1955 was a big year for show business. Sullivan premiered. Chuck Berry released Maybelline. Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden were making movie history. It was even the year Disneyland opened. But if it was a significant year for entertainment, it was an even more important year for Eddie Bockser. Because that is the year Eddie landed his first job at Warner Bros., something he had dreamed about his entire young life.
Eddie’s love affair with Warner Bros. began some twenty years earlier, when, as a boy of 7, his mother took him to the cinema. It was a night showing, and Eddie had never been to the theater at night. It was all very exciting. On the screen – Errol Flynn leading The Charge of the Light Brigade. Well, that was all it took. “I was fascinated.” Eddie recalls with boyish excitement. “Immediately Errol became my hero. And from then on I associated that heroism with the shield logo, which is Warner Bros., I mean it just got me.”
The East Bronx wasn’t exactly the kind of place that nurtured one’s dreams, but Eddie’s passion for show business, and particularly Warner Bros., grew nonetheless. Eddie continues, “I started to be aware of Warner Bros. pictures –of people like Edward G. Robinson, Ann Sheridan, Bogie, and Betty Grable. And it just perpetuated itself in my mind. I always knew that there had to be someplace better than where I was.”
In 1954, he decided to find out for himself. So Eddie and a friend got a ’46 Pontiac and drove across the country. It took a year, but Eddie finally landed a job at his beloved Warner Bros.
“I started in the mailing department. I worked in the electrical department, the grip department, the cost department, accounting, estimating. I was all over this place. So believe me, I know how this place works.”
Today, Eddie is still at Warner Bros., for the last 11 years a dedicated docent at the Warner Bros. Museum and perhaps the studio’s greatest raconteur.
“Meeting Errol Flynn, that was a big one. I told him he was my hero, that seeing his movie changed my life. Mr. Flynn laughed, but then, I couldn’t believe it; he invited me to his dressing room to toast our new friendship. We proceeded to spend a delightful afternoon talking and getting to know one another. I tell you, I could’ve fallen right through the floor.”
Amazingly, Eddie is also one of First Entertainment’s charter members, the 66th person to join. “To this day, if I need a loan, I don’t even bother to look anywhere else. First Entertainment always has better rates. Better than the car dealers, better than the banks. It’s a great bonus if you’re a working stiff like me.” First Entertainment is proud to have Eddie Bockser as a member. Though he spends his days talking about Hollywood history, he also happens to be a big part of it himself.
“And you know,” he says, “even at the age of 77, I still have it inside me – the excitement of coming on the lot, the fun of sharing all this with people and spreading the news about Warner Bros. I look forward to it every day. It makes me realize how lucky I was that my mom took me to the movies that night.”
We feel the same way, Eddie. And we hope each of you reading this will have the chance to stop by Warners Bros.’ fascinating museum and say hello. You’ll be shaking hands with one of the people who made this town, and your credit union, what it is today.
For more information about the Warner Bros. VIP Tour and Museum, call 818.972.TOUR or visit www.wbstudiotour.com