If you’re just jumping aboard The Wienermobile, please exit through the rear and check out Part 1 of my adventure with Susan Olsen,a.k.a. Cindy Brady, and Charles Phoenix, without which Part 2 lacks context. Wagging the tail without the (hot) dog as it were.
Now, assuming you’ve fully digested part 1, join us aboard the Wienermobile as we head east from the Brady Bunch house…
…to another iconic wiener in the neighborhood, Larry’s.
The Wienermobile ate up quite a lot of real estate in this four- table parking lot eatery.
So we turned the vehicular wiener towards another vintage hot dog-related gem a few blocks away:
Isn’t this where you would go if you were a hot dog?
We knew Chili John’s has very early hours but we jumped out anyway, praying the chili palace still might be open:
If you haven’t been to this place, spit out your food and head there now. It’s as authentic as the day it was born in 1941:
The counter is (perfectly and beautifully) makes up the entire restaurant.
You can see the handpainted mural that runs the length of the restaurant better in this shot with Charles:
Up close it’s apparent that the artist, Mr. Chili John himself, captured each and every crevice of the exploding Vesuvius terrain as possible. Perhaps this was to illustrate the constant lava-like flow of chili that runs through his namesake establishment daily.
While we were there, there was an incredible photo opp for The Wienermobile:
With hot dogs and chili under our belts, it was time to move on to burgers. Very few food symbols are as iconic as The Wienermobile, but surely the Big Boy at Bob’s a few blocks away on Riverside has an equal place on the mountaintop.
The sheer magnitude of these two sculptural icons together was overwhelming for kitsch lovers such as ourselves.
So we took lots of photos:
But, alas, the sun was starting to set and there was one place we knew we had to hit while The Wienermobile was still under our control:
The Circus Liquor neon clown, on Burbank Blvd. just west of Chili John’s, has been in countless movies and tv shows, not to mention I’ve dropped coin in there every time I need a bottle of anything, just so I can visit the clown.
The height of the Wienermobile was an INSANELY perfect fit. If only the clown were permanently mounted on top of it.
With the evening approaching fast we headed back to Willis Wonderland,…
…already upset that our Wienermobile afternoon would soon be but a memory, albeit one grilled into our braincells forever.
When we dislodged from The Wienermobile we got some parting gifts:
Some Wienermobile whistles, some of which were glow-in-the-dark, a plush toy Wienermobile, as well as this larger plastic one:
It was like we had all been dropped out of a time capsule. I’m someone who likes to have a good time but once I’m done with an activity I gotta clear the house and get back to work. But it was as if we all knew that when we separated we would somehow have to settle back into reality, hopefully just little bitty pieces at a time, that’s how strong the magnetic pull of the Wienermobile was for all of us. So was only natural we sat down to a hot dog dinner to extend the wiener coma we were all in.
The dogs were cooked, as I said in part 1, on my newly acquired 1958 golf ball barbecue:
It was comforting to have such statuary in the yard, softening the blow of the departed Wienermobile as it disappeared into the night.
Thank you, Hot Doggers Traci and Yoli. You drove the Wienermobile like it was a delicate little Smart Car and put up with three drooling adults for longer than anyone deserves to be in ecstasy.
And thank you, Mark Blackwell, for documenting the trip, and I mean Trip.
Susan, Charles and myself are forever grateful to have such a childhood and adult dream fulfilled, especially one that provided such insanely magnificent photo opps.
And we are grateful for the joy of celebrating a junk food that was a building block of nutrition throughout most of our lifetimes. Truth be told, although it has killed me, the foolishness of subsisting exclusively on such foodstuffs is starting to be rectified in my old age. But even Martha Stewart enjoys munching on a good wiener every now and then.
The Wienermobile experience was pretty heavy.
But alas, all things must end.
