On the Town: Burbank's Car Classic puts nostalgia in overdrive

It's not every day, while on a stroll down San Fernando Boulevard, that Burbankers encounter the city's mayor behind the wheel of the Batmobile, the host of "The Tonight Show" stalled in the middle of the street dealing with mechanical problems and a cavalcade of classic film and television vehicles including Scooby-Doo's Mystery Machine, Bo and Luke Duke's General Lee, the Dark Knight's Tumbler and Starsky and Hutch's Ford Gran Torino.

That, however, was just what thousands of locals and visitors did encounter during last Saturday's second annual Downtown Burbank Car Classic.

Stretching over four blocks, from Magnolia Boulevard to Olive Avenue, downtown Burbank served as a showcase for hundreds of classic, customized and celebrity cars presented by private owners, the Road Kings, the Burbank Fire Department, Warner Bros. Studios and Petersen Automotive Museum.

The event was also presented by the legendary creator of the world's most famous custom-made cars, George Barris, who was in attendance and presented with a lifetime achievement award during the day-long festivities.

Produced by the Downtown Burbank Partnership, Saturday's car show continued through the late afternoon and evening as folks enjoyed the music of KCRW disc jockey Anthony Valadez while dining at downtown eateries, perusing the cars and stopping by the eclectic mix of vendor booths.

Among the special guests in attendance at Saturday's car show were Jay Leno, who, due to a faulty transmission, spent some time stranded at the intersection of San Fernando Boulevard and Orange Grove Avenue, Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy and her husband, Bill, and Councilman Bob Frutos.

There was also Danny Kahn, who serves as the executive director of the Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tour Department, and Craig Neale, who oversees digital marketing for Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, outside of London, the only film studio in the United Kingdom to be owned and operated by a major Hollywood studio.

Accompanied by Kahn's wife, Dani, and representatives of the Warner Bros. VIP Tour Department, including Thomas Morrison, Kelly Maginnis and Elisabeth Berger, the Warner Bros. contingent reminded everyone that classic film and television cars are available for viewing on a daily basis by taking a tour of the legendary studio.

Renowned as the best studio tour, knowledgeable guides bring small groups of guests through the back and front lots, sound stages and craft shops of an actual working studio.

As a part of the experience, guests can also visit the Warner Bros. museum and car collection that showcases numerous vehicles used in classic productions including the studio's hugely popular Harry Potter and Batman franchises.

The Warner Bros. Studios VIP Tour is open Monday through Saturday. Tickets can be purchased online at www.wbstudiotour.com or by calling (818) 972-8687.


DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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