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Providing an early snapshot of Burbank

Providing an early snapshot of Burbank
Les Rosenberg, former owner of the Photo Art Shop, with Mary Jane Strickland, founder of the Gordon R. Howard Museum, during the grand opening of Story Tavern. They are looking at a photograph of Story Hardware taken by Rosenberg’s father, Rudy Rosenberg.
(Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

The recent grand opening of Story Tavern on San Fernando Boulevard stirred a lot of memories for Les Rosenberg, former owner of Photo Art Shop that was located down the block.

Rosenberg grew up in town and is a member of the Burbank Historical Society board of directors. The society provided the more than 80 photographs of early Burbank that grace the walls of the pub known as Story Hardware in the 1920s. Today’s restaurant owners have kept the Story name to honor the past. One of the photographs on display is of Story Hardware, taken by Les’ father.

Rudy Rosenberg opened his photo and art supply business with the same name — Photo Art Shop — in 1922 in a building he shared with an ophthalmologist and insurance agent on San Fernando, and two years later they moved to a building on Olive Avenue. Les started helping his dad after the shop moved to 150 S. San Fernando in 1955. When Les returned from serving in the military, he helped his dad again and then took over the store in the mid-1960s. He sold it in 1988.

At 10, Les remembers accompanying his dad on police calls.


“My dad was the official photographer for the city of Burbank. The police didn’t have photographic equipment so they would call him to photograph traffic accidents and still busts during Prohibition,” Les Rosenberg said. “It was New Year’s Eve and we got a call from the Police Department. They had to have a picture about a bad traffic accident on San Fernando Road out near turkey crossing, so my dad said ‘will you help me?’ And I said ‘sure!’”

At the accident scene, his dad set up his 8-by-10 camera by the road, and the police told him to get everything including the tire tracks.

“He pulled the slide out, opened the shutter, and he handed me a flash gun that had three bulbs in it that generated 50,000 watts each, and he had the same thing and told me ‘When I flash mine, you flash yours,’” Les Rosenberg said. “The picture came out gorgeous — just what they wanted. We got the tire tracks and everything — it was just like daylight.”

Business woman receives recognition


A Burbank employee is among 30 women who will be honored during the 13th annual Women in Business Legislative Update and Awards luncheon Friday at the Pasadena Hilton.

Receiving Outstanding Non-Profit Employee was Ana Gomez of the Kids Community Dental Clinic in Burbank.

The women were selected by Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) and Assemblymen Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) for their contributions to the vitality and diversity of the 21st State Senate and 43rd and 44th Assembly districts.

Tribute to Elvis at Joe’s Thursday night

Burbank resident Joe Finkle and his band The 7/10 Splits will perform a musical tribute to Elvis on the 35th anniversary of his death beginning at 9 p.m. Thursday at Joe’s Great American Bar & Grill, 4311 W. Magnolia Blvd.

“The Elvis I want people to remember is the one that wore a nice suit, combed his hair like Tony Curtis, and sang ‘Baby, Let’s Play House’ with reckless abandon,” Finkle said.

JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at