With no guidelines or precedents, I guessed that the success of the program would depend on the extent of citizen involvement generated, and that it might be realized if the partner city had characteristics somewhat akin to Burbank.
Applying these assumptions to cities in various countries, Solna, Sweden, came out on top. It had roughly the same population and was a suburb of a larger city, Stockholm. It was the center of the country’s film industry.
The committee recommended Solna, Sweden, to the City Council, and the mayor sent a cordial letter exploring the possibility of a partnership.
The Swedish response was delayed but positive, and the committee asked for ideas for projects that might energize the undertaking.
I suggested a slide show with narration to acquaint the Swedes with Burbank’s residential, cultural, commercial and industrial features, with prominent notice of the Walt Disney Co., Warner Bros. and Columbia enterprises.
There were suggestions on school and service club projects and even an exchange of recipes. (The chairwoman said she was not much into cooking, but I was mindful of my Swedish mother’s delicious pea soup and meatballs.) There were visits from the Honorary Swedish Consul, but the highlight, in my opinion, was the very warm welcome Solna officials gave to Mrs. Tony Frank and her daughter during their visit.
I lost close touch with city matters after my departure in 1961 but knew a bit about Burbank affiliations with other cities.
It was pleasant to read of the visit of the Incheon, South Korea students and the visit of Burbank officials to that city. But after 50 years, nothing has been done to meet Ike’s optimistic hopes for the Sister City program.
PAUL H. WANGSNESS