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Monday, September 30, 2013


CHERISHING OUR VALLEY                                2013

     Fortunately for us, the monks of the Mission San Fernando Rey de EspaƱa were pretty good record keepers. Detailed records were not only important to the Catholic church but also the imperial Spanish government. During the era of Spanish / Mexican colonialism, there just weren't that many buildings in Alta California. So, descriptions made by early American interlopers were often quite detailed.        
     Records of about the Mission San Fernando would prove very important when it came time to restore this priceless old complex badly damaged by neglect, weather, vandalism and earthquakes. By the time these great old photographs were taken, some restoration of the Mission's arches and main buildings had already begun (bright whitewashed parts of the photos.)
     With Mission irrigation ditches long neglected only a few of the most drought tolerant trees remained at the onset of the 20th century. Looking at the Mission today from Brand Park, it is hard to imagination the desolation shown in these old time images. 

 The reason the Franciscan priests selected the site of the Mission San Fernando is still evident in this turn of the 20th century photograph, where a district strip of foliage is seen, surrounding the Mission.
 (Click on these images to enlarge them.)

 The Mission's facade is recently restored in this picture.

 Olives and palms were important survivors of the Mission era.

 The straight furrows of the Mission campo reveal the area's use for agriculture.

 In 1890 the chapel roof of the Mission collapsed. I suppose this was a time when it wasn't really dangerous to enter a red tagged building - or were there red tags back then?

 From a wagon trail to a parade of new-fangled automobiles.

Before the interior structure of the old Mission were restored. 
In the center of the picture is the Mission chapel visited by Pope John Paul II of the Roman Catholic Church when he came to Los Angeles.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Metro announced today, September 20, 2013, that a restoration on the Historic Southern Pacific North Hollywood train depot is set to begin, as construction crews work to rehab the facility over the coming year as part of Measure R projects throughout the county. Metro is funding a major portion of the $3.6 million project. Depot is on Chandler Blvd. and Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood. 

The building will be refitted with new siding, eaves, windows and doors. A small park will also be built on the site and the symbolic train tracks will be restored during a third phase.

Metro has not decided on final plans for the site, but plans to lease the depot to business tenants.

The Museum of the San Fernando Valley has had discussions about this site with the MTA and will be investigating the opportunity to have a presence.

Read more in an article by Kelly Goff of the Daily News

Sunday, September 22, 2013


 CHERISHING OUR VALLEY               2013

     Gerrie Gomez Dodd shares these images and comments about early San Fernando Valley Native American and western performers. Her father Augie Whitecloud Gomez was an accomplished actor and entertainer.

 Photo courtesy of Gerrie Gomez Dodd 2013  (click on images to enlarge them) 

"Augie and Margie Gomez, sitting at a roping contest? Danny Thomas and other ropers."
left is George Rupp with rope, Tex _______,  young man at right is (illegible Mc Gerwie) Joey.  The event, called the Ropers Round Up, was held at the Palladium in Hollywood. 

    "There are a number of articles regarding my father and our family in the archives of the Daily News/green sheet or LA Times. After my parents were married they moved to our home in Van Nuys, that was 1939. Back in those days my parents were active in the Grange, and other community activities. They collected clothing and other items for the Navaho Indians, this was back when I was a young girl. 

     My father's name was Augie Whitecloud Gomez. He also has some information in, you can type in Augie Whitecloud Gomez and find some of the movies etc, he was in, mostly as an extra but in his younger days he was a stunt man.  In the Los Angeles Times San Fernando Valley Section Sunday Morning April 27, 1958 there is a whole page about my dad with my sister and I. I have a copy but I can't scan it because of its size, won't fit in the scanner. I have tried to find it in some kind of newspaper archives but no luck. So if you know of any way to find it I sure would be grateful. 

     In his younger days, he traveled with Tex Ritter and was in a group of friends who worked with Tom Mix. When I was younger my family would visit with Tex Ritter and his family, who at that time lived in the valley. Director/actor John Derek came to our home to learn how to throw knifes. Also when Ron Howard was young he and his family came to our home to learn how to use a rope. Dad was in a number of westerns with John Wayne. 

