Thursday, April 28, 2011

Paul G. Williamson (1918-2011) Former BHS Teacher


Paul G. Williamson, 92, passed peacefully at his home in Fresno, California on April 15, 2011 of congestive heart failure.

Born on October 9, 1918 in Oxnard, California, he was the son of Grover and Mary Williamson. Paul excelled in school, sports, and also became an accomplished trumpet player.

Paul married his beloved high school sweetheart, Ruth AlVerta Jaynes, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He entered the Navy, became an officer of a minesweeper, and saw action in Italy and southern France.

After obtaining his Masters degree from Cal, Paul began teaching in Burbank where he was promoted to Boys Vice-Principal at Burbank High School, and later became Principal at Jordan Junior High. Paul led through professionalism, commitment to innovative education, an unfailing sense of humor, and a positive outlook on life. Up until he died, many teachers, students, and parents kept in touch with him.

Not only was he an excellent tennis player, Paul was also a lifelong avid fisherman. He and AlVerta purchased land on the McKenzie River in Oregon and built a second home. Here Paul fished, made new friends, and created a bountiful garden. For many years, the happy couple traveled the world

Paul was preceded in death by his older sister Carleen Howell, and, after 67 years of marriage, by AlVerta, who passed in December, 2009. He is survived by his daughter Sandra Alonzo, his son Gary, his son Jay, his son-in-law Mike, his daughter-in-law Bailey, and grandchildren Iris, Corey, Rhonda, Tony, Randy and Sean.

Pursuant to Paul’s request, his ashes will be spread during a private family ceremony.

The family asks that you share your memories of Paul and AlVerta by signing the guestbook by at In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to any hospice or local PTA.,0,4777276.story

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Russ Riegler (BHS '75) Passed Away April 22, 2011

Received this sad email today from Mike McDaniel (BHS '74) who also works for the City of Burbank. Please keep the Riegler family in your thoughts and prayers.

We are sorry to announce that Russ Riegler, BWP Senior Power Plant Mechanic, passed away at his home in Burbank on Friday, April 22nd, at the age of 54, due to heart problems. Russ lived in Burbank his entire life and graduated from Burbank High in 1975. He worked for the City for 32 years and his hard work and outgoing personality will be missed.

Russ liked marathons, working on classic Mustang cars, collecting model trains and everything Elvis. He also enjoyed taking his 1979 Jeep off-roading with friends and playing with the family dog, Zack. Russ leaves behind his wife Darlene, and their two sons Ross and Rick.

Services will be held as follows:

Friday, April 29 at 3:00 pm
Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills
6300 Forest Lawn Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90068

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Received My Burbank Centennial Book Today

160+ pages of fabulous fotos... HAPPY BIRTHDAY BURBANK!!

See you in July!


A few sample pages...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Petra Update from Phil Young (BHS '65)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Yea! What a day…

Between the continuing saga of the visa extension quest and the development of the Best Practices Workshop next week we’ve had little time for our primary and core mission: working with the Rangers, Tourist Police and other people (and animals) of Petra. Our prayers (or other exaltations) have been heard during this “Holy Week,” and we got our visa extension today! It only took one more trip to Ma’an and then back to Wadi Mousa for fingerprinting, interrogation about who we’re spying for (need to make sure it isn’t for that “un-named land to the west”), and… just kidding… but, we did get our extension.
Today’s real triumph was observing the veterinary efforts with the horses here by The Brooke Animal Clinic. For years Petra has been receiving complaints about the condition and care of the animals here (primarily the horses, but donkeys and camels too). Our ol’ amigo “Cowboy Fred” helped bring the husbandry program along, and it is much improved over prior years. However, just days after Fred’s return to the USA the Director of PAP met with the interim Director of The Brooke here at Petra and daily inspections by veterinary staff is now underway. Thanks also goes to Princess Alia for her patronage with the clinic. Many of the horses have a fungal infection in their hooves, but efforts are underway to offer preventative education on proper care (clean-those-hoofs) and stabling. Other procedures are also being proposed so visitors will encounter healthy and well cared for stock. Well done! The Brooke Hospital for Animals:
On a sadder note, I received note a few weeks ago about the passing of an acquaintance from high school. I was a shy guy at Burbank High, but occasionally wondered: “what ever happened to…” I read recently that she had a steadfast love and appreciation for all things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small and her belief in the essential equality of all people.”
I think we could use more people like that, and condolences to her family for their loss (sounds like we all lost)…

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Days in the News

Duane Thaxton (BHS '67) sent me this email today with a link to article about friend and classmate Anson Williams (Anson Heimlick in high school) - click link to see videos:

Cathy, interesting article regarding Anson and other Happy Days actors, actresses – with a few videos.