We love you, Wienermobile. Until we meet again…
Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Post-Christmas “I Can’t Believe I Ate The Whole Thing” Iron-On Patch
After six, count them six, Christmas parties/dinners, I combed through my collection to find this patch in case I needed to iron it on over any rips in clothing that might have occurred from ingesting the aforementioned full turkey meals. Somehow the sting of weight gain is outweighed by fashion statements such as these for me.
Introduced as the Alka Seltzer slogan in 1972, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” became one of the most popular colloquialisms of its day. Glorified here as an iron-on embroidered fake fur patch, including a rip-off Rolling Stones tongue, this proclamation appeared everywhere from t-shirts to comedy sketches throughout the early 70’s. The slogan roared back briefly in 2005 when Alka Seltzer trotted out Peter Boyle in his “Everyone Loves Raymond” Frank Barone character to moan and groan about post food fest inhalations.
Made by Rayberg Supply Co. of San Carlos, CA., the ‘Pik a Pocket’ fashion accessory didn’t go near any of my jeans back in the day as, just like today, I always knew I ate the whole thing and allowed for it in the size of my clothes.
I’ve only waited a lifetime for a ride in the famed Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and last Wednesday, December 14, my dream came true!! Susan Olsen, a.k.a. Cindy Brady, the youngest of the B. Bunch, Charles Phoenix, Mark Blackwell and I hopped aboard and rode the wiener to some of our favorite kitsch spots in the San Fernando Valley. When one is onboard such a vehicle, photo opps are not to be missed!
It’s hard to look bad in a photo with The Wienermobile. So there’s going to be A LOT of them in this post, probably enough to serialize the adventure so check back later in the week or beginning of next for more. With that in mind I’ll start slowly, like how we all color-coordinated to look as fabulous against the backdrop of the transportational hot dog as possible. I threw my outfit together last minute but was happy with my choices, picking up all the essential colors of hot dogs, mustard, relish and mayo.
Here’s a closer look at my vintage Legionnaires shirt, made from that kind of expensive 1950’s satin that feels like you’re going down a cashmere slide:
I know there’s no Oscar Mayer at KFC but it was the closest thematically of any shoulder bag I had. My T-shirt was much more on the nose…
… as were my shoes:
The first thing I did once I was dressed was to roast some wienies. It gave me a perfect excuse to test out my recently acquired 1958 golfball barbecue:
I cooked up sixteen dogs so we could stuff ourselves throughout the day. Here’s the first one, literally, on the grill:
First to arrive at Willis Wonderland for our big wiener ride was Mark, who documented us throughout the wiener day:
Next was Susan, appropriately dressed in wiener red:
And then Charles arrived, dressed in a dead-ringer Wienermobile matching suit and carrying a banner bearing our favorite brand’s namesake.
This also doubled as a fashionable cape.
It’s obvious we all passed the color test:
We took many such proof-of-concept photos:
There are so many obvious ways one wants to pose against such a stunning background:
When the Wienermobile first pulled up I wept with joy. I had forever envisioned it in my driveway. Alas, the wiener was too plump to actually fit so it rested nicely in front until we boarded.
Before stepping into the vehicular hot dog we ran inside for a quick wiener ingestion:
They don’t actually serve food in the Wienermobile so we brought the leftovers with us. But we were so excited to finally board the hot dog we had all been dreaming about since we were born that we forgot and left them on top of my car:
Our Hotdoggers, college interns who serve a full year driving the wiener wondermobile, were Yoli Bologna and Tailgatin’ Traci:
You could literally hear an audible gasp from each of us as we entered the Wienermobile for the first time.
It’s got six seats, a mustard floor,…
… an appropriate floor mat…
… and a sky roof.
The seats were LITERALLY the most comfy car seat any of us had ever sat in. Plush yet solid, with armrests that made you feel like you were waiting in a highchair for a jar of hot dog baby food. We didn’t stop yapping about them the entire afternoon.
We especially loved the embroidered Wienermobile on the back of each seat.
None of us could figure out if the hot dogs on the dash had any purpose other than an as an exceptional decorative touch.