     Chief John Big Tree who was in many of John Ford movies, would stay with us when he did come from the Onondaga Indian Reservation in NY. You can check out Uncle Big Tree's info on line.  

     Dad was friends with Jim Thorp. When my sister was very young they and Jim Thorpe help sell war bonds during WWII.  We would go on set with him when he did TV western, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy and Cisco Kid. My family would do different fairs, shows etc., mostly when we were young kids. 

     Also he owned a Leather Store, I think it was called Sherwood Leather store or something like that, near Woodley and Sherman Way.  He made boots, did leather tooling, made scrip covers for directors and any other leather products. He also made all his Indian regalia for my sister and myself. He worked with Order of the Arrow Scout group who would go to many fairs and made their own regalia. They also worked at Corriganville in Simi Valley.           Gerrie

Circled are the names of Augie White Cloud (fancy roping) 

and Gale and Gerrie Gomez in an Indian Dance by Yellow Bird. 

 San Fernando Fiesta   c 1948
  San Fernando Fiesta   c 1948

     San Fernando Fiesta Parade-   c 1948  top leftNaham Hersom "Order of the Arrow San Fernando Valley Dancer - left: Photo by Al Gallardo - right "son" arrow pointing to young man with dark colored loin cloth.  Bottom: Gernie :Daylight, Augie between girls, Gale Lilly of the Valley and Joe Johan.  Augie and his wife considered Joe Johan as a "son", hence the note "son" at the edge of the photograph. "My parents would embrace many people as sons or daughters. Most everyone was welcome in our home and became part of our family."

San Fernando Fiesta   c 1948 -  Left to Right:  El Cherrito Lorenzo, Teehee, Marjorie Gomez (Mooma Margie), Augie Gomez, Emmet Lynn, George Fortier, Joey Joan "Little Weazel.
Sitting: left are children: Gale Gomez (Lilly of the Valley - Little Turtle), Butch Johan and Gerrie Gomez (Daylight Whitecloud).   The man in sombrero is HenryLopez.   1948?

Augie White Cloud Gomez  




For newcomers to the San Fernando Valley, the Sportsmen's Lodge may look like an old time hotel on Ventura Boulevard. But, for those of us who have called the Vally our home for any appreciable length of time, it is where my high school prom was held, my aunt's retirement party was celebrated and where countless bar mitzvahs, anniversaries and conventions became part of our lives. From a little artesian trout pond, to an hideaway for performers like John Wayne, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, the grand old Sportsmen's Lodge is not only part of the history of the Valley, but America's as well.

Sportsmen"s Lodge Hotel, Los Angeles, California - vintage postcard - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg 2013 -  Date appears to be 27 June 1985??
(click on image to enlarge it.)

"Country living in the Heart of the City.  Old-fashioned hospitality, service and a warm welcoming atmosphere. 200 luxurious rooms, coffee shop, restaurant, overlooking lagoon and waterfalls, 2 cocktail lounges, full breakfast and meeting room facilities."
12825 Ventura Boulevard
(at Coldwater Canyon)
Studio City, CA 91604-2397

To "Robert Levine ... Santa Monica.  Robert, It was lovely getting your note ... and also great to see you. Enjoy your book, 'The Health Spa' - We look forward seeing you at the picnic. God bless you - love Manny and Anne."

Museum Note:  The Museum of the San Fernando Valley is a private (non government supported), non profit, public supported organization celebrating the history and creativity of the greater San Fernando Valley. We serve the communities of Burbank, Glendale, Hidden Hills, Calabasas, Universal City, the Valley suburbs of Los Angeles, City of San Fernando, and surrounding canyon communities.

Friday, September 20, 2013


If you have been anywhere in the San Fernando Valley over the last 50+ years, the company Galpin Ford and Galpin Motors is a household name.

Bert Boeckman and sons Brad and Beau are leading the charge in a mini-city off of the 405 Freeway and Roscoe Blvd.

On Sunday, September 22nd, the 60th Anniversary celebration will be held.

There will also be a rare and terrific opportunity to view some of Galpin's Private Collection of Cars!


