Monday, October 17, 2016


Are you a Southern California native, or maybe a newcomer exploring our cultural history? Is retro your thing? Does the word vintage make your heart sing? Do you remember Disneyland when there were E-tickets for popular rides, when apartment houses were designed like Hawaiian villages, and when ranch houses with backyard barbecues summed up the American dream?

And, do you need a good laugh? Charles Phoenix is your zany author of choice. This showman of kitsch, who dresses in thrift store duds, was raised in Ontario the son of a used car salesman and found his niche when he started presenting hilarious slide shows and writing books about our recent past. His colorful tomes, fun to page through before returning to the beginning for a good read, can be found at the Monrovia Library.

In Southern California in the ‘50’s : Sun, Fun and Fantasy Phoenix highlights the nostalgia for the good life—dining in theme restaurants, driving convertibles, visiting tourist attractions and swimming in sparkling pools. He uses vintage photos, classic menus, and starburst graphics to show California as an optimistic promised land. 

Long before digital photography there was Kodachrome, the Kodak film of choice for color photos. Charles Phoenix shows off spectacular prints in Southern Californialand : Mid-Century in Kodachrome. Exuberant photos of favorite local venues, from shopping centers to resorts, in the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's capture the past. Americana the Beautiful also displays fabulous '50's photos, but this time of the whole nation. 

Enjoy these vibrant coffee table books that will make you smile all the way down memory lane.

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