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A searchable Blockbuster digital archive to come soon

By Bruce Auld
News Review Correspondent

I have often applauded the pioneer China Lake community leaders for choosing the Kern High School District over a proposed local inexperienced and untested unified district. Already a highly effectively and relatively wealthy district, the Kern High School District had the resources that allowed Burroughs to “hit the ground running,” not only in the required areas of instruction, but also providing a wide range of electives for student and community enjoyment.

Likely drama started on day one. In the late forties and early fifties, each class performed a play competing against one-another. The performances were judged, with often the most experienced senior class winning the competition. By the early 1950’s these plays were performed in the newly constructed state of the art cafetorium, boasting professional lighting, sound, curtains and hardwood stage. It has been rumored that Hollywood star Connie Stevens participated in one of the plays while visiting with China Lake pioneer sisters Barbara (Mussler) Etoch and Nancy (Mussler) Hoyem. This rumor has not been confirmed.

Another elective class, the El Burro, Burrough’s yearbook was first published in 1946 with Doris Pearson Dye as editor. Pat Farris, long-time editor of the News Review was the 1947 El Burro editor. Burrough’s monthly newspaper, the Blockbuster, was well established by 1946. Doris (Temple) Ferguson, the 1967 Blockbuster editor, thought the newspaper’s name came from a heavy WWII British ordnance capable of destroying an entire city block. Also not confirmed.

I frequently use the China Lake Rocketeer searchable digital archive in developing profiles of notable Burroughs graduates. I recently proposed to Susie Burgess that I spend the coming hot summer days digitizing each page of the existing collection. Susie is the Blockbuster advisor and custodian of the voluminous hardcopy collection. Susie graduated from Burroughs in 1986 and was the Blockbuster editor her senior year. I am now in possession of Burroughs collection and looking for more.

When complete, future Blockbuster journalists and future Burroughs historians will have an efficient and effective research tool accessible from anywhere in the world. The current collection represents 1970 up to current editions. I have a few editions from the mid 1960s. Missing are the late 1940s 1950s and early 1960s editions. Anyone willing to loan their collection can contact me at or (760) 793-0830. Likewise, I have no experience in digitizing newspapers, but I would like to get this right from the start. Anyone who has already made every mistake possible in this regard can reach me at the contacts, above.

I graduated from Burroughs in 1966. I couldn’t remember who was the Blockbuster editor that year. I looked it up in my 1966 El Burro and found that Janis Little and Linda Brown were co-editors and I was also reminded that I was a member of the Blockbuster staff in the fall of 1965. Likely, not as a writer. More likely as the “Go-for,” as I had a car.

The 2022 Blockbuster co-editors were Annika Houck and Simrin Khara.