We thought we only had a half hour in the Wienermobile so we headed to Ventura Blvd., the street where we thought there’d be the most foot traffic so we could wave to the masses like beauty queens on a float. Charles mentioned that the real Brady Bunch house, the one used for the exterior shot that pops up in every episode, was probably only blocks away. Not only did I have no idea it was in the hood but Susan – an actual Brady – said she had never even seen it herself! How could this be??! Cindy-I-mean-Susan explained that as a wee star she couldn’t compute that a house that was clearly two stories…
…was in reality only one.
So the Wienermobile, a deceptibly agile vehicle, whipped a U-ie and headed east toward Dillon St. As the top of the A-frame house poked into sight we started going nuts.
And we SO weren’t the only ones. There were already some sightseers there, dying that not only were they at the Brady house but now the Wienermobile had entered the picture AND a real Brady emerged out of it! Only God could have put a blessed tourist here at this moment.
Needless to say, we took a lot of photos.
With Susan’s 35 year identity crisis rectified, our Hotdoggers, Yoli and Tracy, told us we could drive around for as long as we wanted.
Elated, we immediately discussed iconic snack food related establishments in the immediate area to best frame us and the Wienermobile. First we headed to a hot dog,:
followed by some chili,…
… a hamburger,…
…and a little something to wash it all down with.
But, alas… I have Christmas shopping to do, three song deadlines to hit, an outline overdue for my new live show, a contract to read, a cat scratcher turntable to assemble, a portrait commission to paint, a bunch of publishing crap to get together, not to mention that I’m supposed to be on vacation in sunny Monterey. So Part 2 of our Wienermobile adventures will appear in a few days.
Until then, eat lots of hot dogs as you kick off the holiday season!
Proceed to Part 2
So as I was saying yesterday, this last weekend at Willis Wonderland we aKitschionados from The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch saw the light of Fluff!
For a quick recap if you were too lazy to click on that link, many of us are converging on Somerville, MA. September 24th to attend the fifth annual Fluff Festival to celebrate the marshmallow food topping in the city it was invented in. aKitschionado Rusty suggested that we first convene at Willis Wonderland in LA, the physical arm of AWMOK.com, and spend a day cooking with Fluff. Bear in mind that many of the aKitschionados in attendance had never met before and only knew each other by commenting on the kitsch they’d submitted to AWMOK. So everything served had to be a real icebreaker. As such, the first course was Fluff inspired sandwiches…:
… accompanied by Goldfish in sea foam dip vegetables:
All of which was washed down with Flufftinis…:
…an original recipe by aKitschionado iamfluff, a.k.a. Susan Olsen, a.k.a. Cindy Brady of the Bunch:
Extra points were earned for color-coordinated food, dishware and clothing:
Even more points racked up for color-coordinated lamps and other sugary Fluff alternatives:
aKitschionado Mark Blackwell scored even more bonus points for coordinating his jellybean tribute to The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch with the aforementioned lamp and M&Ms.
I hope anyone reading this appreciates the importance of color-coordinated meals and accoutrements. If there’s any question at all about the importance of food and furnishings color-coordination, please refer here.
The main course was delicious and nutritious Fluffernutter cake. I know this photo’s blurry but so was my vision after the day’s 21-gun sugar salute.
If you think that cake is gooey, let me tell you that as the party hostess who had to clean up – actually I didn’t clean up at all as the aKitschionados are a very conscious and esthetically tidy breed – there were vestiges of Fluff everywhere. Like on Mark’s pants:
Slightly less lava-flowish-of-Fluff were the fried S’Mores made by akitschionado Snappy P.
Technically, there’s no Fluff in this recipe but as its fraternal twin, marshmallows, are a key ingredient the Willis Wonderland stove did not discriminate.
Many aKitschionados came bearing gifts. Doug Wood, for example, brought me a lovely kitsch-filled basket:.
