Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Louise Rocke, BHS '62, Passed Away May 25, 2012

Received this sad news today from Bruce Fossler, BHS '66:

Just to let you know that John Rocke's sister Louise passed away.

John is and will always be my best friend. I feel bad for him and thought there are other people who would want to let him know that they too share his sadness.

Thoughts of the past

Bruce Fossler


"Received word that Louise Rocke passed away on May 25, 2012 after a battle with Lung cancer. She was born December 24, 1944 in Los Angeles County, California. She will be missed by her family and friends. No other details at this time."

Kathy "Alice in Wonderland" Beaumont Went to BHS

Yesterday, my sister, Patricia Palmer (Lundquist) Peck, BHS '55, told me that in high school one day, her teacher told the class to be nice to a new student. Come to find out, the new student was Kathy Beaumont, the girl who Disney used for the voice of Alice in "Alice in Wonderland" and as Wendy in "Peter Pan"!

Today I found her website which is very interesting:

"After the 1953 release of Peter Pan, Kathryn headed off for public high school, where she pursued drill team rather than drama and ran for a position in student government. Kathryn was subsequently accepted at the University of Southern California, where she earned a degree and teaching credential. Kathryn continued to work for Disney each summer during college. On the completion of her studies... and for the next thirty years... Kathryn devoted her time and energy to being a school teacher in a local elementary school, a move she has never regretted. 'I just went into another career,' she reports. 'I was just very young when I did these roles, so I went back to school and I had other ideas of things I wanted to do. In a sense, the roles that I did were somewhat anonymous because I lent my voice, not my physical being,' Kathryn explains. 'When I went on to school, it became a past experience. Teaching gave me satisfaction, and I stayed.' Occasionally, a sharp-eared student would wonder why the teacher's voice sounded so familiar, but not too often, since home video was a decade or two off... and prior to home video availability, the Disney features were re-released to theatres only every seven years, on average. Kathryn lost contact with Disney, even though she lived just a stone's throw from the studio. In 1983, Disney promotion executive Howard Green reestablished contact."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Otto Jensen, 101 Years Old, Died Yesterday

Sad to report, Mr Jensen was hit by a car while walking across the street.

The Burbank Centennial Parade on April 9, 2011 had two grand marshals, Burbank residents Genevieve Cowden Sultenfuss and Otto W. Jensen, both of whom were 100.

Otto Jensen, Legendary 101-Year-Old Burbank Photographer, Killed While Crossing Street

By Simone Wilson
Wed., May 23 2012 at 10:00 AM

A living piece of Burbank history was killed while crossing Olive Avenue around 8:15 p.m. last night.

Otto Jensen, who was still running his nearby photography studio at the ripe age of 101 years old, has shot everything from family portraits to boxing and Hollywood greats during his long and storied career. Jensen's studio, a staple on Olive, has been open since 1952.

In a video interview with ESNEWS last year, he said he smoked two cigars a day and had learned over his long life "to take it easy." Being himself a former boxer from Denmark (and, as listed elsewhere on the Internet, a "professional actor"), Jensen described himself as Manny Pacquiao's biggest fan.

Jensen is "very big in the Danish community," says Peter Musurlian, a PIO for the city of Burbank. "I think he was from Denmark originally."

otto studio.jpg
Jensen's famous studio.

The beloved photographer was featured in the City of Burbank's "Voices" series a few years back. "He's led a very interesting life and his story should be a good one," said the city's PIO at the time. (We're trying to obtain a video or transcript of the talk.)

Burbank police say Jensen was crossing Olive at Griffith Park when he was hit. Although there is no crosswalk at the intersection, Sergeant Darin Ryburn tells LA Weekly that it is legal to cross there.

The driver of the sedan that downed Jensen has been identified as Mary Beaumont, another elder with a strong history in Burbank. She's a 91-year-old resident on the public library's board of trustees.

However, Beaumont is not being charged for the pedestrian death. "She was interviewed and released," says Ryburn.

According to Pacquiao's official YouTube account, "Otto Was born Marth 6th, 1911 in Denmark and came all the way to Meet Manny Pacquiao to get a picture."

