CHERISHING OUR VALLEY 2013
1122 West Burbank Boulevard, Burbank, California - Once the home of world famous Benge trumpets. Photo by Gary Fredburg 2013. (click on image to enlarge it.)
At the onset of the Great Depression Elden Benge, who was fortunate enough to have a job playing trumpet with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, began to experiment to find a trumpet with more sophisticated tones. He continued his trials while playing with the Chicago Symphony from 1933 to 1939. Benge also performed “gigs” on Radio WGN to make ends meet. By the 1950s, he was able to construct some of the finest trumpets in the world.
On his physician’s advice Elden Benge moved to Burbank, California, to benefit from the warm climate and where he would be able to find work in the film studios. (At that time, the movie studios had their own on-lot orchestras.) In Burbank, Benge perfected trumpets that would find world-wide demand.
The Benge trumpet was much desired by professional trumpet players such as Ralph Muzzillo Sr, who lived in Encino. Inside of the trumpets’ bells was stamped “resno-tempered” promising the buyer that the Benge trumpet was formed in a one-piece process of heating and hammering.
The address of the Benge home and workshop garage was 1122 West Burbank Boulevard.
Elden Benge died of injuries from a car accident in front of this location. Years have passed and Benge trumpets continue to be made and sold in the American Midwest. The building in Burbank was sold to a winery. An urban legend has it that occasionally, the muffled sound of a solo trumpet is heard in the early morning hours in the Burbank neighborhood.