One of the gifts was a practical Hostess Twinkie holder:
Many aKitschionados were jealous of my acquisition:
Just as important as protecting your Twinkies is protecting your Pringles. Thank you, aKitschionado Windupkitty, for the lovely Pringles protective case.
By the way, a practical party hint: name tags are essential. Even if your guests know each other for a hundred years it gives them an opportunity to express what they’re feeling in name, which acts as much of an icebreaker at a party as food no one has eaten since they were 11 years old.
It also saves the host or hostess time in making introductions.
As I said, the bulk of the day’s festivities centered around cooking and eating. But aKitschionados were free to wander around Willis Wonderland to enjoy the artifacts they’ve been seeing in my posts since I first launched AWMOK.com in 2009. Many of them also enjoyed the fine reading materials scattered around.
That book deserves a close up:
In fact, my whole Soul kitsch collection deserves a close-up. Here’s but a few of the shelves of it:
I think Fluff is a soulful food. It recalls one’s childhood and brings feelings of peace to the mind if not the blood vessels, as aKitschionado John Zenone experiences here:
Off in my recording studio, I was showing some of the aKitschionados some more of my Soul kitsch collection:
You might want to see the front of that picture frame:
As much as I covet my James Brown autograph, I covet this bit of Soul kitsch almost as much, Sammy Davis Jr’s last stash of marijuana:
Slightly easier to see than the cannabis in that last photo are the edges of the round circle rugs that cover the floor in my recording studio. They’re there to protect the plastic that’s actually the floor surface that scratches as soon as you breathe on it. Here’s what the floor looks like in real life:
Despite signs posted all over begging aKitschionados to carefully step on the rugs, several of them found it necessary to defy their leader’s command. Bad girl, kookykitsch!
And Meshuggah Mel!
Although it was close to 100° and muggy, we also spent time outside. That’s where my over 200 pieces of bamboo dinnerware are.
And for anyone who missed the sugar inside, there was plenty of cotton candy floating in the pool.
Food that floats is something every party chef should consider when throwing summer parties.
So all in all, a good and Fluffy time was had by all! Come back again soon, aKitschionados. See you all in Somerville in “September” one way or the other.
Photos: Allee Willis, Prudence Fenton, Mark Blackwell, Rusty Blasenhoff, Ken Dashner.
I wore my fringe vest for years. It was gold suede, just like the cheesy-haired couples’ on the bottom of this McCall’s pattern, though mine didn’t have the little turquoise beads. I think the sound of them knocking together would have driven me insane. I wore that that vest religiously from about 1970 to 73 but it got so pit stained I finally had to retire it. Suede does not take kindly to pit stains. I know I still have it sitting in a box somewhere. It was too much a part of my formative years to part with forever.
Speaking of pit stains, I’m not wearing my fringe suede vest in this 1971 photo, when such a garment frequented my body, but I certainly am exhibiting pit stains:
I had just graduated college and got a job in the advertising apartment of Columbia and Epic Records. Although I would soon go on to become a copywriter, writing ads and commercials for all of the female and black stars on the labels, and eventually recording an album there myself, here I am as a secretary getting Johnny Cash to approve some copy my boss had written to promote his upcoming album. I remember being so upset about the pit stains when I finally got my photo developed, but it makes me love it more now.
I can’t seem to find any photos of me in my fringe vest. But here’s one taken not long after the Cash photo where I’m wearing another vest that displays the art of macramé, another massive trend in 60’s and 70’s fashion. This was the first and last vest I ever made. You can tell by the difference in the size of the holes that something that demanded this much precision was not my forte.
But back to fringe vests. I’ve never seen anyone wear one better than Peter Carpenter, writer, producer and star of one of my all-time favorite bad movies, “Point Of Terror”. Just look at him work the fringe in the opening titles of his 1971 masterpiece.
