Film looks at ‘A Life On Santa Catalina Island’

Pictured above are Al Bombard and his son Doug Bombard. Photo courtesy of Catalina Island Museum

The personal stories of Catalina Island residents and visitors are intertwined with its unique history. One gentleman in particular, Doug Bombard, has been involved in nearly all aspects of island life. The Catalina Island Museum invites you to join in the celebration of Bombard’s 92nd birthday with a screening of a new documentary, “Doug Bombard: A Life on Santa Catalina Island,” created by Story Bank Productions. The event, Desserts with Doug, will take place at the Catalina Island Museum on Friday, Feb. 23 at 6 pm.

The film explores over 90 years of Catalina’s rich history through the eyes of Bombard, who grew up exploring the island, built numerous businesses, and raised a family at Two Harbors. His recollections – overlaid with historical photographs and accompanied by his wife, Audrey, and his sons, Tim and Greg – bring the past to life with detail and heart.

From the building of the original Miss Catalina boats to diving for coins in Avalon to developing the Isthmus, Bombard’s experiences are iconic to the story of Catalina and to the shaping of the island community as we know it today. One of the topics covered in the film is Bombard’s involvement in the establishment of Two Harbors and the surrounding coves.

It was his vision that built the island’s west end into a bustling summer vacation spot, with its beach side bar, general store, and numerous moorings along the coast.

Bombard describes how, during the heyday of Hollywood’s presence on Catalina, movie stars would ask him to take them to Cherry Cove, Emerald Bay and other secluded spots. His wife and children also describe what it was like to grow up in Two Harbors, attributing their own successes in business with the Catalina Express to their early days learning to pilot boats around Isthmus Harbor.

The documentary was filmed and produced by Bill Banning and Alison Armstrong of Story Bank Productions. Their studio is located in Santa Monica. Bill Banning is a descendant of the Banning family that owned Catalina Island/Santa Catalina Island Company before it was purchased by the William Wrigley Jr. and he is passionate about sharing the island’s fascinating history.

Desserts with Doug will take place on Friday, Feb. 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. The museum will re-open for this event at 6 p.m. and the film screening will begin at 6:30 p.m. This event is free for members of the museum and $10 for non-members. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Coffee and desserts from Catalina Coffee and Cookie Company will be served. Seating is limited and is first-come, first choice. Tickets may be purchased in person at the museum, online, or by phone at 310-510-2414. Visit for more information.


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