Join the Culver City Historical Society’s At Its Founder’s Day Picnic

Join the Culver City Historical Society’s At Its Founder’s Day PicnicThe Culver City Historical Society invites its members and the community to its first annual Founder’s Day Picnic celebrating the 98th anniversary of the incorporation of Culver City, Sunday, September 20, 2015, from 12noon to 3 pm at the picnic area in Veterans Park, 4117 Overland Avenue in Culver City.

Bring your hearty appetites because a delicious lunch catered by Santa Maria BBQ will offer tender tri-tips, plump juicy chickens, tasty chili beans, potato salad, green salad, garlic bread, soft drinks and a surprise dessert.

Formerly known as our annual “Picnic in the Park,” picnic-goers will be serenaded by Steve Lage. A 50/50 raffle will be held and there will fun for the entire family.

The price for everything is $30 per person for Historical Society Members; $35 for non-members; $10 for children 4-10 years old. Please RSVP by September 17. Checks should be sent to the Culver City Historical Society, P.O. Box 3428, Culver City, CA 90231-3428. Please include the names of all guests. Tickets will be held at the picnic site.

The Archives and Resource Center (ARC) will be open after lunch, and visitors will be able to view displays and exhibits of local history.

For additional information, or to purchase tickets online, go to

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Searching History: Digital Newspapers

Alex King, a noted researcher/genealogist, led one of our “Conversation” series in the Archives and Resource Center - Culver City Historical SocietyOn Sunday, July 5, Society member Alex King, a noted researcher/genealogist, led one of our “Conversation” series in the Archives and Resource Center. Alex showcased resources like the University of California, Riverside digital library, from which he shared 1800’s era articles that offer insight into La Ballona School’s operation in 1875, and political meetings hosted by Jose de la Luz Machado.

Following are several links he suggested for online archives of digital newspaper images. Some are free, others have a fee to see the images. All are searchable.

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The Story of Johnnie’s Pastrami

Johnnie’s Pastrami, a well-known eatery in Culver City for more than 60 years - Culver City Historical Society

The Culver City Historical Society invites you to hear the story of Johnnie’s Pastrami on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, at 7 p.m. in the Rotunda Room in the Veterans Memorial Building at 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City.

Do you remember where you were in 1952? The favorite TV program was “The Jackie Gleason Show,” the favorite song was “All of Me” by Johnnie Ray, and on the corner of Washington and Sepulveda there was a not so famous restaurant called Johnnie’s that would later become Johnnie’s Pastrami! Today that restaurant is a Culver City icon. People come from near and far to eat at this establishment.

Who is Johnnie? Did they have a reason to pick this spot? Why are those pickles are so tasty? Do you remember sitting outside with the fire pits eating or playing the juke box from your favorite booth? These questions and more will be answered through a PowerPoint presentation and discussion of this well-known eatery. Door prizes be given and there will be a 50-50 raffle. The public is invited to enjoy this program. Bring a friend and your stories to share with the families of Johnnie’s Pastrami. Free parking is available in the lots surrounding the Veterans Memorial Building and across the street at the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum, at 4130 Overland Avenue and in the lot north of this facility.

The Archives and Resource Center will be open for viewing after the program.

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A Great Loss… Our Sol and Martha Sigall

Sol and Martha SigallMartha Sigall passed away in December 2014, preceded by her Sol.

Martha Sigall, an energetic longtime Culver City resident began her career in animation in 1936 as an apprentice painter with Leon Schlesinger Productions, which was located at Warner Bros. on Sunset Boulevard. She took part in the development of characters like Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd and Tweety. Martha went from “journeyman painter” to “inker,” tracing cartoon characters. From 1943 to the end of WWII, she worked at Graphic Films as a camera assistant on U.S. Navy training films. She met Sol in 1944.

At the end of the war, they married and Martha worked locally at MGM in the Cartoon Unit on Overland Avenue, while Sol attended UCLA on the G.I. Bill. Martha continued inking cartoons like “Tom and Jerry” for Hanna-Barbera. Martha and Sol moved to Culver City in 1949 and Martha took a “hiatus” to raise their babies, then arranged to freelance from home while the boys were young. Bob and Lee attended Culver City Schools.

Living Life inside the Lines: Tales from the Golden Age of AnimationMartha’s lifetime commitment to “the industry” included serving with Sol as docents in their retirement at Warner Bros. Martha received the prestigious “Annie Award” in 2004. She wrote her book, Living Life Inside the Lines: Tales From The Golden Age of Animation, and of course the Sigalls gave freely as Culver City Historical Society members, serving as co-chairs most recently of the Museum/Archives. Martha loved children, so contributing to the Farragut Elementary School Art Program was a joy for her. She and Sol spent days working to identify hundreds of movie photos for the society using production numbers. We know we were very lucky to enjoy Martha and Sol and benefit from their generosity. To remember Sol and Martha, we have the Sigalls’ Comcast interview scheduled to air in the Society Archives on Sunday, May 3, 2015 at 1:30 PM.

See some videos of Martha talking about her animation career on our YouTube channel.

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Spring 2015 President’s Message

Dear Members,

Happy Spring! Your Historical Society volunteers have been making great use of the “cold” months. Sharon Shore and Mo de Koff have completed the gargantuan task of digitally cataloguing the collection’s costumes. One of Harry Culver’s grandsons, Chris Wilde, was a guest speaker at our January 18 open Sunday. We had a great crowd, who laughed at Chris’ stories and enjoyed the memorabilia he brought to share.

A few volunteers took up my call for help in the last newsletter issue and have been retyping articles from past newsletters, so that we continue to build our own history on our website. (Thanks to master typists Joan Jakubowski and Adrienne Bernardin! There’s still more to do, so email me if you would like to join the fun from the luxury of your home computer!) By the way, have you checked out the website recently? I think you should! We just completed a thorough section on our marked historic sites (including Google maps, so that you can find them), and moved the online store as part of our site.

I called the first meeting of a Centennial subcommittee to explore the ways we can, as the Historical Society, participate in this once-in-a-lifetime, year-long celebration. Many great ideas were brought up and there’s room for more. If you have any thoughts for events or projects that would be appropriate for us, please email me (

Please note that the Archives will be closed on Easter Sunday, April 5, and will be open again on Sunday, April 19. Chris Wilde’s talk was only the beginning – check out the calendar on the back page for our next open Sunday guest speaker!

Thank you for your support of YOUR Historical Society! As you just read with Martha and Sol Sigall, and for countless others, it makes a difference!

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