Studio Unveils Burbank History

Source uncertain

In addition to being a long-standing member of the Burbank community, Warner Bros. Studios also recently played a key role in an historic Burbank moment.

On February 5 2009, the City of Burbank unearthed a time capsule that had been preserved in concrete on the Magnolia Boulevard Bridge for the past 50 years. Articles written in 1959 about the capsule revealed it contained a strip of film negatives. Not wanting to damage the film, City officials immediately called upon Warner Bros. for its assistance to safely open the capsule and properly preserve the contents. The capsule--a heavy, silver-plated cylinder less than 1-1/2" x 2-1/2" in size--was turned over to Jan Yarbrough and Roger Dwinell in the Studio's Motion Picture Imaging department.

"When you think of a time capsule, you expect a big chest," said Yarbrough. "When we saw it, we were surprised by its size. Our challenge was to figure out how to open the canister and not damage it or its contents."

They enlisted the help of Gene Owens in Warner Bros. Construction Services, and, with a wheel grinder, band saw and lathe, the brass capsule was opened, revealing a strip of 35mm negative film containing 47 black and white still images. Two of the photographs revealed a typed prediction that in 2009, Burbank would be a park-like community with 150,000 residents, served by monorail transit and atomic power.

The film was then delivered to the Warner Bros. Photo Lab, where both digital scans of the images and physical prints were made. Original negatives will be returned to the City.

"I've been part of Burbank's workforce since 1991," said Dwinell. "I love local history, and it's great to be a part of history now."

1959 Burbank Time Capsule contents

Return to Burbankia