Mugs stand the test of time

Karen S. Kim

NORTHWEST DISTRICT -- Some might remember how years before Johnny

Carson retired from hosting "The Tonight Show," Dolly Parton accidentally

knocked his signature mug off the desk with her ample bosom.

When that happened, Carson's assistants called Burbank businesswoman

Alma Olney to the rescue.

Olney's store, the 30-year-old Burbank Boulevard icon, was responsible

for supplying Carson with his famous mug: a cream and brown colored

ceramic piece with his name and picture emblazoned on it.

Over the years, Burbank Mug Shop in Burbank supplied Carson with more

than 500 mugs, Olney said. The cups were always getting misplaced or

broken, she said.

Olney and her shop received a lot of publicity while Carson hosted the

show, including coverage in the National Enquirer and the Hollywood


But these days, Olney is keeping a lower profile.

The shop isn't making much of a profit anymore, but Olney doesn't

mind, she said. The longtime Burbank resident makes enough money renting

out the rest of her building to keep the mug shop alive, she said.

"The shop gives me something to do," she said. "It's more of a hobby

with me."

Decals, personal messages, names and pictures are stamped onto the

mugs by Olney herself. She uses a 1,500-degree kiln in the back of her

shop to emblazon the ceramic cups.

Olney and her husband Bob Olney, a former Burbank mayor, opened the

shop in 1972. The success of the business led them to open a second store

in West Covina in 1976.

The shop was also called Burbank Mug Shop.

The West Covina shop was replaced with a Covina shop in 1984, but

Olney closed it in 1986 after her husband died the year before.

Today, she's content to just have the Burbank Mug Shop.

"I feel very blessed and very fortunate that I have my little shop,"

she said.


WHAT: Burbank Mug Shop

WHERE: 2517 W. Burbank Blvd.

OWNER: Alma Olney.

OFFERS: Personalized mugs.

INFO: 848-9521.

Copyright © 2019, Burbank Leader
EDITION: California | U.S. & World