FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Burbank’s Little Theatre

By On July 13, 2018

Behind the main building of The Olive Recreation Center stands a small building that once had some of the best local theatre performances in the area.

Little Theatre Under Construction

This was the hot spot of local live theatre. Built just after World War Two the theater became a great place for local productions on weekend evenings and Saturday matinee performances.

Many actors got a start there, or performed there to the delight of the audiences to see such Hollywood talent up close. Many local programs were also done there, bands, dance competitions comedies and the like!

Pictured below is one such play were actress Jean Howard, Ron Howard’s Mother and Gordon Jump who would go on to act in the TV Series WKRP in Cincinnati and became the “Maytag Repairman” in those famous old commercials.

Gordon Jump as the lonely Maytag Repairman

So the Burbank Little Theatre was the place to be in town to see quality entertainment and enjoy and evening out at the theater.

While the theatre is physically still there, they no longer use it as an entertainment facility sad to say.

Maybe one day Park and Recreation will see fit to re-open this little gem of Burbank’s past.

Photograph caption dated November 19, 1964 reads, “Gordon Jump holds cognac bottle of water and patiently explains to Jean Howard how lucky she is to have purchased such an extraordinarily fine bottle of brandy. Jump, the comic virtuoso in the play ‘My Three Angels,’ currently at the Burbank Little Theater, 1111 W. Olive Ave., is backed up by fellow convicts Carl Grey, behind bottle, and Number 6817, James Raye, in this comic scene.”

Photograph caption dated December 15, 1964 reads, “Three convicts, left to right, James Raye, Carl Gray and Gordon Jump, try to persuade Chad Collins, seated, to meet his girl in a romantic tropical garden on Christmas Eve. “My 3 Angels” will play two final performances Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. at the Burbank Little Theater, 1111 W. Olive Ave.”

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lost-in-burbank-book-coverSlowly fading with the city’s ever-changing landscape, the places and people of Burbank’s past tell a vibrant story. Before the arrival of Warner Bros. and Walt Disney, First National Pictures built  its original studio lot on Olive Ave in 1926. For over sixty years, Lockheed Aircraft Company produced some of the nation’s best airplanes where the massive Empire Shopping Center now stands. Heavyweight champion James Jeffries turned his Burbank ranch home and barn into a beloved landmark and boxing venue. Inventor Joseph Wesley Fawkes’s scheme to build a monorail to Los Angeles became a local laughingstock.  Diehard Burbankers Wes Clark and Michael McDaniel collect these and many more forgotten local stories where they can finally be found.

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