Burbank natives reminisce about their hometown in new book

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Burbank natives and longtime friends Wes Clark and Mike McDaniel hope their latest book about their hometown makes those who left the Media City want to come back.

“Growing Up in Burbank,” which is published by the History Press, is the duo’s sequel to “Lost Burbank,” but instead of talking about the quirky people and stories that made the city what it is today, Clark and McDaniel focused on what it was like to grow up in Burbank and Southern California during the 1960s and ’70s.

The pair will host several book talks and signings in Burbank, starting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Buena Vista Branch Library, 300 N. Buena Vista St.

Clark and McDaniel, who are both 61 years old, write about what it was like growing up in a city that was so close to an aerospace manufacturer and the media industry.

They reminisced about going to the Akron store, Alexander’s Market and Zodys to do their shopping. They also spent a lot of time eating at restaurants such as King Swede Smorgasbord, Don’s Restaurant and Coffee Shop and the London Butcher Shop.

One of the chapters in the book is dedicated to stores and restaurants that people can still visit today. They also mention staple locations, such as Hollywood Burbank Airport (known as Burbank Airport at the time), the Castaway restaurant, the Safari Inn and Warner Bros. Studio.

However, Clark and McDaniel dive deeper into the spots that only locals would know about. Two restaurants they write about are Giamela’s Sub Shop and Santoro’s, two sandwich shops that residents argue over.

“In Burbank, there is an argument between who makes the better sub sandwich: Giamela’s or Santoro’s,” McDaniel said. “They’re ardently supportive” of whichever restaurant they prefer.

Clark added that the debate between the two sub shops was like the ongoing rivalry between Burbank High School and John Burroughs High School.

The duo also mention that people can still hike up the Verdugo Hills or catch a car show while eating a burger and Bob’s Big Boy.

Though they grew up in Burbank, one of Clark and McDaniel’s favorite spots was in Glendale, specifically the Brand Library.

“You can still go to Brand Library, pull a vinyl record off the shelves, plunk it onto a turntable and listen to David Bowie or Lou Reed or classical music with headphones,” Clark said.

Clark, who has lived in Springfield, Va. since 1984, said he is still fascinated with the city where he grew up. Though he and McDaniel, who works for the city of Burbank in its print shop, maintain Burbankia, a website dedicated to the city, Clark said he calls McDaniel on a weekly basis, and the two continue to chat about what it was like 50 years ago.

“We’re two guys who can spend 20 minutes in front of some lot and an old Quonset hut and go on about when it was built,” Clark said.

Clark and McDaniel will also be at the Barnes & Noble, 731 N. San Fernando Blvd., at 5 p.m. on Friday, and Autobooks-Aerobooks, 2900 W. Magnolia Blvd., from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

They will also be at the Burbank Historical Society at 115 N. Lomita St. from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and the Elks Lodge at 2232 N. Hollywood Way from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday.

Twitter: @acocarpio