Here are some photos that Jensen took during his amazing half-century-long career as a Los Angeles photographer.

otto jensen photo 1.jpg

art aragon by otto.jpg
otto jensen art boxer.jpg
[@simone_electra / / @LAWeeklyNews]

--- end ---

In this short video from 2010 of the Burbank on Parade, between 3:30-5 min, you will see Otto in front of his shop on Olive with Dona Foy Bruckner (BHS '67) talking to him.

Bob's Big Boy Pics from Facebook

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dr. Bruce Varon, BHS '75, Passed Away May 16, 2012

Very sad to announce this...

Bruce's BHS Sophomore class photo

Photo from Bruce's work website:

Today Jon and Pam Kirkwood (BHS '64) received the news from Herb Vincent (BHS '46) that Dr. Bruce Varon (BHS '75) passed away yesterday at his home in Burbank.

Please keep the family in your prayers as just last year they lost Bruce's brother, Greg:

Friend of the family, Jennifer Todd, says the service for Bruce is Tuesday May 22nd at 12 noon at Mount Sinai in the chapel on the top of the hill.

Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills
5950 Forest Lawn Drive
Los Angeles, California 90068
Tanach Chapel

After the service there will be a lunch at the Pasadena Play House (39 S. El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101 map (626) 356-7529).

In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations to the Burbank High Booster Club for the football team or to the Kiwanis Club.

Linda Mustion's Memorial Page

Burbank Leader

May 21, 2012 | 6:17 p.m.
Dr. Bruce Varon, D.C.

Bruce Varon, beloved father, brother, son, and doctor of chiropractic, passed away May 16, 2012 at the age of 55 in his Burbank home.

Bruce grew up in Burbank and for over 25 years he treated countless patients at Varon Chiropractic Center. He cared deeply about his patients and they can testify that Bruce loved to talk and share his wisdom with those around him. With his hands and his heart he helped heal thousands of people. He loved his role as doctor for the Burbank High School Football team. He rarely missed standing on the sidelines of the Burbank High football field, watching his beloved team play. He especially enjoyed games where Burbank High played against rival Burroughs High.

Bruce was a long-standing member of Burbank Kiwanis Club. He was often referred to by his fellow Kiwanis as “Mr. Pancake Breakfast” because of how he enjoyed chairing their annual pancake breakfast

Bruce loved his family and friends. He always tried to instill in his children life lessons that they could live
by. He loved sharing what he had learned from his father, Leo Varon, and brother, Greg Varon. Nothing
made him happier than riding horses with his daughters and son and riding his Harley Davidson.

Bruce is survived by his daughters, Destina and Lauren; son, Sam; sister, Michele; and mother, Bette. He is predeceased by his father, Leo, and his brother, Gregory.

A service will be held at Mount Sinai Park in the Hollywood Hills, near Burbank, on Tuesday, May 22nd at 12 noon. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in his name to Burbank High School Booster Club or the Burbank Kiwanis Club. Please visit Mt. Sinai Memorial Park’s website at where you may leave your comments for the family about your memories of Bruce.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

1930 California etc

And here's Los Angeles in 1920

Now Los Angeles in the late 1940's...

Here's Los Angeles in the 1950's!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Burbank: Story of a City

Thanks to Wes Clark (Burbankia) for this 1952 video!

Burbank Timeline

Found the following to be very interesting!

Union High School in 1922.

Truck traffic became so heavy on San Fernando Road, which was also State Highway 99, that the city diverted trucks down Providencia Street to First Street in the late 1940s. Photos courtesy of the Burbank Historical Society


1910 – Burbank businessman Joseph W. Fawkes was determined, if eccentric. He opposed the incorporation of Burbank. He also spoke out against a campaign to have the Pacific Electric Railway — known for running Red Cars — extended from Glendale into Burbank.

One possible reason? His transportation experiment that failed years earlier. He built what he called one of the first monorails ever seen in the United States, though it really didn’t have a rail and could be more aptly described as an aerial trolley. The open-air car sat about 20 people.

Its maiden voyage in 1911 went through Fawkes’ apricot orchard, which would soon be in the newly incorporated Burbank. Upon launch, the car suffered significant damage. It rose only a few feet off the ground, so there were no injuries. The endeavor became known as “Fawkes’ Folly.”