'Happy Days' actors claim fraud, money owed for merchandising

Former 'Happy Days' cast members from left to right: Anson Williams, Don Most, Marion Ross, Erin Moran.

By CNN's Scott Zamost and CNNMoney's Poppy Harlow

April 19, 2011: 2:04 PM ET

LOS ANGELES -- A CNNMoney and CNN Special Investigations Unit Exclusive report

"Happy Days," one of the most popular shows in television history, faces an unhappy legacy nearly four decades after it first went on the air.

Four cast members, and the estate of Tom Bosley, who died last October, claim CBS (CBS, Fortune 500), which owns the show, has not paid them for merchandising revenues they are owed under their contracts.

The show, which originally aired from 1974 to 1984, "represented to the public what the best of America has to offer," said Anson Williams, who played Potsie. "The friendships, the opportunities, the warmth. Unfortunately, now 'Happy Days' also represents the worst of America -- of what major companies are trying to get from it, trying to use it for, and forgetting the family it created."

In exclusive interviews with CNN, the cast members -- Williams, Don Most, Marion Ross and Erin Moran -- all claim they have been cut out of the merchandising bonanza the show has spawned. Those products includes comic books, t-shirts, scrapbooks, trading cards, games, lunch boxes, dolls, toy cars, magnets, greeting cards and DVDs where their images appear on the box covers.

When the actors learned their images were also put on "Happy Days," slot machines, they said they began wondering where all the money ended up.

"When these slot machines came out, it was like Barnum and Bailey came to town," Williams said. "We were bombarded with, oh look at these pictures, they'd be all over the country."

Under the actors' contracts, they were supposed to be paid 5% from the net proceeds of merchandising if their sole image were used, and 2 1/2% if they were in a group. The studio could deduct 50% off the top as a "handling fee."

"It takes a lot to make me angry because so often my expectations are so low," Ross said. "But the other day someone came up to me and said, 'You must be cleaning up on those casinos.' And I said, 'Well, what are you talking about?' And he said, 'If you get five Marions, you get the jackpot."'

Attorney Jon Pfeiffer represents the actors in their case against CBS, which owns the show. He filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

"The issue is the five cast members of 'Happy Days' were not paid for the royalties for their name and likeness," Pfeiffer told CNN. "That being the use of their picture, use of their name in slot machines, in games, in greeting cards, in t-shirts, anything where you saw a 'Happy Days' face of a character, they were not paid for that."

Ron Howard, who played Richie Cunningham, and Henry Winkler, who played the Fonz, are not part of the lawsuit. Howard, through his publicist, declined to comment. Representatives for Winkler have not returned CNN's calls.

In 1999, Moran did receive $692 for merchandising after she said she pressed the studio, which was then Paramount Pictures. In a document sent to Moran, Paramount said she was previously paid $8,229 for merchandising, but Moran told CNN she had not received that money.

Moran declined to discuss details of her current financial situation but confirmed that last year, she lost her California home to foreclosure after attempts to work out a loan modification with her bank failed.

"It definitely could have made a difference," Most said. "I would think so, and right now it could really make a difference because (Moran) is going through a bit of a hard time."

Unhappy days: The story in pictures
The issue, Pfeiffer said, is that "they (the studio) made a promise to pay, they broke their promise -- that's breach of contract. Number two, they made a promise to pay, they purposefully didn't pay, they broke their promise -- the fraud."

"And here we have iconic actors. I mean, I grew up watching these people. And yet they got stiffed," Pfeiffer said.

He said attempts at mediation to resolve the dispute earlier this year failed.

CBS, in a statement e-mailed to CNN, said, "We agree that funds are owed to the actors and have been working with them for quite some time to resolve the issue."

A CBS consumer products spokesperson said that would be the company's only comment.

In documents provided to the actors, CBS said it only owes them between $8,500 and $9,000 each for the last four years. Most of that money is from slot machine revenues. The actors argue they are owed millions of dollars.

Pfeiffer said Bosley "couldn't believe that they didn't know they owed the money. And instead of paying what a small sliver of what CBS is making on these slot machines, they decided not to pay, and he was upset."

Just two days before Bosley died, Most said he left him a voice message.

"He was upset with what this represented and he wanted to know," Most told CNN. "He called me, and I called him, and he left a message on my machine that said, 'I'm fine, I'm going to be leaving the hospital tomorrow. But I'd really like to hear what's going on.'"

Asked why they didn't raise the merchandising issue earlier, Williams said, "We're actors. We were going through other things. We just thought if there was something to be made, we'd get it in the mail. We didn't think about it. But when those slot machines hit, it just woke us all up to look back and say, 'Wait and minute.'"

The "Happy Days" slot machines were launched in 2008 and have "performed well for the casinos, which in industry vernacular often means coin-in," Mollie Cole, director of communications for WMS Gaming, wrote in an e-mail.

