By Stan Lynch
BurbankNBeyond Features Editor
Ron Howard, one of Burbank’s most famous native sons, made an appearance in Burbank On Parade much to the surprise of the thousands of spectators who lined Olive Ave. It was also a surprise to parade organizers and even to Ron himself.
Ron’s appearance came about quite by accident, and in large part due to friendships that started at Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School back in 1959.
A resident of New York, Ron was in town on business. He took time out of his schedule to visit with one of his boyhood friends, Noel Salvatore. Noel is a member of the Road Kings, and was at Burbank On Parade with his Camaro Z28, joining other member of the club driving in the parade.
Word got back to Burbank On Parade Chairman Joanne Lento Miller, via Don Baldaseroni of The Road Kings that Ron was near the parade formation area. Joanne has been friends with Ron and Noel since Elementary School. She began searching up and down the street and found Ron sitting in an SUV reading a script. She caught Ron by surprise.
“I went up to the car and in my most authoritative voice said, ‘You don’t have a permit to park on this street’,” said Joanne. Ron was taken aback for a second until he recognized his old friend.
With his busy schedule, Ron has never been able to commit to being in Burbank On Parade, according to Joanne, who has asked several times over the years. It was just by chance that he happened to be in Burbank and at this parade. When Joanne asked him to be in the parade, Ron agreed — on the condition that he could ride in his friend Noel’s car. It was 10:15 a.m., just 45 minutes before the start of the parade.
Keith Kaminski, Artistic Director for the parade, rushed home and made the signs with Ron Howard’s name on them for Noel’s car. In the meantime Joanne was hurriedly getting floats, bands, and people out of the way so Noel’s car could move from the rear section of the parade up to the front.
Everything came together and Ron Howard rode down the parade route to the delight of the hometown crowd, the parade committee, and especially Joanne Miller.