On the Town: Giving thanks for the gift of history

“Harry and Mary Jane Strickland have been a great gift to Burbank,” said Emily Gabel-Luddy, the woman who, barring any unforeseen surprise, will by this afternoon have joined the ranks of 58 other men and women who over the past century have served as the city’s mayor.

“They have made sure our proud history is a part of our present and, more importantly, our future,” she added.

An assemblage of more than 130 people joined Gabel-Ludy in showing their appreciation for the Stricklands’ work in establishing the Burbank Historical Society at the Gordon R. Howard Museum this past Saturday evening.

From the city’s days of melon farms to its transformation into the world’s media capital, the Stricklands have been committed to collecting, preserving and displaying Burbank’s rich history. Burbank Historical Society President Sue Baldaseroni, who served as the evening’s hostess, lauded the Stricklands for their long-time commitment to historical preservation and thanked Mary Jane for her foresight. “If it weren’t for (the) idea you came up with 40 years ago, we wouldn't be here tonight reminiscing,” said Baldaseroni. “So we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Among the special guests in attendance at Saturday’s event were Mayor Dave Golonski, Former Mayors Vince Stefano and Tom Flavin, the Stricklands’ son, Randy Strickland, Historical Society Board member Gary Sutliff, who has known Mary Jane since he was a teenager, and supporters Jim and Merle Woodburn, who have worked with the Stricklands from the beginning in their quest to preserve Burbank history.

Others who made the evening’s tribute a success included Sandy Dennis, Dave and Pat Augustine, Mary Lou Stefano and Historical Society board members Mike Dennis, Lorraine White, Betty Penrod, Penny Rivera, Don Baldaseroni, Barbara Bartman, Jack Blasius, Carey and Dianna Briggs, Craig Bullock, Dave Filson, Mari Pititto, Tony Rivera, Les and Elaine Rosenberg and Don White.

Saturday evening also saw the 23rd annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show ride into Burbank for an evening of fun and fundraising at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. Hosted by actor William Shatner and his wife, Elizabeth, this annual event benefits numerous children’s charities, including Ahead with Horses, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Camp Max Straus.

Along with an equine arena show, attendees were treated to a performance by stuntman Tommie Turvey, a life-long horseman who trains horses for the film industry, and a dinner show headlined by country singer and Pure Prairie League alumni Vince Gill.


DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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