Charles Phoenix’s Slide of the Week: Prescription Wiglets, West Covina, CA, 1967
The optimistic, billboard scale signage marking a prescription drug counter is an unexpected backdrop of a wig bar in a big box discount retail store. A beautiful, bewigletted wigtender (if those aren’t words they are now!) stands by ready for the lovely ladies who may wander by the wigbar and want to try one on for size. Behind her, a big pastel-buttoned cash register divides a sloppy selection of the styles of the day displayed under plastic and uncombed on skin-tone wig heads stenciled with blue eye shadowed blank stares and pale pink lips. Piled beside her across the counter divide are “100% human hair ’moderate’ wiglets” just waiting to be styled, crowned and bobby pinned high atop the head of every hair hopper in town. The wiglets are bargain priced at .88. I’m not sure “moderate” refers to the price, size or quality.
Wiglets make me think of Bob’s Big Boy waitresses. During my teenage years in the late 70s my friends and I often hung out at the local Bob’s in my hometown of Ontario, CA. The waitresses that served up those delicious triple-decker combo platters and chocolate shakes in silver goblets all wore wiglets. It was the Farrah era long after the late 60s heyday of wiglets had passed. We always wondered why they were all so out of style. Finally, one day I just had to find out so I politely asked, “Why do you all wear wiglets??” She said it was because the Bob’s Big Boy employee handbook clearly stated that no hair could touch the collar of their uniform and the easiest way was to remedy that was to pin it up under a wiglet. Well, that explains everything. God forbid one of those waitresses should drag their fashionable Farrah-do over a sesame seed bun, through the french fries and into Bob’s own blue cheese dressing drowning that little iceberg lettuce salad! That would be as terrible as their wiglets were wonderful!
Here’s to all those prescribed wiglet wearing waitresses and YOU!
CHARLES PHOENIX’S RETRO SLIDE SHOW
TOUR OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
August 7, 2009 at Noon
at Farmlab in Los Angeles, CA