There is no doubt that Burbank has staked its claim as the entertainment capital of the world. Since the 1920s, some of the most classic films and iconic television shows ever projected or broadcast have been produced within the city’s borders.
From “Casablanca,” “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Mary Poppins” to “The Mickey Mouse Club,” and the Johnny Carson and Jay Leno-hosted versions of “The Tonight Show,” Burbank has served as fertile ground for the imagination, creativity and technology that through the camera’s lens has made the world think, learn, laugh and cry.
While a list of all the films and shows produced in Burbank would fill this entire paper, there is one production that has been more closely associated with the city than any other — “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.” Shot at the NBC Studios from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, and replete with fast-moving jokes, sketches, one-liners, musical numbers and satirical jabs at social and political issues, “Laugh-In” put its domicile on the map when the show’s announcer made the weekly pronouncement that the show was originating from “Beautiful Downtown Burbank.”
The creator, cast, crew and special guests of “Laugh-In” were honored by Actors and Others for Animals at the organization’s annual Celebration of Caring fundraiser this past week.
Presented at the Universal Hilton and Tower Ballroom and emceed by television writer and personality Bruce Vilanch, the event also honored “Eight is Enough” star Dick Van Patten by presenting him with the organization’s 2009 Award of Caring.
Among those associated with “Laugh-In” who were in attendance included the show’s creator and producer George Schlatter, announcer Gary Owens, and cast members Arte Johnson and JoAnne Worley, who serves as the president of Actors and Others for Animals.
Other special guests on hand included Dick Martin’s widow, Dolly Martin, Pat and James Van Patten, Barbara Feldon, Rip Taylor, Nancy Sinatra, Gary Collins, Mary Ann Mobley, Fred and Mary Willard, Loretta Swit, Michael Stern, Leonard Maltin, Maria Dales, Sherry Miller, Susan Taylor, Earl Holliman, Patricia Bercel, Stuart Friedman, David Knox, Jodie Mann, Maurice Tubin, Beverly Berger, Brandie Capra, Stephanie Parke, June Taylor, Pitsa Vidiakitis, Jeannie Walkenhorst and Diane Welshans.
The event, staged annually to raise funds to promote the spaying, neutering, overall care and humane treatment of animals was made possible with the help of members of the Burbank Jaycees including Lori Bender, Jackie Lewis and Ladan Gorgin.
Others whose work made the day a success were the event’s committee that consisted of Helene Ashley, Harlen Boll, Cory Carter, Erlin Joy France, Paul Jolly, Jackie Joseph, Joyce Miller, Page Layne Miller, Paul Sessa, Susan Taylor, Val Tonione, Clara Tortomasi and Parker Williams.