Head on out to The Sylmar Olive Festival this weekend for a full day of family fare. There’s a car show, chalk exhibition, two stages of entertainment and a kids’ area, not to mention Hula Hoop and Greco-Roman garb showcases, chow-eating contests and nearby hang-gliding.

At one point, Sylmar was the No. 1 producer of olives in the United States.

At the turn of the last century, the northeast Valley boasted more than 2,000 acres of olive trees, with Cristo Fusano’s Sylmar brand olives known nationwide.

12:00 – 8:00 p.m. El Cariso Park

Tuesday, September 17, 2013



At one time, about the time of the Second World War, Alan Carney was one of the most recognized comic actors in the United States.

 Alan Carney (December 22, 1909 – May 2, 1973) - Actor and Comedian
 Photograph autographed "To Ralph - Best of Everything to you - Your friend Alan Carney 1948.

By 1948, Carney was working regularly for RKO Pictures. In the 1960s he became one Disney's most reliable performers. Alan Carney died in Van Nuys, California, at the age of 63.


Come on out to Tarzana on Saturday, September 21st from 12:00 - 5:00 to meet neighbors, visit local businesses and learn more about the history of Edgar Rice Burroughs and the birthplace of Tarzan!

In 1998, property owners and concerned citizens of Tarzana formed a BID (Business Improvement District). Their mutual goals were to define, create and build a cohesive business district along Ventura Blvd. that would promote local businesses. In the opinion of the BID, the commercial area of Tarzana needed a well maintained, theme oriented, tree lined area which would promote foot traffic and provide a friendly environment for all those visiting the commercial business district of Tarzana.

Since that time, the BID has planted numerous shade trees along Ventura Blvd. and has implemented a community tree planting program. They have installed many "pocket parks", encouraging individuals to purchase personalized, engraved, "dedication" bricks and plaques, which are installed in the pocket park of their choice.

Most importantly, the BID has instituted a Tarzan theme throughout the area, reminding us all of Tarzana's origins as the rancho of Edgar Rice Burroughs and the birthplace of Tarzan!

For more information, please visit:

Monday, September 16, 2013


Campo de Cahuenga celebrated California's 163 birthday with a BBQ fundraiser which included entertainment and festivities.

It was a special occasion, not only for our state's birthday, a reminder that Campo de Cahugena is considered the birthplace of CA, but also for the partnership and support from Comcast NBC Universal that presented Campo de Cahuenga a check for $50,000!

Representatives and sponsors of the event including Comcast NBC Universal, Wells Fargo Bank, Councilman Tom LaBonge, District 4, City of Los Angeles Recreation & Parks Department recognized Campo de Cahuenga and board members including Deuk & Beth Perrin (and their grandchildren in photo), Guy Wedding McCreary for their long time dedication towards preserving and promoting Campo de Cahuenga.

       Campo Board members Richard Bogy and Beth Perrin hold the check from Comcast NBC Universal.

The entire board of directors, advisors and friends of the Campo saluted and praised for delivering a fun community event.

Entertainment was provided by Los Fandangos de Californios.


For the guests that attended the day's festivities, it was a memorable occasion.

Guests were treated to a free event which included a bus ride and tour around the entire runway.  Dee Lewis, one of the docents, and a terrific one at that, provided many statistics (too many to write down in one sitting) such as there are approximately 330,000 take offs and landings each year at Van Nuys Airport (VNY).

Private jets of celebrities were moving around and about to be boarded.

The Van Nuys Rotary, Encino Chamber of Commerce and others acted as volunteers, served hamburgers, hot dogs, water and offered information about aviation.

A fun time whether you were an aviation buff or just a family wanting to explore this part of the valley.

                                            Photo credit: Michel Stevens

                                             Photo credit: LAWA

Additional history on Van Nuys Airport:

Located in the heart of the San Fernando Valley, Van Nuys Airport (VNY) ranks as one of the world's busiest general aviation airports. Dedicated to noncommercial air travel, VNY averages over 260,000 takeoffs and landings annually.

