cans - until the Union stewards got wind of it and angrily voiced their objections to management. We were soon told to desist.

The job that really caused me intense mental reflection, however, was the day I had to scrub down a big, greasy, computer-controlled milling machine with methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), an industrial strength solvent. This machine was a nasty mess because the milling process threw large amounts of oil and aluminum shavings all over the device. Obviously, in order to paint the machine the oil had to be thoroughly removed. I had the good sense to wear thick rubber gloves but, for some reason, I didn't wear a respirator. Being a young, tough and immortal former Marine I figured I didn't need it (real men are not intimidated by industrial solvents), or one wasn't handy - I forget. The job took me about an hour. I didn't notice the fumes as being especially objectionable at first, but the longer I worked the worse I felt. Finished, finally, I removed the gloves and staggered outside for some fresh air. As I sat on some big pipes feeling my brain cells die off one by one I could see the plant rotating around my head, and had to grip the pipes in order to keep from falling over. I forget how long I sat there, dazed, but I have never forgotten the thought that came into my head: "If you attempt to make a career out of this job you will be a drooling idiot by the time you are thirty-five." It was then that I decided to quit Lockheed and go to college to gain a degree in electrical engineering, which I achieved four years later.

It's funny, every now and then I'll have a dream about once again working in Lockheed's cavernous plant, or driving through Pneumonia Alley. It isn't a bad or upsetting dream, and upon waking I am left with the notion that there were industrial sights left to see or places still to explore...


5/28/10 - From Kathy Falk - Memories of Dad

My Dad's name was Bill Brake. He gave me nothing specific, just little tidbits through out the years. Telling us about the then non-existent Burbank Mall. Mentioning that his Dad worked for the Ice company and how they would always have extra people at their dinner table during the Depression. His love for roller skating at the rink, I believe in Glendale.

He had the same Kindergarden teacher that we did, Mrs. Winter. My Grandmother lived on Scott Rd. There was an open field across the street and we could see the Coca Cola plant and the Colima (sp) (was that the name) theater, which, of course, we attended on occasion. I'm sure there was more, but we were kids and we heard what we wanted, the the rest is history... Sad to say. Interesting fact: My Dad met my Mom crossing the ocean on the Queen Mary. They were both in the military and coming home from Europe.


5/25/10 - From Eldridge Ballew Keller (via the Senior Bulldogs Newsletter) - Life in Wartime

I just wanted to give a little story of living across the railroad from Lockheed.

My Dad had retired after 30 years in the army when we moved from Virginia to Burbank. Quite a trip in a second hand car, 3 kids, and Mom and Dad. Dad never learned to drive a car, so Mom did all the driving.

We lived on Myers St. a few blocks from the railroad, and Lockheed. My Dad started his second career at Lockheed, and spent 20 years working there. Before the war started, he could walk to work, crossing the railroad tracks and he was there.

Lockheed was camouflaged as a grape vineyard, the San Val outdoor theater was also camouflaged, but I don't remember what it was supposed to be. We had soldiers and anti-aircraft guns in various streets in our area. The soldiers weren't much older than we kids were, and at Halloween they went trick or treating with us. Can you believe that would happen in these days?

My dad was a block warden, going street to street to be sure all of the windows of the houses had no light showing through. Remember the ration books, the saving stamps, the saving bonds, etc.?


5/10/10 - from Jim Baldridge - Burbank Restaurants

Did you or do you remember going to Frank's Steakhouse in Burbank? Wow... I sure do. When I was looking on the net I came across their website.

My dad was a "regular" back in the mid 60's and 70's and used to take me and my brother there almost every weekend... loved the food there! Cheap, basic, diner classic stuff. My father passed away last month (he was 77) and the last time I talked to him (a week before he passed) he has said that the original owners had retired (Frank's) and sold the restaurant to new owners, kind of made me a little sad in a way hearing about this, but, hey, life goes on and things change I guess. I'll sure remember those pancakes with dad on Saturday mornings... they always were the best!

Also, I hear that they have re-opened the Deli restaurant again that was changed to Harry's family restaurant that I remember for years, but no website on them as of yet. The Burbank Deli was another great food stop, I used to go there sometimes with BHS buddies for a quick lunch or a coke back in the early 80's... wow, great times!

Response from Wes Clark:

Burbank restaurants... I have some stories about Burbank restaurants...

I ate at Frank's once and only once, as an eighteen year-old in late September 1974. I remember it well: Dad took me there for dinner one night, and since I was due to enter Marine Corps boot camp the following week this fact emerged in a conversation with the waitress. (Dad always chatted up waitresses.) The waitress got sort of misty-eyed, made some comments about how young and good-looking I was and gave me a free dessert. It felt really weird, like I was going off to war or something. I never ate there since. It wasn't that I was avoided the place, it was just that it really wasn't one of our Burbank haunts.

