Life and Arts

Shelter upgrades are the cat’s meow

Two respective events saw the staff and Volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter (VBAS) reveal their newly renovated facility, while thousands of locals and visitors gathered to meet and greet a galaxy of stars from classic films and television shows this past week.

Proud to show off the numerous renovations, improvements and upgrades at the Burbank Animal Shelter, VBAS President Denise Fleck joined members of her board and shelter staff to host an open house on June 21. The event included tours of the improved facility given by Animal Control Officer Brenda Castaneda. Guests for the day’s first tour included Mayor Jess Talamantes and executives from Warner Bros. Studio Facilities (WBSF) who donated, designed and fabricated the shelter’s upgrades. Among the studio VIPs in attendance were WBSF President Jon Gilbert and Vice President Jeff Nagler, Vice President of production services Norm Barnett and Vice President of Office Services and Property Management Jeff Miller.

Having conducted a division-wide survey among employees of WBSF, the division that oversees the physical operations, production and post-production at Warner Bros. Studios, it was overwhelmingly decided that the animal shelter was their choice in which to philanthropically reach out to the community. “It was a natural for us,” said Barnett who credited Gilbert for being the impetus for the project. “Jon was instrumental in our involvement and then it became, in every way, a group effort for us to reach out to the community in a meaningful way.”

Gilbert, who said that WBSF wanted to embrace a cause that had meaning to all members of the division, added they were aware of the good work being done by the Burbank Animal Shelter. “You can tell by visiting here that the shelter’s employees do their work as a labor of love,” said Gilbert. “We wanted to be a part of that.”


Among the numerous improvements WBSF made is a new set for the North Victory Place shelter’s Channel 6 Adopt-A-Pet television show, upgrades to the exercise and socialization areas, shade shelters and misters and electrical upgrades that, for the first time, have made it possible for the shelter to do X-rays on site. “What Warner Bros. has done has been an inspiration to all of us at the shelter,” said Castaneda. “It has been great for morale.”

Others whose participation made the open house possible included Marissa O’Brien, Ann Adrianse, John McCullough, Alaina Kovel, Scott Soper, Eleanor O’Brien, Cecelia Martinez, Anne Macleod, Eva Sippel, Marcella Dover and Tanyada Soonthon.

While the folks at the shelter were showing off their shiny new facility, more shining was taking place as the Hollywood Show held at the Marriott Burbank Airport and Convention Center.

Since 1979, film and television fans have flocked to this show that is staged every three months by Kevin Martin and David Elkouby to get up close and personal with stars of stage and screen. Widely considered to be the premier autograph show in the nation, the Hollywood Show always offers a fabulous lineup of celebrities as well as a mix of vendors offering an eclectic selection of entertainment related memorabilia.


Among the stars who shined at the July show were Ernest Borgnine, Carol Lynley, Stella Stevens, Pamela Sue Martin, Barbara Eden, Juliet Mills, Vicki Lawrence, Ed Asner, Bruce Dern, Linda Blair and three members of the cast of “Dennis the Menace” — Jay North who played Dennis, Gloria Henry, who played his mother, Alice, and Jeannie Russell, who played Margaret and is now a chiropractor who serves the Burbank, Toluca Lake and North Hollywood area.

If this sounds like fun (which it is), don’t miss the next show on Oct. 9 and 10.