"Happy Days," she wrote, "is a five-level Free Spin Progressive slot machine, where the number of spins increases during play, with three base games -- Cunninghams Go Wild, The Fonz and Richie's Big Night; the latter was a big hit in casinos."

She said the company does not release specific numbers showing how many machines are in casinos.

Asked about the legal battle ahead, Ross said, "I haven't thought about how long this could go because our lawyers will take care of a lot of it. Once we've stated our case, then that's pretty much our story, and the rest is a legal problem, and I think we have some wonderful people working for us, and I think they'll do a great job."

The cast members said their case will be precedent-setting because it's the first time actors from an iconic show have sued over merchandising.

"There's a bigger picture here," Most said. "We're one show, but there's many other shows, and we've spoken to many other actors, and they haven't seen any money for merchandising, so we think this is pervasive. This is just the way that business is done, and we have -- in our original contracts, it says we're supposed to get 'X' amount for merchandising -- it says in our contract. But the fact is, we haven't gotten paid, and many other actors in other shows haven't gotten paid."

In the last several years, CBS Consumer Products has issued news releases about expanding merchandising deals for its most popular shows, including "Happy Days." For example, the company announced deals with a clothing manufacturers in Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, new apparel collections in Canada, and Bluetooth headsets in the U.S.

In addition, plans are in the works for a "Happy Days"-themed lottery game, a spokesman for Alchemy3, which has a licensing deal with CBS to create instant and on-line game tickets for several television shows, told CNN.

"Happy Days is the type of show that represents the best we can be," Williams said. "It's something warm, something tactile when life was good and life was simple. When friends were there and neighbors were neighbors ... I think it's going to ring in peoples' hearts because it's going beyond this show. It's going to go into their world, into how they're being treated in whatever arena they're working or participating in."

But now, "there's a huge juxtaposition for 'Happy Days' to represent the coldness of big business, the wrongdoing of big business and the greed of big business," Williams said. "And the idea that they don't have to abide by contracts, and they can get away with anything as long as they are not caught. And they picked the wrong show."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Martin and Lewis: When the Moon Hits Your Eye

Took a photo of the moon yesteday and it reminded me of this song by Dean Martin with Jerry Lewis from the movie The Caddie!

To see more photos:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Kevin Butcher, BHS 2005, Died in Motorcycle Accident

Recevied the following tragic and sad news just now...

Hi Cathy, this is Annette Dinolfo Bennett. I found out today that a burbank high graduate of 2005 with my son Tanner Bennett had been killed in a motorcyle accident on Sunday April 10th named Kevin Butcher ...he worked at Chase Bank on SanFernando Rd and Burbank Blvd. He was 23 years of age....just some infor for now ....he was a Boy Scout all the school years played t ball with our son...Great kid and what a loss....

Then found this article which had the above photo from Kevin's Facebook...

Kevin Butcher, 23-Year-Old Burbank Man on Motorcycle, Killed in I-10 Crash With Another (Allegedly Drunk) Man on Motorcycle

By Simone Wilson, Mon., Apr. 11 2011 @ 9:50AM

Kevin Butcher was riding his red Ducati motorcycle down the 10 East yesterday afternoon, when traffic began to slow up ahead. He was riding behind another motorcyclist on a white Honda at the time -- a 29-year-old man from North Hollywood who West L.A. CHP Officer Travis Ruiz guesses was Butcher's friend. Both were reportedly "splitting lanes" while pushing 90 mph. Then, just before 4:30 p.m. near the exit to the 405, the Acura in front of them put on the brakes. Though the Honda began to brake as well, Butcher did not -- so his motorcycle slammed into the one in front of him.

"The Honda that got run into went down on the ground and went down underneath the Acura," says Ruiz. "Then the Ducati goes up over the Acura." Butcher was found unconscious at the scene, and later pronounced dead at the UCLA Medical Center. The North Hollywood man was transported to the hospital as well -- but not before failing a field sobriety test and being handcuffed to his stretcher.

Ruiz says the 29-year-old was in fine enough condition to take the test at the scene, but soon noticed a huge gash in his own leg. No other injuries were reported.

On Facebook, Butcher lists his hometown and current residence as Burbank. He's a fan of Da Bike Shop, a motorcycle customization and repair shop in North Hollywood.

One Los Angeles Times commenter writes, "Rest in peace lil butcher." And another: "Kevin Lynn Butcher you will be missed." A commenter named Richard also offers a witness account: "We were driving back from PCH and saw 2 bikes zipping between traffic lanes. A minute later all the traffic slowed and we saw the 2 downed bikes and several stopped cars. One rider was on the ground as another person pumped his chest. It was a sobering reminder about the dangers of riding between cars, especially on the 10 by the 405 intersection."


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Burbank On Parade 2011