32 thoughts on “About the author.

  1. You know back in the day when Bob’s Big Boy was the place to go, the place to cruise through, the smells, the boys, the fun. Across the street was a vacant field and I remember them having a circus there and watching them erect the tent and seeing the elephants work. And now it is part of a car dealership???? So sad. I remember getting my allowance on Saturday and practically running up to Woolworth’s to get $.10 in candy from the candy counter. And then a silly toy, and still have money for a soda at Curries on Victory. I could ride my bike anywhere I wanted to and not a worry in the world. But now, here in N. California (Lodi) I am scared to have my grandson even ride his bike. It’s like you are a moving target. Times have changed so much. I was lucky enough to grow up in a cool town, with cool parents that cared about me, I wish we could go back to such carefree childhoods.

    I love reading your stories, it really takes me back. Your great. Thank you.

    1. I feel exactly the same way, Sue.

      I went to high school in Van Nuys and worked in a doughnut shop called “California Doughnuts” which still exists although in a different locality and under a different ownership. And I had a co-worker from LODI !!

      We all miss that era when we grew up in the best place of the USA to grow up: The San Fernando Valley. I event avoided watching the film, “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” (filmed at Van Nuys High School 1982) because I feared it would be sad in some way. I was wrong. I watched it recently and its so realistic to what we lived through that it was a fabulous movie. The kids are just like the kids you and I once knew.

      Oct 01, 2015
      (San Francisco Bay Area)

  2. Hey Andy, just wondering why you don’t have a picture of yourself on YOUR WEBSITE? it certainly goes a long way in appreciating the photos you take of others! (aaaaah…..writers!) Of course, under my own e-mail I show a picture of Harley-one of dogs (lol)

      1. You’re a good man, Andy…and it’s nice to see someone recording pictures of the modern-day San Fernando Valley. i noticed you’re branching beyond Van Nuys to Burbank, Tolucca Lake, etc. I felt saddened for having never taken a picture of the #2 bob’s Big Boy on Van nuys Blvd.-now just another extension of a car dealership. In fact, right across the street, yet another recent expansion of a car dealership removed the original “Ontre Restaurant”-a cafeteria where you walked down a line and picked things along the walk for your meal. the building had remained until last year (2012) when it was removed and another 2-story car storage was added. but a bit further up the street-@ Killion-is one small token of landmark buildings. in 1928/’29, my real grandfather, james C. Lee had partnered with a movie actress (I think it was Norma Talmadge). Anyway, they bought that block and he developed it, building a number of Spanish-styled homes (probably your basic 1-bedroom/1-bath homes). Anyway, he finished them in August, 1929-so the story went. She got her money out and his profit was in, then, selling said homes. Along came Oct./nov. and he had $100,000 in cash in the stock market-controlling over a million in stocks. As his portfolio evaporated, and the margin call arrived, he lost it all. Within a year or two, he had lost the block on Killion St. He would later lose his business on the corner of Manchester and Western-a real estate office. He began a slow decline into the bottle. By the late 1930’s, heĀ  had lost their house on Wiltern, then another and then my grandmother. His last hurrah was a visit to hear my dad-his only son-forced to sing the song: “Daddy” written by anther family friend (Bobby Troup) on Catalina Island in August, 1941 @ the Carousel. On the trip over, he snuck ale on the ferry boat for all the guys in Jerry Wald’s band-for which dad played trumpet. After the show, they all crashed in a single bungalow behind the hotel. Grandpa’s life pretty much faded away after that. he did remarry to a sweet lady who supported him until his liver finally gave out in 1951. He left behind two daughters, a son and .19 cents on the mantle piece. Dad related how he had to borrow the $8,000 it cost to bury him at the old Forest Lawn in Glendale…but what a spot he got back then…as the song went: “Memories Are Made of these”…

        best wishes for the holiday season… Robert e Lee

      2. Thank you for your great story. It seems people back then actually built things, including neighborhoods, but invariably something tragic happened and they went into decline.
        Today, we only think big virtually, and seem to imagine we can float into eternity youthful and healthy.
        But we have the truth of human struggle to refute our own illusions.

        Thank you REL. Merry Xmas and Happy New Year and thank you for reading this blog.

