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Friday, August 30, 2013



Jimmy Dorsey led one of America's great stage orchestra in the era of the Big Bands. The Jimmy Dorsey band had fans throughout the world and made the careers of hundreds of singers and musicians. The following photographs are courtesy of Ralph Muzzillo Jr. and are from his father's personal collection. Ralph Muzzillo Sr. was one of the great trumpet players of his time. He lived much of his life in Encino and died in Tarzana.

Jimmy Dorsey - American Big Band Leader

"To Lil Eve, sincerely Jimmy Dorsey and my boys." Nov. 1938

Ralph Muzzillo   1910 - 1985   - Trumpet Virtuoso

 Ray McKinley featured drummer with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra
Collection of Ralph Muzzillo Sr. - Courtesy of Ralph Muzzillo Jr. 2013

"To Ralph (commonly called 'Muzulow - Muggilaw' who combines the qualities of simplicity, and good sense.  I could was lyrical, Joe, but that's about the most one can say for any man. For a long time, I hope Ray"  "P.S. To my friend, the No. 1 first trumpet player in the band. R.K."

Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra - Wamid's Million Dollar Pier 1938

 Jimmy Dorsey greets his parents.



 CHERISHING OUR VALLEY                2013

Oswald George "Ozzie" Nelson 
March 20, 1906 – June 3, 1975
 Photo autographed to Ralph Muzzillo Sr, while Ralph was living in Encino. Courtesy of Ralph Muzzillo Jr. 2013  (click to enlarge this image.) 

Born Oswald George Nelson, Ozzie Nelson was destined to become a major big-band era band leader. Ozzie married his lead singer Harriett Hillard, who with their sons David and Ricky formed one of American radio and television's most important situation comedies, the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriett Show. 

Ozzie, Hariett (Hilliard)  and Ricky Nelson are buried in the San Fernando Valley in the Forest Lawn Cemetery Hollywood Hills, overlooking Burbank. The Nelsons made their home in Studio City.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


      Typical of big band leaders of the 1930s and 40s, Alvino Rey began his career by playing in other bands. He worked with Freddy Martin and Russ Morgan, and for seven years (1932-1939) played in the Horace Heidt's Musical Knights. (Horace Heidt lived and worked from Sherman Oaks.)
      He married Luise King (one of the King Sisters.)

Alvino Rey - Alvin McBurney    1908 - 2004
 Autographed photograph - Loaned to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley by Ralph F. Muzzillo Jr. 2013 -   (click on images to enlarge them.)
"To Ralph and Eve - two real swell people. I hope we can continue working together many years. With Best Wishes, Alvino Rey."

      Alvino Rey was fascinated by electronics, developing musical instruments and working with amateur radio. He helped develop the first electronic guitar for the Gibson Corporation.  In 1939 Alvino Rey became the musical director for radio KHJ in Los Angeles. That same year he created the Alvino Rey orchestra.Rey lived at 5001 Woodley Avenue in Encino.
      During World War II Rey worked for the Lockheed Aircraft Company in Burbank. In 1944, he joined the US Navy. Rey's 1940, pre-war song "My Buddy" was one of the most important sons during the war.
Larceny With Music 1943  Universal Pictures film -  Ralph Muzzillo collection

Jeff Pirtle of NBS - Universal reminds The Museum Community that Leo Carrillo, a direct descendent of Jose' Antonio Carrillo was also in this movies. Jose' played a major role in the Treaty of Cahuenga signed in the San Fernando Valley.

Alvino Rey and his orchestra, play themselves in the Universal film, Larceny With Music 1943.
Photo courtesy of Ralph F. Muzzillo Jr. 2013. Ralph Muzzillo Sr. was a trumpeter in this orchestra. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013



Joan Marsh began her film career at the tender age of two. Her father, who worked as a cinematographer for Universal Pictures secured her role in the Universal film "Hearts Aflame" in 1915. After Hearts, Joan did lots of baby roles. 
As a young adult, she lived off and on in the San Fernando Valley while singing with Bing Crosby in King of Jazz. In 1934, she appeared with W.C. Fields as his daughter inf "You're Telling Me."

Joan Marsh - Dorothy Rosher   1913 - 2000
Autographed photograph in the collection of Ralph F. Muzzillo Sr. (courtesy of Ralphj Muzzillo Jr.



Clark Dennis died at the age of 83 in Estes Park, Colorado. He began his show business career singing with America's pin up girl Betty Grable in the Ben Pollack Orchestra. Dennis and Grable remained friends when they both lived in the San Fernando Valley. Clark Dennis was known world wide for his renditions of "Spanish Granada" and "Peg O' My Heart." He got his start in Chicago in the 1930s, where he met and became life long friends with the Encino/Tarzana trumpeter Ralph F. Muzzillo. 
 Autographed photo to Ralph Muzzillo Sr. from 1930s singer Clark Dennis

After his singing career was over, Clark Dennis made his living running an entertainment industry bookstore on Ventura Boulevard.