July 30, 1920 – A reward is offered in the murder of Burbank Deputy City Marshal Robert L. Normand, and new clues are discovered.

Tire tracks were found going to and from a deserted house, and a piece of a woman’s dress, stained in blood, was found nearby, thought to be used as a bandage. Three men were suspects in the murder. But there are no reports of any arrests.

Dec. 2, 1927 – A huge brush fire engulfed both sides of the Verdugo Hills, destroying 110 homes, cabins and bungalows in Burbank, primarily in the Sunset Canyon area. The estimated loss was $500,000, a hefty price tag at the time. No injuries were reported. The fire would have continued its destructive path, except the wind changed slightly and fire crews, including firefighters and equipment from Glendale, Los Angeles and North Hollywood, were able to contain the blaze.

March 1-4, 1938 – Burbank was hit by seven inches of rain in just a few days, leading to flooding that swept away many houses along the channels. During the flood, 13 people, including Burbank businessman Glen M. Odens, were trapped atop the roof of a house. The structure was hit by another house barreling downstream, sending the 13 people into the raging waters. Only four of the stranded people were found.

December, 1941 – After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Burbank joined cities along the West Coast requiring blackouts to keep the city safe from possible Japanese attacks at night. The first blackout caught many drivers by surprise and led to several traffic accidents, some fatal.

Mid-1940s – The Army Corps of Engineers needed to hide the Lockheed Burbank Aircraft Plant to protect it from Japanese attack. The entire plant was covered in camouflage to make it appear like a rural subdivision from the air.

During World War II – The Walt Disney Studios contributed to the war effort in many ways, including producing news reels and making financial contributions. The company also created insignias at no cost for members of the U.S. armed forces.

Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Pluto and Goofy were mascots on the insignias, of which more than 1,600 designs were created. The 1,000th insignia, which was created for a field hospital in the European Theater of Operations, featured Donald Duck as a medical corpsman carrying a bottle of blood plasma on his rifle.

Sept. 5, 1950 – The fight against Communism reached Burbank as the City Council required Communists to register with the city government.

Anyone who registered could not own a gun or work for any L.A. County defense organization, such as a police department. No one registered, but three women were arrested a few months earlier for distributing what appeared to be Communist literature to Lockheed workers.

May 17, 1952 – A fire broke out at Warner Bros. Studios. Black smoke filled the air as a structure fell to the ground. About two months later, on July 9, another fire devastated the studio and consumed 23 acres of buildings, scene docks and sets.

The former home of Dr. David Burbank — the city’s founder who at one point owned one of the largest sheep ranches in Southern California — was still on property occupied by Warner Bros. The historic structure, built in 1867, was destroyed by the blaze.

March, 1953 – The murder of Mabel Monohan sent shock waves through Burbank. Barbara Graham, along with her friends Jack Santo and Emmet Perkins, killed Monahan during an attempted robbery. Monahan refused to give them her jewelry and money.

The trio were sentenced to death. All three were executed by gas. In 1959, actress Susan Hayward won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Graham in the movie “I Want to Live!”

April 21, 1956 – The California Police Commission busted a gambling ring led by mobster Mickey Cohen. The fallout led to the resignation of the police chief and city manager.

Throughout 1950s – A top-secret program was conducted in a facility at the Lockheed Aircraft Plant. Its objective was to develop a liquid-hydrogenpowered spy plane. Because the chemical is extremely volatile, early experiments were conducted inside a bomb shelter with 8-foot-thick walls.

Eventually, the plant was producing more liquid nitrogen than anywhere in the United States. Reports state that staff members wore grounded shoes and couldn’t carry keys or metallic objects that might spark an explosion.

There are also reports that in spring 1959, a stove only 700 feet from the liquid nitrogen tank caught fire. Local firefighters didn’t have clearance to enter the facility. The tank didn’t explode, but the experiment was deemed too dangerous to proceed.

Aug. 21, 1963 – An American-Nazi rally was held in McCambridge Park. The head of the western division of the party spoke at the event, which drew many protesters.

