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On The Town:

A fond look back to the year 1953

October 27, 2009|By DAVID LAURELL

A teenager by the name of Elvis walked into a Memphis recording studio for the first time. Dwight D. Eisenhower took the presidential oath of office. Queen Elizabeth II was coronated, and consumers were being offered some pretty wild new things, such as a car called a Corvette, a television that broadcast in color, and a risque magazine published by a 20-something Chicagoan who went by the nickname of “Hef.”

The year was 1953, and here in Burbank a resident by the name of Ben Porter, his wife, May, and their friend, Rosemary Glenn, were lobbying then-Mayor Carl King and the City Council to create and fund a local boy’s band to represent the city at various events.

Then-Burbank Police Chief Rex Andrews thought the formation of a local band was a great idea and joined forces with the city’s Park and Recreation Department to assist the Porters and Glenn form what would become the Burbank Police Boy’s Band.

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Known throughout Burbank as The Fuzz Band due to their fuzzy wool uniforms and the counter-culture slang term of “fuzz” for a police officer, the all-boys, military-style precision marching band also included the membership of young women who served as the color guard and as majorettes.

For three decades, the band represented Burbank throughout California and Mexico and also made an appearance in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade.

Members of the band reunited at Tony’s Bella Vista Restaurant Saturday to reminisce and catch up with their fuzzy colleagues who represented membership from the band’s inception to its quiet demise in the 1970s.

Organized by Joanne Lento Miller and co-hosted by the band’s former musical director, Bill Kuzma, Saturday’s reunion proved to be an evening of fuzzy stories, great memories and lots of laughter.

Among those who enjoyed the event were Bob Cox and Charlene Tipton who drove in from Idaho to be at the reunion, Sharie Dunn Telles, Debby and Brian Jones, Russell Kingman, Thomas Huber, Keith Myatt, Pam Bernstein, Tom Branca, Brian Cassingham, Scott Chew, Rocio Dodd, Val Eyster, Marianne Gentile, Greg Hartman, Ruth Grossnickle, Lila Jordan, Steve and Cyndi Krattiger, and Sharon Kuzma.

Among the notable alumni not in attendance were director Tim Burton, actor Anson Williams and musician Rob Rudolph, who was represented by his sister, Joyce Rudolph.

“Rob would have loved to have been here tonight,” Joyce Rudolph told the assemblage. “But he is performing at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center in a College of the Canyons production of ‘Hair,’ so I’m here on his behalf to tell you that he’s performing with the orchestra, and to assure you that he has all of his clothes on.”

Others who enjoyed Saturday’s fuzzy reunion were Fred Liberman, Michael and Catherine Manning, Linda Miles, Jeanne Minnear, Bruce Powell, Bob Stirling, Ken Teaney, Gerri White, Kimo Yap, Mark Neale, Kevin Fisher and two couples who met through the organization and married, Rich and Edna Dean, and Jim and Sue Pritchett.


 DAVID LAURELL can be contacted at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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