Harriet Nelson, of the famous Ozzie and Harriet family, lived much of her life in Studio City. Harriet was born in 1909 in Des Moines, Iowa and died in Southern California in 1991. She began her professional life as a singer in the Ozzie Nelson band, and went on to become a world famous television star.
 Harriet Hilliard featured with Ozzie Nelson and his Orchestra
In the collection of Ralph F. Muzzillo Sr.

Monday, August 26, 2013


CHERISHING OUR VALLEY             0213

Recently, The Museum of the San Fernando Valley began to receive elements of the Ralph F. Muzzillo Sr., collection of Big Band Era artifacts and memorabilia. Mr. Muzzillo was a trumpeter for some of the most important bands of the 1930s and 40s. He and his family lived in Tarzana. The following images of the King Sisters, who lived and worked out of the Valley, are an example of the photographs in Mr. Muzzillo's collection.

The King Sisters - upper right to left Donna, Yvonne, Louise and Alyce. Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Ralph Muzzillo Jr. Beaumont, Texas 2013
"To Ralph. Hey you’re wonderful – Love and kisses The King Gals."
The King Sisters were made famous from their featured work with San Fernando Valley big-band era band leader Horace Height. 

 Lousie King - 1913 to 1997 -  Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Ralph Muzzillo Jr. Beaumont, Texas 2013   (Click on images to enlarge them.)
"To Ralph and Eve – The best trumpet player in the business. The prettiest mom and most adorable baby – My very best wishes always – Louise.”
 Alyce King- 1915 to 1996 -  Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Ralph Muzzillo Jr. Beaumont, Texas 2013

"To Ralph and Eve – My favorite audience when I sing Porgy. Lots of love to you and your little ‘superman.' ”  Alyce King”. 
Alice King lived in the San Fernando Valley and was buried in Forest Lawn cemetery in the Hollywood Hills overlooking Burbank in 1991. 

Yvonne King - 1920 to 2009  -  Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Ralph Muzzillo Jr. Beaumont, Texas 2013
“Dear ‘Moose’ We’re sure gonna miss you! Good luck and all that sort of thing.” 

 Donna King - 1918 to 2007 -   Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Ralph Muzzillo Jr. Beaumont, Texas 2013
"To Ralph and Eve, Gosh you’re both swell – Love and Kisses Donna

  Refer to photograph number 6310
These two outtake photographs featuring the King Sisters are from two Universal Pictures' films in 1943. We are not at present sure of which movies these belong. "Larceny With Music" and / or "Follow the Band"  Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Ralph Muzzillo Jr. Beaumont, Texas 2013

Refer to Photograph number 6309


Murals in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley continue to make waves and news.

Another terrific article, this one in the Los Angeles Times by Frank Shyong.

                                                                        (photo by Michel Stevens)

Here's an excerpt:

It used to be that the walls of the businesses on Van Nuys Boulevard were battlegrounds. By night, graffiti crews defaced storefronts with swaggering letters in neon green, red and yellow. By day, building owners fought back with pressure washers and a mixture of white and brown.

Then Ponce brought his paintbrush and his powers of persuasion, winning over residents, shop owners and tagging crews alike — and in the process turning the boulevard into a roadside gallery known as Mural Mile.

Read the entire article at:

Friday, August 23, 2013



     Cities built on islands or crowded peninsulas seldom have the collective love affairs with the automobile as those existing in the wide open spaces of the American West. This is especially true of the San Fernando Valley, that until very recently has been composed of distant and unconnected suburbs. A dependance on automobiles and buses was cinched when the Los Angeles Railway system was destroyed by what many call a conspiracy of bus suppliers to acquire control of the Railway and dismantle it starting in 1944. By the 1960s, the red cars of the Pacific Electric Railway were just a distant memory. The corporations were General Motors, Chevron, Philips Petroleum, Goodyear and Mack Truck. 
     The car companies' public relations firms immediately set out to romanticize automobiles are essential to the "good life" emerging in the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles. 

Commercially produced for Howell Chevrolet in Glendale. Make of antique vehicle unknown. Postcard Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg 2013. (click on images to enlarge them.) Reverse has a sales pitch for a new Chevrolet. Refer to image 6209.

1917 Velie Touring Car - Commercially produced for San Fernando Valley Motors in the city of San Fernando.  Postcard Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg 2013. Reverse side has a recommendation for regular maintenance.

1925 Rolls Royce - Commercially produced for Valley Rambler in Burbank.  Postcard Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg 2013.

Motel Mountain View in Sun Valley - Postcard Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg 2013.

