Book Review: Lost Burbank


During my life spent living in this spectacular city, people have asked me what it is about Burbank that gives it that hometown feeling despite being in the center of a major metropolitan area in Southern California. It has always been hard to explain why people born here, stay here, retire here, and even die here.


It is not unusual to see families that have been here for 50-plus years. Generation of families have called Burbank home. It’s a feeliing that you cannot really explain as much as you try.

If there was ever a way to put that on paper, authors Wesley H. Clark and Michael B. McDaniel might have achieved what most residents have found impossible to explain.lost-in-burbank-book-cover

Lost Burbank is a book of unique stories and a trove of treasures. It is the history of Burbank and the folklore that also makes up many of the stories.

When you first open the book and look at the preface, you are already intrigued by the Turkey Crossing and what Burbankers have all known for years as a local pride and joy, Martino’s Tea Cakes.

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Clark and McDaniel first take you through the early years of Burbank all the way back to the days of Burbank’s namesake, dentist Dr. David Burbank.

Did you know there was talk about Disneyland and UCLA being located in Burbank? Find out the real stories as described by these two men.

What is also great about the book is not only the history that is shared, but the great array of pictures from all the different eras. Historical pictures of Burbank, both locations as well as the people, give you a sense of the time. If you are like me you will study some of the different pictures and put them into today’s Burbank to realize not only all the changes, but also some of the similarities to the past.

Another chapter deals with the the war and especially Lockheed. Not only an integral aspect to the war, but also for the Burbank economy. Another part of Burbank’s important history and evolution is covered in a chapter entitled, “The Media Capital of the World.”

When we arrive to “Notable Places,” the mixture of both stories and pictures is rich in history. You see some of the beginnings of Burbank’s landmarks both back then and today. Places such as the Jefferies Barn, the Dip at Five Points, the Pumpkin Building, the Golden Mall and even a spot called “Hotsie Alley” all have their nitch in our history and memories.

You will also find a chapter on Burbank’s music history as well as the inventors that made Burbank home. Did you know that someone in Burbank actually invented a monorail in 1911? Might not be what you would ride at Disneyland but then what if Disneyland had been built in Burbank and the monorail was already here? Makes you wonder, ‘what if?’

We also learn about the many personalities in Burbank, both widely known and those who were just local legends. It’s a whose-who of names that weaved the fabric of this city.

Of course no city is complete without its dark and scandalous years. The authors delve into the seedy side of Burbank with a chapter entitled, “Murder and High Crimes in Burbank!” There is the murder of cowboy star William ‘Tom’ T. Bay in 1933 and, of course, a section dedicated to the crime and corruption in the 1950’s that led Burbank to many reforms including the Police Commission that is still around today.

Without a doubt though, my favorite chapter entitled “Fun Burbank Lore” is exactly that, the stories and events that made up your childhood and youth if you grew up in Burbank. Everyone knew of the ‘Breathing Bush’ and the rumors of ghosts at City Hall. And yes, it actually did snow in Burbank and even the Big Game (Burroughs vs. Burbank high school football) is mentioned.

The last chapter is dedicated to the brave warriors that called Burbank home. It mentions all the memorials in Burbank and the poignant stories about them.

I have known about Clark and McDaniel for many years. I was first introduced to them through their website, Burbankia, which I would look at for both reference and enjoyment for years. MyBurbank then approached the two bright authors for their contributions to our “Friday Flashback” series that runs every Friday highlighting a different event or moment from Burbank’s past.

Lost Burbank brings everything full circle and has captured what many thought would never be depicted or brought back to life for us Burbankers. The soft cover book entails 224 powerful pages and would be a great coffee table addition for your perusement.

A fantastic value for under $20, you can buy it directly on Amazon by clicking this link. Enjoy this holiday season reading about the amazing history of our great city!

Get your Copy of Lost Burbank Now!
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 Mc Daniel collect these and many more forgotten local stories where they can finally be found. 

Click HERE to Order Yours Now!

The authors will be doing a Multi Media presentation and book signing at the Buena Vista Library on November 30th at 4 AND 7 pm. They will have a signing event at the AUTOBOOKS store on Magnolia Saturday December 3 From 10 am to 2 pm.