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BTTF# 25: Irv Robbins (from Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors) Ice Cream Cone Shaped Pool in Encino

Irv Robbins in left image courtesy NY Times, Original Robbins Snowbirds Ice Cream in top right image courtesy Amoeblog, and 31 logo in bottom right image courtesy BR
Welcome aboard the Delorean! 

Marty McFly here to take you on a special journey to explore the former home of Irvine "Irv" Robbins' (from Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors) ice cream cone shaped pool located at 17116 Adlon Road Encino.  The Delorean has the required plutonium plus some random garbage in the Mr. Fusion reactor ready for this trip. The time circuits are set to sometime in the 70's (actual date for the construction of the pool unknown) and the flux capacitor is......fluxxing. The engine is running (not stalled this time) so we need to hurry. Hang on, as the ride can be a little bumpy as we travel back in time.

Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors was created in 1953 with the merger of brother-in-laws, Burton "Burt" Baskin and Robbins' ice cream shops.  Baskin started Burton's Ice Cream Shop in 1945 in Pasadena while Robbins' Snowbird Ice Cream opened in 1946 in Glendale which offered 21 flavors. After the merger, the new company adopted the 31 Flavors concept as well as the formerly recognized 31 logo and brown and pink color themes. By the mid 1960s, Baskin-Robbins had grown to 400 stores throughout the US and became international in the 1970s with stores in Japan, Saudi Arabia, Korea, and Australia. The company was sold by its founders in 1967 to United Brands for $12 million (the equivalent of $85 million in 2014). Today, the company boasts 7,300 locations worldwide with 4,800 internationally in 50 different countries which claims to be the largest chain of ice cream specialty stores. 

Burt Baskin passed away of a heart attack at the age of 54 on December 24, 1967 in his Studio City home and unfortunately wasnt able to see the company expand. However, Robbins continued to work for the company for 11 more years and retired in 1978. Robbins passed away at the age of 90 on May 5, 2008 at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, CA. 

Now back to the pool, Robbins was known for owning an ice cream shaped pool that I have struggled to find. I even went so far as to contact Robbins' grandson, Ocean, who had no clue because it was before his time.  But thanks to the Rich Krugel and the good folks at the West SFV Then and Now Facebook group, that mystery has now been solved. Unfortunately, there are no historic pictures available that I could find. Ocean did mention that the Robbins' family and home was featured in a 90's National Enquirer article but no luck finding that so far. 

A 1976 People magazine article gives a small glimpse into the life of Robbins and his love for all things ice cream: 
Irvine Robbins wakes up at 7 a.m. and swims 20 laps in his ice-cream-cone-shaped pool in Encino, Calif. He does 15 minutes of calisthenics that includes 31 sit-ups. "I was heading toward 40," he explains. "But the hell with it. Thirty-one's a good number." 
Thirty-one isn't exactly a random number for Robbins. He is the man behind Baskin-Robbins ice cream and its 31 flavors, a company he founded 31 years ago. His devotion to the product is stupendous. Sometimes after his morning exercises, he eats cornflakes with banana ice cream on top. Then he drives to work in a beige Mercedes with "31-BR" license plates. As chairman of the board, he will see his company expand this Bicentennial year to a total of 1,776 Baskin-Robbins stores in the U.S., Canada, Japan and Belgium. 
The ice cream cone shaped pool can be found at 17116 Aldon Road in Encino (this address was confirmed by a March 12, 1968 Van Nuys News article). The home measures 3 Beds/6 Baths on 4,230 sqft on a total lot size of 0.40 acres built in 1964. The online property records dont go back that far but I believe Robbins purchased this home brand new and had the pool built by well known pool designer Ken Bourguignon who had also designed pools for Wilt Chamberlein, Hugh Hefner, and John Derek (based on an LA Times article). I am not sure when Robbins sold and for what price but this home is currently owned by Barry and Heidi Goldberg who purchased on December 14, 1983 for $435,000 which may have been purchased from Robbins but that is speculation so dont quote me. 

Image courtesy Bing Maps
Image courtesy Google Maps
The good news here is that the pool still remains and was never demolished which I had initally feared. This pool adds to the SFV's list of unique pools including the Liberace Piano shaped pool in Sherman Oaks, the Elvis impersonator heart shaped pool in Northridge, Eric Davis (baseball) #44 pool in Woodland Hills, and the Barry Minkow "Z" pool in Woodland Hills. 

You can view more SFV BTTF and history here


Irv Robbins - Wikipedia

Burt Baskin - Wikipedia

Baskin-Robbins - Wikipedia

Ice Cream, You Scream, They All Scream For....and Irv Robbins Is the Man with 430 Flavors by S.J. Diamond on March 8, 1976,  People Magazine 

Irvine Robbins, 90; co-founder of the Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Empire by Valerie J. Nelson on May 7, 2008, Los Angeles Times

Irvine Robbins, Ice Cream Entrepreneur and a Maestro of 31 Flavors, Dies at 90 by Dennis Hevesi on May 7, 2008, New York Times

Baskin Robbins Corporate Website (History page)

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Marty Mcfly

Anything and everything about the San Fernando Valley. This blog will take you back in time when the valley was covered with dirt and orange groves to a leader in the space race to its current status as America's suburb. Come along and join me on this adventure, I guarantee you have been influenced/impacted by the San Fernando Valley in one form or another even if you have never visited or heard of the SFV.

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