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Life and Arts

Fifties fun trumps fear of 13

Friggatriskaidekaphobia is the fear of the 13th day of a month falling on a Friday — a day when the superstitious tend to avoid black cats. Well, if black cats were being avoided, Black Cows were being embraced as members, friends and supporters of the Burbank Elks gathered at their Hollywood Way lodge for a 1950s-themed dinner dance on Friday the 13th.

As bobby-soxed, poodle-skirted and bowling-shirted folks arrived at the lodge, they were greeted by Kelly Loporchio and Brittney Peale who were delving out the Black Cows — a concoction of soda, ice cream, chocolate syrup and whipped cream that became a staple of 1950s malt shops. Charlene Peale, who serves as the exalted ruler of the Burbank Elks, then welcomed club members and their guests who enjoyed a dinner of typical ‘50s diner fare including burgers, hot dogs, chili fries and onion rings.


Following dinner, singer K.C. Phillips took to the stage and got couples swingin’ on the dance floor to his renditions of the songs from the decade that gave birth to rock ‘n’ roll. Among those who twisted, bopped, strutted and strolled were Jeri and Richard Darling, Dean and Lynn Shelby, Jim VanNiekerk and Ronnie Roth, and Lois Ohrenstein and Don Bodeau.

Others who enjoyed the flashback evening included Greg Peale, Burt and Judy Pierce, Bob and Sydney Heins, Bob and Sandi Tomer, Judy and Bob LaVerde, Tish Sellers, Bill Boyd, Harvey and Sharon Ryun.


The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was founded by a 25-year-old English singer by the name of Charles Vivian. Upon his arrival in New York City in 1867, Vivian was shocked to learn that due to “Blue Laws” it was impossible to get a meal at a restaurant or a pint of ale at a pub on a Sunday. Taking exception to the rule, he established a theatrical group of friends called the Jolly Corks who were more than happy to share food and libations with one another on Sundays.

Vivian’s group continued to grow and as years went by adopted a charitable purpose — first, to help down-on-their-luck performers and their families, and ultimately to further spread their charitable benevolence to anyone in need. They ultimately decided to change their name to the Elks being as that they felt the elk was a distinctly American symbol, and because elks do not prey on any other species, but fight valiantly in defense of their own.

Burbank’s lodge No. 1497 was chartered more than 80 years ago and, according to Exalted Ruler Peale, today boasts a membership of more than 700. Among those who benefit from their philanthropy are Burbank and Burroughs high schools, Boy Scout Troop 210, various local sports programs and Burbank students in need of scholarships.

Among the members whose work and presence made Friday’s dinner dance a success were Robert Ramsey, Enrique and Kathy Castillo, Woody Bixby, John Holt, Ruben Almarez, Fred DeLange, Randolph Garcia, Bonnie Holcomb and Howard Rothenbach.