CBS Fireworks Extravaganza 2008 - a Journey Through Time

Nearly 80 years ago, Mack Sennett moved his film studios from the Echo Park area to the wilderness of the San Fernando Valley .  As the area grew, Studio City became a four square mile district bounded by Ethel, Mullholland Drive, and Highway 101. 

Charlene Tilton and Kate Linder - Photo by Howard Wise, JPI


The studio went through several incarnations – Mascot Pictures, Republic Pictures, MTM Enterprises and finally CBS Radford Studios .  The history of the area was preformed by Colfax Elementary Summer Drama Camp with Kim Steury leading them. 

Mark Teschner and Barbara Niven - Photo by George Atoraya Simonov


10 years ago, CBS decided that, in rejoicing July 4th, it was time to offer public fireworks and so the annual event began.  Each year it has grown bigger and bigger, with more vendors and more fun for the kids.  This year, I was told, they had to cut their list at 5,000 people. 

Amy Hill, daughter Penelope, Lesli Kay and son Jackson - Photo by Howard Wise, JPI


There were three ways to join the festivities. General Admission was $20/adults and $10/kids; VIP Room tickets at $100/$50 offered an air conditioned relief, an ole-fashioned smokehouse BBQ and peach cobbler from International Events, interesting sculpture by Karl Johnson, along with musical entertainment by Julianna Raye and Jason Manns and lots of stars, many from your favorite daytime and night time shows. Some of those present to walk the red carpet were  J udi Evans, Brian George, Tom Hallick, Amy Hill, Vera Jimenez, Lesli Kay, Sal Landi, Brook Lee, Kate Linder, Josh Rubenstein, Kristoff St. John, Amber Stevens, Sweet P, Valerie Swift, Mark Teschner, Charlene Tilton, Hunter Tylo, Sean Whalen, Danny Woodburn, Steven Williams and John York.
 
The third venue for entrance was the platinum ticket. Costing $1000, this also included a personal studio tour by president Michael Klausman .   The later two provided a roof top view of the spectacular fireworks.

Steven Williams - Photo by Howard Wise, JPI


Outside of the VIP room, there were three other active stages – the main one in the center of the studio was where Bruce Neckels , event chairman, welcomed everyone, followed by Host Vera Jimenez and the Chantilly Sisters.   Later Josh Rubenstein introduced Escape (The Journey Tribute Band .)  Other performances were by the North Hollywood High School Students Zoo Magnet, Highly Gifted Magnet, and Music Department.

Hunter Tylo and family - Photo by Howard Wise, JPI


Staten Island stage had the Pirates Charles and Cody Sumpte r, and the Magic stage had Arian Black, Brandon Scott, and Elton Kelley from the Magic Castle .

Food was abundant and mostly provided by HOWS though many families brought their own picnic dinners. 

Brook Lee (Miss Universe) and son Fynnegan - Photo by Howard Wise, JPI


Kids Zone had jumpers, slides, and rides galore as well as tattoos and numerous picture ops with the Pirates of the Brethren Coast and other costumed characters.  Kids of all ages were participating and even some adults.  Music was provided by Jack FM radio (93.1)

Some of the vendors included the Huntington’s Disease Society of America,  which will have it's 3rd annual festival at CBS on Sept 20,2008,   Bridges  Academy f or Dysfunctional children with learning problems, Advantage Plus Agency – assisting seniors, Studio City Chamber of Commerce, The Salon, and The International Cruise Victims Association – supporting those injured at sea. (Surprisingly enough there are no rules or laws governing crimes at sea, collection of evidence or investigations.)

Valerie Swift - Photo by George Atoraya Simonov


Other vendors included Pegasus Home Heath Care, AHOIC – the greening of American homes; Michael Kotzen DPM, Hooplat – comedian entertained Casino Bus Trips supporting Sickle Cell Anemia; Autism, International, Pets and People Photography, Alternative Cancer Therapies, United Studios of Self Defense – with instruction for kids, young adults and women separately, Project Hollywood –sending current movies and books over to our troops overseas, Valley Pride with country Western dancing lessons and Gay Pride – celebrating the legal marriage of their founder. 

Paula Kupiec, Exec Dir Circle of Care and John York - Photo by Howard Wise, JPI


Of course all the movies went to charity and this year their charity of choice was Circle of Care , led by Executive Director Paula Kupiec , takes care of burn victims, survivors and their families from the Grossman Burn Center .   Another fund raiser will be held at Skateland this summer. 

Sweet P, Project Runway - Photo by Howard Wise, JPI



The culmination of the evening were the marvelous firework display and the accompanying music program " A Salute to Heroes."   Everyone enjoyed the evening and I am sure many will be coming back next year.

For more information about Studio city and next year's fireworks go to www.studiocitychamberofcommerce.com 
For more info about Circle of Care www.thecircleofcarefoundation.org

Other sites of interest  might be www.HDSA.org (Huntington's Disease)
Skateland's charity fundraisers www.skateland.net
Senior Care  www.advantageplusagency.com
Sicke Cell's Fundraiser www.hooplasUSA.com
Safety Tips and classes www.ussd.com
American Home Owners Info www.ahoic.com
Cruise Safety www.internationalcruisevictims.org

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