The Beautiful Downtown Burbank Olympics

Back in the early 1970s, my high school buddy Bill Krasner and I decided to have our own Olympic games with things we could actually do.

We got the whole family involved, and made sure there were events that played into everyone’s skills, so each of us was sure to get a medal or two.

I think this medal is from our second Burbank Olympic games because the first time, the medals were just aluminum foil covering Super 8 movie film reels. Yeah, I know. This medal is mylar self stick paper on some pre-cut wooden shapes I found in a craft store.I

think Bill won the gold medal for Chess that year (which is why you see the silver medal here, recently unearthed from one of my memento boxes). My grandfather always won the gold medal for Pool, as he had a pool table back in his patio.

Strangely, T and me are now living in that patio, and the pool table (with 3/4″ genuine slate bed – from Sears!) is stored on its side back in T’s workshop – which is the 2 1/2 garage my grandfather built in the back yard when he turned the original one-car garage into a car port.

He also built two enclosed patios – the first one was smaller, flimsier, and not as elegant. So maybe it was that first patio we had some of the Olympics in, not the second patio (built on the same space) that we are in now.

Either way, we all played and had fun striving for the medals as Mickey Mouse as they were. So, just seeing this silly little item among the thousands of other items of recollection, made me smile, as it always does, with fond memories of great times with many who no longer remain, and those few of us who were there and still are now.

P.S. The words on the “medal” say “Beautiful Downtown Burbank Olympics.” Back in the day, a “cool” and “with it” variety show called Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, began to refer to the location here as Beautiful Downtown Burbank, which was an inside joke since downtown hadn’t gotten a face lift since the 1930s and wasn’t very impressive at all.

Of course, all us residents latched on to it when the phrase went national, and people from around the country came here to see the place. I’m sure they were underwhelmed. Nevertheless, it was our claim to fame, and so we named our Olympics after it and proudly put it right out there for everyone to see on our medals, where it remains to this day.