Charles Phoenix’s Slide of the Week: Party Store Rentals, Van Nuys, 1960

Party Store Rentals
Party Store Rentals, Van Nuys, 1960

Clotheslines and power lines pattern an overcast sky. A trio of gents poses with a ferocious lion, fortune teller, blue-eyed clown and barefoot monkey. They are in the backyard of a classic Van Nuys track home. One of the men, I don’t know which one, owns a party store on Van Nuys Blvd. He rents these standees out. Each is a precious one-of-a-kind work of art as you can see.

Monday night I had a friend’s birthday party to go to. So I went to the local mom-and-pop hardware store. Hardware stores are full of useful things just waiting to be given as gifts. I grabbed an empty paint bucket to be the “gift box” then went right to the aisle where all the colored light bulbs are. Perfect! Six colored light bulbs seal up in the gallon can perfectly. But I still needed a big bow or something dramatic to finish it off.

For the first time ever I went to Party City. I never go to party stores.

Among the staggering selection of party goods and favors I found something that inspired my imagination- the balloon bar.

Not four minutes later my feet were barely touching the ground as I sauntered to the cash register with a dozen old-fashioned helium filled balloons in hand -each one a different color. My spirit soared! I felt like a happy clown or a balloon vendor at a carnival, or both.

Cleverly I tied the balloons to the handle of the silver paint bucket and my gift was ready to be given. I included a card on which I wrote – “You light up my life – Happy Birthday!” The colored light bulbs in the paint bucket finished with balloons were a big hit!

Since then I’ve been back to the party store several times for more. I’m bringing balloon bouquets to everyone no matter what the occasion is. And I suggest you do to! They make people happy. And they’re such a deal too! -they cost a measly $5.89 a dozen – about the same price as a dozen do-nuts or half the price of a box of candy! And balloons have no calories!

Charles Phoenix

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