Olive Avenue in Burbank, 1889
The city of Burbank occupies land that was originally part of two Spanish and Mexican-era colonial land grants, the 36,400-acre (147 km2)
Rancho San Rafael, granted to
Jose Maria Verdugo by the Spanish
Bourbon government in 1784, and the 4,063-acre (16.44 km2)
Rancho Providencia created in 1821. Historically, this area was the scene of a military skirmish which resulted in the unseating of the Spanish Governor of California, and his replacement by the Mexican leader
Pio Pico. Remnants of the military battle reportedly were found many years later in the vicinity of
Warner Bros. Studio when residents dug up cannonballs.
Dr. David Burbank purchased over 4,600 acres (19 km2) of the former Verdugo holding and another 4,600 acres (19 km2) of the Rancho Providencia in 1867 and built a ranch house and began to raise sheep and grow wheat on the ranch.
 By 1876, the
San Fernando Valley became the largest wheat-raising area in
Los Angeles County. But the droughts of the 1860s and 1870s underlined the need for steady water supplies.
The Jonathan R. Scott tract, forming eastern Burbank along San Fernando Boulevard, called here the "Camino Real".
A professionally trained dentist, Dr. Burbank began his career in
Waterville, Maine. He joined the great migration westward in the early 1850s and, by 1853 was living in
San Francisco. At the time the
American Civil War broke out he was again well established in his profession as a dentist in
Pueblo de Los Angeles. In 1867, he purchased Rancho La Providencia from
David W. Alexander and
Francis Mellus, and he purchased the western portion of the Rancho San Rafael (4,603 acres) from Jonathan R. Scott. Dr. Burbank's property reached nearly 9,200 acres (37 km2) at a cost of $9,000.
 Dr. Burbank wouldn't acquire full titles to both properties until after a court decision known as the "Great Partition" was made in 1871 dissolving the Rancho San Rafael. He eventually became known as one of the largest and most successful sheep raisers in southern California, resulting in him stopping his practice of dentistry and investing heavily in real estate in Los Angeles.
Dr. Burbank also later owned the Burbank Theatre, which opened on November 27, 1893, at a cost of $150,000. Though the theater was intended to be an opera house, instead it staged plays and became known nationally. The theatre featured famous actors of the time including
Fay Bainter and
Marjorie Rambeau, until it had deteriorated into a burlesque house.
When the area that became Burbank was settled in the 1870s and 1880s, the streets were aligned along what is now Olive Avenue, the road to the
Cahuenga Pass and downtown Los Angeles. These were largely the roads the Indians traveled and the early settlers took their produce down to Los Angeles to sell and to buy supplies along these routes.
At the time, the primary long-distance transportation methods available to
San Fernando Valley residents were stagecoach and train. Stagecoaching between Los Angeles and
San Francisco through the Valley began in 1858. The
Southern Pacific Railroad arrived in the Valley in 1876, completing the route connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles.
A shrewd businessman, foreseeing the value of
rail transport, Burbank sold
Southern Pacific Railroad a
right-of-way through the property for one dollar. The first train passed through Burbank on April 5, 1874. A boom created by a rate war between the
Santa Fe and
Southern Pacific brought people streaming into
California shortly thereafter, and a group of speculators purchased much of Dr. Burbank's land holdings in 1886 for $250,000. One account suggests Dr. Burbank may have sold his property because of a severe drought that year, which caused a shortage of water and grass for his livestock. Approximately 1,000 of his sheep died due to the drought conditions.
Burbank as envisioned by Providencia Land, Water & Development Co.
The group of speculators who bought the acreage formed the Providencia Land, Water, and Development Company and began developing the land, calling the new town Burbank after its founder, and began offering farm lots on May 1, 1887. The townsite had Burbank Boulevard/Walnut Avenue as the northern boundary, Grandview Avenue as the southern boundary, the edge of the Verdugo Mountains as the eastern boundary and Clybourn Avenue was the western border.
 The establishment of a water system in 1887 allowed farmers to irrigate their orchards and provided a stronger base for agricultural development.
 The original plot of the new townsite of Burbank extended from what is now Burbank Boulevard on the north, to Grandview Avenue in
Glendale, California on the south, and from the top of the Verdugo Hills on the east to what is now known as Clybourn Avenue on the west.
At the same time, the arrival of the railroad provided immediate access for the farmers to bring crops to market. Packing houses and warehouses were built along the railroad corridors. The railroads also provided access to the county for tourists and immigrants alike. A
Southern Pacific Railroad depot in Burbank was completed in 1887.
The boom lifting real estate values in the Los Angeles area proved to be a speculative frenzy that collapsed abruptly in 1889. Much of the newly created wealthy went broke. Many of the lots in Burbank ended up getting sold for taxes.
 Vast numbers of people would leave the region before it all ended.
By 1904, Burbank received international attention for having world heavyweight boxing champion
James J. Jeffries become a major landowner in the town. Jeffries bought 107 acres (0.43 km2) to build a ranch on Victory Boulevard. He eventually raised cattle and sold them in Mexico and South America, becoming one of the first citizens to engage in foreign trade. He eventually built a large ranch home and barn near where Victory and Buena Vista Street now intersect. The barn was later removed and reassembled at
Knott's Berry Farm in
Buena Park, California.
Burbank's first telephone exchange, or telephone switch, was established in August 1900, becoming the first in the
San Fernando Valley. Within 5 years, there were several telephone exchanges in the Valley and became known as the San Fernando Valley Home Telephone Company, based in Glendale.
 Home Telephone competed with Tropico, and in 1918 both were taken over by Pacific Telephone Company. At this time, there were an estimated 300 hand-cranked telephones in Burbank.
The town's first bank was formed in 1908 when Burbank State Bank opened its doors near the corner of Olive Avenue and |San Fernando Blvd. On the first day, the bank collected $30,000 worth of deposits, and at the time the town had a population of 300 residents.
 In 1911, the bank was dissolved; it would then become the Burbank branch of the Security Trust & Savings Bank.
"Fawkes' Folly" being displayed in front of a large crowd.
In 1911, wealthy farmer Joseph Fawkes grew apricots and owned a house on West Olive Avenue. He also had a fascination for machinery, and soon began developing what became known as the "Fawkes Folly" aerial trolley.
 He and his wife Ellen C. Fawkes secured two patents for the nation's first
monorail. The two formed the Aerial Trolley Car Company and set about building a prototype they believed would revolutionize transportation.
Joseph Fawkes called the trolley his Aerial Swallow, a cigar-shaped, suspended monorail driven by a propeller that he promised would carry passengers from Burbank to downtown Los Angeles in 10 minutes. The first open car accommodated about 20 passengers and was suspended from an overhead track and supported by wooden beams. In 1911, the monorail car made its first and only run through his Burbank ranch, with a line between Lake and Flower Streets. The monorail was considered a failure after gliding just a foot or so and falling to pieces. Nobody was injured but Joseph Fawkes' pride was badly hurt as Aerial Swallow became known as "Fawkes' Folly." City officials viewed his test run as a failure and focused on getting a Pacific Electric Streetcar line into Burbank.
Laid out and surveyed with a modern business district surrounded by residential lots, wide boulevards were carved out as the "Los Angeles Express" printed:
"Burbank, the town, being built in the midst of the new farming community, has been laid out in such a manner as to make it by and by an unusually pretty town. The streets and avenues are wide and, all have been handsomely graded. All improvements being made would do credit to a city ... Everything done at Burbank has been done right."
The citizens of Burbank had to put up a $48,000 subsidy to get the reluctant Pacific Electric Streetcar officials to agree to extend the line from Glendale to Burbank.
 The first Red Car rolled into Burbank on September 6, 1911, with a tremendous celebration. That was about two months after the town became a city. The "Burbank Review" newspaper ran a special edition that day
 advising all local residents that:
"On Wednesday, the first electric car running on a regular passenger-carrying schedule left the Pacific Electric station at Sixth and Main streets, Los Angeles, for Burbank at 6:30 a.m. and the first car from Burbank to Los Angeles left at 6:20 a.m. the same day. Upon arrival of this car on its maiden trip, many citizens gave evidence of their great joy by ringing bells and discharging firearms. A big crowd of both men and women boarded the first car and rode to Glendale and there changed to a second car coming from Los Angeles and rode home again. Every face was an expression of happiness and satisfaction."
The Burbank Line was completed through to Cypress Avenue in Burbank, and by mid-1925 this line was extended about a mile further along Glenoaks Boulevard to Eton Drive. A small wooden station was erected in Burbank in 1911 at Orange Grove Avenue with a small storage yard in its rear. This depot was destroyed by fire in 1942 and in 1947 a small passenger shelter was constructed.
On May 26, 1942, the California State Railroad Commission proposed an extension of the Burbank Line to the Lockheed plant.
 The proposal called for a double track line from Arden Junction along Glenoaks to San Fernando Blvd and Empire Way, just northeast of Lockheed's main facility. But this extension never materialized and the commission moved on to other projects in the San Fernando Valley. The Red Car line in Burbank was abandoned and the tracks removed in 1956.
The city marshal's office was changed to the Burbank Police Department in 1923. The first police chief was George Cole, who later became a U.S. Treasury prohibition officer.
In 1928, Burbank was one of the first 13 cities to join the
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, one of the largest suppliers of water in the world. This contrasted with other
San Fernando Valley communities that obtained water through political annexation to Los Angeles. By 1937, the first power from Hoover Dam was distributed over Burbank's own electricity lines.
 The city purchases about 55% of its water from the MWD.
City of Burbank
The town grew steadily, weathering the
depression that hit
Los Angeles in the 1890s and in 20 years, the community had a
high school and a thriving business district with a hardware store, livery stable,
dry goods store, general store, and bicycle repair shop. The city's first newspaper, Burbank Review, established in 1906.
The populace petitioned the
State Legislature to
incorporate as a city on July 8, 1911, with businessman Thomas Story as the
mayor. Voters approved incorporation by a vote of 81 to 51. At the time, the Board of Trustees governed the community which numbered 500 residents. The first city seal adopted by Burbank featured a cantaloupe, which was a crop that helped save the town's life when the land boom collapsed.
In 1931, the original city seal was replaced and in 1978 the modern seal was adopted. The new seal shows City Hall beneath a banner but no cantaloupe. An airplane symbolizes the city's aircraft industry, the strip of film and stage light represent motion picture production. The bottom portion depicts the sun rising over the Verdugo Mountains.
In 1915, major sections of the Valley capitulated, helping Los Angeles to more than double its size that year. But Burbank was among a handful of towns with their own water wells and remained independent. By 1916 Burbank had 1,500 residents. In 1927, five miles (8 km) of paved streets had increased to 125 miles (201 km). By 1930, as
First National Studios,
Andrew Jergens Company, The
McNeill and Libby Canning Company, the Moreland Company, and
Northrop Aircraft Corporation opened facilities there, the population jumped to 16,662.
Wall Street Crash of 1929 set off a period of hardship for Burbank where business and residential growth paused. The effects of the Depression also caused tight credit conditions and halted home building throughout the area, including the city's Magnolia Park development. Around this time, major employers began to cut payrolls and some plants closed their doors forever.
Around this time, Burbank City Council responded by slashing 10% from the wages of city workers. Money was put into an Employee Relief Department to help the unemployed. Local civic and religious groups sprang into action and contributed with food as homeless camps began to form along the city's Southern Pacific railroad tracks. Hundreds began to participate in self-help cooperatives, trading skills such as barbering, tailoring, plumbing or carpentry, for food and other services.
Valley land bust during the Depression, real estate began to bounce back in the mid-1930s. In Burbank, a 100-home construction project began in 1934. By 1936, property values in the city exceeded pre-Depression levels. By 1950, the population had reached 78,577.
 It was no longer the "tiny little village" of
Jane Russell's song "Hollywood Cinderella"; it had become a major Los Angeles suburb.
In 1922, the Burbank Chamber of Commerce was organized. The Federal government officially recognized Burbank's status in 1923 when the
United States Postal Service reclassified the city from the rural village mail delivery to city postal delivery service.
 By this time, Burbank's population had grown significantly, from less than 500 people in 1908 to over 3,000 citizens. The city's business district grew on the west side of San Fernando Blvd and stretched from Verdugo to Cypress avenues, and on the east side to Palm Avenue. From 1967–1989 a six-block stretch of San Fernando Blvd was pedestrianized as the "
As of June 2008, the city employee population in Burbank stood at 1,683. Of the total, 1,253 were full-time, 217 part-time, and 213 temporary employees. The Burbank City Employees Association represents workers in the city. The organization dates back to 1939, and its primary role was to secure civil service status for city workers. The BCEA, representing more than 750 city employees, is one of six bargaining unions in Burbank city government. Others include: the Burbank Fire Fighters Association, the Burbank Police Officers' Association, the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers Local 18, the Burbank Fire Fighters-Chief Officer's Unit, and the Burbank Management Association.
In 1887, the Burbank Furniture Manufacturing Company was the town's first factory.
 After the land boom downturn in 1888, the building was abandoned and transients slept in the empty factory. In 1917, the arrival of the
Moreland Motor Truck Company changed the town and resulted in a manufacturing and industrial workforce begin to take root in the city. Within a few years Moreland trucks were seen bearing the label, "Made in Burbank."
 Watt Moreland, its owner, had relocated his plant to Burbank from Los Angeles. He selected 25 acres (100,000 m2) at San Fernando Blvd and Alameda Avenue. Moreland invested $1 million in the factory and machinery, and employed 500 people. It was the largest truck maker west of the Mississippi.
Within the next several decades, factories, both large and small, would dot the area landscape. What had mainly been an agricultural and ranching area would get replaced with a variety of manufacturing industries. Moreland operated from 1917 to 1937. Aerospace supplier Menasco Manufacturing Company would later purchase the property. Menasco's Burbank landing gear factory closed in 1994 due to slow commercial and military orders, affecting 310 people. Within months of Moreland's arrival, Community Manufacturing Company, a $3 million tractor company, arrived in Burbank.
In 1920, the Andrew Jergens Company factory opened at Verdugo Avenue near the railroad tracks in Burbank. Andrew Jergens, Jr. — aided by his father, Cincinnati businessman Andrew Jergens, Sr. and business partners Frank Adams and Morris Spazier — had purchased the site and built a single-story building. They began with a single product, coconut oil soap, but would later make face creams, lotions, liquid soaps and deodorants. In 1931, despite the Depression, the Jergens company expanded, building new offices and shipping department facilities. In 1939, the Burbank corporation merged with the Cincinnati company of Andrew Jergens, Sr., becoming known as the Andrew Jergens Company of Ohio. The Burbank plant closed in 1992, affecting nearly 90 employees.
The establishment of the aircraft industry and a major airport in Burbank during the 1930s set the stage for major growth and development, which was to continue at an accelerated pace into
World War II and well into the postwar era. Brothers
Allan Loughead and
Malcolm Loughead, founders of the
Lockheed Aircraft Company, opened a Burbank manufacturing plant in 1928, and a year later famed aviation designer
Jack Northrop built his historic Flying Wing airplane in his own plant nearby.
Memorial Day Weekend (May 30 – June 1), 1930, the
United Airport was the largest commercial airport in the Los Angeles area until it was eclipsed in 1946 by the
Los Angeles Municipal Airport (now
Los Angeles International Airport) in
Westchester when that facility (the former Mines Field) commenced commercial operations.
Wiley Post and
Howard Hughes were among the notable
aviation pioneers to pilot aircraft in and out of the original Union Air Terminal. By 1935, Union Air Terminal in Burbank ranked as the third-largest air terminal in the nation, with 46 airliners flying out of it daily. The airport served 9,895 passengers in 1931 and 98,485 passengers in 1936.
Vega Aircraft plant in Burbank, 1942
Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in Burbank, 1945
In 1931, Lockheed was then part of Detroit Aircraft Corp., which went into bankruptcy with its Lockheed unit. A year later, a group of investors acquired assets of the Lockheed company. The new owners staked their limited funds to develop an all-metal, twin engine transport, the Model 10 Electra. It first flew in 1934 and quickly gained worldwide fame.
A brochure celebrating Burbank's 50th anniversary as a city touted Lockheed payroll having "nearly 1,200" by the end of 1936. The aircraft company's hiring contributed to what was a favorable employment environment at the time.
Moreland's truck plant was later used by the Lockheed's Vega Aircraft Corporation, which made what was widely known as "the explorer's aircraft."
Amelia Earhart flew one across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1936, Lockheed officially took over Vega Aircraft in Burbank.
During World War II, the entire area of Lockheed's Vega factory was camouflaged to fool an enemy reconnaissance effort. The factory was hidden beneath a complete suburb replete with rubber automobiles and peaceful rural neighborhood scenes painted on canvas.
 Hundreds of fake trees and shrubs were positioned to give the entire area a three-dimensional appearance. The fake trees and shrubs were created from chicken wire that had been treated with an adhesive and then covered with chicken feathers to provide a leafy texture. Air ducts disguised as fire hydrants made it possible for the Lockheed-Vega employees to continue working underneath the huge camouflage umbrella designed to conceal their factory.
Burbank's airport has undergone seven name changes since opening in 1930. It had five runways that radiated in varying directions, each 300 feet (91 m) wide and 2,600 feet (790 m) long. It remained United Airport until 1934, when it was renamed Union Air Terminal (1934–1940). Boeing built planes on the field. Lockheed Aircraft had its own nearby airfield. Lockheed bought the airport in 1940 and renamed it Lockheed Air Terminal, which it was known as until 1967, when it became Hollywood-Burbank Airport. In 1978, it was renamed Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport (1978–2003) after Lockheed sold it to the three California cities for $51 million. In December 2003, the facility was renamed
Bob Hope Airport in honor of the comedian who lived in nearby
Toluca Lake. In 2005, the city of Burbank and the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, which owns and operates the airport, reached a development agreement. The agreement forbids further airport expansion until 2009. Unlike most other regional airports in California, Burbank's airport sits on land that was specifically zoned for airport use.
The growth of companies such as Lockheed, and the burgeoning entertainment industry drew more people to the area, and Burbank's population doubled between 1930 and 1940 to 34,337. Burbank saw its greatest growth during
World War II due to
Lockheed's presence, employing some 80,800 men and women producing aircraft such as the
Lockheed P-38 Lightning,
Lockheed PV-1 Ventura,
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, and America's first
jet fighter, the
Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star.
 Lockheed later created the
SR-71 Blackbird and the
F-117 Nighthawk at its Burbank-based "
Skunk Works". The name came from a secret, ill-smelling backwoods distillery called "Skonk Works" in cartoonist
Li'l Abner comic strip.
Dozens of hamburger stands, restaurants and shops appeared around Lockheed to accommodate the employees. Some of the restaurants operated 24 hours a day. At one time, Lockheed paid utility rates representing 25% of the city's total utilities revenue, making Lockheed the city's cash cow. When Lockheed left, the economic loss was huge. At its height during
World War II, the Lockheed facility employed up to 98,000 people.
 Between the Lockheed and Vega plants, some 7,700,000 square feet (720,000 m2) of manufacturing space was located in Burbank at the peak in 1943. Burbank's growth did not slow as war production ceased, and over 7,000 new residents created a postwar real estate boom. Real estate values soared as housing tracts appeared in the Magnolia Park area of Burbank between 1945 and 1950.
World War II, homeless veterans lived in tent camps in Burbank, in Big Tujunga Canyon and at a decommissioned National Guard base in
Griffith Park. The government also set up trailer camps at Hollywood Way and Winona Avenue in Burbank and in nearby
Sun Valley. But new homes were built, the economy improved, and the military presence in Burbank continued to expand. Lockheed employees numbered 66,500 and expanded from aircraft to include spacecraft, missiles, electronics and shipbuilding.
Lockheed's presence in Burbank attracted dozens of firms making aircraft parts. One of them was
Weber Aircraft Corporation, an aircraft interior manufacturer situated adjacent to Lockheed at the edge of the airport. In 1988, Weber closed its Burbank manufacturing plant, which then employed 1,000 people. Weber produced seats, galleys, lavatories and other equipment for commercial and military aircraft. Weber had been in Burbank for 37 years.
By the mid-1970s, Hollywood-Burbank Airport handled 1.5 million passengers annually. Airlines serving Bob Hope Airport include
Delta Air Lines,
Southwest Airlines and
United Air Lines. As of August 2009 , Southwest represents two-thirds of the airport's operations.
 In 2005, JetBlue Airways began the first non-stop coast-to-coast service out of the airport. Avjet Corporation, a private jet service, operates out of several hangars on the south side of the airport. Surf Air operates six daily flights out of Burbank airport servicing Santa Barbara and San Carlos in the Silicon Valley. Atlantic Aviation, (formerly Mercury Air Center) also provides jet services for several prominent companies. In 1987, Burbank's airport became the first to require flight carriers to fly quieter "Stage 3" jets.
By 2010, Burbank's Bob Hope Airport had 4.5 million passengers annually. The airport also was a major facility for FedEx and UPS, with 96.2 million pounds of cargo that year.
 In early 2012, American Airlines announced it would cease flights in and out of Burbank. The decision followed American's parent company filing for bankruptcy protection in November 2011.
 American ranks well behind Southwest Airlines in terms of passenger traffic from Bob Hope Airport. For October 2011, Southwest flew roughly 233,000 passengers that month while American was just under 30,000 passengers. A 2012 study found Burbank ranks among the lowest in terms of tax burdens for travelers, according to a trade group for travel managers. GBTA Foundation found on average Burbank charges $22.74 per day for travelers compared with $40.31 for Chicago and $37.98 for New York.
An expansion of the airport facilities began in August 2012 when construction commenced on the Regional Intermodal Transportation Center (RITC) along Empire Avenue directly across from the Bob Hope Airport Train Station. RITC opened in June 2014
 RITC links the airport to other transportation systems, including regional bus lines, shuttles, as well as the Amtrak and Metrolink rail services, and includes an elevated covered moving walkway to the terminal building. An adjacent multi-story parking structure also is planned on the site. Additionally, the airport was given $3.5 million in Metrolink funds for a bridge that would cross south of the RITC facility on Empire Avenue to the rail platform used by Metrolink and Amtrak. The RITC's overall cost was reported at $112 million and includes consolidating rental car facilities of at least nine different rental car brands.
 RITC also will serve as a command center for emergency operations.
 Reversing recent passenger declines, the airport reported the number of passengers in the first seven months of 2015 rose 2.4% compared with the same period a year ago. That marked a turnaround from slow passenger trends experience since 2007.
 Meanwhile, There have been discussions in recent years by members of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority to rebrand the Bob Hope Airport to identify the location more with Hollywood and the Burbank area.
Prodded by the U.S.
Federal Aviation Administration, airport officials are looking to replace the aging terminal at Bob Hope Airport with something up to two-thirds bigger in size. The current terminal dates back to the 1930s and is deemed too close to the runways by current standards – roughly 250 feet (76 m) instead of the required 750 feet.
 The new terminal still requires Burbank voter approval but would have 14 gates and be roughly 355,000 square feet (33,000 m2) compared with the current one with 211,000 square feet (19,600 m2). The ballot measure is expected to put before voters in June 2015, and would take about six years to build.
motion picture business arrived in Burbank in the 1920s. In 1926,
First National Pictures bought a 78-acre (320,000 m2) site on Olive Avenue near Dark Canyon. The property included a 40-acre (160,000 m2) hog ranch and the original David Burbank house, both owned by rancher Stephen A. Martin. In 1928–29, First National was taken over by a company founded by the four
Columbia Pictures purchased property in Burbank as a ranch facility, used primarily for outdoor shooting.
Walt Disney's company, which had outgrown its Hollywood quarters, bought 51 acres (210,000 m2) in Burbank.
Disney's million-dollar studio, designed by
Kem Weber, was completed in 1939 on Buena Vista Street. Disney originally wanted to build "Mickey Mouse Park," as he first called it, next to the Burbank studio. But his aides finally convinced him that the space was too small, and there was opposition from the Burbank City Council. One council member told Disney: "We don't want the carny atmosphere in Burbank." Disney later built his successful
Burbank saw its first real civil strife as the culmination of a six-month
labor dispute between the
set decorator's union and the
studios resulted in the
Battle of Burbank on October 5, 1945.
By the 1960s and 1970s, more of the Hollywood entertainment industry was relocating to Burbank.
NBC moved its west coast headquarters to a new location at Olive and Alameda avenues. The Burbank studio was purchased in 1951, and NBC arrived in 1952 from its former location at Sunset and Vine in Hollywood. Although NBC promoted its Hollywood image for most of its West Coast telecasts (such as
Ed McMahon's introduction to
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: "from Hollywood"), comedians
Dan Rowan and
Dick Martin began mentioning "beautiful downtown Burbank" on
Laugh-in in the 1960s. By 1962, NBC's
multimillion-dollar, state-of-the-art complex was completed.
Warners, NBC, and Disney all ended up located very close to each other along the southern edge of Burbank (and not far from Universal City to the southwest), an area now known as the Media District,
 Media Center District or simply Media Center.
 In the early 1990s, Burbank imposed growth restrictions in the Media District.
 Since then, to house its growing workforce, Disney has focused on developing the site of the former
Grand Central Airport in the nearby city of Glendale. Only Disney's most senior executives and some film, television, and animation operations are still based at the main Disney studio lot in Burbank.
Rumors surfaced of NBC leaving Burbank after its parent company
General Electric Company acquired
Universal Studios and renamed the merged division
NBC Universal. Since the deal, NBC has been relocating key operations to the Universal property located in
Universal City. In 2007, NBC Universal management informed employees that the company planned to sell much of the Burbank complex. NBC Universal would relocate its television and cable operations to the Universal City complex.
