A big part of Burbank history was the presence of Lockheed as a major aerospace manufacturer. From before WWII and in to the 1980’s, the company had a large presence in Burbank. At its peak, in 1943, Lockheed employed around 94,000 people. Part of the property occupied by Lockheed is the current home of the Empire Center, a retail hub. The large signs locating that center have various airplanes gracing their tops. Younger people may not know why that theme for the signs came about. Consider it an acknowledgment of the Lockheed history.
The goal was to protect Lockheed from being located and attacked. The “bright idea” was to camouflage the facility so it would not be visible from the air and subject to attack. To accomplish this, set dressers, painters and artists from the local studios were hired to create coverings that would show a rural landscape of trees, fields, farm houses and other imagery.