More than 100 businesses are located on the 730-acre airport, including five major fixed-base operators (FBOs): BaseNet, LLC/Jet Fleet International, Castle & Cooke Aviation, Clay Lacy Aviation, Maguire Aviation Group, and Signature Aviation. These operators provide aircraft storage and parking, aviation fuel, aircraft sales, flight instruction, aircraft charter and aircraft maintenance. Some of the FBOs also serve as major leaseholders of airport property, subletting land and buildings to other airport tenants.
VNY serves a vital purpose in reducing congestion and diminishing flight delays at Los Angeles International and other nearby airports. Contributing more than $1.3 billion each year to the Southern California economy, VNY creates jobs, promotes business and provides critical general aviation and emergency services. 

Business travelers and tourists using private, corporate and charter aircraft benefit from the airport's convenient proximity to city business, recreation and entertainment centers. The airport also provides a base and maintenance facilities for fire, police, air ambulance, search and rescue, and news media aircraft that serve the region.

Source: Los Angeles World Airports

Friday, September 13, 2013


DISCOVERING OUR VALLEY               2013

Ernani Bernardi was a Los Angeles City Councilman from the seventh district. He lived from 1911 to 2006, and died in Van Nuys, California. Ernie was political reformer and protector of the tax paying public. But, before he was a politician, Bernandi first interacted with the public as a highly successful saxophone player with big bands, such as the Benny Goodman Orchestra and the early Jimmy Dorsey Casa Loma Orchestra.

Condolence letter from Ernani Berndari to the son of his fellow band member Ralph Muzzillo Sr. Bernardi includes his Jimmy Dorsey band nickname "Noni" in his signature. This letter and a Los Angeles City Council tribute certificate honoring the life of Ralph Muzzillo Sr. on January 3, 1986 are gifts to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Ralph Muzzillo Jr. 2013.

Ernani (Noni) Berndardi

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




1959 The Hospital - Pacific Evangelical United Brethren Home in Burbank - 1959 vintage postcard - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg 2013.  
(click on image to enlarge it.)

Post card message:  to Mrs. Vera James Alhambra, California:  "Dear - Mrs Porter had been trying to get me, but does not where I visited - Have been staying home - missed the Coffmans golden wedding affair Sun. eve.  Mrs. Van Loon called and gave me highlights - No sewing this week. Mrs. Porter said they were planning pot-luck at your place. I think she she said it is the 24th. How about furnishing chairs? Love Margaret B."


CHERISHING OUR VALLEY                2013

Roddy McDowell's first American film was How Green Was My Valley done in 1941. In the film, 13-year- old Roddy played Huw Morgan. Elements of this John Ford movie was filmed in Sherman Oaks in the McKinley Home for Boys, the location of which is the present site of the Sunkist building. Much of the outdoor elements of the film was shot in Calabasas at the Fox Ranch. 

Roddy McDowell was a highly regarded child actor. His film, Lassie Come Home, won the hearts of America. His family moved him to America from England at the outset of the Second World War.

Roddy McDowell  1928 to 1998 
Photo autographed "To Ralph, Greetings - Roddy" was among the artifacts belonging to the American trumpet player Ralph Muzzillo Sr. Younger people will recognize Roddy McDowell from his roles in Planet of the Apes.  The beloved actor died in Studio City in 1998. Photograph courtesy of Ralph Muzzillo Jr. 2013.  (click on images to enlarge them.)

Support The Museum Library collection of Valley Entertainment Industry History.
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




In the Big Band Era memorabilia of trumpet player Ralph Muzzillo Sr., was this priceless "payroll" document for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra  for January 20th. 1928. Each employee signed for his check (or, perhaps cash.) Among the signatures for their work at the Mosque Theatre in Newark, New Jersey were some of the greatest musical entertainers of the time: Bix Biederbecke trumpet, Bing Crosy vocalist, Jimmy Dorsey saxophone, and the great classical composer Ferde Grofe arranger. Ralph Muzzillo Sr. lived in Encino and spent his last years in Tarzana.

Jan. 20 to 28, 1928  Payroll for the Paul Whitman Orchestra.
Courtesy of Ralph Muzzillo Jr. 2013
The Museum of the San Fernando Valley Library - Entertainment Industry History

Note: Make sure that you double check on this image to enlarge it. Each name on this payroll deserves to be researched, since they may well be the founding fathers of American big band era jazz.

Save America's Big Band Era History
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