Nov. 9, 1964 – Aimee Miller, wife of Bill Miller, Frank Sinatra’s longtime pianist, died when she was swept away in a mudslide, which destroyed a house and several cars along Country Club Drive. Daughter Meredith was in the BHS class 1965.

Dec. 15, 1966 – There was a train wreck at Burbank Junction.

Feb. 22, 1967 – Fire broke out in a four-building industrial complex at 923 S. San Fernando Road, reducing all of the structures to rubble.

Magnesium parts in one of the buildings fueled the flames. There were no injuries.

Feb. 23, 1967 – During the Vietnam War, Operation “Cooky” Lift sent cookies to Burbank High School graduates serving overseas in U.S. armed forces. By this time, the project had sent 300 five-pound tins of homemade treats.

Nov. 25, 1967 – The Golden Mall, a six-block section of San Fernando Road from Tujunga to San Jose avenues, was dedicated. Opening several months later, the mall along that stretch of road was closed to traffic, a popular trend at the time.

The pedestrian-only shopping mall initially saw a 22% jump in retail sales, but the $918,000 project didn’t last. In 1987, San Fernando Road, from Olive to Verdugo avenues, was opened to vehicles. Traffic began traversing the rest of the former Golden Mall a year later.

November 1968 – Burbank resident Paul Perveler and his girlfriend, Kristiana Cromwell, were found guilty of murdering Perveler’s wife, Cheryl, in a crime fashioned from the movie “Double Indemnity.”

Perveler had a $25,000 doubleindemnity insurance policy on his wife of seven weeks. They were convicted on circumstantial evidence. Later, the two were convicted for the 1966 murder of Cromwell’s husband, Martin.

Cromwell had taken out a $35,000 insurance policy on him.

Feb. 11, 1971 – Burbank shared its water supply with the city of San Fernando after it was hit by a 6.6-magnitude earthquake on Feb. 9, killing 26 people and destroying many homes and buildings.

Summer, 1979 – Burbank Councilman Jim Richman demanded rock concerts be banned from the Starlight Bowl because they attracted “dopers,” homosexuals, anti-nuclear demonstrators and minorities. A majority of the council members eventually agreed, and rock concerts were discontinued.

The concert promoter, Cinevision Corp., sued the city for breach of contract and won $4.6 million. Years later, Richman said he still felt it was the right move.

Aug. 1, 1995 – Burbank City Councilman Ted McConkey proposed Burbank take over the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Air Authority, nullifying a deal among the three cities to jointly operate the airfield. The proposal generated discussion but no action.

March 5, 2000 – Southwest Airlines Flight 1455 overran a runway at what is now Bob Hope Airport and slid out onto Hollywood Way, coming to a stop near a gas station. The cause was listed as landing at an excessive speed. The air traffic controller was also faulted for putting the crew in a position that their only option was a go-around.

The gas station is no longer at that location.

November 2003 – The Burbank Police Department was jolted when one of its rookie officers, 26-year-old Matthew Pavelka, was killed during a shootout outside the Ramada Inn on San Fernando Boulevard.

Police Officer Gregory Campbell was critically wounded but survived his injuries. Pavelka’s was the first on-duty death in the department’s 82-year history at the time.

One of the two men who police said opened fire on the officers during a routine traffic stop, Ramon Aranda, was shot and killed during the gun battle. The other man, David A. Garcia, eluded police for two weeks until Mexican authorities arrested him in Tijuana.

Feb. 5, 2009 – A time capsule buried in February 1959 is unearthed. Back then, residents predicted Burbank would be served by a monorail system and use nuclear power. Another time capsule was buried on July 4, 1976, and will be unearthed on Independence Day, 2051.

September 2009 – The city discloses that the FBI and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the Burbank Police Department on suspicion of officer misconduct and excessive use of force. The city has since brought in outside consultants to review oversight measures and departmental changes.

Sources: Burbank Historical Society, Burbankia, Burbank Public Library, Burbank Community Book, Burbank Leader, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Remember Song by Tom Rush

Great song! Thanks to Phil Young who sent the link and wrote:

"Now, if I could just find his ol' album... it was here somewhere..."