Conan O'Brien took over hosting The Tonight Show from Carson's successor
Jay Leno in 2009, he hosted the show from Universal City. However, O'Brien's hosting role lasted only 7 months, and Leno, who launched a failed primetime 10pm show in fall 2009, was asked to resume his Tonight Show role after O'Brien controversially left NBC. The show returned to the NBC Burbank lot and had been expected to remain there until at least 2018.
 However, in April 2013 NBC confirmed plans for The Tonight Show to return to New York after 42 years in Burbank, with comic
Jimmy Fallon replacing Leno as host. The change became effective in February 2014.
The relocation plans changed following
Comcast Corp.'s $30 billion acquisition of NBC Universal in January 2011. NBC Universal announced in January 2012 it would relocate the NBC Network,
Telemundo's L.A. Bureau, as well as local stations
KVEA to the former Technicolor building located on the lower lot of Universal Studios in Universal City.
Meanwhile, Conan O'Brien is now based in Burbank, taping his new
TBS talk show,
Conan, from Stage 15 on the Warner lot.
 Stage 15, constructed in the late 1920s, is where classics such as
Calamity Jane (1953),
Blazing Saddles (1974),
Ghostbusters (1984) and
A Star Is Born were filmed.
In the early 1990s, Burbank tried unsuccessfully to lure
Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Columbia and
TriStar studios owner based in
Culver City, and
20th Century Fox, which had threatened to move from its West Los Angeles lot unless the city granted permission to upgrade its facility. Fox stayed after getting Los Angeles City approval on its $200 million expansion plan. In 1999, the city managed to gain
Cartoon Network Studios which took up residence in an old commercial bakery building located on North 3rd St. when it separated its production operations from
Warner Bros. Animation in
Sherman Oaks, CA.
Burbank has a rich cinematic history. Hundreds of major feature films have filmed in Burbank over the years, but perhaps none more famous than
Casablanca (1942), starring
 The movie began production a few months after the Japanese bombing of
Pearl Harbor. Due to World War II, location shooting was restricted and filming near airports was banned. As a result, Casablanca shot most of its major scenes on Stage 1 at the Warner Bros. Burbank Studios, including the film's famous airport scene. It featured a foggy Moroccan runway created on the stage where Bogart's character doesn't fly away with
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) was also filmed at the Warner Bros. Burbank Studios.
The Gary Cooper classic
High Noon (1952) shot on a western street at the
Warner Brothers "Ranch", then known as the Columbia Ranch.
 The ranch facility is situated less than a mile north of Warner's main lot in Burbank. The 1957 classic
3:10 to Yuma also filmed on the old Columbia Ranch, and much of the outdoor filming for the
Three Stooges took place at Columbia Ranch, including most of the chase scenes. In 1993, Warner Bros. bulldozed the historic Burbank-based sets used to film
High Noon and Lee Marvin's 1965 Oscar-winning Western comedy
Cat Ballou, as well as several other features and television shows.
Mel Brooks classic
Blazing Saddles gives viewer a brief glance behind the scenes as they literally break the
fourth wall onto an adjacent stage, and through the Warner Bros. commissary before spilling out of the main studio gates and onto Olive Avenue.
Other classic live-action films shot in Burbank include Disney's
Mary Poppins (1964), filmed on Sound Stage 2 at the Walt Disney Studios. Julie Andrews returned 37 years later to make Disney's
The Princess Diaries (2001). As a tribute to the actress, Disney renamed the sound stage "The Julie Andrews Stage" in 2001. In 2002, a fire broke out on the Disney's Burbank lot, damaging a sound stage where a set was under construction for Disney's feature film
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). No one was injured in the blaze.
Apollo 13 (1995) and
Coach Carter (2005), the producers shot scenes at Burbank's Safari Inn Motel.
True Romance (1993) also filmed on location at the motel.
Back to the Future (1985) shot extensively on the Universal Studios backlot but also filmed band audition scenes at the Burbank Community Center. San Fernando Blvd doubled for
San Diego in
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) while much of
Memento was shot in and around Burbank with scenes on Burbank Blvd, at the Blue Room (a local bar also featured in the 1994
Michael Mann feature
Heat), the tattoo parlor, as well as the character Natalie's home.