My primary Burbank haunt with the Old Man was Albin's Drugstore on the corner of Hollywood Way and Magnolia. I was stationed at Camp Pendleton from 1975 to 1978, so it was an easy drive to Burbank on the weekends. (My parents always measured my drive by the number of cassettes I listened to in the car and would ask, "Was it a two or a three cassette drive?") Every Friday night after I arrived home Dad and I had dinner at the counter of Albin's, more or less by default. (Mom was at the family business, the Lincoln Cafe, where we would join her by 8 PM to help out with the Lockheed swing shift crowd.) I recall walking up Hollywood Way to Albin's front door from the parking lot one night and thinking, "Another Friday night, another dinner with Dad at Albin's. Will this ever change, I wonder?" Nothing lasts forever, of course, and now Albin's is gone like my father. How I would like to have one more meal there with him...

I suppose as long as I'm on the subject of Burbank eateries I should mention the continuing attachment Dad and I had with the Tally Rand. Beginning circa 1970 or so Dad would take me and our family friend Angela (our mothers worked together as waitresses at Sargeant's) to dinner there on Sunday nights. I guess Mom was working Sunday nights and so was Angela's Mom, which is why they weren't around for these trips. Sometimes we sat in the front, sometimes in the back, where the funny cartoony wooden cut-outs of a fox hunt were mounted on the walls. Anyway, my dinner never varied - it was the "Scottie," a patty with some melted cheese on the top, served with a baked potato. This went on for years. Fast forward to one Sunday night in March 1975, when I was in the Marines. Dad and I ate at the Tally Rand and I had a Scottie for old times. About an hour into my usual Sunday drive back to Camp Pendleton my stomach started feeling queasy. Finally I could hold it in no longer... about a mile from the front gate to Pendleton in Oceanside I pulled over on I-5, rolled down the window and threw up violently. Funny... I was more upset with myself for getting vomit on the front door of my prized '74 VW Bug than I was about feeling sick. That evening was a very bad one, and the next morning - probably looking sleepless and very green around the gills - I reported in sick and got assigned light duty for the rest of the day. Apparently I had a bout of food poisoning from the Tally Rand Scottie. I have never eaten there since!

Since Mom ran the Lincoln Cafe and had to cook for a living, she hated to cook at home. So we dined out a lot on Saturday nights.

On these Saturday nights during my stint in the Marines Dad and Mom and I often ate at Genio's. I have fond memories of the many fine steaks I consumed there, always with coffee, a large baked potato and slathered with butter. (As a young Marine I was an enthusiastic and careless eater.) They also had a Pong video game in the waiting area that took many of my quarters. Genio's had an unbeatable ambiance; it was darkened and quiet - and the food was consistently good. The only special story I can remember about it was the time that, dining there one Saturday night as a family, we resolutely decided to stop looking at Cadillac Eldorados and keep our Ford LTD for a while longer. The following day we bought a 1975 Cadillac Eldorado. So much for strongly-worded Clark Family resolutions. While I was in the Marines and off duty in Burbank, my uniform was jeans, sneakers and a tee-shirt. Hard to believe I actually went to nice resturants dressed in this fashion.

After I got out of the Marines I lived at home for a time (1978-1979), and while this was the case my parents made a practice out of eating our Sunday breakfast at Don's, on Glenoaks. Our breakfasts at Don's were expansive. We'd buy the Sunday Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and spread the pages all over the table, reading while waiting for our food. We knew all the waitresses by name and felt like visiting royalty.

Our other big family haunt was Leon's in North Hollywood, now long gone. But that's not Burbank.


5/10/10 - from Joseph Brown - the 1940's:

I lived in Burbank only six years of my present 77. But since that period of 1942-45 coincided with my teenage youth, that Southern California city will always have a fond place in my memory and heart.

My family moved to Burbank from La Crescenta, just "over the hill," in early 1942 when my Dad, a technical writer at Vega Aircraft (later merged with Lockheed) couldn't get enough gasoline due to World War II rationing to make the daily commute.

We bought a small three bedroom tract house at 1630 North Fairview Street (for only $5,000, which wouldn't buy its garage today.)

The war clouds which had gathered when we lived in La Crescenta (I recall Pearl Harbor day there) had now burst wide open. Hitler was gobbling up Europe; Japan was bloodily solidifying its grip on half the Pacific, and Burbank was on a wartime footing. Batteries of anti-aircraft guns now ringed the Lockheed plant a mile from our house and blackouts were an occasional fact of life.

One night in 1942, in fact, those AA guns erupted in anger as searchlights pierced the sky. Turned out a flight of US Navy planes flying at high altitude had lost radio contact with the ground. Fortunately no one was hurt before the error was discovered.

Our neighbors on Fairview Street were on a wartime footing, too.

