Charles Phoenix in Claremont!


Pop culture entertainer Charles Phoenix showed slides of midcentury bowling alleys, car washes, tiki apartments, ranch houses, dairies, donut shops, laundries and coffee shops Sunday in an event organized by Claremont Heritage. An L.A. resident who grew up in Ontario, he had slides from all around Southern California, with loads from the Inland Valley.

Local sites mentioned were Griswold’s, Betsy Ross, La Paloma, Tugboat Annie’s (“the best restaurant in Claremont,” he quipped), the Folk Music Center, the Chaffey High tiger, the Fair’s monorail and Fine Arts Building, the downtown Pomona mall, Scripps College’s Garrison Theater, the Bowlium (“science fiction style with a little Fred Flintstone thrown in”), Tate Cadillac, White Front, Valley Drive-In, Magic Lamp Inn (“I don’t know who built it, but they were pretty drunk when they did”), Santa’s Village, Northwoods Inn, and the Colby Kai and The Claremont apartments in Claremont.

Above, Phoenix discusses the unusual design of the old Hot Dog Show stand in Ontario. “I want to ask the owner, did you ever step back and see what your designer gave you? It looks like a rather large person wearing red and white tights is squatting over your stand! That makes those halo’d, floating hot dogs especially unappetizing.”

He did have a serious message, of sorts, about the surviving examples of the above and why we ought to save them: “Don’t you guys think people in the future might want to see it?” Indeed.

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