The city's mall,
Burbank Town Center, is a popular backdrop for shooting films, television series and commercials. Over the years, it was the site for scenes in
Bad News Bears (2005) to location shooting for
ER and even
 The ABC show
Desperate Housewives also was known to frequently use the Magnolia Park area for show scenes, along with the city's retail district along Riverside and adjacent to
Toluca Lake, California. Also, Universal Pictures
Larry Crowne shot exterior scenes outside Burbank's Kmart, the store doubled for 'U Mart',
 and in
The Hangover Part II (2011) about a breakfast scene at the IHOP restaurant across the street.
During 2010, Burbank experienced a surge in on-location commercial and TV production. The city's film permit official reported 32 permits were issued in December 2010 alone, up from 24 permits in the year-earlier period. Among the 2010 commercials filmed in the city were spots for
Taco Bell and
In 2012, an international filmmaking and acting academy opened its doors in Burbank. The school, the International Academy of Film and Television, traces its roots to the Philippines. The first class will include students from 30 countries.
Employees of the
digital cinema and television studios located in the area, live here.
Entertainment has generally replaced the
defense industry as the primary employer, who are attracted by the relative safety and security offered by its police and fire departments, schools and hospital. Other reasons cited are its small town feel while located 10 minutes away by
car to the
Intersection of Olive and San Fernando Blvd
Bob's Big Boy Restaurant in Burbank (est. 1949) is the oldest remaining
Bob's Big Boy in America, and in 1993 was designated a
California Point of Historical Interest. Located at 4211 Riverside Drive, it was designed by Wayne McAllister. The eatery features a soaring pylon sign, an open kitchen and big picture windows, all of which are elements of
Googie architecture. In 1992, the restaurant's new owner sought to raze the structure and replace it with an office building or shopping center, but the landmark designation made it legally more difficult to make significant changes
Located here are the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra, the
Los Angeles Equestrian Center, the
Starlight Bowl, the Downtown Burbank Mall, a "Burbank Village" shopping district, and
Warner Bros. Studio Is located here.
Burbank became the first American city in 1991 to pass an ordinance requiring new buildings to ensure adequate first responder communications.
Since then municipalities nationwide have copied Burbank's action. Burbank's ordinance allows for spot field-testing by police or fire department personnel. The ordinance required an in-building coverage system, adding expense but increasing safety for building occupants.
Burbank has taken the initiative in various anti-smoking ordinances. In late 2010, Burbank passed an ordinance prohibiting smoking in multi-family residences sharing ventilation systems. The rule went into effect in mid-2011. The new anti-smoking ordinance, which also prohibits smoking on private balconies and patios in multi-family residences, is considered the first of its kind in
California. Since 2007, Burbank has prohibited smoking at all city-owned properties, downtown Burbank, the Chandler Bikeway, and sidewalk and pedestrian areas.
The murder of Burbank police officer Matthew Pavelka in 2003 by a local gang known as the Vineland Boys sparked an intensive investigation in conjunction with several other cities and resulted in the arrest of a number of gang members and other citizens in and around Burbank. Among those arrested was Burbank councilwoman Stacey Murphy, implicated in trading guns in exchange for drugs.
 Pavelka was the first Burbank police officer to be fatally shot in the line of duty in the department's history, according to the California Police Association officials.
The city's namesake street, Burbank Boulevard, started getting a makeover in 2007. The city spent upwards of $10 million to put in palm trees and colorful flowers, a median, new lights, benches and bike racks.
Today, an estimated 100,000 people work in Burbank. The physical imprints of the city's aviation industry remain. In late 2001, the Burbank Empire Center opened with aviation as the theme. The center, built at a cost of $250 million by Zelman Development Company, sits on Empire Avenue, former site of Lockheed's top secret "Skunk Works", and other Lockheed properties. By 2003, many of the center's retailers and restaurants were among the top national performers in their franchise. The Burbank Empire Center comprises over 11% of Burbank's sales tax revenue, not including nearby Costco, a part of the Empire Center development.
Work started in summer 2015 to open a
Walmart Supercenter on the site of the former Great Indoors store.
 The project had been halted since 2011 due to lawsuits.
 Walmart officials have maintained the store should be opened and cited its economic benefits to the city. For example, Walmart has said Burbank residents are currently spending "close to $7 million" at Walmarts in other nearby communities, cheating Burbank out of sales tax revenue.
Burbank also is scheduled to get its first
Whole Foods Market near the former
NBC studio lot. The mixed-use development will include apartment units above the store.
 The project has faced controversy due to traffic concerns and street barriers in the adjacent neighborhood.