03-07-2006 - Danny Hinzo '57 - Hollywood Sign and Graphic Artist
Danny Hinzo '57
A True Leuzinger Olympian
Danny lived with his parents and his brothers and sisters at 442 E 134th Street in Hawthorne for 18 years.
Danny started out singing with friend Kenny Loranger '57. They called themselves 'The Jamaica Jerks'. They eventually became a five man group. They performed at an assembly for an upcoming senior play. Kenny was asked to write a song by the drama teacher. He did just that!
A neighbor by the name of Bill Peppers heard them sing, and approached them to do a record. Bill changed the group's name to 'Kenny Loran & The Laurels'. Challenge Records cut their first recording... 'Lonely Boy' and a B-side titled 'Change of Love'. Both were written by Kenny. They went on to record three more records and an album for Capitol Records.
The group was hired as back up singers for Gene Vincent & The Blue Caps in one of his albums called 'Crazy Times'. Gene Vincent is best remembered for his recording 'Be Bop A Lu La'.
The manager for Kenny Loran & The Laurels died of a heart attack. The group disbanded in 1959. Mr Peppers rented the Red Wagon , and started a program on KFWB called 'Hawthorne Night of Stars' with headliners Fats Domino, Sam Cooke, and The Crickets.
In 1960, Danny married and had a daughter. He worked at Douglas Aircraft. Along came Johnny Wells... one of the former singers with Kenny Loran who had continued in music. Danny ended up being a drummer for a trio called 'The Quiet 3'. Danny was with Johnny for 3 1/2 years playing at The PM Club in Hawthorne off of Prarie Avenue on Rosecrans. It was owned by another Leuzinger alumni Bob Wadman. It was at this time that Harold Hinzo officially changed his name from Harold to Danny. 'Danny' was his middle name... but now was known as 'Danny Hinzo'.
Danny played in different bands, but decided to hang up his drumsticks at the age of 32. He opened up a sign and graphics shop called Crystal Graphics in old Torrance with his brother-in-law Jim Robertson and sister Gloria. The Holiday Inn on Hawthorne and Torrance Boulevards was its main clientele. They were in business for 3 1/2 years.
Afterwards, Danny worked for 'Coast Signs & Graphics' in Hermosa Beach for the next 8 years. They were contracted for The 1984 Olympics Veladrome track, and created side signs for the bicycle races at Domingus College. Danny personally did the work.
While working for Coast Signs & Graphics, Danny's brother Billy brought him an advertisement from Paramount Pictures. They were looking for an all around sign painter. Danny applied for the position, and Bob Walker of Paramount hired him. Danny has been in the business for 23 years. He still runs The Signs and Graphics Dept. Some of his film credits include... 'The Untouchables' starring Kevin Costner, 'Harlem Nights' starring Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor, 'The Doors' starring Val Kilmer, 'True Crimes' starring Clint Eastwood, 'Man On The Moon' and 'The Majestic' starring Jim Carrey, 'Forever Young' starring Mel Gibson, 'Daddy Day Care' starring Eddie Murphy, 'The Odd Couple Two' starring Walter Mattheau and Jack Lemmon, and 'Twilight' starring Gene Hackman, Paul Newman, and Susan Sarandon.
Television shows that Danny is credited with are 'The Father Dowling Mysteries', 'Jake and The Fat Man', 'Beverly Hills 90210', 'Magnum P.I., 'All In The Family', and 'Murder She Wrote' as a sign writer. Danny has worked for Universal Studios, MGM Studios, Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, Coumbia Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and Stephen Cannell Productions. He is currently employed in his 3rd year for Paramount's NCIS: Naval Crime Investigation Services starring Mark Harmon. The show has a viewership of over 50 million.
In 1984, Danny painted 'The Slab' mural located on the backside of Leuzinger's Band Room. He was with The Booster Club at the time. His step-daughter Lisa Hinzo was a Leuzinger High School student and Olympian Cheerleader. In 2005, Danny created Leuzinger High School's 75th Anniversary Banner which is proudly displayed in Leuzinger's cafeteria.
Danny's biggest life influence and inspiration outside of his mom was his 5th grade teacher Miss Peterson of Washington Grammer School. Miss Peterson was an incredible teacher, and did much for his family. Danny is a fantastic freehand artist. He also does photography and plays many musical instruments and writes songs. He hates to be called 'talented'. He is a very humble person.
KUDOS to Harold 'Danny' Hinzo '57 for chasing his dreams, and turning them into reality!
(Article written by Joyce Blakemore - Class of '53)