Charles Phoenix’s Slide of the Week: Totem Pole Park & Aquarium, Somewhere, USA, 1956


A giant drive-thru redwood tree trunk provides a perfect perch for a billboard of one of the most bizarre roadside tourist traps I’ve ever discovered in a slide. Not only does this rural wonder claim to be a park of totem poles (and, who, tell me doesn’t like totem poles,) it’s also an aquarium where you can see “Ocean Wonders ALIVE – Like a Walk on the Floor of the Sea – Just Ahead.” Or in the case of this robin’s egg blue 1949 Plymouth, just behind! Judging by the mossy tree trunk this has to be somewhere in Northern California. Does any remember this memorable place???

Speaking of totem poles, I saw one just the other day. Not the traditional carved-out-of-a-tree-trunk type, oh no. It was a totem pole piñata that reminded me of a third grade art project that inspired me to get creative and make a rather stylish, if I do say so myself, totem pole out of five empty five gallon Baskin Robbins ice cream containers taped one on top of the other. Ultimately it was a paper mache affair complete with cutout cardboard wings and traditional colorful faces rendered in tempera, which I always think of when I occasionally enjoy an order of tempura in an exotic restaurant. But we’re not talking about delicious deep fried Japanese taste treat sensations right now, are we? This is about totem poles and paper mache!

And, if for some strange, odd reason YOU are inspired to have a totem pole piñata, or any other kind of piñata for that matter, but have neither the third grade inspiration and inclination to fashion one yourself, or you have no idea where to find one, look no further – have I got the one-stop- shop piñata superstore for you! It’s a series of side-by-side, open-front warehouses at the corner of Los Angeles and 7th Sts. in LA, of course. Locals call it Piñata Palace. (!?? Charles I think you mean the piñata district, also written up in the newly-revised edition of LA Bizarro, authors of which are still presumably waiting for my Q&A to appear in their inboxes -ed) It has to be the greatest selection on earth. Fair WARNING to visitors of Piñata Palace: Your piñata imagination will be inspired and your tissue paper spirit will soar! And yes they do take special orders! And giant scale doesn’t seem to be a problem!

Here’s to roadside ocean wonders, totem poles, special order piñatas and YOU!

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Charles Phoenix Presents…

  • A Halloween Puppet Show Spooktacular featuring dozens of amazing vintage hand-made marionettes…
  • Your host, Charles Phoenix, tells the story of Bob?s colorful life and career with vintage slides and classic film and TV clips….
  • Cake & ice cream in the party room will follow the main event – an appearance by the Master himself!

Bob Baker Marionette Theater
Thurs Oct 29 & Fri Oct 30 @ 8pm

Tickets are $35; click here for more information.