We appointed an air raid warden, rigged our homes for blackouts, and set up local first aid stations "just in case." To test the stretchers we hoped we'd never have to use, Arthur Q. Bryan, a neighbor whose career was the voice of Egghead and Elmer Fudd in Hollywood cartoons, volunteered. When Bryan's 300-plus pounds didn't burst the stretchers, we knew we had made them well.

After elementary school, I enrolled at John Burroughs Junior High (later upgraded to a high school.) I walked to school each day, an exercise I didn't mind because my route took my past the back lot of the Warner Brothers movie studios. Many a day I was late getting home, preferring instead to crawl under the studio fence and live out daydreams on movie sets there. While Americans were fighting real battles overseas, I fought my own on one elaborate jungle set made up to duplicate a Pacific island battlefront. My favorite, though, was to stand at the helm of a pirate ship left over from Warner epics of the Thirties. Errol Flynn was no better a swashbuckling captain than I was.

Later in the 40s, our family had expanded to eight (my Mom and Dad, a brother, two stepsisters and two half sisters - eight in all) and the Fairview house became too cramped for comfort. My Dad then bought a larger replacement at 726 East Orange Grove, "on the hill," in Burbank parlance, and there I remained until I left home in 1948.

To augment my family allowance, I delivered the local newspaper, the Burbank Daily Review, and mowed lawns on Saturday mornings. How well I remember the banner headline in the Review toward the end of my paper carrier career: "FDR Dies."

On weekends I rode my balloon-tired bike out to Santa Monica and back, usually having to stop and repair a flat tire now and then; once, I biked roundtrip to Castaic, about 30 miles away.

I enjoyed my days as a Boy Scout in Burbank Troop 13, especially the times at summer camp at Camp Bill Lane in Big Tujunga Canyon. Fellow scout Dan Sites and I spent one Eastern vacation backpacking into Big Santa Anita Canyon.

From Burroughs, I had transferred to Burbank High School and there cemented many friendships, some of which remain to this day.

BHS was also the place where my career as a writer began. I was editor of both the school newspaper and yearbook, having changed from a music class, in which I played the trumpet so poorly my teacher threatened expulsion, to journalism, at the suggestion of my newspaperman grandfather, Tom Brown of San Francisco.

While a student at BHS, I also was a "stringer" correspondent on school affairs, mostly sports, for the Burbank Daily Review. We had many students of note to write about (of note later in life, anyway) such as Frank Sullivan, who became a leading pitcher after his school days for the Boston Red Sox (as well as one of the tallest in major league baseball), Vic Tayback, later of "Mel's Diner" fame, and a pert young student named Mary Frances Reynolds who, after winning a Burbank beauty/talent contest and Hollywood screen test, changed her name to Debbie Reynolds (at BHS she was simply "Frannie.")

Before Los Angeles Basin smog wreaked its havoc, I enjoyed hiking into the small hills just east of Burbank, sometimes camping overnight in Stough Park or traversing the six miles or so to the summit where a one-armed forest ranger stationed in a fire tower there always welcomed me warmly.

When I last visited, the Orange Grove Avenue house had been demolished and replaced by a garish modern apartment building although the two tall curbside palm trees out front remain.

Stough Park also remains, a treasured oasis in my memory. Only now a large upscale restaurant, the Castaway, is located between it and the town where once there were only trees and brush. In 1948, I went west from Maine to attend a 50th anniversary reunion of my high school class at the Castaway. Funny how many of the classmates I schooled with had turned so old. And when the then-present BHS marching band showed up and played the school alma mater ("Hail, Burbank High School, hail to the blue and white...") there were few dry eyes in the room, including mine.

Tom Wolfe had it right: "You can't go home again."


4/27/10 - from Douglas White - Gardens Greens Grabbers:

During the 70's there was a flurry of potted plant thefts in Burbank, all covered by the Burbank Daily Review. It went on for about six months or a year - roughly the time it took to outfit a house and porch with potted plants. It was either made-up by the folks at the paper to fill space, or, was real and I am sure the police never searched for the culprit, or, something... Only in Burbank.


4/26/10 - from Michael Reighley - The Cornell Theater

I remember well the Cornell Theater. I also remember when they tore it down. [In 1980. It closed in 1978. - Wes] I was working at the McDonalds across the street on San Fernando. My friends and I were able to sneak into the old abandoned theater. We saw how water had leaked though the old dome shaped roof and soaked the seats and sticky floors. Others had been in there as well and tore up the big white screen. We went out to the massive lobby and saw that someone had smashed the snack bar candy display cases - glass was everywhere.