Should I ever have the urge to wear a Fringe vest again I can always pull out my McCall’s pattern and pray I have better luck and skills then I exhibited with macramé. I’ve definitely learned how to control the pit stains.
Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – My Saturday Drive/Food Fest With Charles Phoenix – Torrance and Inglewood, CA.
As we are oft to do, Charles Phoenix and I took another one of our kitsch spins around LA and environs this past weekend. We were dressed smartly for the occassion, at least from the ankles down:
Our first stop was at Johnnies Pastrami on Sepulveda Blvd. in Culver City:
Johnnies hasn’t changed a lick since it was built in 1952. Counter, stools, booths, jukebox, etc. are all original.
This was confirmed by the man himself, Bob Bass, who built and still owns Johnnies, and who has eaten lunch at his regular table every day since.
I’ve always loved restaurants that park a loaded pickle bowl before you as soon as you sit down.
Charles and I pondered the menu.
But I always go for the same thing, the 1950’s-grilled-to-soda-shop-perfection cheeseburger:
The french fries snap when you sink your choppers into them.
The cole slaw, eternally shredded a tad long, drips with creamy sweetness.
Charles and I were perfectly positioned behind the pie rack.
And although we stared at the bulging slices throughout the meal…
…we had to save room as we always make a donut shop stop on our driving trips.
Circus donuts are good…
…but I much prefer Spudnuts. Which makes sense as judging from the drink station, I think lottery tickets may be bigger business for Circus than donuts.
Next we went deeper into Torrance and hit King’s Hawaiian Bakery on Sepulveda. King’s is not only spectacular for the entrance to the dining room…
… but because of what we go there to buy.
Here I am experiencing a moment of panic upon seeing empty shelves.
You would be too if you knew this was what was inside of the packages we were looking for.
Thankfully, we got the last six loafs of the Rainbow Butter Bread.
All day long we passed beautiful architecture:
I wish all Baskin Robbins still looked like this one on Crenshaw Blvd.:
Nothing great architecturally about this IHOP but it’s spectacular that a horse is used to sell pancakes.
Though I guess it makes as much sense as a bear selling wheel alignments:
There was much beautiful signage along the way.
Although not as dramatic as the previous photos, I always enjoy a sign that employs peculiar use of quote marks:
If “On The” are the two most important words you can spotlight about your burgers, I’m sticking to Johnnie’s. Also featuring two words is the name of this Thai joint:
What a great day! Dinner, thankfully, wasn’t until 10:30 pm.
Photo credits: Denny McLain and me.
As much as I look forward to rolling out of bed every morning and choosing a fresh, new and wonderful artifact of kitsch to present, today is an absolutely torturous day in terms of what I have to accomplish. First of all, I’m driving back to LA from Monterey. It’s supposed to rain like cats and very large dogs most of the way back so I have to get an early start. Also, I have to write tons of the kind of stuff I hate to write because I’ve got to unleash a whole Facebook campaign on a death-defying event I’m attempting to pull off in 2 1/2 weeks in Detroit when I conduct my high school band in the theater I grew up in playing a medley of my greatest hits before a performance of my musical, The Color Purple, with the cast singing along. This should sound like a manageable event, but just imagine the sound of a marching band playing in the four-story high/almost block long lobby of a theater built in 1930 of solid concrete and marble, the acoustical nightmare of which has just dawned on me: What’s the point of having a sing-along if all you can hear is a bevy of brass drilling through your your eardrums?
And how do I conduct an orchestra facing one direction at the same time as a sing-along, which demands me turning the other way to conduct the crowd? These are the kind of mindnumbing challenges that someone like me, who gets an idea and charges ahead, forgets to deal with until it’s too late to examine the sanity of attempting to do such a thing in the first place. So I rely upon my ability to create good enough art and somehow combine it with everything else that inevitably reels off the railroad tracks, tipping over and spilling down the hillside into a vat of how-the-hell-am-I-going-to-pull-this-off-let-alone-raise-the-money-I-need-to-raise-to buy-the-marching-band-new-uniforms to understand that all of this makes for fantastic kitsch and I just have to roll with it.
