Charles Phoenix’s Slide of the Week: Trailer in Flames, Southern California, 1956

Trailer in Flames
Trailer in Flames, Southern California, 1956

A canned ham trailer goes out in a blaze of glory. It’s quite a show! Unfortunately there aren’t more people around to see it. The whipped cream colored 1954 Ford patrol car, just sits there. The red light on the roof is like a maraschino cherry on top of a delicious hot fudge sundae.

Speaking of trailers last Saturday I had an Americana experience of the highest order. I went to the annual Vintage-Vacations Trailer Show and open house at Newport Dunes. The display was quite simply heaven on earth. Yes, I often wept inwardly (and occasionally outwardly) as I stuck my fat head into what seemed to be an endless display Airstreams, Silver Streaks and Shastas. There were other brands too. They lined up one after another.

My Southern California pride rose to record levels when I discovered that many of the trailers were labeled logos that often had the name of the town were manufactured in, such as Whittier, El Monte, Glendora, Van Nuys, Lynwood, San Fernando, and Upland. I had no idea that so many trailer were made here.

Beyond the charm of the shiny, shapely exteriors, inside the trailers are a study of warm and friendly honey blond wood paneling and oh-so smart space planning. The junior-scale stoves and refrigerators were, well for lack of a better word, adorable. Some trailers even had bathrooms. I thought all trailers had bathrooms!

To call these trailer-people generous would be an understatement. And to call them trailer- trash would not only be socially unacceptable it would be a lie. Passing for trailer to trailer I was generously offered everything from martinis to marshmallows and sushi to shish kabobs. And I said yes, thank you to everything! Well, looking at vintage trailers can make one very hungry and thirsty.

At nightfall it was time for my Vintage Trailer Slide Show. This was the opening slide.

Here’s to vintage trailers, the trailer in flames and you!

Charles Phoenix

P.S. The final “Disneyland” Tour of Downtown Los Angeles this weekend is SOLD OUT.

P.S.S. for more on vintage trailers please visit

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