  3. ALOHA!
    actually just stumbled across your blog and wanted to say great job!-
    just moved to Van Nuys From Burbank and am trying to check out whats going on around here- Im a television and Film editor trying to get connected to like minded people here in Van Nuys- just moved into the historical district near Hamlin-
    looking forward to learning and discovering more about my new city!

  4. Hello, I’m wondering if you have any information on what is going to be built on the location that the American Red Cross (14717 Sherman Way) was at that is now a land lot?

    1. Sandra-
      I am sorry. I have not heard of anything.
      Development of something residential doesn’t seem like it would happen in this fragile economy.


  5. Hi Andrew – Do you know what’s happening @ 14717 Sherman Way (site of the old Red Cross bldg)? They’ve finally demolished the old structure. Do you know who owns the land & what’s going up there?

  6. I was searching for info on the Van Nuys Choo Choo Restaurant and here I find someone else from Lincolnwood., Ill! I was born in Swedish Covenant Hospital and lived near a kiddieland park. Do you remember it or does anyone have any pics of it @ 1957-60? Such fun memories. Thank you!!

    1. Yes, Kiddieland was near Devon and McCormick, running along the North Shore Sanitary Canal. It was torn down in the early 1970s and replaced with (what else?) stores.

      1. Oh thank you so much for answering..sure wish someone had pics or old films…it would be great to jog my memory…I was very young.3 or 4.!

    2. Hello MM: I have some wonderful memories of the VN Choo Choo….

      Van Nuys Choo Choo
      Many baby boom kids celebrated birthdays at 6324 Van Nuys Boulevard, their burgers and milkshakes delivered on a miniature train. The restaurant closed in 1962, according to an auction notice in the L.A. Times.

      1. I worked as a Short Order Cook at the Van Nuys ChooChoo for over a year. Started in the summer months of 1956, through my Senior year at VNHS, when I graduated with the Winter ’57 class of “The Castillians”. After graduation I worked for the Thomas Organ company, then moved to Oregon in August of 1959.

  7. Hi!

    I have seen that you have choose one of my photos, the one which shows Lisbon. Thank you for your interest.

    L.A. must be a wonderful and amazing place.

    Take care

    Best regards from Spain,


  8. Hi Andrew: When I was a little girl my parents took me to a small resturant for my birthday. I think it was on Van Nuys Blvd & I think it was called The Choo Choo. It was small, had a U shaped counter with a railroad/train around the counter. The burgers were put on the train & sent to where you sat at the counter. Do you know anything about this place? Would love to know.
    My kindest regards, Jessica

    1. I worked there as a short order cook summer of mr Jr. T
      Year until after graduating with “The Castillians” Winter class of ’57. I moved to Oregon in the fall of ’59, & understand the owner, Denny, had problems and in 1962, the business was sold at auction .

  9. Andrew, I’m impressed about the quality of pictures of the website! I was trying to find some pictures of Van Nuys airport – it’s so beautiful in the dask – but could not find any. Have you ever shot the airport? Look forward to see if it comes to your mind.

  10. Same here. Nice work, keep it up. My family does have lots of pix from years gone by, and I’ll try and find some to post that might be interesting to a wider audience. I was born at Van Nuys Receiving Hospital, just off VN Blvd. near Hatteras (no longer there, I believe) and grew up a few blocks away on Tobias Ave. I remember as a little kid in the mid-’50s walking with Mom down to Serber’s Market on VN Blvd near the old train tracks (now a bus lane, I believe) and watching the Bethlehem Star Parade on the same boulevard. The House of Sight & Sound on Victory between Vesper and VN Blvd. was my favorite place in town — I picked up the KHJ Boss 30 song list every Friday afternoon on my walk home from grade school. Great times!

  11. I sent you a message, but it didn’t go through I think. Congrats on the awesome site Mr. Editor! I lived in Lincoln Square about 5 minutes from Lincolnwood. I was also born in Van Nuys at the Valley Presbyterian Hospital!
    Great to hear from you and keep up the awesome work!

  12. Hi Andrew!
    wow – very impressive. I just moved from Lincoln Square – about 3 minutes from Lincolnwood! This site looks like a full time project. What’s funny is I was born in Van Nuys at the Valley Presbyterian hospital I think it is called. Keep ’em coming Mr. Editor!

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