The door to the forbidden upstairs was open and we could not help ourselves but to go up to the projection room. There we could see the old theater that was seemingly massive through the holes where the projectors once stood. We toured around all the nooks and crannies of the building. Behind one door were all the letters that they used on the marquee. Behind another were tickets - thousands of tickets. The Cornell was a neat place to hang out for double features when I was a kid; sneaking in food from the Shakeys bunch a lunch - one friend brought a whole pizza once. The snack bar sold pickles for a while and sometimes they would get away from people and roll down the sloped floor only to land at your feet. I miss the single screen theaters of those days and I guess they are gone forever. The Cornell though will live in my mind forever - dead and alive.


4/26/10 - from Darryl Eisele - Well Rescue

In early 1941, my parents moved from a little house on Grismer to a brand new house "way out in the valley" on still-unpaved Keystone Street just off Burbank Blvd.

There were few buildings on Burbank Blvd. and the lot between Keystone and Lamer was deep with weeds when they moved in on April 5, 1941.

It was only a couple of weeks later when my sister Marilyn (she had just turned six) fell down an abandoned well in that lot to a depth of about 20 feet, near the corner under what now is Chili John's. The fire trucks had to come from Third and Olive and when they got there, their ladders were too wide to fit down the well.

My dad saved the day by tying a loop in a long rope and bringing her up...


 

4/22/2010 - We begin with some memories from Carol Hill Olmstead - the Lockheed P.A.

 

I grew up on Lamer Street between Victory Blvd and Lockheed. I moved there with my parents, Ernest and Florence Hill, and my brother Rod Hill (BHS class of '63) in 1947 when I was just three years old. My youngest brother John was born the next year.

Lockheed had a public address system that we could hear from our house when the wind was right and sometimes just when the voices were very loud. Usually the calls were businesslike and pretty boring. Now and then, just before lunch time or the dinner hour, though, we'd hear ladies on the PA calling things like, "Mabel! Where're you goin' to eat?" or "Mabel! Where should I meet ya for lunch?" My parents told us they weren't really supposed to be using the P.A. system for that sort of thing so it was a special treat when we heard it. We always giggled!

We never found out who Mabel was, but a couple of ladies, like Blanche Ivy (later Blanch Franck when she remarried after the death of her husband) who lived on Keystone, the street behind ours, worked there as a "dimpler" putting dentations on the metal surface of the airplanes so the rivets would lay flush when they were added. I think I've got that right. (Maybe it was another lady.)

Train tracks ran about a block from our house between Pacific Avenue and Lockheed. There was a vacant lot and "The Wash" between us and the tracks. That house of ours was so old and poorly built, we could feel the trains coming down the track long before we could hear or see them! It was a delightful surprise when a developer filled up the vacant lot on Pacific Avenue with brand new two story homes planted less than 100 feet from those tracks. I guess Burbank developed better building codes because they were built to stand firm and don't shiver at all when the trains pass behind their backyard.

I wasn't home at the time, but my father who worked night shift and slept during the day was when the KMPC traffic helicopter made a crash landing in that vacant lot. I can't remember if the newscaster who reported from the helicopter died or not but I think his name was Max. [Editor's note: Max Schumacher was a traffic reporter for Los Angeles radio station KMPC. He was known to radio listeners in Southern California as "Captain Max." The incident remembered is described here.]

Pickwick Pool! I remember one summer after getting my life saving certification in our "Water Ballet" class at BHS going for a swim there. Burt Kornye (spelling?) who was a neat fellow and well known in our class of 1961 as an Hungarian refugee, was on duty at one of the guard towers that afternoon, noticed a young girl in the deep section was playing "turtle" for quite a while so I tapped her on her back and turned her over, and learned that she was unconscious. I called to Burt and waved one arm while holding her head up with the other arm, trying to move her to the edge of the pool. He dove in, pulled her the rest of the way out and saved her life.

 

Usually McCambridge Park Pool was the swim hole of choice for my brothers and I because Pickwick was more expensive. We'd arrive just about when the pool opened and stayed the whole day, "dining" on whatever junk food was for sale at the food spot in one corner by the pool. My brothers were on the boys' swim team at BHS so they were pretty strong swimmers, too. We'd have contests to see who could dive in at one shallow end and make it underwater on one breath to the other shallow end. Those were some of the best summers of my childhood.

Mother was a school teacher at Pacoima Elementary School next to a government housing project with some interesting stories to tell about truly poor families whose children she taught as an ESL teacher.

She'd drop me off at BHS in the morning for my first period band class (extra early during football season when we had to practice our half time shows on the football field before the athletes needed it) and I'd walk home at the end of the day or wait in front until she could pick me up at 5:30 or so in the evening.

I remember walking over the train tracks at Burbank Blvd. until the construction project began for the overpass. Then I had to go the long way around by the Magnolia overpass. With swimming, marching and walking home every day, I was sure a lot thinner than I am these days, just standing here in my kitchen typing at my laptop!

 


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