By the 1960s hotels in the San Fernando Valley, with the exception of areas near the theme parks,  had all but disappeared. They were replaced by motels of differing quality and standards.

 1990 Pontiac new car introduction souvenir postcard. Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Grey Fredburg 2013.  Bob Ruehman Pontiac - North Hollywood.

Hitchhiking on the collectible nature of the antique automobile cards featured above, some car dealerships began to print introductions to their new vehicles via mass mailings or souvenirs of a visit to new car introduction events.

One of the greatest automobile collections in the United States is in the North San Fernando Valley. It also houses one of the largest automotive libraries in the world.
The Nethercut Collection
15200 Bledsoe St  San Fernando Valley, CA 91342

(818) 364-6464

Thursday, August 22, 2013


CHERISHING OUR VALLEY                          2013

       When I was a high school boy, exploring Los Angeles was a big thing for me and my pals. Just as today, the city offered amazing things for us to see and do. On one school holiday, we visited the yet to be consecrated Morman temple off of Santa Monica Boulevard and the new Busch Gardens in north Van Nuys. Busch Gardens won our vote because we were able to score free beer there. The other place in the Valley where one could get a glass or two of free beer was the Schlitz Brewery near the railroad tracks in Panorama City.
       In the 50's and 60's singing beer songs was very much a part of going to college. Most people who went to Valley or Pierce College, or San Fernando Valley State have beer mugs gathering dust in their dens today. 
        My high school pals, Alex, Leo, Danny and I convinced ourselves that our German and Irish roots gave us the god-given right to drink beer. A miracle happened when our buddy Bert discovered that German restaurants never "carded" people when they ordered beer with dinner........ so, this set in motion the discovery of a whole bunch of European restaurants in the city. One of those restaurants changed my life; it was called Frank's Little Vienna in what is now Valley Village (then in North Hollywood.)
        Frank's Little Vienna was an absolutely marvelous place. Mrs Frank's Vienna? was a terrific baker and made the most incredible strudel imaginable! The restaurant has a grand piano and old time Austrians and Germans, and other Europeans, came for the schnitzel and to sing. There were visiting violinists and cellists, and then (about 11 pm) opera singers and musicians would arrive. Can you imagine, Notre Dame High School boys listening to, and talking with, the world famous Danish tenor Laurence Melchior or the great French soprano Lily Pons --- and being able to order beer as well!
           Like all boyish explortions, sometimes our adventures got a little scary. For example our pal Leo discovered Paul von Hindenburg Park on the border between La Crescenta and Glendale. On Sundays, after Catholic Masses and Lutheran services were over, beer trucks arrived and kegs were rolled down to the cheers of the crowd. Little did we know that the park had once been the site of pro-Nazi rallies before World War II. For my pals and me, it meant a place to buy giant hot dogs covered in sour kraut and cheap, very cold beer. One Sunday, we heard United States Senator Thomas Kuchel give a very animated speech in German. I don't speak German so I had no idea of what he was storming about, but the oompah band was wonderful and a large lady taught me how to polka.
There is a legend that the von Hindenburg statue was torn apart revealing hidden weapons inside. 

Monorail Tour - Busch Gardens - Postcard - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg 2013. (click on the image to enlarge it.) 

"A thrilling and dramatic ride through the Los Angeles Home of Anheuser Busch Brewrey. Visitors will enjoy the custom designed, electrically operated "Skyrail Tour" monorail trains. The 3,500 foot ride is the most unique method for guests to view the brewery operations that produce Budweiser, Michelob and Busch Bavarian."

          Busch Gardens closed to the public around 1979. The Budweiser plant, sold to a Belgian corporation, still makes high quality beers there.  For a decade after the Gardens closed, people in Northridge and Granada Hills encountered wonderful exotic birds in their back yards. Today, my beer mugs are full of pennies.

 Share your photographs of Busch Gardens with future generations.
Donate tax-deductible memorabilia to your Museum today.
The Museum of the San Fernando Valley
Acquisitions Committee
21031 Ventura Blvd., Suite 419
Woodland Hills, CA 91364-2230

1 (818) 347-9665


Wednesday, August 21, 2013


CHERISHING OUR VALLEY                    2013

The Santa Susana Pass was a steep and scary trail, when it served as one of the few connection paths
joining the Chumash of Ventura County and the Native Tongva people of the San Fernando Valley. The pathway was one of the few travel alternatives for 8,000 years prior to the arrival of Spanish Europeans. 
Coastal trails coming up from San Diego disappeared when they met the high cliffs of the Malibu coast. And, because sea travel was very difficult for the Chumash with their small redwood log canoe, the rugged Santa Susanna Pass at the northwestern end of the San Fernando Valley was an important connection from pre-historic times. 
In the mid-1800s, the path was turned into a road by the new California state government. One of its early uses was for stage coaches and freight wagons. 
 When I first began teaching at Moorpark College, I had to use this narrow road through the Santa Susana Pass from my home in what is now West Hills. It took me a long, long time.

