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. The picture above is LB at the 1986 Phonograph Birthday Party.

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

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

A. Thomas A. Edison invented both.


For ten years Lawrence and I played poker on Tuesday night and ate the gourmet squeeze burgers and Cheetos; made many trips to the Black Rock Desert, and in general 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 our Black Rock Desert Golf Classic it should be a remembered footnote that the original trophy for that golf tournament featured a mounted Crackerjack's box on a pedestal making it an additional Six Degrees of Separation memorial to LB via his second Crackerjacks connection with 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)