SAN FERNANDO VALLEY (CBSLA.com) — A Valley man is making it his mission to preserve the history of a sometimes maligned community.
CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Serene Branson met up with Tommy Gelinas, a purveyor of all things Valley.
He has spent years collecting Valley treasures, artifacts, memorabilia — all with the plan of someday opening a museum — Valley Relics.
His latest treasure? Henry’s Tacos iconic sign. Says Gelinas pointing at the sign, “This is huge for the museum. I’m blessed to get it.”
The former owner asked Gelinas if he wanted the sign. “I said absolutely.” A sign that was obscured behind the large sign revealed tacos, 50 years ago, sold for about $.35. And he got that sign as well.
You name it, Gelinas has it in his collection. Menus, vintage milk bottles — school yearbooks that date back to the early 1920s.
He has a large collection of movie stuff and things owned by actors and performers who lived or worked in the Valley.
Belt buckles are one particular collectible and he displays them proudly. “These were given to me by John Wayne and Roy Rogers and Steve McQueen.”
Branson described a tour of his warehouse as a trip back in time. “I’m an avid collector, eBay, yard sales, rare book stores, online, anywhere I can find it.”
By trade, Gelinas owns a successful shirt screening business, the Print Lab in North Hollywood.
Did the collecting start as a hobby?, Branson asked. “It’s more than a hobby. It’s my obsession. It’s more than that. It’s my heritage, it’s my history.”
He’s hoping that others will share in his Valley passion. Although the exact location of the museum is yet to be determined, the San Fernando Valley Museum will open in North Hollywood in May.
And did you know, that North Hollywood used to be known as Lankershim?