Santa Susana Pass - Vintage Postcard - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg 2013 - (click on the image to enlarge it.) The Pass goes between the Santa Susana Mountains and the Simi Hills.

The Expedition of Gaspar de Portola entered the San Fernando Valley through the Sepulveda Pass on August 5th, 1769. The Expedition was seeking an inland pass to get around the impassible Malibu cliffs. There is no proof that scouts from that group found the Santa Susan Pass, but the name of the location may hold a clue. The feast of the Catholic saint, Saint Susana has long been celebrated on August 9th. This was four days after the Spaniard explorers arrived in the Valley.

                                                 Do you care about your Valley heritage?
Join The Museum of the San Fernando Valley today.
Donate tax-deductible memorabilia to your Museum today.
The Museum of the San Fernando Valley
Acquisitions Committee
21031 Ventura Blvd., Suite 419
Woodland Hills, CA 91364-2230

1 (818) 347-9665


Tuesday, August 20, 2013



The Museum Community is challenged with creating the most effective teaching institution possible, utilizing the history, arts and culture of the San Fernando Valley. Which tools should we be cultivating and what should be our priorities.
Here's something to consider:
According to an article on Culture - Parenting in the August 19th edition of Time Magazine subtitled
"Should your kids avoid tech - or embrace it?" the following was stated:
"... On average, according to research cited by MIT, students can remember only 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear and 50% of what they see demonstrated. But, when they're actually doing something themselves - in the virtual worlds on iPads or laptops -- that retention rate skyrocketed to 90%."

Pacific Airmotive Corporation's new Aircraft and Engineering Center - Postcard - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg 2013.  (click on image to enlarge it.)

"Pacific Airmotive Corporation's new Aircraft and Engineering Center covers 25 acres on the west side of Lockheed Air Terminal, Burbank, California.  The multi-million dollar facility is a fully intregrated, one stop service center for commercial and business aircraft.

Monday, August 19, 2013



In the 1930s, artists, writers, scientists and perceptive members of the Jewish community began to search for ways to leave the growing oppression of a Nazi Germany. This event flyer, given to The Museum of the San Fernanado Valley by Gary Fredburg in 2013, not only announces the opera Carmin by the American Music Theatre in Van Nuys but reveals names of the opera's organizers as well. 
Carmin Flyer - The San Fernando Valley Music Study Club - June 20, 1943 
(click on image to enlarge it.)

Dr. Hugo Strelitzer was a widely recognized musical and choral director in the 1930s and 40s. 
Strelitzer lived from 1896 to 1981. He came to Southern California in 1937. He taught in many local institutions including Los Angeles City College.
Dr. Richard Lert, who conducted this Carmin, lived from 1885 to 1980. He brought his wife and young sons to California in 1932, where he became the music director of the Pasadena Symphony Orchesta. He was associated with the American Music Theatre's summer program.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


The Museum of the San Fernando Valley's Public Art Initiative and its newest walking tour had a fantastic inaugural event on August 17th.
Lead docent  Manny Velazquez and guest speakers Levi Ponce, Kristy Sandoval and Javier Martinez were on hand to add colorful, passionate insight into the backgrounds, stories and people behind each mural. Raul Guerra, a local artist also did some live painting on a utility  box, organized by Pacoima Beautiful. Local filmmaker, Miguel Duran,  also came out to capture the first tour in action. 

They provided a true sense of community, collaboration and neighborhood spirit that could act as a model for all cities throughout Los Angeles.
When the tour began right outside of Myke's Cafe, California State Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra and Ralph Andrade, Myke's Cafe owner came out and said hello to the crowd.  At the end of the tour, Anthony Davis, famed USC running back and NFL star was eating at Myke's.

About a dozen people had lunch at Myke's Cafe - further supporting the community.
Attendees were treated to a special bonus as Hector Ponce was found working on a mural.

Stay tuned for additional photos and video from this tour on Museum digital channels.

Much thanks to Maryley Carrillo and Roger Dolin for taking the lead and initiative for this tour. Thank you to the City of Pacoima for being great hosts and to the Pacoima City Hall for allowing our guest to use their facilities during the tour. Also, thanks to the Public Art Initiative committee, Joann Hyslop, Michel Stevens and The Museum's board of directors for additional support.

Additional thanks to local corporate supporters including:
Pacoima Beautiful
Myke's Cafe
Tresierras Supermarkets
Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore

Please mark your calendar for the next Pacoima Mural Walking Tour on Saturday, October 19th from 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
For more tour information, please also visit: