Nifty Fifty - A "Golden" Time!

by Susie Hodgson

The year is 1973. Fifty years ago. What’s happening in the world? Here are just a few tidbits:

LBJ dies.

President Nixon goes to China.

The Watergate scandal is exposed.

The Godfather wins Best Picture.

The first cellular phone call is placed.

The World Trade Center opens.

Federal Express goes into business.

Secretariat wins the Triple Crown.

Led Zeppelin brings in a bigger audience than the Beatles.

Bobby Riggs loses to Billie Jean King.

Jim Croce dies.

Willie Mays retires.

Spiro Agnew resigns. Gerald Ford becomes VP.

The Oakland A’s win the World Series.

The Alaska Pipeline is built.

The Exorcist is released.


From the rather thin newspaper, The Burbank Ledger, in its January edition from 1973. Note that the paper featured far more ads than articles:

In the Rose Parade, Burbank’s entry, “Neptune’s Daughter” is the theme of our float. It features an underseas garden and live mermaids along with King Neptune. (LIVE mermaids??)

Editorial: “People who become justifiably excited about the environment should try to figure out what kind of person throws a lighted cigarette onto a carpeted or asphalt-tiled floor. There is just no hope for that kind of guy – he probably does the same thing at home.”

The Alpha Beta supermarket on W. Alameda at Main offers T Bone steak for $1.78 a pound, Nyquil for 88 cents, bread for 33 cents and Tide Detergent for 79 cents.

Interest rates on 3-month T-Bills average 8.67%. (You read that right.)

Children under the age of 9 need 2 to 3 servings (8 oz.) of milk per day. (Whole milk?)

The average income is $11,470/year.

2 New Homes for Sale – Only $26,950 each! Brand new, 3 bed, 2 baths, near Lockheed. You can move in tomorrow! (You can barely get a car for that today!)

’65 Mustang Convertible, Stick, V8, radio, heater - $399

Do It Yourself Divorce! (Well, you might need a second party to get a divorce FROM!)

Shop at the Golden Mall!

Jobs for Women: (Yes, they separated Jobs for Men from Jobs for Women. Guess which paid more!)

Girl to do paste-up, light bindery work, filing, etc. Ask for Rod.

File Clerk – Local - $475!


In 1973, Mary Jane Strickland, who worked for the city, specifically the library, for many years, sees a need to preserve Burbank’s vital history and starts the Burbank Historical Society. With help from her many friends and family (most importantly from her dear husband Harry, a detective with the Burbank Police Department) Mary Jane takes on the arduous task of archiving, organizing and filing Burbank’s historical documents and photographs. Over time, the Historical Society restores the 1887 Mentzer House (the blue Victorian home seen from Olive Avenue) and constructs its approximately 20,000 square foot museum behind the house. The museum is filled with exhibits, displays and information all about Burbank and its fascinating history.

The Burbank Historical Society will be recognizing the 50th Anniversary of our founding with a series of events over the course of the year including our traditional Mother’s Day Tea and Summer Membership BBQ. In October, the Society will host an Anniversary Party to recognize the milestone. Additional details will be forthcoming.

Want to learn more? Come visit us! And while you’re at it, why not support your city and become a member or docent (or both!) for our wonderful Historical Society! We’re a fun bunch and would love to have you join us! You’ll see why everyone calls it Burbank’s hidden gem.

The Burbank Historical Society/Gordon R. Howard Museum
Located in George Izay Park, right next to the Creative Arts Center
Phone: (818) 841-6333
Web site:

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