Also today, my good friend and hysterical comedy person, Maxine Lapiduss, releases a song/video of a song I co-wrote called “Scared About Life without Oprah”, produced by Wendy and Lisa and featuring Jane Lynch. Of course, Maxine expects me, as any artist or co-writer would, to promote it on Facebook. So not only do I have one most important event to promote I have a song to push as well. So the immediate task is to to sit here on the 101 when it’s not my turn to drive and figure out some way I don’t nauseate myself by unleashing a couple weeks of vigorous begging and pleading to take note of all that is wonderful in Allee world without pissing people off I’m hawking so much. To some folks the shameless task of self-promotion comes naturally. To me, it’s razor blades in my eyeballs unless I can think of an entertaining way to do it.
All this to say I apologize for not posting fresh kitsch today but I will be back tomorrow with bran’ spanking new wonderfulness from the shelves at The Allee Willis Of Kitsch at AWMOK.com (shamelss plug #3). Please send all creative vibes my way today! And pretty please go here and support the cause: https://www.alleewillis.com/mumfordinvite. And if on Facebook please join here to follow the precarious journey to new band uniforms for the funkiest high school band on the planet: https://www.facebook.com/AlleeWillisMarchesOnDetroit
Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Kitschtastic East LA and My Saturday Ride with Charles Phoenix
As many of you know, one of my favorite things in the world to do is to take rides with my BFF, Charles Phoenix, and go to places in and around LA that most people don’t know about unless they live in that part of the city. One of my absolute favorite things about LA is that there are so many different sections of the city. But the shame is that so few people who live here venture east of downtown. Charles and I, on the contrary, always venture east and, trust me, it never disappoints. If you’re heading south on the 101, make sure you drive farther than this building (and not just to get off to go the Music Center, Disney Hall, or MOCA).
In our particular case, our drive occurred in Charles’ brand new Dodge Challenger. New as in just hours old and now we were taking it on it’s virgin voyage. The new car smell added to the adventure.
One of the great things about having a friend who you share such keen interests with, coupled with the fact you’re both considered authorities of sorts on the topic – incredible vintage and/or kitsch architecture, signage, cars and the like – is that you can be fascinated almost anywhere you go. Charles and I only had a couple of hours so we headed for a quickie run down Whittier Blvd. Seriously, unless you’re blind, elitist or have absolutely zero kitschEsthetic genes in your body, Whittier Blvd. is breathtaking. So here’s our ride in the order it occurred…
We overshot our exit on the 101 so got off at Seventh St. and wormed our way back to Whittier Blvd. Which was fine as we wouldn’t wanted to have missed this spectacular hot dog roof:
Always special is this dinosaur and soda cup diorama, neither object of which has anything to do with the business underneath.
We always take First St. to get to Whittier Blvd. as one of our favorite houses in the city is there. But I’m dismayed to report that the vines have been plucked on the formerly eye-boggling ‘grapes house’ which used to look like this…
… but sadly now looks like this:
Don’t start me…
Thank God, further down the street some old movie theaters with original neon still survive.
It took all our strength not to stop and see what the Valentine’s Day decorations looked like inside Unique Dollar but we had limited time so kept driving.
I absolutely love store names like this:
Here we are at Whittier Boulevard. As soon as you turn onto the street you know you’re in for an excellent time warp experience.
Perhaps you should have the great 60’s guitar anthem, “Whittier Blvd.” by Thee Midnighters, on as a soundtrack while you tour the street with us. Press the following if so:
Charles and I were starving before we even left the house. We almost stopped here at the ‘they-don’t-resemble-Shaq-and-Kobe-other-than-they’re-big’ Bionicos food truck:
But luckily, Charles knew a “great Mexican restaurant full of pigs” just down the street.
The photorealistic food on all the windows was beautiful but all the rest of my window shots had too much glare to post.
Porky’s was definitely filled with pigs.
The menu was thrilling and pig filled too…
… though neither one of us ordered any of that particular animal.
I was especially impressed that the salad Porky’s served Charles consisted solely of radishes and lemons. I say save time in the kitschen and leave it at that.
When we left we would’ve stopped at the dress shop next door…
…but we were too excited to get across the street and go here:
There’s lots of excellent merchandise like this inside Whittier Crafts:
There’s also an abundance of carefully crafted and spelled signage:
Speaking of signage, there’s vintage overload in this part of LA:
There’s also incredible architectural detail like this 1950’s cement block facade…
… and this excellent 1960’s tile motif which I wish you could see closer than this photo I took. It’s like an explosion of vintage flooring but on a building.
Whittier Blvd. is definitely known for the automobiles that cruise it.
These were all within a two block radius of each other:
I wonder where the people who rented this limo were going?
I’m going to guess A. Torres Tuxedos as starting at :34 that’s where all the action took place when this classic car parade was shot.
Just a few blocks from A. Torres is this 1930s tamale shaped building. It used to be a Mexican restaurant.
You can see how the tamale ends twist at the sides of the building:
Whittier Boulevard has quite a few incredible old Deco buildings like this:
At the other architectural end, I love when business facades don’t quite live up to their names.
But even more, I like when a business is named one thing on one sign and something else on the other.
And even more than that I like when a store’s displays have nothing to do with what their awning says they sell.
Although this isn’t on Whittier Blvd. we passed it when we headed back to the freeway. In a city where spectacularly detailed murals abound, this is the one that makes our kitsch hearts sing:
Maybe you can appreciate it more if you see it closer:
Although we usually like to stay out past dark to catch all the neon, both Charles and I had places to go Saturday night so we headed back early. Although I wish I could end with the penultimate kitsch shot, there’s absolutely nothing kitschy about this one other than the brains of the occupants.
With 3D all the rage today many people forget that the first ubiquitous mass consumer experience with the technology was with View-Masters. Introduced in 1962, one could view seven 3D images as they spun around on a paper disc creating lifelike reality inside the mouse hole of two eyepieces. The earliest View-Masters featured popular tourist attractions like this one of Miami Beach, where I first started buying these.
When I was young my parents drove to Miami Beach from Detroit twice a year.
We stayed at the Carlyle Hotel.
I bought every Viewmaster reel of Miami Beach I could find because the Deco architecture drove me so batty. When I had my first hit record I immediately bought a house that reminded me of Miami Beach.
A frequent visitor to my house is Charles Phoenix, one of my best friends and Kitschmaster General of vintage slide shows and books featuring insanely on-the-nose location and human examples of living wheels of brie. The last time he came over, Charles gave me a lesson in how to bake one of his signature Cherpumples, a cake with three pies stuffed inside of it. As soon as I get done editing the footage we shot I will post our instructional film.
Something like the Cherpumple with M&Ms bubbling out of the pepto -bismolian-pink frosting and utensils at rest would make an excellent 3D photo if only we had the right camera.
Yesterday, I went downtown with Prudence Fenton, Nancye Ferguson and Jim Burns and saw Charles’ first ever all 3D retro slide show.
We learned a lot about how 3-D photography and View-Masters came into being.
We saw a lot of families in the 50’s learning how to not only use their View-Masters but make their own 3D reels.
Of course, you won’t be able to see anything clearly because you don’t have your 3-D glasses on. As opposed to this slide from Charles’ show featuring an attractive threesome with a very clear view of the LA freeway when it was built in 1960 standing less than 10 feet away next to oncoming traffic.
I hope to have a clear view of the week ahead of me although it could go either way. I could feel like an outsider…
… or I could choose to see the world in super enhanced, bigger than life 3D.
Thank you, Charles for an excellent afternoon and thank you View-Master for putting 3-D in the palm of our hands.