Lawrence Brown

A Friend of the Phonograph




In Memory of Lawrence Brown, November 22, 2006

By Doug Boilesen

Lawrence (LB) Brown was an member of the Berkeley/Oakland/Emeryville, California branch of Friends of the Phonograph. In the history of the annual phonograph Friends of the Phonograph birthday parties, this was the most creative group of friends I ever had. LB was a charter member of that society and I don't remember a phonograph party on Fremont Street that he ever missed.

Phonograph Birthday Party, 1986


Birthday "presents" were often given at the Phonograph Birthday to honor its legacy and my favorite birthday present from Lawrence was a Crackerjack prize he placed under a small plastic cover glued onto a ceramic tile. The Crackerjack prize was a "Magic Window." By placing the Magic Window (blue plastic) over the special text, the "Answer" was revealed:

Q. "Who invented motion pictures? Who invented the phonograph?"

A. Thomas A. Edison invented both.


For ten years Lawrence and I played poker games together on Tuesday night, ate our squeeze burgers and Cheetos, made many trips to the Black Rock Desert, and shared many other good times. He had his moods and his eccentricities like all of us but he was a good friend and his unique sense of humor made him an unforgettable member of Friends of the Phonograph.

For history buffs of the Black Rock Desert Golf Classic it should be a footnote that the original trophy for that golf tournament featured a Crackerjack's box - an additional Six Degrees of Separation memorial to LB via a second Crackerjacks connection and Friends of the Phonograph.


Phonograph Birthday Party, 1989


LB studying The History of the World (and a little law), Black Rock Desert, 1990 (Photo courtesy of Douglas Keister, Black Rock Portraits on the Playa)