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
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,"
THE MUG SHOP FILE
WHAT: Burbank Mug Shop
WHERE: 2517 W. Burbank Blvd.
OWNER: Alma Olney.
OFFERS: Personalized mugs.