Charles Phoenix, Ontario-born and raised entertainer, uses his
immense collection of old photo slides to put on live stage picture
shows that offer hilarious and nostalgic trips back in time to the
Southern California of the 1950s and ’60s.
In addition to stage shows, Phoenix also has put his picture
collection to good use to create several books that are just as fun.
Here’s a look, culled from his website, www.charlesphoenix. com. The books are available at many Southland book shops, museum shops and gift shops, as well as from online booksellers.
The Charles Phoenix website, by the way, is a fun place to browse. You’ll find a “Slide of the Day” feature, plus
information on upcoming shows and tours, plus taped snippets of his many
appearances on TV with the likes of Conan O’Brien and Martha Stewart.
Americana the Beautiful:
Mid-Century Culture in Kodachrome
(Angel City Press, 2006)
Charles Phoenix writes: While feverishly putting together Americana the Beautiful: Mid-Century Culture in Kodachrome,
I was forced to ask myself the question: What is Americana anyway? Yes,
its baseball and apple pie but we all know there’s a lot more to it
than that! So I took a stab at trying to explain it in the book…
doesn’t discriminate between classic and kitsch, high-tech or homespun,
mass produced or one-of-a-kind, the authentic or make-believe. It draws
no borders between town and country. It embraces Mother Nature and
man-made, the future and the past. Americana is the essence of American
(Angel City Press, 2004)
More than 170 spectacular images in living color. The best of
Phoenix’s collection of other people’s old slides show off “the land of
plenty” as the locals saw it through the lenses of their cameras in the
1940s, ’50s and ’60s.
Enjoy the stories and images of the Luer Quality Meat Rocket, Jalopy
races, monorails, Disneyland’s House of the Future, and the starfish
entrance at Pacific Ocean Park. See the Vista Dunes Trailer Park in
Indio, The Covina Bowl, Compton Drive-in Theater, Shriner’s Arabian
Bazaar, fast food stands, Muscle Beach, Tiki parties, and Mayor Motor
City Used Car Lot. You’ll even go behind the scenes of Cecil B.
DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” and much, much more.
(Angel City Press, 2001)
The mood is up, prosperity rules, and the standard of living is
flying high. With spectacular vintage brochures, postcards, graphics and
incredible never before seen color photos, you’ll see and learn about
Southern California’s golden era.
Experience the car-crazy culture, suburbia, shopping centers,
drive-ins, town & country, and space-age style. Tour Hollywood,
exotic places, animal attractions, mountain, desert and seaside resorts,
fairs, festivals, pageants and parades. Visit Knott’s Berry Farm,
Santa’s Village, Marineland, Pacific Ocean Park and Disneyland when they
were brand new.
with co-author Fred E. Basten
(Angel City Press, 1999)
Never-seen before vintage color photos, rare memorabilia, the best of
the old postcards and brochures with inspiring graphics take you on an
action packed, fun-filled tour of the glamorous early days of Las Vegas.
Experience the sex appeal, neon lights and hit the jackpot. See the
casinos, swimming pools, chuckwagon buffets, dining rooms, and showrooms
of all the legendary resort-casinos on Fremont Street and Las Vegas
Strip when they were brand new. Catch performances by Judy Garland,
Louis Prima and Keely Smith, Elvis, Liberace, Frank Sinatra and the Rat
with co-author Fred E. Basten
(Island Heritage, 1999)
Travel back in time and see all the famous places in pre-jet age Hawaii, from after World War II until statehood in 1959.
With amazing colorful and lush vintage photos and memorabilia, you’ll
relive glamour filled trips to the Islands. Enjoy Hawaiian hospitality,
fun in the sun, shopping, tiki gods, eating places, entertainment and
luaus in the days when tourists arrived in style by steamship or 9 1/2
hour flight from the West Coast. $40.
(Horn of Plenty Press, 1999)
Now in its third printing!
With over 160 sites and 200 vintage photos, advertisements and
illustrations, Charles Phoenix takes you on a personal tour of his “home
Rediscover classic 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s modern and roadside
architecture, art, and attractions in the Southern California cities of
Pomona, Ontario, Claremont, and Rancho Cucamonga. Complete with maps,
this guide book shows you the way to the best of the Pomona Valley’s
landmarks, leftovers, and places that aren’t here anymore. $24.95
(Graphics Arts Center Publishing, 2002)
Inspired by Charles Phoenix’s popular live RETRO VACATION TOUR OF THE
USA slide show, this colorful book was created with Kodachrome slides
taken by tourists on vacations and road trips in the 1940s, 50s, and
Time travel by plane, train, ocean liner and automobile. See the
classic sights, hilarious scenes, and bizarre situations that inspired a
generation of camera totin’ tourists to snap and click their way across
town and country. Visit kitschy tourist attractions, classic roadside
attractions, big cities, America’s heartland, national parks, tropical
shores, and “long lost relatives” along the way.